You don’t have to be “good”

This past weekend, I got a comment suggesting that I should stop running because I’m not very fast. It made me pretty upset, not because this commenter was saying I was slow -I’ve been called far worse since I started blogging- but because it’s frustrating to see that kind of attitude in the fitness community. In fitness, and in life, we’re all aspiring to achieve different goals and so many people are just beginning their journey, whatever that may be. Support (or lack thereof) can make or break an experience, dramatically impacting the final result.

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As an instructor, one of the things I hear every day from participants is: “I’m not very good at this!”

“Oh, it’s my first time taking Zumba and I’m not coordinated”

“I’m not very fast”

“I can’t hold a plank for very long”

It goes on and on and on.

I always tell them that no ones cares how far/fast/skilled they are- just do the best they can and have fun with it! But comments like the one I received made me realize that some people do care about how others perform and aren’t shy to voice their opinions. In addition to being elitist, it’s exactly the reason why so many beginners are afraid or discouraged to try something new.

Here’s the thing: if you’re doing an activity safely and you enjoy it, that’s ALL that matters.


I do a lot of things.. sometimes too many… and I’m not particularly great at all of them.

I’m not a fabulous writer -have always been a math girl- but if I would have let that fact get into my head, I never would have started blogging. I read a lot of beautifully-written blogs that inspire me to get better (my lovely friend Gena at Choosing Raw comes to mind) but at the same time, some of the most grammatically-correct blogs are also the least interesting to me.

I’m not an extremely talented yogini, despite the fact that I’ve been practicing for years. My tight quads and hammies interfere with a lot of the poses, but practicing yoga makes my heart sing, so I still do it.

I’m a mediocre-at-best gardener, but it’s something I want to learn, and we all enjoy having beautiful flowers and herbs when they do survive.

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The fear of not being “good” at something can stand in our way if we let it.

Beginners have to start somewhere. Chances are that the first time you try something, you probably won’t be great at it (unless you’re some kind of prodigy) until you’ve had some practice. Sometimes after dedication and practicing, maybe you still won’t be professional caliber…. and that’s ok.

When I first started running, I felt I’d never be able to finish a mile without my lungs exploding. Can you imagine if I had people telling me I was slow along the way? I probably would have quit before I started. Instead, I was fortunate to be surrounded by positive running buddies who made it fun, and despite their own abilities, they supported my current level while inspiring me to improve. My friend Kelly is a perfect example. She’s a true runner, insanely fast (we’re talking 6-minute miles for 10s of miles), and whenever we run together, she goes at my speed even though it’s a snail’s pace for her.

I’ve become a better runner over time, but I’ll probably never be “great.” I’m great at other things that are more important to me, like being a mom, wife, daughter, friend and sister. Everything else is just for funsies… and if you take it too seriously, that’s a quick way to zap the fun out of it.

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This post is just a little reminder to all of those who are “great” at whatever sport or activity you love: lend a hand or some encouragement to someone you see who’s just getting started.

To all of my friends who are beginning a fitness journey: keep up the great work. Do it safely, do what you love, and find a cheering team to support you along the way.




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  1. Allison on June 11, 2013 at 1:24 am

    I love the saying, “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”
    Everybody’s “good” is different and everybody’s good is enough. 🙂

  2. Michelle on June 11, 2013 at 2:00 am

    LOVE this post! We should all celebrate what we can do rather than focus on what others do better than ourselves. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  3. Susan on June 11, 2013 at 5:33 am

    Thank you for this post! I’ve been “running” for 10 years and have finally gotten to an 11.5 min mile! Oh well, I’m out there moving my body and it makes me happy!

  4. Sophia on June 11, 2013 at 5:58 am

    What a great post and I fully agree with everything you said, especially the point about it being natural to not be very good when you first start out with something (whether it be a new sport or any other new hobby) and not let that discourage you from keeping at it.

    One of the reasons I love running, yoga, pilates and bootcamp style workouts is that I am not competing with anyone else other than myself (well, with running I guess I could try and beat someone in a race, but that doesn’t even interest me) – I know that as long as I push myself (to run for longer / to run harder, to go deeper into a pose, to hold a pose without modification or to be able to make it through the next set of burpees without pausing, vomiting or fainting (lol)) then that is all that matters. So what if someone else is better at that – I am a total maths person as well but also speak 5 languages. It doesnt make me a better person, it just goes to show that we all have talents in different areas!

  5. Meghan @ After the Ivy League on June 11, 2013 at 8:14 am

    I love absolutely everything about this post. There’s so much I could say right now (but I’m late for work). But yes, to everything. And whoever said that mean comment is pretty absurd. I’d be willing to bet she’s not the fastest runner to ever walk the earth either. The simple truth is, most people who run, workout, do yoga, etc. We’re not professionals. We have other careers and jobs. We’re just doing the best we can to improve against ourselves, stay healthy, and have fun. Where did all the pressure come from? It is honestly pointless!

  6. Amanda on June 11, 2013 at 8:39 am

    I wasn’t willing to start weight lifting for so long because I thought I was “too weak”. That kind of thinking is so backward! But I agree that it’s perpetuated by those kinds of comments, and the attitude they suggest.

    Plus, I think being not-good at something has a lot of value. It reminds me to be down to earth, to laugh at myself a little more, to work to get better for my own sake instead of for the recognition from others.

  7. Sarah on June 11, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Thank you for this! It’s so easy to feel the pressure to be the best at everything – it gets really discouraging sometimes. I often feel like there’s no point in doing something because I won’t be good at it (running especially), but when you give it a shot, the results are often better than you would have imagined. You’re always such a positive force 🙂

  8. Kristyn Anderson on June 11, 2013 at 10:43 am

    You are such an inspiration to me, and I always appreciate your honest and “real” posts. As a new runner and yogini, it’s easy to be intimidated by those who are “good” or who pass the occasional judgmental eye. I read your blog to stay motivated and keep things in perspective!

  9. Nicole on June 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Beautifully written. You have such a sound head on your shoulders. This post h given me new perspective on life – thank you 🙂

  10. dotsie on June 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Beautiful post…

    I am starting to run….it’s a 13:30 min/mile sometimes…and you know what I have to say to the person who says I should stick to lifting weights because I am better at that? Two things: “suck it!” and “watch me!”


  11. Katherine on June 11, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Gina, a couple of years back you helped me…someone you never met…raise money to do the 3-day 60 mile walk and I will remember you always for that! You’re an awesome person with a huge heart. You inspire me daily, please keep up the great work!!

  12. Alicia on June 11, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Oh my goodness–how rude! I coach a run club for girls 7-13 and one of the biggest things I try to get them to understand is running is personal. It’s not about anybody else but yourself. Who cares if you are fast or slow or anything in between. It’s your run and your time for you.
    It drives me crazy when people aren’t supportive of other peoples fitness goals. One totally different example is when drivers get frustrated with cyclists and honk or cut around them really close. (I don’t cycle outdoors b/c I’m afraid of being hit by a car) Why do we have to be in such a hurry to go places and why take it out the people who are doing something good for their bodies and minds? How about encouraging them and cheering them on for tackling that tough road or hill?
    Enough of my soapbox. 🙂
    Don’t stop running. Don’t listen to the critic(s). Do what makes you feel good even if it’s a 5 min mile or a 25 min mile.

  13. Brittany @ kitchen::candid on June 11, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Here here!! Well said, Gina! We can’t all be good at everything and THAT’S OKAY! I was listening to a Jillian Michael’s podcast today and she used this anecdote about a Rabbit and a Duck. When it came to swimming the duck was amazing and the rabbit could barely tread water. When it came to running the rabbit blew the duck away. But the duck only focused on the fact that he couldn’t run as fast as the rabbit and the rabbit only focused on the fact that he couldn’t swim like the duck. They were each very talented in their own way but only focused on the negatives. And that is what we are often guilty of doing to ourselves and others.

    You keep running! No matter your pace, no matter your distance, if it makes you happy and you enjoy it, do it!!!


  14. Jane on June 11, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Hey gorgeous! I’m not even sure what being a “great” runner means, ya know what I mean? You run. That makes you a runner. I run … albeit a 14 minute mile … but I’m still a runner. Being “great” at it isn’t really a good descriptor for running because you either do it or you don’t.

    So don’t worry about the haters 🙂 You rawk!!

  15. Adriana on June 11, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Love this post. I have felt the same way many a time when I read forums on sites like Runners World, when those elitist sub-3:00 marathoners try to tell me that I’m not good enough to be in their running club just because I hover around 5:00 for a marathon. You know what? The world needs more people like you, who aren’t afraid to stand up, be bold, and not play the cowardly game of being snotty to cover up insecurity. Instead, you celebrate who and what you are, and how you’re stretching yourself to be a more well-rounded person. That’s what true growth and living is about, and that’s what makes you inspirational. So, thank you!

  16. Penny on June 12, 2013 at 1:18 am

    I just found your blog and adore it. I’m recovering from superficial blood clots and just now beginning to walk for exercise again. These past few months were discouraging because I couldn’t workout. I was so super fit and I was a runner. Thank you so much for this inspirational post and for sharing your knowledge. As far as the person who thinks you aren’t fast…….I’ve come across this type of thing before and I honestly think 1) they have too much time on their hands to worry about others and 2) they are seriously lacking social skills. That person has my pity.

  17. Reina on June 12, 2013 at 1:27 am

    I love the quote “It doesn’t matter if it is a 7 minute mile or a 17 minute mile, it is STILL a mile.” I remind myself of that whenever I run.

  18. Laura @ A Girl's Gotta Balance on June 12, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I thought of this post while running the other day. 🙂 I, too, am a slower runner and this guy came out of nowhere and blew past me! Had I not read your post before my run I would’ve felt totally inadequate but instead I didn’t care because I ran at my own pace and I’ve come a long way as a runner in the last two years. Thanks, Gina!

  19. char eats greens on June 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    I really am glad you posted this and I hope the person who wrote the comment is really reconsidering the message they were sending!! I truly believe this!! Fun is #1 and always should be – snail or speedy bunny 😉

  20. Udeme on June 12, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Great post!

  21. Kim @ BusyBod on June 12, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    This post is amazing. It is so disheartening (and shocking) how often this happens. I think it comes from a place of insecurity, but it’s no excuse. Thanks for sharing such an inspiringly positive message.

  22. Amy on June 13, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Preach it girl! I love this.

  23. Kaelee on June 15, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Love it! Progress, not perfection. Better, not best!

  24. Bek @ Crave on June 15, 2013 at 2:02 am

    Love this post- thank you 🙂

  25. Catherine on June 16, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Great post. Totally agree and relate to this. I am not a fast runner AT ALL… but I still do it because I like it and it makes me feel good. Fitness isn’t about being the best at something… it’s about doing something good for you.

  26. jennifer schmahl on June 19, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    You rock. Thanks for this post!

  27. Aisling on July 18, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Brilliant post, thanks for the encouragement… this should be said more and anyone making an effort in whatever pursuit that may be should NEVER be discouraged. Get out, give it a try, have fun!!! x

  28. Monica Young on July 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Such a great post! I would not be considered a ‘good’ runner but at the end of the day, does it really matter? I would much rather be a ‘bad’ runner than a ‘good’ couch-sitter!

  29. Liesl @ Fitnessinthekitchen on July 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    I’m late to reading this post but BRAVO!! Seriously, I can’t believe someone actually wrote that to you. This post is so well written, I dare say you are a great writer and encouragement to so many women out there.
    Your workouts appeal to all, the beginners and the advanced and your attitude is always about helping people.

    And the fact you make entire workout programs for people for free…awesome, and says something about your philosophy for life.
    Thanks for sharing your plethora of talents with us, and keep up all that you are doing, it is truly making a difference in the fitness community.

    Oh, and get out there and run, and enjoy every last “slow” minute of it. 🙂

  30. maggie on July 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I’m a little late to the game here but felt compelled to still respond. Too slow to run? What rubbish. What an odd person to believe something like that.

    We don’t care about your #’s, Gina. We read your blog because your attitude and enthusiasm inspire us to get out there and try something new, do something active, enjoy our physical abilities, and just have fun with it all.

    I have NO idea how fast you run, how many lbs you can bench, whatever…. I’m not even sure I know how fast I run, how many lbs I can bench….I just care about working it out and feeling better afterward.

    But you know all this… obviously. Agree with your post 100%. Thanks for sticking it out and continuing to share your workouts and your life publicly despite the fact that the public doesn’t always respond positively. Most of us do!

  31. mi-an dela cruz on July 20, 2013 at 8:59 am

    great post gina! i do a lot too… right now yoga cf and running…and i’m loving all of them hence i think i’m great!! hahahah i’m such a slow runner 11 minute pacer here! i can’t do regular pull ups and i can’t do bakasana… but man i can deadlift 180 lbs, back squat 155, and box jump 24′ and have ran 2 half marathons in a yr… so a big HA!! to whoever said that comment! hehehe… i think you are doing awesome! and you are awesome! you continue to inspire us!

  32. Kristen on August 1, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    As a fellow runner this hurts me to hear that this happened. It doesn’t matter how fast you’re running- You. Are. Running. It is a Glorious sport. Recently I joined a local running club and it is amazing to witness the support given to each other. So keep running, keep dancing, keep yogaing, keep pumpin! Haters gonna hate!

  33. Sarah on August 1, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Thank you for this post! I just moved to a new city (new country!) and have been way too intimidated to try the group classes at the gym. I don’t speak the language, so have been afraid of making a fool of myself. But you know what? I’m going to try today. This was my sign. Thanks for inspiring so many of us, Gina.

  34. Ashley on August 1, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    SO much yes to this post! <3
    Thank you this is a beautiful reminder.

  35. maria on August 2, 2016 at 7:32 am

    This is exactly what I needed this morning! I try to hold on to this philosophy, but its tough sometimes. I have been going to Orangetheory for almost exactly a year, and I go 2-3 times per week. I’ve barely gotten any faster, and it can be really discouraging. But, my body was made the way it is, and I know that I’m doing my best.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Gina!

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