Working out to keep working in photography

So like practically everyone on the planet, I started to exercise in the beginning to January. But, this had actually been in the making for several months. Shooting weddings is extremely physical and there were days, after a wedding, I couldn’t move. I would just sit in bed and be in pain, trying to use my laptop to start culling the wedding for the slideshow. Two wedding seasons ago, my wrists hurt so bad I literally couldn’t move them for a week. I cried in pain. I was terrified I had permanently hurt myself. So I now never shoot without wrist guards on…but that’s not enough.

So when I started really thinking about my business in the fall, I kept thinking about 10-20 years from now- could I even do this? Am I damaging my body so much now that I wouldn’t have the ability to shoot down the line? And that freaked. me. out. I was like ‘Holy crap, I need to get my body ready for 2011 wedding season!’ I want to have the strength to pick up my equipment bag of 60 pounds and pick it up right, so as to not tear or hurt something in my body. I want my wrists to feel super strong and be able to support the massive weight of my camera, lens, and flash for hours.

It was time to get serious. I had never really worked out in my life. I looked at gym equipment and just had no idea what to do. And the *biggest* obstacle. I freakin hate working out. I always felt like crapola after working out and hated the people who were like “Oh I feel so gooooood. My endorphines (or whatever) kick in and I feel so energized.” Shutup. I never felt that way. I just wanted to take 5 motrins and take a nap after working out.

Cue a friend’s girlfriend moving jobs and becoming personal training manager at Planet Fitness 20 minutes away. DING. It’s a sign! So we talked and set goals. I have reeeeally weird goals people. I’m sure she has never heard “My biggest thing is I want to have super strong wrists and lower arms to support my camera.” So now I train with her two days a week and do just cardio a third day a week.

I’m not going to lie. It hurt so freakin bad the first week. I had to shuffle to walk. But that’s not normal she said and was very apologetic. I don’t think she realized how incredibly out of shape I was, ha! But now I’m on week 3 and you know what? I like working out. Not knowing how to work out and pushing yourself too hard while working out will make you feel like crap. But if you do it right, you feel good. I’m now one of those people I wanted to punch in the face when they said how great working out is.

Annnnnd! I’m already seeing results. Little tiny results. Like, you can see that I have quad muscles above my knees and it’s not just a blob. Tiny definition of my quad muscles. Boooyah!


[…] all over. I’m not a body builder folks, but I can see a big difference. As I said in my first post about working out, I have never done this […]

Kelly, I don’t know how you do it!
I had to take a bunch of pictures at work with our Cannon 5d and I thought my wrist was gonna snap and my hand was gonna fall off!

You’re doing great Kelly! I’m so happy for you!


Your Trainer : )

Gretchen Werda
Personal Training Manager
Planet Fitness Branford
(203) 488-8804

@KWU- Because of some med I’m on, my DR told me I would likely not loose weight. So that’s not even on my mind w/ this. My goal is to be stronger, have good cardiac heath, and be in a position I’m able to do my job without hurting myself. And the key to keep going is to go slow and not push yourself so much you feel like crap. I may feel like a loser going super slow on the treadmill, but I know I’m hitting my goal heartrate and shouldn’t go above that or I will feel like crap.
@Karen- Thanks for posting this on Tave! I used to run as fast as I could on the treadmill, then feel like dying, not go for 3 weeks, repeat. But my trainer told me my goal heartrate to hit during cardio workout so I go kinda slow. But I’ll work up. And that’s the key. Feel good after a workout? I’ll go back! Feel like death? Uhhh…skip please!
@Lauren- Just signed up for a yoga class! I did a meditation class awhile ago and want to get back to doing that. The $$ is an issue. I decided not to buy any new lenses this year to have enough money to workout and do yoga.
@Becca- Exactly! For me, fear is the best goal ever, ha!! Not being able to shoot in 5 years? Ya…that scared me and is a great motivator.
@Kaysha- Thanks!!
@Emily- Yay for getting back into it! And if you hate working out, try to figure out why. I hated it because I got a headache and felt like barfing after working out because I pushed too hard. Now, I know I have to build up (d’uh!). It’s also a time suck but now I plan my blog posts/tweets/facebook updates for the week while working out in my head, sit down at the gym table riiiight after and write it all out.

Thank you for writing this! I hate working out, too, but I just joined a gym down the street in November and was starting to get motivated, and then I got sick for 3 weeks over the holidays and have been lazy about going back ever since. I’m going to go over there RIGHT NOW and get back into it. Thanks girly!

Good for you!! I too started working out again after the new year, and although it’s painful it’s SO WORTH IT!! Keep it up. 🙂

Count me in with people who hated working out but finally got onboard because of health. After my back went out four times in one year, leaving my unable to move an inch without pain for days at a time, I got the picture.

I find that it’s easier to get motivated when you’re doing it for a real reason (no pain during wedding season) versus BIKINIIIIII! So congrats on doing something about it. Booyah, indeed.

Good for you. I need to get back into that too.

Also, I strongly recommend yoga. I started practicing a year ago and was all pudgy and nervous and hid at the back of the class, but man it’s good for every aspect of your body, mentally and physically. It keeps your joints supple, it tone’s you muscles, it straightens your posture (nothing like a downward dog to make your back feel better after all those camera’s pulling you down), and it’s incredibly good for stress. Totally changed my life.

Having just moved, I’m all: as soon as I book some more weddings should I a) buy an awesome lens or b) get a membership at yoga studio. It’s a tough call.

Kelly, I was LMAO reading the line about taking 5 motrins and a nap after working out. That is SO ME. You’re right though. Being healthy is really important when doing this job. It’s so physically demanding and people just don’t realize it. Keep up the good work!!

Oh my, I’d never thought about the physical aspect of shooting a wedding. Would it help if we designated some strong guests to help you in shifts?

I *still* hate those people who go on and on about how working out makes them feel so good, it just always come across a bit…smug to me, even though now I’m finally trying a few things to make me understand what they’re talking about. I’ve always hated exercise and moving, but being motivated to do it for other than just a vague sense of it being for my health/appearance is much more effective. When I was doing Couch-to-5k, many days the only thing that got me out of bed was reminding that it would be over pretty quickly and that pretty consistently, I did feel better after going out, if only because I was sticking with a manageable plan.

Anyway, keep up the good work!! Focus on how you’re feeling better and stronger and not numbers on a scale or how you look in the mirror. 🙂