motivation for fitness



My family is full of runners. My dad ran numerous marathons. My brother and sister and I ran cross country and track in high school. My sister was a rock-star runner and even still holds a state record at our old high school.

Exercise and outdoor activities have always been a part of my life. I can remember going on long bike rides as a family while my dad would run. I remember hiking together on vacations, taking swim lessons, tennis lessons, going for family runs every Thanksgiving, and having weights and fitness equipment in our garage.

I never intended to be a runner. In high school I actually tried to be a softball player to be something different than my siblings, but my coach finally pulled me aside and told me I was a terrible softball player and that I belonged on the track. I am so thankful for his blunt honesty!

Finally, I gave in and decided to run.

I was “okay” at running. Not bad, but most certainly was not the fastest.

But the teammates…oh, how I loved the teammates. And I loved the coaches. And I loved the workouts every afternoon, and how we got popsicles from the team parents after practice. I loved the deliriously funny conversations we girls would have while running mile after mile together. I loved the way we’d practically collapse after the workouts were finished and we’d chit chat while we stretched. I love how we would laugh at how bad our blisters were, and vote on whose shoes were the dirtiest, and make fun of the person who had the bright, new, clean, unbroken in, running shoes. I loved the camaraderie of cheering one another on and Saturdays filled with races. I actually hated the competing part…I would get so nervous I would literally throw up before every race…but aside from that, I’ll treasure forever the memories of being on a team.

When it came time to pick a college, I chose to pass up a full ride scholarship running at a smaller school because I wanted to go to a bigger university at a place that felt like home. My parents both went to the University of Oklahoma. My sister, a year older than me, was already there. I could have walked-on to the team at OU…instead, I joined a sorority. 🙂

I worked at a couple of gyms throughout college, and I would casually run here and there, but relationships, and classes, and the fun of the college years overshadowed what fitness goals I had…errrrr…I should say what fitness goals I didn’t have. It honestly just wasn’t much of a priority to me then.

Fast forward 5 years…shortly after I was married, I decided to run a marathon. It was on my “bucket list,” so I gave it a shot. I trained for 3 months and pushed through a bum knee and some hip trouble…but I did it! All 26.2 miles of it! My brother ran with me too. And it was right at mile #20 when I decided that I no longer enjoyed running. At all. In my mind, and out loud to my brother for the last 6 miles, I swore that after I finished that race I would never run again!


Soon after the marathon my husband and I began trying to get pregnant, which eventually led to working with a fertility clinic. Limiting exercise was one thing the doctors requested of me, and I was far more concerned about having a baby than I was about fitness goals.

Fast forward again…I endured a combined total of 3 years of fertility treatments, followed by 6 pregnancies, including a miscarriage, and five live births in 6 1/2 years time…

Kate birth

To say my body has been “through it” is an understatement. After the birth of our fifth child, I remember thinking that I have this amazing family, yet I look and feel horrible.

I knew I needed a plan. I knew I needed to do something serious.

Now, let me pause the story here….

I know that there are people who would wish for me to now tell about the “how.” “How did I lose the baby weight?” “How” do I do what I do. “How” do I make time for the gym, “how” do I do my workouts, “how” do I eat, or “how” do I keep going when the needs at home are so demanding. If I’m honest that is THE one question I am most frequently (for sure daily and sometimes dozens of times in a day depending on what errands I have to run) asked. “How do you do it all?”

Meg Wallace: Why I Work Out

And hang on!!! I promise, I’ll get there, and I’ll be as practical and simple in explaining it all as I can in the near future!!!

I need to first address the “why” before the “how.”
It’s important.


Why do I do what I do? What is my motivation?

Do I simply want a hot bikini body? Do I want others to notice me? Do I want to stand on a stage for a contest? Do I want to win an award? Do I want to be able to fit into my pre-children clothes? Do I not want to have to stand in front of a mirror for inordinate amounts of time trying on every bit of my wardrobe over and over again because nothing fits right anymore? Do I simply want to look and feel better? Do I think that others will like me more if I just looked better? Do I feel that I would be accepted or wanted or loved more if I had a different shape?

My fitness goals have sometimes had some hidden reasons that took me awhile to admit, sort through, and throw away. I once dated someone in college that broke up with me numerous times because of what I looked like. He clearly wanted a “trophy wife,” and I just didn’t fit his standard. He once ended our relationship because he had the fear that I might one day have kids and not be “in shape” anymore.

And here I was…I’d had a lot of kids. I was not in shape anymore.

(Thankfully, I did not marry him!)

At the time my ex-boyfriend’s comments marked me and left wounds in my heart. What he said was hurtful and the fact that our relationship changed so dramatically because of his negative opinion of my appearance was painful.

The temptation was to become frozen with discouragement or overactive and attempt perfection.

Either response is wrong, though. Either way would be unhealthy, and will most certainly lead down some very self-centered, self-focused, and self-deluded paths. I’ve had to learn to openly talk about these things and intentionally, consistently reset my thinking with truth.

If my identity is wrapped up in what I look like, if I am striving toward fitness so that I can show off to others, or if I have fears about not being accepted because I’m not at my best, then it is time to stop looking in my mirror and start looking to Jesus.

I no longer have a team or friends cheering me on. There is no coach, there is no one checking on me to make sure I went to practice, there’s no one at the gym waiting for me to sign in, and there is certainly no team mom buying me popsicles after I workout every day!

So, where does my motivation come from?! How do I stay consistent? How do I create fitness goals that do not define me? How can I remain steadfast in my determination?

And WHY? WHY do I do it all?

Fitness is a matter of stewardship.

Stewardship: [stoo-erd-ship, styoo-] noun
-the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth 
caring for and preserving
I’ve been given the gift of a body, one that the Bible refers to as a tent that will one day fold up, yet, in the meantime I am to care for it, preserve it, and tend to it, just like someone would care for, preserve, and tend to a garden.

I believe I have been entrusted to use not only my body, but whatever gifts, talents and strengths that I may possess to care for myself, my home, as well as the people who reside in it. The role of a wife and mom is not to be taken lightly and I truly believe marriage, motherhood and fitness, go hand in hand. If I could be so bold…I do not understand how I could possibly separate them.

meg fitness (1 of 21)

“How do you find time to get your workouts in?” is the wrong question.

My reply is always the same, “how could I not?”

I make time because it is worth my time.

The time I spend at the gym is an investment in something far more important. Yes, I will happily admit, it is my one single hour each day that is all to myself (well, so long as I don’t get a call from the childcare room asking me to come help with one or more of my kids…which happens uhhhhlot!). At the gym, I can listen to whatever music I desire (in mom world that is a BIG deal!), I can go at whatever pace I want (with no one tugging on my leg or asking for goldfish), or I can even listen to a sermon or maybe a webinar (two birds with one stone, right?).

The gym is my kind of safe-haven, short-release, small-retreat, getaway each day.

meg fitness (13 of 21)

But…what I value, even more than it being some “me” time, is that exercise and strength training are crucial for me to do what I do every day as a wife and mom, to do it WELL, to do it to the absolute best of my ability.

When I am strong and healthy, I am far more alert, far more disciplined in how I spend my time, much more focused, have significantly increased energy (without any added caffeine), and I have more strength and endurance to be able to handle the pace and stress of my day to day obligations.

Fitness is a whole lot less about what I look like and a whole lot more about what I can offer others.

meg fitness (17 of 21)

At times, I confess, I begin to notice my thinking or my mindset beginning to shift back toward the reasons listed above. I will notice that I become frustrated when I can’t make my workouts happen or I get bothered at how much time and effort my family requires of me. I will begin to over critique myself or over manage the things I eat. Those are HUGE red flags that my heart is not right and that I need to not delay in resetting once more. It is at that point that I must choose to admit it, speak openly about it, repent of it, and come back to “home base.”

If I boil it down very simply…I am responsible for myself and for my family. I must steward well what I’ve been given. I make fitness and health a priority, refusing to “let it slide,” because it is my job to care well for those who depend on me.

lake flex pic

If you are conscious about health, fitness and exercise, have you considered the reasons as to why you do what you do?
If you are not concerned about health, fitness, and exercise, have you considered the reasons as to why you’ve chosen not to?

Comment below, I’d love to hear your stories.


28 Replies to “motivation for fitness”

  1. Wow…so much food for thought…I appreciate the questions at the end….I do it for all the wrong reasons, therefore I end up failing or letting it slide. I have to address this with the Lord! Thanks for sharing and for speaking Truth. Your words inspire me to get my heart right and care for the gift God has given me for such a time as this.

    1. that is so encouraging to hear, alecia. thank you so much for your feedback. please keep me posted on the progress as you begin to search your heart and ask the Lord to show you truth.

  2. So why have I chosen a path of not healthy…eesh. I was in a relationship (even engaged to) a man that liked thick women,and got annoyed with a pretty strict diet/exercise regimen my friend coached me through to get ready for a friend’s wedding I was in. It was difficult to maintain the regimen, but I did until the wedding. After we got back home, the boy was so excited that we could eat whatever we wanted now. I dropped my exercise routine,and told my “coach” that I just hated it. Because he was a friend, my “coach” said he understood,and he didn’t push it anymore. Since the end of my horrible relationship, I haven’t done anything for my health. I feel like I am still trying to piece myself back together in some ways. I see, and definitely feel, the consequences of my decisions. This is probably the heaviest I’ve been my whole life, but it’s the first time I’ve comfortable in my skin. I don’t get it. I know that the Lord has been working on me with the way I feel about myself! I have been feeling like I really need to start doing something, anything, to get back into some semblance of exercise, but I just don’t know where to start. Now that the weather is cooling off here in NM, that is helping with my motivation! Motivation. Ha! That’s another ginormous hurdle.
    There’s a brutally honest answer to your question. Thanks for your inspiring words, Meg! You have always been such a special person to me!

    1. Sweet Becca, thank you for opening up. I had no idea you were in that kind of a relationship and I am so sorry to hear of the difficulty that it was. It’s had an impact on you and I am praying for continued healing for your heart. I know there are some things I’d love to respond more fully on, but maybe not over this venue would be best. Also, if you really are at the place where you’d desire to begin something by way of fitness or increased health then I want to be able to help. You can either message me on FB or send me a private email or I’ll (sometime in the near future) try to post a blog article about where to start when you don’t know where to start. I want to help in any way that I can so just let me know how I can be a part. I know we live so far now, but I’d love to be here for you. Thank you again for opening up. You are so brave to do so and I know your story isn’t finished. I LOVE your brutal honesty. xoxo-Meg

  3. Thank you so much for sharing the Y and not just the how or the what. Very encouraging to see how you view fitness. I recently had a discovery. Fitness and working out have always been part of my life too. I grew up dancing ballet and playing competitive soccer. And after I had to give up pursuing those seriously, I’ve taken up a lot of other mediums of exercise. Unfortunately along with my zeal to work out, I also developed an eating disorder. After years of counseling and a lot of healing from the Lord, I feel like I’m in a much healthier place. But recently I started to work out a notice exactly what you were talking about above. I was starting to become anxious when I wouldn’t lose weight, defining who I was as a person by the way my body felt and looked. I was praying and felt God saying: Bethany do it my way and you will be satisfied. Since then I have quit my calorie counting, frequented the gym less, and been less focused on a number on the scale. You want to know the crazy thing? I feel so much better! Instead of being obsessed about how many reps I’m lifting, I’m more focused on the God who created my body. It’s been very for fulfilling and exciting. I like to go on walks outside, ride my bike and enjoy nature as I exercise. This is this new phase I’m in and I really enjoy it! Thank you for sharing your fitness journey and words of encouragement. It’s given me an added boost to keep doing what I’m doing! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the feedback. And just for the record, just so others aren’t potentially confused…calorie counting, frequent gym visits, or being careful about the kinds of foods we eat are not evil or bad methods. Sometimes those are the exact things we need to do to get strong and healthy. But, when we become anxious or when we find our identity in the outcome is when things have gone awry. Thanks for sharing your own experience. I love that you’re enjoying the journey with more clarity and conviction. xoxo-M

  4. Thank you for this! I’m a pastor’s wife too and my 3rd child is 5 weeks old. This was just the reminder I needed, since I’ve been not liking what I see in the mirror and trying to get a game plan together. I want my heart and my motives to be right. I’ll going to bookmark this post and return frequently! Thanks again! <3

    1. Thank you for your comment! And congratulations on your new baby!!! You are smack in the middle of what I think is one of the toughest seasons in mom life. Those first 6 weeks post baby when the tummy is still there and it’s too soon to work out. Just remember this little stretch won’t last long…slow and steady to get back to where you want to be. If I can be of any help along the way please let me know!

  5. That’s an awesome post! I’m sharing it with ladies from my church group! I work at a gym (for fun – I teach classes) but post baby #2 (who is 3 months), I’m finding it challenging to get back into it (time is crazy, I’m overweight and it makes life hard/my feet hurt/etc.). I love being reminded that the right mind-set (stewardship and Jesus at the center) is what it’s all about. I need that reminder daily! I finally made it for a workout today and saw a friend I haven’t seen in ages and it reminded me that it’s also an opportunity to share Truth with others! Thanks for the post! I’m hoping to read all your posts before this blog disappears!

    1. Oh I LOVE hearing your feedback!! And I’m so glad you made it back in AND saw that friend of yours!! Double win! Gosh I know how hard it is to start over after having a baby…I can remembering almost being afraid. But you have seriously made it past the hardest part, which is that first day. Great job!!! Now just get a plan in place and keep going one day at a time. And when you can’t go, (like me for the past month!) then just start over again! 😉 Thank you again for responding. oh and I’m going to be adding in MUCH of the old content from One Glass slipper into the new so Don’t worry too much about reading the other posts in a hurry! OGS will be up at least until January and the new one will (hopefully) be up early November! (Crossing my fingers on that one!) grace to you sweet mama!

  6. Great reminder on my quest to healthy! Healthy is all relative! What’s my motive? Am I trying to please myself,’please others or just be the best version of myself? Often my time in the gym is the only ‘me’ time and so I cherish it. It’s time for me to think about the things I want to think about, listen to the music I want to listen to, or reflect on life in general, uninterrupted! The daycare at the gym is such a blessing to me! It is very hard to serve others selflessly if you yourself aren’t taken care of.

  7. “How do you find time to get your workouts in?” is the wrong question.

    My reply is always the same, “how could I not?”

    I make time because it is worth my time.

    This was my motto last year!! Now 50 lbs later, and still working hard – Stewardship over our bodies is so important!
    So happy to have found your blog…my sweet friend Shirley (Five Arrows) posted about your blog and I’m so glad I came here 🙂

    1. 50 pounds?!??! Youre amazing!!!! well done!!!! keep going and DON’T give up!!!! I’m cheering you on! And that Shirley, she’s just too sweet! Love her!

  8. Hello,
    I came across your site through Instagram and Lean Body for Her which is a product I currently use. I read this and all I can think is this is where I want to be with my fitness! I am married and we have a 3 yr old little girl:-) I have never considered myself to be athletic but have found that I feel so much better and am more patient with my husband and daughter when I get that workout in. I was on anti-depressants for about a year after I was in a car accident that changed my life. I decided to get off anti-depressants due to the side effects of weight gain and trying a few other kinds that made me an angry person to the point that I would yell at my daughter until she cried:-( That is when I decided that I wanted to get off them and working out has just been my anti-depressant and is my me-time. I listen to Christian music when I workout which is great:-) I never listened to Christian music until after the car accident. Anyway since then I have been seeking God like never before. I am working on being a stronger mother and wife and growing in my faith as well. So glad I came across your page and had the chance to read this:-)

    1. Dear Nancy! I somehow missed seeing this comment and my heart breaks that I hadn’t gotten back to you yet! Thank you so much for commenting and for sharing a piece of your life with me. I am so encouraged by your story and am praying now for you to hear Jesus’s voice in fresh new ways. You are lovely, just as you are, and there is no ‘arrival’ or plan or achievement that could make Him love you any more. There is also no failure or shortcoming or past experience that would make Him love you any less. Keep pursuing Him and keep listening for Him. He’s a good Father. He sees you and He is near. Thank you so much for your encouragement about that page. Your words mean so much to me.

  9. You just nailed it for me! Every belief I have in the role women play as a Jesus loving mommy and wife!
    (And I unfortunately married that college guy, and was mentally and physically abused if I didn’t look like a Victoria secret model so my relationship with food was very unhealthy, fast forward to now I recently married my high school sweetheart;););) and gained 30 lbs! In like a year! We bought a house with pool, my workouts /macro counting has been going since January. And I just recently in last week finished Jaime Eason livefit! But no weight is off and I’m in panic mode!
    So I can’t wait for your workouts to go “live” so I can see what you offer!
    I used to pin test workouts, you tube the toneitup girls, etc. Jaime plan was my first real weight training!
    Your a beautiful inspiration for literally everything! Hug!

    1. Oh my goodness I think all of the time how different life would have been had I married that guy. I am so so so sorry to hear about your experience and the pain you have endured. I am celebrating with you this new stage of life and everything that seems to be fitting into place. We keep praying in our house hunt that we might find one with a pool too!!! #fingerscrossed As far as the weight not coming off, how is your eating??? That LIVEfit plan is intense so it should be coming off for you…but no amount of working out can overcompensate for the lack of proper nutrition, healthy choices and correct portion sizes. Or another possibility is if you might be missing out on some of the cardio??? I’ve heard of so many women who complete that program but skip the HIIT and cardio sessions and have the same trouble with not seeing the weight come off. Just some ideas for you. Sometimes is just takes some a bit of brainstorming to figure out why your body may not be responding. I’m happy to help think through ideas of what might be causing the delay in progress!

      1. Thank you! Yes I do it all! Meal prep, etc. And I macro count like crazy too! And I just upped my water per day, and cut my fat to 45 grm a day. I swear just those 2 things alone I feel like I’m “lighter” lol
        I can’t wait to see your workouts! I’m excited to change it up! I think my body was “moving stuff around ” lol like re organization on the inside. Lol my clothes are looser, and I think I’m not giving myself enough credit. :/ lol

        1. I definitely think our bodies just love for us to change things up. Hopefully little changes now and then will keep you on track with your goals! I am praying that this plan serves you!!! You’re so excited about it and that makes me excited! But nervous too!!!! I hope I don’t fail you!!! lol!!!!

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