New Year, time for everyone to start with their “new year, new me I’m gonna get fit resolutions”. It happens every year. Gyms filling up, people looking to “get in shape”, eat healthy, this year they are going to stick to it…yeah, yeah, yeah.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for people looking to be active. But understand it is a lifestyle change. You can’t hop on the treadmill at the gym, walk a brisk pace for 30 minutes 3 times a week, eat Special K for breakfast, drink a meal replacement shake for lunch and think you’re good to go. That isn’t sustainable, healthy or FUN! Remeber movement being fun? We used to do it as kids all the time. Then we had to grow up and be adults and somehow we lost our love of movement and grew into a love/hate, or just plain hate, relationship with movement. AKA exercise. Wanna hear a sad story? A few months ago I was at a holiday vendor fair and overheard a woman chit-chatting with her friends. The conversation led to what 2 of the 3 women do for exercise. The third woman said, “Oh. Exercise. You lost me. I don’t do that. Ew” – or something to that effect. If you don’t think that is sad you may be that third friend. And I don’t say that to be offensive or rude. I say it because people think you have to kill yourself at they gym and eat like a rabbit to be healthy. That sounds miserable and couldn’t be further from the truth of what it takes to be healthy.
Healthy = movement, being strong, good (decent, at least) nutrition, sleep, happiness…take it from there. Find something you love, and go do that! I have read some great blog posts recently and I wanted to include a one here. This post is from a previous contestant on The Biggest Loser: Truth on New Years Resolutions. Something that really struck a chord with me in this interview was when she said, “move your body for pleasure and nourishment. Think of moving as a way of caring for yourself- not a way to punish yourself or get to your next goal. The people who are the most successful at this are the ones who find something to do that they love.” Maybe I am lucky, because I love to do so many things when it comes to movement. My number 1 love is running. With views like this, who wouldn’t love to run? Maybe I am also lucky that I like to run hills. San Diego has some killer hills. There wasn’t anything like this in Sac!
If you need motivation to try something new, try to find that in yourself. Look hard. Trust me, it is there. Sometimes it takes others to help you see it in yourself. I definitely had people in Sacramento that helped keep me going, and helped me to realize and bring out what I have in me that keeps me motivated.
My friend Tiffany, who I met as a fellow SRA AmbasSRAdor. We are a great running pair. We keep each other going, especially when we’re up at 4am for a training run!
All of these awesome peeps that ran with me, or on their own, Christmas Eve in honor of my uncle.
And someone that helped me, probably more than she knows, is my trainer Allyson at BodyTribe . Ask my boyfriend, I am still sad that I am not training there anymore. As big as SD is, you’d think I’d find a gym that I like. Which brings me back to the point of what trainers and the fitness industry are doing WRONG and how they are failing us, and in turn how we are failing ourselves. Of course I tried to find a gym I could train at in my new hometown of San Diego. I’ll admit, I only visited 2 places. And while one was better than the other I just wasn’t feeling either of them. When I began working on this post I wasn’t going to get into my experience at one gym in particular, but then I thought, why not? This was a shitty experience that is often the norm and people don’t know any better. In fact, I have had experiences like this at 3 other gyms and I didn’t know any better until someone showed me a different way. So here is what went down and why I think it was bullshit:
- I walked in signed a paper, circled some of my goals and was basically thrown into class. Why this is bs: A) The trainer had no idea what my history with weightlifting/olympic lifting was. B) She didn’t ask if I have any injuries, never asked about goals or why I was there. She just made sure I signed the paper.
- Class consisted of a warm up that was a run around the building and leg swings. The workout consisted of 20 minutes of cleans, then 10 minutes of dumbbell cleans (10 each arm) and a run down the sidewalk and back. Why this is bs: A) The warm up did nothing to warm us up for 30 minutes of cleans. B) 30 minutes of fucking cleans.
- No one introduced themselves to me and the trainer did not do any introductions. Do I even need to say why this is bs?
- One person came in late and the trainer told them to do 160 burpees. Why this is bs: I feel like this is something that shouldn’t need an explanation but it does because of the way we have come to think of/treat movement. Any form of movement should never be used as punishment. Fuck that. Instead, why don’t you just not move and be confined to a bed for 6 years of your life like my quadriplegic uncle was. No? Didn’t think so.
Finally, this brings me to how we are failing ourselves. In no way am I judging anyone, because how can you know any better if no one has taught or shared with you how to NOT fail yourself when it comes to this thing we call exercise? I moved to Sacramento in 2010 and I had been looking and looking for something to get me in shape. In 2012 I found running & I loved it. LOVED IT (obviously). Suddenly, it wasn’t about being in shape. It was about doing something I loved. I was still looking for something to complement my running and I found a few things that I liked. However, I was still looking for more. I wanted to know about training, and programing and I wanted to lift weights. It was something that always looked really fun to me, but I was too intimidated to go to a gm with weights because, let’s be honest, I had no idea what the hell I was doing. March of 2015 is when I met Allyson and was introduced to Iron Grrls – an all women’s lifting clinic. Fuck yeah.
A few months into the clinics and I started attending regular classes. But the difference with these classes vs other classes I had been to is you are still learning. Every class is a lesson in strength training. Wether it be powerlifting, olympic weightlifting, strong(wo)man, parkour… For me those classes also taught me patience, confidence, my value and what I can bring to others – or our tribes (hence BodyTribe). Teaching someone all of these things and more can never be accomplished in a class that you are thrown into and told what to do.
Your gym should help you be a better and stronger you. I encourage you to find a gym that helps you do this. Understand your training and why you’re doing it, contribute to your training because when you do that you are investing in yourself. Own that shit. Take responsibility. Be your motivation and invest in a community that keeps you going. It is scary, because when you take responsibility and you fail that is on you, no one else. Learn from failing – that is the best way to learn. I’ve failed myself many times and I am sure I will in the future.
As for now, still no gym. Well, unless you count my garage gym. Which actually totally counts. And a little thing called November Project SD. We had one in Sac for about a minute. Here in SD they know what a tribe is and they are fucking awesome!
So get out there and find your tribe, or help to create it. Learn, do, fail and do again. These ideas aren’t original, I’ve just had some amazing peeps in my life to help me realize them in myself.