Location, location, location. This is a phrase that I hear when someone is talking about weddings, celebrations, birthdays and so many other significant events. So I started to wonder whether or not location has anything to do with how I perform.

In my opinon, after listing my exercises last week, my environment mattered significantly.

I started showing up to the gym at 5:30 a.m. to lift weights with another Soldier in my unit. As I have never lifted before, showing up and seeing the fitness levels of those around me made me self conscious and timid. I felt shamed by the amount these people were putting up.

As I watched this large, bulky man press two barbells toward the sky equaling 280 pounds, I felt defeated before I started.

I picked up two, 20 pound weights feeling as if that was all I was capable of. I would have continued in that mindset had it not been for my battle telling me that I could do more.

As I continued to come in early, I had a realization — everyone in the gym is on their own journey. No one is paying attention to how much I lift. They are barely nodding to each other because they are in their own zone. Feeling better, I proceeded to find my zone as well.

It took time to feel confident enough to workout with the free weights when my gym partner was not there. I think this is a problem a lot of people face when going to the gym after making their New Year’s resolutions. Who really wants to go to the place where your fitness factor stands out against the bodies of those who have already figured out how to use the gym?

In comparison to the gym, I met another friend at a local trail this weekend. I enjoyed the time there and felt no judgement.

I took my son and we enjoyed the sun, the smell of the trees and listening to the river as we crossed bridges throughout the woods. We encouraged others who were laboring and my son was amazing as he sprinted back and forth.

For me, I know that I found the environment that keeps me motivated. While I still go to the gym in the mornings, I really look forward to getting outside on the weekend with my son to hit the trail.