Community is cheering on an athlete working out.

Fitness Is Cool But It’s The Community For Me
By Kim McLaughlin


** This is a story about pregnancy loss – it may be triggering to some **

Here’s A Little Background

I’m what some people would consider a type A personality.  I like to know how things work, control when they happen, and generally organize my life around that.

I have been active my whole life.  I played sports as a child and through high school (swimming, soccer, baseball/softball, basketball, etc). In college, I found rugby and played that for the next 10 years of my life. After rugby, I found CrossFit and specifically Invictus.  I loved it.  I could still be competitive in my late 20s and I didn’t have to tackle people to do so, I felt part of a community, and I was still learning and challenging myself.

After I left my competition life behind me (we’re talking 2014/2015) I still loved working out but I had to find a new purpose.  Why spend an hour a day in the gym sweating and pushing myself – what was I working towards? The answer was so obvious — health and wellness (duh).  If I wanted to be healthy, I had to exercise.  If I was healthy, I could do anything.

Fast forward to age 36 (I know…I know… I don’t look a day over 28…thank you – I appreciate it). I met the love of my life at the gym and we had the most adorable little boy when I was 38 years old.  If you haven’t met this kid….he’s now 4 years old now and the cutest kid you have ever seen (objectively speaking, of course).

So lets talk about the last 2 years of my life.  We’ve been desperately trying to have a sibling for my little guy. To say it’s been challenging has been an understatement. I’ve had two lost pregnancies (one at 19 weeks and one at 12), two failed IVF cycles, and now…. Pregnancy loss #3 (9 weeks).  What in the actual F?  I’m healthy.  I workout – like a lot.  I eat well.  That’s supposed to be the key to basically all of life, right? 

It turns out – no one really has a good answer for why this isn’t working for me other than – I’m old. Which means my eggs are old.  But what about all of those other measures that you get when you do a health and wellness test — “you’ve got the lung capacity of a 25 year old”, “your muscle mass is in the top 5 % for your age group”, blah blah blah, etc.  Turns out – it doesn’t matter. I can’t control this one and it turns out I can’t exercise my eggs any younger 

So when I got the news yesterday (Feb 20th)  about my inevitable 3rd pregnancy loss in 2 years, I felt lost. I was told to go home and take a walk near the beach or relax and get out of the gym. And I did that. 

And it didn’t feel good.

This Is Where The Community Comes In

It made me feel more alone and frustrated.  All I wanted to do was workout.  So I hopped on my Peloton and that got me sweaty and breathing heavy but it ALSO wasn’t what I was looking for.

You see, over the years, exercising has turned into a LOT of things for me.  It’s still a way to keep up my health and wellness but, as I’m learning – that’s not everything.  Working out is also where I can escape the world for an hour.  I can get out some frustrations with physical exertion. But more important than all of that is – when I’m working out in a class at Invictus, I can talk to other people. That human connection and shared suffering in the workout is special. I can hear stories. I can cheer other people on. They can cheer me on. There’s an energy that you don’t get when you workout alone. Working out in a class setting just hits differently.  Those high fives and fist-bumps can be like a natural antidepressant.

So – If you’re new to Invictus and keep to yourself in group classes or if you’re an “open gym, headphones in” type of person – I’m here to tell you you’re missing out. Try out a class. Connect with others. It’ll push you to be better and you’ll have more fun working on your health and wellness. If you’re shy or you don’t know how to start those connections…grab me.  I love finding ways for people to connect. I’ll do the awkward intros for you.

You don’t have to have gone through a life trauma (or 3 in my case) to appreciate the connection you can make with others here BUT… if you do – you’ll realize there’s more to this workout thing that you had initially thought.  Health and wellness are GREAT but having a tribe and a crew that you can lean on when life gets tough is priceless.  Just being around the individuals in this gym can lift your spirits and make your day better.  I hope you have found that here and can continue to find it every day.

 I’m here to tell you– fitness is cool but fitnessing with a community like this one is MAGIC.

 Thank you to all of the people here that I interact with on a daily basis for being my tribe and the people that make me smile. 

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