Greatness is Contagious

I was watching her – not only as a bootcamp participant, but as an instructor. Early on in my heart of hearts, I knew that I was watching and learning to become an instructor myself. Yes, I was getting my own fitness on track, but deep down I felt like this was something I would love to do. Concentrating on my form, sweat beads dropping from my hairline down my back and trying to eek out each rep, she hollered at us:

“Greatness is contagious! Don’t be that person that quits half way through! The person next to you is watching! You drop out, then she does. It is contagious! Don’t be the downfall of the people next to you! Be great! Catch the greatness!”

Needless to say, that when given that little gem – somehow you manage to find what little strength you have in the tank and give it your all. She was, and is, full of these fitness gems. (You can check out Christina and her other awesome Christina-isms at her website dumbellfitness.com.)

What she said was, and is, so very true. I see it as an instructor myself all the time. You may think that while you’re in your group class, stopping mid workout to check your phone that you are only affecting you, but you’re not. Everyone in the group feels that focus and that energy detract from the room. During indoor cycling class, I’ve threatened to bring in a basket “depository” for all electronics for the hour. I crack jokes in class to get the point across without singling anyone out – because a lot of the time I think it’s just become so customary. We have these screens attached to our fingertips all of the time that to set it down and (GASP!) actually turn them off seems to make us feel naked! For one hour – just one – take a break. Work on you. Leave all of your life at the door. Trust me – it will be there when you are finished. Fill your cup – then you can get back to filling others’. 

If you are coming to a group class, understand that you are a part of that group – even if it’s just for that workout. Your presence, your energy, and your focus is wanted and needed. It’s not about the instructor or ego or anything like that – it’s about your fellow participants. When you half-ass it, they see that and it is contagious. But so is greatness. If you are giving it everything you have, so will those around you. This isn’t to say you have to be perfect, or do every rep – it’s that you are doing YOUR best. Giving it your all.

In fitness, we don’t half-ass it. We use our whole ass. Why? Because greatness is contagious!

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I See You

The gym is such a weird, wonderful place. It is a prime location for spectacular people watching opportunities. Working in the gym affords me more time than most to observe, and of course work with, all types of people.

I want you to know I see you.

I see you putting in the time. I see you watching, picking up new things, learning how to do this exercise thing. You’ve been really working. Stick with it. Your consistency will pay off.

Even when it’s hard and it would be easier to just skip it. When you can easily just get lost in the day-to-day busy, or the phone, the family, the computer, or your work. Don’t quit.

Do. Not. Quit.

While you may not see it now, you are making progress. You are starting to realize that those negative voices are not speaking the truth. Keep fighting back. That voice that whispers, “It’s too hard…” and “What’s the use?” will be proven wrong. It’s not too hard. You can do hard things. You’ve done hard before. You’ve survived.

And you will again.

Ask yourself, do you ever regret moving your body? Have you ever gone home and thought, “Well, that was a waste of time. I don’t think I’ll do that again.” No, you haven’t. While not every workout has been Earth shattering, you always feel better when you get moving. You know this. Keep going forward. Progress. Not perfection.

I see you.

I see you contemplating. You have a fork in the road. Don’t opt for the easy way. In the long run, it’s not easy at all. It’s not easy to not have mobility. It’s not easy feeling uncomfortable in your own body. It isn’t easy to have zero energy to get through the day. Easy isn’t easy.

Do the work. You have the tools. Seek out information. Trust your intuition. Learn. Keep moving forward. Don’t quit. Do. Not. Quit.

I see you.

And you are worth it.

Motivation’s Opposite

If yesterday was all about how we stay motivated to be consistent in our workouts, today is the exact opposite.

It’s been a week. I had appointments all lined up, new clients no-showed, others were late. Some showed up when they didn’t have appointments. It’s just one of those weeks where you have to laugh and roll with flow. Now it’s Friday and I’m not motivated. It’s humid out. I feel tired. I almost stepped in dog poop in the front yard (that wasn’t from my own dogs). Blah, blah, blah. Its ironic that when I don’t feel like doing something, I can find all the reasons excuses why skipping it would be “justified”. Some days are just like this. “Workout, I’m just not that into you.”

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But, I don’t give myself a choice in this. I know I will feel better after, so just stop taking selfies and go workout already! That’s what I did.

But…

Half way through the run I see very ominous looking clouds. “Sure feels like rain,” I told the dogs. (Yes, I do talk to them. Yes, out loud.) “I’m sure we’ll make it home before it really picks up.”

Drip, drip, drip.

Nope. Didn’t make it home before the rain. What started out as a light sprinkling in a matter of seconds became a big ol’ fat Texas downpour. My poor dogs. Buck was especially displeased with the sudden change of weather. We were also on the trail by my house, which means the soft dirt quickly became slippery mud. With every step I gained a half inch in height due to the accumulating muck on the soles of my shoes. At this point I just have to laugh because how else should a week like this finish?! Soaking wet, we trudge home both dogs shooting me irritated looks.

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Although you can’t tell, I’m soaked through and I’m dripping from my ball cap!

It’s just one of those days. After I showered, my phone buzzed with a client requesting to reschedule today’s appointment because her child is sick.

Again, I have to laugh. It’s gonna get better.

It always does.

Our Swelfies

Anyone that’s read this blog or (knows me in real life) knows that I LOVE accountability when it comes to fitness! What started out as a fun idea to take sweaty selfies and keep each other motivated to workout and be consistent has since turned into many things.

It’s often more than just physical. It’s more than just a workout photo. It’s been an accountability measure – a way to stay in touch in a Navy life that sent us to opposite sides of the world. It has kept us connected. It’s also morphed into a few years of snippets and snapshots of our lives. Sometimes it’s celebrating the new pants or kicks we purchased, how much sweat we are now dripping with, or even that glass of wine that we wanted to share, if only virtually. It’s husbands along for the ride, kiddos and fur babies getting into the workout, shoveling snow for days. It’s “Hey! Look at my workout space!” and “It’s a crappy day.” Even our spin peeps, running friends and clients have gotten in on the action! “Look at the necklace you gave me – I’m wearing it to my spin interview!” It doesn’t matter time of day, whether or not we have make up on (rarely!) or how “posed” the picture looks. It’s just a selfie. That’s sweaty.

And so much more..

I’m proud to say that Katy is not only my mil spouse sister, but my battle buddy! These pictures are just a small portion of the way we support each other. Accountability partners are key if we are to have any sort of success with life change; we need people in our lives that help hold us up and keep us to the standards we set for ourselves.

I love you Katy!

What Medals and Miles Will Teach You

When I started running, I remember my friends tracking numbers. Things like pace, distance, miles over the year. I remember thinking 300 miles seemed like so many to run over the course of one year. Then I started goal setting. Apps on the smartphone like MapMyRun and RunTracker got the job done, and eventually I got a GPS watch to track my stats.

In 2011, I logged 188 miles. 2012 saw 326 miles and in 2013 I eeked out 170 miles. (Thank you deployment!) Last year I made the goal of 500 and as of right now, 2015 mileage sits at 507. These miles seem insane to me on paper and goal setting is really only one tiny fraction of what running has given me.

Not only have there been running challenges, laps on tracks, fartleks, races, tempo runs, trail races, medals earned, bib numbers pinned, traveling runs, sprained ankles, pain, victory, sprints, nausea, euphoria and more, but there has also been therapy, solace, and peace in these miles.

Running is transformative. It changes who you are and who you think you can become. It changes your mood. It takes the impossible and makes it reality. It offers comfort in the uncomfortable. It’s an escape, if only for the duration of the run. It forces you to be in the moment. Every single time you run, you return better for having done so. Running has brought self confidence. Running will bring out a mental strength you had no idea you possessed.

It will shock you. 

It will shock you just how difficult it can be. It will hurt. It will ache. In the beginning for me there was a reckoning of just how far I’d let my physical fitness go. I had to learn to focus on each little accomplishment because the road ahead seemed just too damn long. Sometimes those little accomplishments are just making it around the block. There are shin splints and cramps and side stitches. Then we learn to move past the physical pain. We discover work arounds to the pain and the inconvenience. Running is a fantastic metaphor for emotional pain. That sometimes the only way around the pain is through it.

It will challenge you.

When you stick with it, it becomes impossible not to chase after that next thing. That faster pace, that longer distance, the next goal. Running will whisper in your ear, “That was awesome. Can you come just a little bit farther? What about this distance? How much do you love me? Wanna go a little faster?” Running will taunt you. “Betcha can’t beat your last time…”

It will change you.

Running will restore your belief in the impossible. Distances or paces just out of reach will become your new reality as you set your sight on the next goal. Striving for improvement will bleed over into every other facet of your life. Running just does that. It changes who you are; physically, mentally and emotionally.

What has running taught you?

Dear Running

You have taught me many things since we started this relationship. There are times I don’t like you. I’ve even thought about quitting this whole deal. I’ve bought new outfits, gadgets, and even shoes to impress you, but you don’t care about that stuff. You never criticize when I’m slow, or I’m just not feeling “us”. I experiment with others – but I eventually come back to you. I will likely always come back to you.

You see, you were my first love.

You have taught me a world of possibility
That I must continue to have dreams for me
Any goal can become a reality
That if I put in the work and the time
I really can cross any finish line

You’ve helped me learn to celebrate
No matter how big or small,
Each and every victory
Achievement in them all

That first time, looking up and catching their eye
feeling that I am worthy of the greeting
as the pounding pace of footsteps fly

Running that first mile
without stopping to walk
The first time I heard someone
refer to me as a jock

You have taught me to need you
and in the beginning I really had no clue
I didn’t like it at first
but somehow, somehow you knew.

Never a time when we are together
do you make it the same – nearly never.
We each bring something to the table
and you again show me how I am able.

Hard work is crucial – this is true
You don’t make it easy
But I’ll never be through

With you
I am more me
than with anybody

I will likely never get enough of you
Running, oh running,
when we are together
the experience is always stunning.

Ten Minutes and a Whole Lot of Gratitude

There’s a prompt each day for random topics to discuss, and one that comes up is a ten minute free-write. Whatever we want – just type for ten minutes. No editing, no evaluating. Just sit down, and type what comes to mind. Here are ten minutes in my mind…

I’m tired. But the good kind of tired.

Driving home from the airport after dropping off my niece from her week long visit (that really should have been longer!) I just feel…content. 

Last weekend I passed my NASM exam. (This is a national personal training certification.) I had built this test up in my mind as something unattainable. I was so afraid of failing that I procrastinated doing it for 3 and a half years. Better to have a dream out in front in the realm of “someday”, than to crash and burn, right? (WRONG.)

A few months ago, a conversation with a couple of close friends brought up the subject of goals. With every duty station move, there tends to be a loose list of things to accomplish in that 3 year time frame. It can be travel, sight-seeing, and of course fitness goals. This year, the theme of “doing” kept recurring. Instead of “I’m planning on…” and “I’m going to…,” it has become a year of intentional action. This is the time to chase dreams and see where it takes us.

Scary? You bet! Worth it? Of course!

Over the last few months, I’ve been doing something that seemed like a wish; a hope that someday I might be a trainer. That I might get the opportunity to not only do what I love, but maybe even help someone else live a more healthy, fit life. I know in my bones that I am an encourager and a teacher. It’s been the common thread in every career field I’ve ever worked. I think that’s the scary part. To know with out a shadow of a doubt what your purpose is – and then to go out and find a way to live it.

I love watching that lightbulb moment when a client surprises themselves with just how strong and capable they are. When they start opting for the harder modification, just to push their own limits of what they think they can do. Seeing people come back to spin class even though it’s tough, and get stronger. When they come tell me that their spouse is proud of them, and how their face lights up when they do. That moment when they express how much better they feel, that they didn’t know that exercise and eating right would give them more energy, even though that seems counterintuitive. Today there was a guy working out and having overheard a conversation I was having about nutrition and how it may not be flashy, but eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly does, in fact, work, he had to come over and tell me about his journey and how he has lost weight – even sharing his before pictures. I LOVE these moments. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a witness to these non-scale victories, to be the sounding board when someone just needs a space to celebrate success no matter how small it may seem. It’s confirmation that I’m not only doing something that I love and am passionate about, passing on a tremendous gift that was given to me, but that it matters. It matters to this small handful of people who I get the pleasure of working with.

Ten minutes of gratitude. I could write about this forever. It’s inspiring to watch people grow into who they are meant to be. I always say that fitness is a vehicle to so much more. You may think you are strength training, doing some push ups and bicep curls, but it’s more than that. The determination to enact habit and life-long positive change is huge and bleeds over into every aspect of life. When we take care of our physical bodies, our relationships with significant others improves, how we treat ourselves teaches others how to treat us. It gives our kids a glimpse of what self-care looks like in action, and of course all of the health benefits to boot.

Fitness is a vehicle to much, much more. And for that – I will be forever grateful.