4:45 a.m.  F#ck!  I hate that alarm. I lay in bed thinking to myself it’s -7 degrees outside. I can skip today. I mean, only crazy people do this. Besides, I am free after work, I can workout then instead.  And do I really want to hear Lindley barking in my ear, “You didn’t get outta bed at 5:00 a.m. to quit on yourself, did you? There is no quitting here. Faster. FASTER!” We have all had this conversation at least once (inside your head or even out loud) in your Endorphin journey, no matter how dedicated you are.

Truth is: Somedays I do stay in bed and roll over to grab my phone and “late cancel” the workout. However, the good days are those when I get outta bed and make the trek across town to make it happen. HIIT, HELLth, Warriors…pick your poison, they are all hard before 6:00 a.m.  But they are worth the cold, dark mornings and the pain I endure for that 60 minutes. The endorphins from that morning workout really do keep my my energy up all day.

I used to think that because I had a 12 hour day coming up that I didn’t have time to work out. As an educator, (and perhaps many of the teachers at Endorphin feel the same way) I thought I need to conserve my energy to deal with students and all the other curveballs that come at me in a day. But the truth is, on days when I don’t work out, I bonk early and often. And when I have my biggest of days, when I have to present to parents or DPS bigwigs, those are the days that I have to work out. It gets me amped and makes me feel ready to take on the toughest challenge.

Right about the time I discovered Endorphin, I also I founded an elementary school here in Denver, the Denver Green School. I think that it’s appropriate that both came into my life at the exact same time because both have inspired me, humbled me and taught me a tremendous amount about myself: that nothing I want is easy in life, with hard work and dedication, I can tackle just about anything.

When did I know that Endorphin was the right place for me? It was my first “spinning” class, and like many, I thought spinning was a bit of joke at other gyms. But when Sara told us to take seats off the bike–for the whole second half of class, I knew I was onto something. Beyond just the ass-kicking though, I was still looking for a little bit more. And a few weeks later on a Sunday morning Warriors class with Nick, I solidified that this was my new “gym.”  We all know the colorful Colfax characters that can stop by a workout. On this particular morning, an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair just flat out pushed his way right into Ryders studio, and he was just sorta smiling at all of us and everyone in the place seemed a little tense about what would happen next. Nick got off his bike and walked over to him gave him a high five and some dumbbells and went back to calling out acrobatic moves on the bike. At that moment, I knew that I had found more than a gym, I had found caring community.

I will be honest. It’s hard. When I was supposed to be doing SMART goals for the holidays, I was eating and drinking my way through all of December. The bad news: I gained 8 lbs.

The good news: I have lost all of those 8 lbs in the first 26 days of 2015. The reality: it doesn’t get easier. I have 10 more to go. The initial ten I wanted loose in the first place. Here’s the deal that Endorphin helps me relearn every workout. Everyone has their own journey. Their own struggles. The best part is that the person working next to you on the bike or the person doing step ups beside you is working just as f*ucking hard as you. If not, harder. They are fighting their own battle and I have mad respect for anyone who walks through the door, because I haven’t met any one at Endorphin that thinks choosing an easy road is the right way to go. So, I am left with a choice, get up at 4:45 tomorrow or stay in bed.  Here’s to choosing the hard path and making the change we seek in 2015.