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I'm what some may call a fitness freak. I work out at least five times a week, and most times, I squeak out a short sixth weekly workout. It used to be about aesthetics. Admittedly, I was a slightly "rotund" child growing up, and as you can imagine, I got it on the playground.

But, I grew up and out of that awkward phase. I began working out consistently in 2008. My father insisted that it would help with the BAR exam prep. I should add my father is a former bodybuilder and military officer. In High School, you remember the three-ring binders with the clear plastic covers? The one every girl had and adored with family photos? Yeah, I had those! My father's photos would always magically disappear; that's who my father is. As my father predicted, fitness would become my passion.

When I started working out, I couldn't run for a solid two minutes. I had to move to the elliptical to build up strength. It sucked in those early months, and I wanted to quit often. I didn't; I just kept going. Eventually, it got easier, and I got better. It was such a mental boost to knock out a five-minute run, which grew into a ten-minute run, and before I knew it, I was running 30+ miles a week.

In 2015, I was on a bad path. I was as a Chief of Staff to a toxic Member, it almost killed me. I developed bad habits - working non-stop, and eating way too much. I decided the job could talk my sanity, but it wouldn't take my health nor my waistline. I switched from being a distance runner to lifting weights. I also incorporated dieting into my fitness routine. Once you truly get fit, you fall in love with the process and the feeling. As my father says, "habits lead to standards, and standards lead to discipline. I'm disciplined when it comes to fitness and here's why:

  1. Fitness is a life lesson. When you start a fitness routine, it may seem impossible to master. Remember, when I started, I could only muster two-minute intervals on the elliptical! But, with each minute, day, and mile, I got stronger. That's life, the more we keep pushing, the better we get and the more determined we become. We are always adapting, and this holds for relationships, work, faith, and all things in life. Each workout is a reminder of how far I've come, and a testament to my belief in myself. Nothing is impossible, especially if you never give up, and if you keep pushing.

  2. Fitness is health: If you workout, you tend to eat better and have healthier habits. I'm 37, and I feel good, and I'm healthy. Good health is priceless. It is the single greatest reward of working out.

  3. Fitness is fun: I have so much fun running and lifting - it didn't start that way, but I stuck with it and it became that way! Fitness is uninterrupted alone time to think about whatever you want, for as long as you want. It's your time, that you budgeted for yourself. Putting yourself first, what a great thing to do!

  4. Fitness is therapy: There is no greater stress reliever than pounding the pavement. Think about it; running is running away from the drama and the trauma. And the best bar, open 24/7, is the weight bar. Lift it and release your stress.

  5. Fitness is confidence: Face facts, looks matter. The more you like how you look, the more confident you will be. As we know, confidence is the key to success. Knowing I knocked out a power work out before most people wake up is one hell of a confidence boost. When someone asks, "you look great, do you workout?" Wow, talk about feeling myself, instantly I become unshakable and unstoppable.

My campaign was the first time since 2008 that I didn't work out consistently - at all for that matter. The only running I did was to Bojangles! I will never do this again; it impacted my confidence and happiness. And that is a no-no. The final lesson about fitness is that it's a great hobby - discovering something that you truly enjoy: a release from work and the mundane realities of life - priceless.

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