Luckily, I am a person who enjoys exercise in its varied and many forms. Unluckily, I am ALSO a person who loves salty, savory foods and delicious booze in its varied and many forms— Malbec, bourbon, IPAs, and spicy margaritas to be specific. I've spent much of my life trying to strike a balance between these hobbies in order to have a strong, healthy body that fits into the clothes in my closet. Obsessing over numbers like calories, reps, and dress sizes is something I try to avoid at almost all costs, and at the ripe old age of 27 I think I'm getting pretty darn close to an equilibrium of sorts.

Equilibrium, to me, also means that while I enjoy quite a bit of getting my sweat on, there are some moves that I seriously detest but do them anyway since they are super effective.

1) Walking lunges with a torso twist. I'm going to go ahead and say lunges are simultaneously the capital-B-Best and the worst. I know the internet is all about squats, squat challenges, squatting butts, and so on... but for me the lunges with a twist are where it's at. The first time I was told to walk across a room with a medicine ball, lunging and rotating my arms out to the opposite side I think I almost kicked the trainer and walked out. But after about 5 sessions doing 30 lunges on each leg, I could see a visible difference in my butt, upper legs, and obliques so I suck it up and do it. Doesn't mean I like it. Also sometimes I fall over? Oops. With limited space to traverse, I've also done these stationary but with the front foot up on a BoSu to disturb my balance. Grrrrr it's awful. And awesome.

2) Assisted pull-ups. My university had an excellent weight room, which was woefully underutilized by women on campus — barring the volleyball and basketball players. To me, it really did look like a jungle gym (but with lots of apparatuses... apparati? that looked unfamiliar and potentially scary). One day a friendly dude from my Italian class happened to be on the tricep dip/assisted pull-up machine and showed me how to use it when he was done. Grazie, ragazzo! While I started with weights just 20 pounds less than I weighed, over time I built up strength in my upper back and lowered the amount of resistance. After using this machine for a month or so, my Charlotte Russe and Arden B. halters (don't judge, I was a sorority girl in 2005) were showing off a much more toned upper back and shoulders. It hurts like a bitch, and looks slightly like a torture device, but I will not abandon this exercise.


3) Fold-over leg work. Disclaimer: I am not now, nor have I ever been a ballerina. I am 5'3", pear-shaped, quite sturdy... you know, good Irish stock! Also, barre classes are a big old snooze fest to me. However, the leg work on this photo plus one other move are simultaneously horrendously painful and super awesome in my book. I particularly hate moves that look super simple, but truly are gut-wrenching and squinch-face-inducing. After this barre move, move your hands down to the floor in front of your toes, and extend one leg straight up as high as possible, then pull your knee into the standing knee, and extend the leg straight back up toward the ceiling. After two or three reps of this I start to fatigue, but hell if it doesn't work out your entire working and standing leg. Boo boring barre classes, but yay excellent leg strengthening moves I suppose.

So those are my three! Do y'all have moves at the gym that you despise doing, but that you do anyway because they're incredibly effective? This is secretly self-serving because I could use a shake up in the routine.