Your Fitness Journey: Local Michelle Steinke talks about why starting a fitness routine can be the hardest part

Your Fitness Journey

Local Michelle Steinke talks about why starting a fitness routine can be the hardest part.


Starting my journey to health was one of the hardest things I’ve done. I remember the first day I walked into the gym after I had gained the weight. I felt as if I should have lost 20 pounds before I went in! They wanted to weigh me, measure me, and take photos of me while I was in the worst shape of my life! How completely embarrassing! Despite my concerns, I went, and that day changed my life forever.

For nearly four years before this incident, I kept telling myself, “I know what to do—I just need to go do it” and “I know what to eat—I just need to eat it.” But I never did. I just let myself go further and further downhill. Most days, I had little to no energy, and I just craved junk food. The more I ate, the more I wanted to eat, and the more I wanted to hide.

Day one was hard because I figured everyone at the gym would judge me. I remember wearing my husband’s T-shirt to my first workout and looking at the girls who were in such great shape, thinking that could never be me. I was sad, angry, and dejected, and I thought that my change would take forever.

It’s never easy to start this journey, and on some days, it’s difficult to continue, but you must remember that everyone wants to see you succeed. You did not gain the weight overnight; for most people it took years, and it kind of sneaks up on you.

Don’t be too intimidated to get started—just start! The more you do, the more you will want to do and the less intimidated you will become. As for me, the gym is now my favorite place to be, and I no longer workout in large //T-shirts to hide my body.

Fitness has brought me peace and self-happiness in the wake of devastating loss. Fitness has given me stress relief and anger management. Fitness has in many ways given me life when I thought mine was all but lost. In the coming months, I hope to share that gift with you.

Three simple steps to get you started on your own fitness journey

1) Find your fitness passion

If you don’t love it, you won’t do it consistently. Figure out what you love to do, and go do it daily. I often refer to this as fun family fitness. Let’s face it—your body does not know (or care) if you are sweating in a gym or hiking the West Fork Trail in Sedona with your family. Go be active, and make being fit part of who you are.

2) Commit to just 15 minutes a day

Movement creates movement, so let your starting plan be as simple as that––to move. I’ve learned that people may not want to commit to 60 minutes of exercise when they start, but everyone can do just 15 minutes a day. Just start small and work up as your body craves more. A walk, a hike, or a jog can start you down the path to a fitter life.

3) Look at exercise as “you time”

The time we take daily away from our families, stressful jobs, and obligations is not selfish but rather self-love. How can you value the people in your life if you don’t value yourself? Put yourself at the top of your priority list, and remember that the people who love you most want you to be healthy, happy, and fit.

Michelle is the founder and CEO of 1FW Training and the future One Fit Widow Foundation. After losing her husband in 2009, Michelle found a new love for fitness as a grief-coping mechanism. Learn more about her at

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