It was December before my 40th birthday and on Christmas day friends were over for dinner and she asked if I wanted to go “burn one” out on the front porch. That was the last cigarette I smoked. I didn’t want to be 40 and still a smoker. I had been smoking less and less as my children got older. I was embarrassed by this habit and wanted a change. I could not stand the way it made my hands smell. I really only went outside to smoke a cigarette. My source of exercise was redoing two older homes and a vintage trailer. For 15 years in order to make sure I stayed “skinny” I smoked and never ate lunch. I was focused on looks not health.
Like many I joined a gym in January. But unlike most I never quit and 11 years later I’m in the gym everyday. The transition was very gradual. I was the perfect weight and made sure I had cute gym clothes. But I was “skinny fat”. I started attending classes like Body Pump, and Body Flow. I liked the instructors, the social aspect of the classes, the fact that you were missed if you couldn’t attend class. In order to sustain this new endeavor I also had to start eating better.
The challenges of joining a gym and beginning to change your habits and health are really boiled down to one thing and that is redefining yourself. You were know as the smoker and now your out in public in spandex. You know your changing but you don’t know what you are going to become. I began to want to do other things like go hiking and kayaking. After a spill down a hiking trail at Garner State Park I partially tore my ACL in my left knee. I began rehab and they were able to fix the tear. I continued to go to my classes and do all the exercises I could while the knee healed. One day I was out in the cardio area on the recumbent bike when one of the spin instructors walked by and said you need to be in spin class. I was like “no, that’s not for me that’s for hard core cyclist and athletes’. He assured me it was just folks who liked to sweat. So I went to a class that this particular instructor taught and he helped set me up on the bike. I really thought I was going to hurl in that first class to the point I was planning my tactic. I located the trash cans and figured out I could not throw up over the handle bars as the fly wheel was on the front and it would send it everywhere. I made it through that class and came back for more. I did around 10 spin classes before I decided to buy my first pair of spin shorts. My husband was extremely supportive of my lifestyle change. Within 6 months others were noticing the changes is my body.
Today I am an active cyclist riding over 5000 miles a year, I also race in the the Tour de Gruene Team Time Trials. I also paddle board, kayak, hike and camp. Recently my husband and I took our vintage travel trailer to Ft. Davis for the Cyclefest. It was one of our best experiences we hiked, bike and swam until our hearts were content. Planning to go back again next year and every year after.
I workout regardless of if I want to or not. Most of the time I find that once I am up and dressed the mind battle is over and I know the coming workout will make me feel better especially mentally. It is all a mental challenge, even when doing something you love sometimes you just want to go home. With cycling it always hurts, but with good training you learn how to take the suffering longer.
As a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, I see all the different ways people refuse to change, but want the results badly. You cannot achieve weight loss, toned bodies, become a faster runner, etc. without change. You have to embrace change. You can’t hold on to the old eating habits and work out patterns if you want to see results. Most days I feel more like a counselor, constantly juggling when to push for changes in the diet, when to just shut up and listen, when to just relax and have fun. What a great job! Exhausting at times. I see about 22 clients a week and teach Group Exercise classes 4 times a week. It is very fulfilling work, and I like learning about the different people who come into my life. I have also had to learn how to carve out time for my own training. Between my family, clients, classes and my own training which includes meal prepping, it’s a busy life. The joys of watching change occur in my and my clients life is what makes the job worth it.