My fitness journey (so far!)

My facebook status from April 25, 2009:

“Today my dad planted a garden, worked out at the gym, and detailed his truck. Any ONE of those would have worn me out, but he’s 68! I am a giant wuss, and must start working out!!!”

It’s been over a year now since I got serious about fitness, and a large part of my motivation was my dad. Before ALS, he was one of the most fit people I knew; that was inspiring in itself but watching him lose that to ALS was what finally made the shift in my thinking from looking at workouts as a should-do to viewing them as a get-to.

Getting stronger & continuing my education.

I went from a mostly sedentary lifestyle to doing 90 days of PiYo. Shortly after that, I decided to become certified as a fitness trainer. I studied and tried to apply what I was learning to myself; I passed the test a few months later but I was still relatively clueless about real-life application. So I started apprenticing with an experienced trainer at her gym and part of my education was doing weight training as I helped train her small groups. I was able to work with her about 7 months before we moved, and during that time I fell in love with strength training.

fitness education

I enjoy learning so I’ve continued my fitness education mostly through reading, following fitness experts online, and using myself as a guinea pig.

Most recently, I’ve added running to my fitness repertoire. Troubleshooting my various aches and pains, and figuring out through research and trial and error how to fix these things has been an education in itself. I write all my own workouts and I’m teaching myself how to do corrective exercise to strengthen weak muscles, stretch tight muscles, pinpoint which imbalances I have where.

kettlebell workout

Every two years, I’m required to earn continuing education credits to maintain my fitness certification. I’m toying around with which ones I want to do this year but I’m thinking a corrective exercise specialty would be most useful at this point.

Eventually I’d love to add specialties in kettlebell, senior adults, group fitness. I want to become a certified running coach, and a yoga instructor, too. Basically, I love it all. When I get to a point in life when I can finally take on clients or have a training studio (or whatever I decide to do), I’d like to be able to effectively help a wide range of people who, like me, want to get stronger and healthier and enjoy life as much and as long as they can.

And now: this almost 43 year old body rocks.

As I’ve gotten more fit, of course I’ve noticed visible side effects of becoming stronger: a flatter stomach, defined arms, and muscles that were in hiding the first four decades of my life. But the reason this body of mine rocks is because of what it can DO. Even back in my 20’s, I’d often hurt my back doing something as simple as vacuuming, and a rare active day would completely wipe me out. These days, at almost 43 (next month!) I have more energy overall, and I can do all sorts of practical things like pick up a 60-pound dog, move furniture, carry a whole bunch of groceries in one trip… and so much more than that, too.  One day recently, I went kayaking for two hours in the morning, then later that day I biked with the family down to the beach, ran 3.3 miles, and practiced head stands and crane pose on the sand before biking back home to make supper.

I felt like cheering for myself.

headstand on the beach

I’ve literally thanked my legs out loud during a run. I feel like a rock star when I work out with kettlebells. I declare myself an awesome human when I nail a handstand on the beach, even if only for three seconds before crashing. I don’t take my fitness for granted, and while I don’t have any guarantees of what life will bring, I’m going to celebrate what my body can do for as long as it can do it. When the day comes when kids and schedules allow, I look forward to helping other people do the same.