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  • Writer's picturegallagherkara

Sweating For My Sanity

Remember in Annie, when the amazing Carol Burnett was simply terrible to all the little girls in the orphanage? I turn into a slight version of this crotchety, crazy curmudgeon if I don’t get to sweat and exercise on a regular basis.

I love when strangers or new people I meet might comment about my workout habits. “Oh, that’s nice you can find the time…” Or, “Good for you for working out, even with all those kids at home…” (Mmm-kay?) They don’t get it. If I DON’T workout, you know what happens? Kara Hannigan comes out. Threats about selling my kids to a circus sneak across my lips. It gets ugly man. I have to, for my own mental sanity.

If I don’t sweat and pick up heavy stuff on a regular basis, I’m just not a good mom. I can handle the yelling and arbitrary crying if I am able to elevate my heart rate or grunt some weights over my head. For me, it’s my own personal formula.

Sweating and lifting heavy stuff = better mom skills all around.

This is why I love to quietly celebrate my yearly anniversary with Community Fitness Cape Ann. It was four years ago when we moved to this town I could not pronounce. (Glue-ster...Glough-chester?) I knew zero people. I was an avid runner back in Utah, but our family schedule would be different here in Massachusetts. My husband’s new job required a crazy schedule of 6 days a week, 12 hours a day. (This only lasted for 6 months, thank goodness.) I couldn’t just go running for hours on a Saturday like the good old days, I needed something different.

So I joined CFCA thinking I was just joining a place to sweat at 5:30am, and be home in time so Chris could leave for work. I didn’t know that this thing called “functional fitness” would be such a foundation of health and community for me. Not only did I get stronger to haul ALL the beach gear, I have also met some of my dearest friends in that small warehouse on Sargent Street. I went from no community to instant community of amazing people who care and sincerely take care of each other.

We workout together and do the bro-wod thing, but we also celebrate each other babies, mourn with each other during losses, raise funds in emergencies, plan hikes and ski weekends, and serve our community together.

When I walked in the doors that January in 2014, a little nervous to try something new, HIIT workouts had a slight meathead reputation. (I really should’ve known better, my brother introduced me and he is not a meathead.) I had no idea 4 years ago, I would make the friends I have, become certified to teach fitness to adults AND kids, and keep Miss Hannigan at bay in the best way possible. I want to go back and give 2014, newbie Kara a subtle little fist bump and tell her, “Nice work.” The icing on the paleo cake (I don’t really eat paleo, just FYI) is the whole life approach my gym has to health and fitness. What you do and who you are outside of the gym is just as important as who you are and what you do in the gym. So it’s no wonder I now have an amazing crew in my corner, in and out of the gym.

Do you have a worthwhile vice you HAVE to do in order to be better at the mom gig? Or this human gig? Have you found your supportive tribe? Tell me about it! I want to know!

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