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How one introvert built deep friendships while getting fit

I shared in an Instagram post that Marco Polo is, “the CURE for loneliness”. It provided that, and so much more in my life.

When my second child was born, our family had just made it through the holidays after the devastating loss of my brother-in-law.

It was a really tough time to be at home, alone, navigating through the emotions of childbirth coupled with our family’s loss. The waves of emotion were beginning to swell. By nature, I’m an introvert. But I have enough self-awareness to know that we all need human interaction, and connection.

So I decided to join an online fitness program–Beachbody. It sounded like the perfect solution. I could connect with others as part of a group that supported one another in getting healthy. The interactions were hardly more than ticking a box when you completed a goal, and posting messages to keep one another motivated. But it helped. I was feeling less isolated.

A few months into my workouts, I had the opportunity to attend a Beachbody conference. I wasn’t totally comfortable going, for a number of reasons, but my family encouraged me.

It was an amazing experience. Over the course of a few days I bonded with a group of twenty women I’d never met. After the event, we continued to connect daily via long chains of texts–massive strings of over 100 messages. It was overwhelming to keep up. But I didn’t have a solution, and I enjoyed connecting with them every day. I was beginning to see how much I needed friends in my life.

One day my friend, Emily, invited me to join her on Marco Polo. As soon as I experienced the app, I knew this was the answer to my group text problem. I reached out and urged them to download the app. Some put up a fight, but they did it anyway. And it’s been amazing.

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We connect, share our life, and have real conversations even though we’re spread across the country. We even joined an 80-day Fitness Challenge Group on Marco Polo. My friend Amber, a Beachbody coach, organized it.

It was so regimented with food and workouts. Every day we connected on Marco Polo to motivate each other. We shared our progress on workout challenges, and talked about nutrition. If we felt like slacking, or were having a rough day, we were there for each other. Seeing your friend’s face, and hearing them rooting you on is way more motivating and healing than just checking off a box that you completed something.

It’s been a year since connecting over Marco Polo. And the grief and anxiety of losing a family member has softened with the feeling new friendship. Despite raising two children and running a busy photography business from home, I have fulfilling friendships.  

Packing up the kids and scheduling time with other parents to meet at the park, is fine. But you can’t hold a meaningful conversation while kids are calling for your attention.

With Marco Polo, I can have quality conversations that are uninterrupted. I can finish a thought, even if it takes a few Polos. And if something distracts me when someone is sharing, I can take care of it and then come back and pick up where I left off. I don’t miss a thing despite all of life’s distractions.

For the first time in a very long time I have women in my life that I can really connect with every day. We support each other. We cheer each other on. And we share our lives.

 

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