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My Life: Fitting in at a Fitness Startup

This guest column is written by Kendra Mittermeyer, administrative assistant at DailyBurn. Follow along on her journey towards health, wellness, self-improvement and the perfect push-up.

Kendra

The first day at any job is well, curious. Walking into any new culture presents not only the challenge of feeling it out and finding your niche, but it also creates a special space for self-awareness. Frankly, as DailyBurn’s new administrative hire, I wasn’t entirely sure I was fitness startup material.

I knew I could learn the job and the work, but … truth is: I am not a fitness rock star. I’m actually the heaviest I’ve ever been right now. A string of tough moments preceded my time here, and as a Class-A Emotional Eater, it shows. So working here is either the greatest thing ever, or a gargantuan self-confidence crater to fall into.  Let’s take the former route, shall we?

Day One was fairly typical, filled with the classic new job dilemmas: What’s the wireless password? That nice guy who went out of his way to include me, what’s his name again? Where the heck is the bathroom in this place? (I didn’t find out until 3:30 p.m.) Day One was normal. Yes utterly normal, right up until 5 p.m. when my new co-workers began busting through Inferno Intervals. Boom. Welcome to a fitness company, huh? Needless to say, I knew then, that life here would be slightly more colorful than the average desk job.

The color red to be precise. Huffing, puffing, giggling, sputtering, splotchy red. I was awkward as all get-out at first, so worried about where to stand, if I’d be allowed to take a breather in front of my boss — and what the heck was “Tabata” anyway? Imagine putting on sweats and trying to keep up with a one-minute push-up challenge on Day Two of a new job. Horrifying, clearly. (Unless, of course, you’re Misty May-Treanor.) But there is something oddly transformative about a full-body sweat. A few minutes in, all my neuroses had subsided. Or perhaps they had drowned.

There was just no room or time for anyone to stare at me. And OK, even if they were, I was too busy to notice or care about what they might be seeing. As I know now, these people have no interest in judging anybody, especially not if they’re trying. And believe me, try I have. I gasp my way through just about anything those crazy trainers can throw at me — sometimes with more success than others! But I feel myself getting stronger and the voice in my head whining “too hard” getting softer. The more I ignore her wails and the less I hear her.

The proof is in the push-up: I’m getting my nose seriously close to the ground these days and modifying down to my knees less and less. Progress!

Still, I mostly find those “roll-ups” to be just a fabulous back massage rather than a workout — I have maybe an ounce of the core strength needed to hop up without using my arms (who does that?!). Similarly, any rapid movements on the exercise balls result in me rolling off and plopping on the gym floor like an underdone pancake. But I love it, and crave it (let’s face it, there are worse things to crave after doing your zillionth expense report!).

Kendra Childs Pose

Photos by Jordan Shakeshaft

It’s actually so fun to need to workout — finding that utterly organic desire is a pretty neat experience. I’ve got miles to go no doubt, but the journey gets to be mine and that’s an amazing feeling. Plus that Cody guy is nuts, and I dig that.

But all that only tackles the fitness aspect of my journey; wellness is the next component. This one I actually have a better track record with. I found out years ago how fun cooking is, and when I make it a priority I know I feel awesome.

In the coming weeks, I’ll also be sharing with you my thoughts about food — tips, passions, as well as some of my irrational behaviors and how I’m working through them. Plus, I have a few simple, healthy and flavorful recipes to pass along. You may not live where I live or work where I work, but I guarantee we’re the same: We’re busy people looking to fill our days with as much joy as possible while still pursuing a goal of healthful living (hint: the two ideas are related). If I’m making dinner, it is going to be worth it.

I truly believe taking care of my body from the inside out is a worthwhile investment. And if that’s too honest or holistic for you, I also truly believe cooking at home is cheaper, helps keep your calories down, and is wildly cathartic. Chopping onions and pounding meat have some obvious mental benefits, but there’s also something so wonderful about knowing you’ve created a wowza-meal start to finish and then enjoying every bite.

What’s kind of special is I’m coming to DailyBurn much like most of you. I’m not loving how I’ve treated my body, and I know I can do better for myself. I know I don’t want to be held back, locked in by my own poor choices, anymore. So let’s do this together. I’ll tell you about my journey here — front line product testing the workouts, the protein powders, the whole system. I’m working with people who believe in us, and in you. They want to be part of making you healthy and happy. And so do I.

So come cook with me, laugh with me, sweat with me and tell me what’s on your mind. What brought you to us, what makes you almost run away, what makes you stay?

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