I’ve been working on revamping my website lately. When I first started personal training I didn’t realize that I would find a specialty and want to focus on women who have self-esteem issues. I knew I wanted to work with women, but didn’t realize that I had a real purpose in life to focus on. So, when I put out my website it was simply aimed at women in general without any real insight into who I was and what my type of personal training was all about. Years later I’ve come to a point in my career where I’ve realized that I have a true calling and a need to help women who are suffering with feelings of imperfection, body image issues, and simply, but not really so simply, feeling like they’re not good enough.
Seems pretty clear, right? Well, not really, because every time I get to writing down my bio or what my philosophy about personal training is I become completely tongue-tied. I’ve written and rewritten so many drafts, but how do you really put into words something that’s so complex? How do I put my very long and complicated bio into something that doesn’t read like the Sunday edition of the New York Times? So, I rephrased my thoughts and asked myself, “how has fitness changed me and what do I want to teach others?” This is what I came up with…
I’ve dieted, starved, binged, and purged. You name it, I’ve done it. After years of abusing my body like this my metabolism came to such a screeching halt that no matter what I did I just kept getting rounder, softer, and more and more unhappy with myself. I spent an entire summer in my bedroom not wanting to leave, because I felt ugly, ashamed, and angry. I was angry at myself for getting to this place and I was ashamed and frustrated because now I couldn’t dig myself out of the hole I put myself in. I couldn’t believe that after losing so much weight I’d gained it all back again, but now couldn’t take it off. It became my world. I hated that I didn’t love myself. I was never good enough. I hated that I’d spent my senior year of high school obsessing about my weight, food, and how I looked. I didn’t know how to be happy anymore. I couldn’t remember it.
You know those “aha” moments people speak about? Those pivotal moments in their lives were everything just seems to make sense? Like they’ve figured out Newton’s theory of gravity or something? Well, I had one of those moments in my bedroom that summer. After spending the entire summer feeling tormented and my entire senior year (and most of my junior too) hating myself a thought popped into my head. “I would rather die than go on feeling this way.” After feeling so weak and defeated for so long something within me took over and I knew that I was going to work up the courage to take back control of my life.
A funny thing happens when you’re trying to be so in control of your emotions, actions, thoughts, and feeling. You become out of control. As hard as pushing yourself to overcome your fears and challenges is it’s not nearly as bad as living your life a prisoner in your own head.
At first, I’ll admit, I began exercising as yet another way to lose and control my weight, but then it became something so much more, and I had another “aha” moment. My trainer gave me a pretty difficult exercise – it was a single-handed pike on a stability ball. Face down, with only my legs on the ball and my hands supporting me, I was supposed to lift one hand up in the air and simultaneously use my feet to roll the ball and bring my body up into an inverted V-shape. – It was excruciatingly hard, but I didn’t give up. I kept trying and trying until I finally got it. Then he asked me, “how do you feel?” And I said “GREAT!” With a smirk on his face, he said that I’m the only client he has that would actually say that after something so difficult. And that’s when I realized that fitness became so much more to me than just losing weight. It was something that I could be good at, and I felt extremely empowered by being able to do things that I thought I’d never be able to do. Normally my perfectionism would cripple me, because I would just give up rather than fail, but instead I learned to push even harder. I relished the fact that people would stare at the short little girl walking down the street with 10 grocery bags all up and down her arms. I was actually quite strong and powerful on the inside.
This became a metaphor for my life. I could do whatever I thought was impossible. I could push past fear, failure, and pain, and become so much more than I ever thought possible. I could take control of my life. I realized that my body and the way it looked wasn’t the problem, my mind was. Our minds are our only limitations.
Very Personal Training is empowerment based fitness. It is for any woman who thinks she’s not good enough. Fitness is so much more than simply losing weight and toning your body so that you look like Jessica Biel. When you push yourself past pain and the seemingly impossible you realize that you are so much more than a dress size. You conquer yourself and you take that with you everywhere you go. Any time you face something that you think you can’t do, you remember, oh yes I can!
(And P.S., once I stopped obsessing about my weight it all came off.)