All the Feels

One day I decided to apply for a job and chase a dream.

Scratch that. I procrastinated for 2 years because I was scared of failing. I stuck a toe in the water, but got my teeth kicked in. A year later, I carried around an application in my car for a week waiting. Waiting for confidence, the right moment, or whatever. I was just plain scared. I don’t “look” like a trainer. I’m not 20 and a size 2. But I filled out that application.

While filling it out, one of the fitness directors came over to chat with me. He took a chance on a stay at home mom with a dream. Shortly after I started teaching spin classes again, I was hired as a personal trainer. Had it not been for this initial conversation, among many other circumstances leading up to it, I would probably still be waiting. Waiting for confidence, waiting to feel like I’d “earned” the right to chase this dream.

Now I’m over a year in, and as the minions are closing out this year of school, I am stepping away from the personal training and will be continuing with only the group training. I still get to do work I love, but I will have more time for my family. It is certainly a bittersweet transition as I look back on this year and these wonderful people I am lucky enough to work with everyday.

Clients have lost weight and they’ve indeed gotten stronger. But it’s the non-scale victories that give me goosebumps, makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end, and feel all the feels.

“I took down my daughter while wrestling. She got up and said, ‘Wow mom! You’re strong!'”

Transforming from “I’m not comfortable in a bathing suit” to “Look at me. Who cares? I don’t care. I work.”

Going from: “I’m nervous about trying out for the team. What if I’m not good enough?” to “Coach singled me out and said, ‘Do it like her – she’s the hardest worker here!'” grinning as she relays what coach said  because she moved through the fear of the unknown and did something scary, and is excelling at it.

Chatting at the end of a spin class about how so much of fitness is not about the physical. Letting new people know that, “it’s hard at first, but keep coming back. It’s the sitting in the mental stuff and working through it. Clearing out the can’t and bringing in the CAN.” I got to watch as others spoke up about what fitness has done for them, what it means to them.

Being texted pictures with the caption: “I bought a new swimsuit and I feel amazing in it! Thank you!”

Being shown pictures with ear to ear grins instead of hiding behind the camera, or behind other people.

“Oh! I love that TRX. I can’t wait to tell my husband what I did today! That was so hard. But I did it!” – 65 year old client.

Laughing with clients when they say they hate me as they smile at me and roll their eyes. (But yet they keep coming back…)

“I can’t believe I made it through that class! You never make it easy. You tell me what I need to hear, even if I don’t like it at the time.”

“I’m signing up for my first 5k. I can’t wait!”

“I haven’t done a headstand in forever! It’s kind of scary to be upside down,” she said giggling. “But I did it!”

“I’m off of blood pressure and diabetes meds! All gone!”

“I almost walked out. It was so tough. But when you said, ‘We aren’t quitters in this room’ I knew I could do it. Thank you! I’m so glad I stuck it out!”

“It took me 12 weeks, but I can now stand up every time you do and keep up in spin! I leave here floating!”

“Can I get in an extra session with you this week? This is SO fun!”

“I just feel so good. Not only do I feel better, my clothes fit better, but I realize how bad I felt before. Four months ago, I was such a different person. And the person I am today was screaming to get out.”

Being a witness to the deep stuff that tends to happen – the hard stuff. Being thanked for doing my job. A job that enables me to witness courage, to witness determination, to witness stomping fear in the face. Being humbled by the stories of these amazingly strong people. “Today I was able to take off my own shirt without help, I’m getting stronger and my balance is better,” a client (who happens to be recovering from an accident that has her in a wheelchair) told me.

“I have hope again.”

These are just a few of the things I will never, ever forget.

I’ve been told, “I hear you in my head when I’m working out now. Ugh!”

I remember saying that to my trainer. (I still hear her screaming at me “DON’T QUIT! QUIT QUITTING ON YOURSELF!” You can check out her awesome self at DumBell Fitness!)

I know well those voices that propel us further when we just want to give up. I’m humbled and beyond grateful for the opportunity to be that voice for others, if only for this season. While my voice may be stuck in their heads, their strength, their tenacity, and their willingness to learn will forever be in mine.

Here’s to the next chapter!


Moved to Tears

Graceful tears falling gently or loud ugly cryer?

Prompted to write about a time when we were recently moved to tears by movies, songs or other artistic endeavors, I laughed to myself (as will anyone that knows me) as I thought about how it would be easier to write about the things that don’t make me cry.

I’m a cryer. About a lot of stuff.

Always have been, probably always will be. I own it. A tough workout, moving moments with the minions, memories, music that hits you just right…it can all bring on the water works. Don’t even get me started on the show Parenthood. Every. Single. Episode. Seriously. I don’t want the show to end, but I am glad this is the last season only because I won’t have to buy so much Kleenex!  Nothing like a good session of salty tears to cleanse the soul!

One of my favorite, and very true, quotes.

If I hear about a movie being a real tear-jerker, I wait until it is available on Demand to sob privately. No one needs to experience the puffy, blotchy, red-rimmed eye sore that is my face post boohoo session. A graceful cryer I am not.

Over the weekend our family participated in what we dubbed “free Saturday”. This is a Saturday where we can do whatever we want. If my son wants to be in pajamas all day and not leave the house, fine. If I want to do the same, great! If Eric needs to putter, by all means. The only stipulation is that we will eat as a family and everyone needs to go to bed at a reasonable hour. In between playing family with my daughter (which means she pats my head and pretends I’m a baby and feeds me all kinds of pretend goodies from her play kitchen for hours) I did manage to squeak in a couple of movies. And I did not expect either of them to be the cry-fests that they were.

First I watched Blended with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler. (Yay! It has live people in it – nothing animated! Score!) Love their movies both together and apart and this one did not disappoint. I am often shocked at the depth to which Sandler is capable. After seeing Spanglish, I shouldn’t be surprised. I guess when I chose this movie, I was looking for light-hearted rom-com. And that it was, but it was so much more than that. I actually cried. There were parts about parenting, hence the title and the plot of blended families, that were especially poignant. I won’t give it all away, but it is worth watching. It’ll certainly make you squeeze your kids a little tighter.

Up next on the lazy day agenda was God’s Not Dead, a film based partially on recent university student lawsuits over freedom of speech/religion issues. In this particular drama, a new student is faced with the difficult task of proving the existence of God in an atheist professor’s class. If he fails, he fails the entire class as well as compromising his future. What I loved about it was the idea that you don’t have to check your intellect at the door to be a Christian. (That’s one of the main problems I’ve had with certain aspects of various religions.) There were parts that definitely made me cry in this film. And cheer. And cry again. Another one that is worth checking out.

Then there was today. Sitting on the couch, my lovely tender-hearted daughter (who most recently cried when we couldn’t keep the neighbor’s dogs when they wandered over to our house) found The Fox and the Hound. It’s been a while since I’d seen it, and was immediately drawn into the scene where the widow drops off Todd in the forest to save him from her hunter neighbor. I looked over at my daughter just then to see her bottom lip trembling and her eyes brimming with tears. (Mine were already cascading down my cheeks as I was doing the hiccup/sigh/cry thing.) I held her close and told her that is was okay that movies and things make her sad. We had a good cry and then she asked me if I would ever leave her all alone like that.


I assured her that I would not (could not) ever leave her like that. It made my heart hurt just to think of it. I reminded her that I love her and her daddy loves her very much. Even Jacob loves her deep down, even when it seems like he doesn’t. She smiled at that. Man, do I love these kiddos. Sure they drive us crazy. They make us so dang tired. But, I’d gladly do anything for them. Then I went on to tell her that it’s more than okay to cry. It’s good for us. That if she felt like crying – go for it. I certainly do.

While I see these traits in her, I am surprised by how it brings it home full force just how much alike we are. She is a tender-heart. She loves animals. And she will cry at movies that move her.

I wouldn’t want her any other way.

Fair Winds and Following Seas….Again

Before every PCS move (permanent change of station) there are stages of emotions we all go through, much like the way we mentally prepare for deployments and homecomings.

Initially we receive the orders, the “penciled in” ones that are sort of for sure, but could change at anytime. This is where we don’t really get excited yet, because then there would be an additional mourning stage if they did actually change. Then hard copy orders – the ones that can be officially announced. There is some relief with this stage, just having a destination and an end to uncertainty. Then the movers come to assess just how much stuff you have and how many boxes they’ll need to bring on moving day. Then there’s about 4-6 weeks of goodbyes. This is our current stage. And it stinks.

We feel the anticipation of the move, the calendar fills constantly with last minute things; visits with friends, must see sights to check off the list because who knows when we’ll live in this part of the country again, and the kids’ ever dawning awareness that we won’t get to take all of our family and friends with us.

Have I mentioned that this phase stinks? This morning I led my final workout with my neighborhood fit friends. We’ve had so much fun, shared awesome success holding each other accountable, meeting new people and being open. This has been a tangible lesson for me on the importance of taking risks, putting myself out there, moving forward despite fear, and reaching out regardless of time limits.

After this class, the words spoken to me will forever be etched in my heart.

“Thank you, you have helped me through this deployment.”

“You have changed my life. Not only for showing me I can go further than I thought, but your class has strengthened my body so much that I have minimal pains now, where as I used to have such aggravating back, knee, hip, and ankle pain that I wouldn’t work out much. Since your group, I can almost do any move without pain!!! THANK YOU!!!!”

“You have to keep doing this. You have to keep training people!”

“Thank you for helping me get off antidepressants. My doctors are thrilled and my husband can tell a difference!”

“I did cardio for the longest with no results. I had no idea strength training and clean eating were the key and would make such an impact. I love that I’m stronger and healthier. Not to mention I haven’t thrown my neck/back out for months. You are a gifted trainer and I will continue to strength train for life!”

“I can do a handstand for the first time since my teens!”

“Thank you for giving me the tools to become happier and healthier. You’ve made this deployment a little less hard!”

I do not share these comments as a “Yahoo! Go me!” self back-pat. I share them because I said them to MY trainer. I know what it means to say these words. Now I’ve been blessed to keep a promise to pay it forward and hear the words said to me. I often wondered if my trainer walked around with a giant ego – because how could you not when you are constantly told how incredible you are?! I now know better. When people take the time to tell you how you’ve positively impacted them – it’s humbling. I am so completely humbled. (Yep, even ugly cried multiple times today!)

I learned early on in my journey that fitness is more than just trying to shrink. It’s more than fitting into a smaller jean size. It’s about confidence in ALL areas; relationships, reaching out to others (even when it’s scary!), even just trying something new! Its getting up and being engaged with life, doing a cartwheel with your kid, It’s showing up and doing so with excellence in our parenting journey, our marriages, and every other aspect of life. It’s joy. Pure, deep, and wonderful joy.
I will continue to pay it forward. Thank you fit friends! Thank you for showing up and doing hard work and having a blast doing it! Thank you for giving me confidence, for laughing at my jokes, and all of your kind words. I am so grateful for our time together.

Until our paths cross again….Fair winds and following seas!

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