Guest Post: That Time I Joined the Gym, Then Quit, Then Joined, Then Quit, Then Joined…

When it comes to joining gyms (and quitting them), I have quite the lengthy history. In fact, it goes a little something like this…

  1. In high school, I joined a gym. I quit the gym because I was headed to college.
  2. I went to college and worked out (a wee once in a while) in the fitness center.
  3. I graduated, moved home, and joined a new gym.
  4. I fell in love with spinning at said gym and religiously went to classes three time a week. I bought the shoes, the shorts, the whole lot. I was owning it.
  5. I quit the gym because I was moving away.
  6. I moved to Hoboken (with my then-boyfriend, would-be fiancé, would-be husband) and joined a gym. I loved it for awhile, especially one specific yoga class and teacher.
  7. I got engaged.
  8. I hired a personal trainer to get ripped and ready for my wedding dress.
  9. I got married. I went on my honeymoon.
  10. I came home and joined a different gym.
  11. My husband and I were moving to the suburbs so I quit the Hoboken gym and joined a gym in the ‘burbs.
  12. I got frustrated that I wasn’t going enough, so I quit that gym.
  13. I joined a cheaper gym.
  14. We got sick of the suburbs and moved back to Hoboken.
  15. I rejoined the Hoboken gym.
  16. I went pretty regularly for awhile and tried my hand at the various fitness classes.
  17. I grew frustrated.
  18. I stopped going.
  19. I quit the gym.
  20. I started purchasing various online vouchers for gyms and workout studios in the area. I had a blast redeeming them. I’d found my thing.
  21. I used up my vouchers so I joined rejoined the gym I’d quit a couple times before.
  22. I quit that gym again.
  23. I did a one-week trial at a new gym. I loved it. I loved it so much that I locked myself into a year-long membership.
  24. I don’ t love it anymore.
  25. And now I want to quit.

Also weaved in there were short-lived stints with running. But really, who’s counting?

I ran in the Phillips 5K the first year. I was slow, but heck, I finished!

I ran in the Phillips 5K the first year. I was slow, but heck, I finished!

I don’t mean to be hard on myself here, but man, that’s a lot of quitting. Looking at this list, I really have to laugh, too. It’s such a hilarious cycle. Each time I put my John Hancock on a gym contract, I really and truly believe in my heart of hearts that THIS IS THE ONE! And then I have a change of heart…

My latest fitness interest is hot yoga (there’s something quite fascinating about sweating, dripping, get absolutely drenched alongside 20 strangers). Who knows how long this interest in yoga will last, but I do have to figure out what I’m doing here (I can’t keep dropping money on one-off yoga classes when I’m still locked into about 9 more months at my gym.) As it stands, I Google “how to get out of a gym membership” daily.

So, yeah. When it comes to fitness, dedicated I am not. Will I ever get there? Your guess is as good as mine.

Oh, and sometimes I hike. Here's a snapshot of Sharon (left) and me (right) last summer.

Oh, and sometimes I hike. Here’s a snapshot of Sharon (left) and me (right) last summer.

Now I’ll tell you about something I AM dedicated to: Helping good people do good things. And “doing good” is exactly what my dear friend Sharon Phillips is accomplishing with the Christopher and Susan Phillips Foundation. This very special Foundation was started by Sharon in 2011 to honor her mother Susan (64) and brother Chris (27), both lost within days of each other from two separate cardiac-related events.

The Foundation hosts some fabulous fundraisers each year to help provide scholarships for students of Jonathan Dayton High School (the alma mater of the entire Phillips family) and Trinitas Nursing School (where Chris was studying to be a nurse).

Next month, on May 31st, the Foundation will host its 4th annual Phillips 5K/10K Run/Walk. This special event will take place at Lewis Morris Park in Morristown, NJ — and 100% of the race proceeds will benefit the Foundation and go toward future scholarships.

I’ll be there like every year, cheering participants on from the behind the microphone and helping to present ribbons to the fastest finishers. The day isn’t just about speed, though. It’s also about taking a few hours on a spring morning to come out and remember two lives well lived, two lives lost too soon.

Come be part of this special day. For additional details about the 5K/10K and to register online (pre-registration guarantees you a cool wicking t-shirt!) visit

So that’s where I’ll be on May 31st. Until then, I’ll be feverishly trying to get out of my gym membership. I’ll also be spending quality time with dear friends like Sharon — because when it comes to my friendship with her, I’ll NEVER call it quits.

Jodi Rigotti is the Senior Editor at Teachers Pay Teachers, an online marketplace for teachers to buy and sell their original lesson plans and other course materials. Her hobbies include cooking, exercising sporadically, and being nicer than some say is necessary. She currently lives in Hoboken, NJ with her husband (and college sweetheart), Dan.

Guest Post: The Good We Do (for Friends, Strangers, Ourselves)

I’m Jodi, and I’m on a mission to get a better butt. In fact, I’m deep in the trenches. I’ve been working these glutes of mine hard – and for a good few months now. Am I seeing results? Yes. Maybe. I guess? I’m not sure. You’d think I know, considering the amount of time I spend checking out my rear. My bedroom has a full length mirror and at least three times of day, I can be found back to back with it, my neck awkwardly twisted, staring. What a weirdo.

Am I, though? Am I weird for wanting a little gratification for my hard work? Perhaps not. But I may very well be weird for asking my husband a couple weeks ago to snap a photo of my bare booty using my MacBook Air computer. For the record, I took a quick look, then promptly erased the photo. There were just too many frightening scenarios running through my head. (i.e. “Hey Mom. Hey Dad. Take a look at our vacation photos. Here we are with a palm tree. Look at us here, all dolled up for dinner. And this one…OH MY GOD!”)

So, as I said, in between staring at my tush, and having people take pictures of my tush, I’ve been totally trying to tone it, too. I belong to a gym and tend to have a love-hate-relationship with the classes (but that’s a story for another day). So I found a bunch of tips, videos, and tutorials online and have been exercising on my own. In many ways, it’s super great. I started a new job in January in which I work from home, so I’ll often head to the gym around lunchtime and do an approximately hour-long routine of squats, lunges, step-ups, hip lifts, and a slew of other moves. There’s also an exercise I do called butt burns. Ne’er was there ever a more appropriate name. Holy freakin’ ow.

Yet, even with my steady gym attendance and my relentless dedication to butt burns, I’m not seeing as significant a difference as thought I would by now. Some difference? Yes. Enough improvement for my liking? No. I know these things take time, but I’m getting a little impatient (plus, I fly out to Turks and Caicos in mid-June. Just sayin’). So about a week ago, I decided it was time to kick things up a notch. I put a hold on my personal workouts and signed up for classes at a fancy boutique gym in town. I’ve been there before, so I can tell you, here’s what guaranteed: The workouts are incredible. Here’s what’s not guaranteed: When you smile at the other patrons, they’re going to smile back. That’s OK. I’m not there to meet my best friend. And that’s fine with me because I’ve got one already. Her name is Sharon. And she’s awesome.

We’ve been friends since we were 11. We met at an after-school cheerleading clinic (I promptly quit before tryouts even happened. I guess I wasn’t the rah-rah type.) But out of that short-lived experience came a lifelong friend – whose family opened up their hearts and home to me as well. Picnics, parties, weeks down the shore. If there was a Phillips event, I was there.

In July of 2011, the unthinkable happened. Chris (Sharon’s brother, 27) and Sue (Sharon’s mother, 64) passed away within days of each other. Every time I write that, or say that, it hits me like a ton of bricks. I still can’t believe they’re gone. I constantly do the would’ve, should’ve, could’ve in my mind. The truth is, I can’t change what happened. But here’s what I can do.

I can continue to get the word out about the Christopher and Susan Phillips Foundation, founded by Sharon herself, who was unwavering in her wish for the passing of her brother and mother not to be in vain. Through dollars raised from fundraisers hosted throughout the year, the Foundation provides scholarships to graduating Jonathan Dayton High School students (the alma mater of the entire Phillips family) and to Trinitas Nursing School students as well (Chris was attending school there. He was studying to be a nurse). Sue was a Pharmacist Technician at Walgreens. Customers used to ask for her by name.

And they're off! (The start of the Phillips 5K/10K Run Walk)

And they’re off! (The start of the Phillips 5K/10K Run Walk)

June 1st will mark the 3rd annual 5K/10K Trail Run/Walk. Taking place at Lewis Morris Park in Morristown, NJ, it’ll be an opportunity for folks to celebrate and remember Chris and Sue. Many knew them in life. Others, though, never met them but have been so touched by their story and the good that the Foundation continues to do.

So come on out – it’s sure to be a morning filled with affirmation, determination, and a whole lot o’ perspiration. There’s still time to pre-register (signing up by May 18 guarantees you a cool wicking tee, too). Or simply show up the day of. I won’t be running the race this year. I’ll be volunteering at the event along with others and may even take the mic for a bit. Look for the short girl cheering participants on, and making the occasional corny joke, too. (tap tap. “Is this thing on?”)

Medal recipients proudly pose for a photo.

Medal recipients proudly pose for a photo.

Affixed on the back of Chris’ Jeep was a bumper sticker: Life is good, it said. He truly and wholeheartedly lived by these words. So, here’s to Chris. Here’s to Sue. Here’s to Sharon and the beautiful Foundation she’s created. And here’s to never forgetting that although it may not seem like it on some days, there’s still so much good in this life.

To learn more about the Christopher and Susan Phillips Foundation, visit its Facebook page or the Foundation’s website.


JODIBIOJodi Rigotti is the Senior Editor at Teachers Pay Teachers, an online marketplace for teachers to buy and sell their original lesson plans and other course materials. Her hobbies include hiking, cooking, and being nicer than some say is necessary. She currently lives in Hoboken, NJ with her husband (and college sweetheart), Dan.