I’ve been meaning to write about this subject for quite some time now. I love my profession, it’s a huge part of my life, and who I am… it’s my lifestyle and my philosophy on how I’ve decided to live my life. I think it’s a wonderful feeling to live by a set of of ideals and values that are important to you, important enough to want to share, and teach. That being said, I’m only human just like you… and even though I’ve chosen to be a coach, trainer and fitness instructor… I’m not perfect! I’m not even close to perfect, but I’ve come to embrace it, and love it and become happier all around knowing that I’m perfectly imperfect. Striving for perfection is a joke… striving for balance and striving to be my best is a realistic, longterm, lifestyle approach. Being disciplined is important to me, but not 100 percent of the time. There also has to be time made to reap the benefits of your hard work, like vacations and weekends. I think this is why I identify so well with most of my clients, because I’m not expecting perfection, I’m expecting their best. Everybody’s best changes…. injuries, jobs, life can get in the way of our goals. Learning how to work with what you’ve got, and doing the best in the situation life throws at you is what’s important. We can have good weeks, bad weeks… but that’s life. Are you going to quit training for your 10k just because you got sick for a week and had to stop training? Nope! Are you going to start eating McDonalds every day just because you ate a whole bag of chips last night? Nope! Are you going to go back to smoking a pack a day because you slipped and took a drag of a cigarette? No! Just like with any process in life, there will be road blocks and set backs, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to try our best to be the healthiest we can be at that moment of our lives. We are worth it, and it’s the only body we’ve got, so let’s love it, nurture it, and keep it in the best condition we can. So that being said, here it comes… some are painful to admit, but the truth comes out!
I used to be chubby
Yes, I once had my walk described as a “waddle”, that’s when I knew it was getting bad. I’d show you some photos, but I’ve gotten rid of most of them. Too embarrassing to look at I suppose. I’m sure my friends can pull them out of their photo collections. Yet, when I look at the “chubby” photos I do have, I was happy then. At that time in my life, didn’t care I was chubby. I had battled eating disorders for 4 years, obsessed with exercise and food. I got chubby after I decided to “find balance”. I stopped exercising and ate anything I wanted to for a year. It felt good, I guess I felt normal…. I had a social life instead of a life planned around my next workout. After a year I slowly introduced exercise and healthy eating, and the weight came off eventually. I’ve never been as skinny as my eating disorder days, but I don’t want to, I was unhappy on the inside… too obsessed with being perfect.
I like to party
Yes I sure do… and once again many friends of mine can back me up on this one. If there were no such thing as hangovers, I’d be Ms. Social Portland, but alas my profession and hangovers don’t mix! I drink once a week. Whether that be at home enjoying a bottle of wine with my boyfriend, or a crazy night out at the bars, it’s only once a week, and the rest of the week I hole up, fighting the urge to go join my friends out on the town. Sometimes I’m pretty bummed when there’s an amazing concert, and I can’t go cause I have to wake up at 5:30 am for bootcamp… but I get over it quickly. My job keeps me in line, I must get enough sleep, and put fuel in my body to keep me at my tip top performance so I can be at my best when teaching my classes. Nobody wants to go to a fitness class where their instructor has been partying all night reeking of booze!
I don’t workout every single day
Sometimes I’ll get asked, how many hours a day do you workout? You workout every day don’t you? Well, no I don’t workout every single day. I value my rest days, and find them just as important as the days I workout. Your body needs to repair, rest and regroup from the stresses of exercise. Resting, actually improves your performance. By letting my body rest, I’m able to hit my workout harder, I’m refreshed and able to put the most into them. I take one to two active rest days a week. Active rest days can be walking, playing tennis, skateboarding, biking, hiking etc, doing fun activities that I enjoy. I also don’t workout for hours a day. My personal workouts are 20-50 minutes long. That’s it! “Quality over Quantity” is my philosophy .
I eat “unhealthy” foods (occasionally)
So I used to have this nacho problem, I think I’ve gone to just about every place that serves nachos in Portland. I’ve got ahold of my nacho problem and broadened my horizons when I go out to eat.. but the point is, I don’t eat perfect for every single meal, I screw up from time to time. Most of the time though honestly I eat pretty dang healthy. I actually enjoy eating clean, I love the way it makes me feel, and I’m excited about cooking healthy, clean, delicious organic food. I eat tons of fruits and veggies, and have fallen in love with cooking. Cooking my own meals has really been the cornerstone of my health. By not going out all the time, stocking my fridge with healthy choices, and keeping chips and any nacho making material out of the house makes it easier to not screw up. My advice is to know your weakness, and use that knowledge to your advantage. If you can’t keep a bag of cookies, or chips in my case, in the house without it being gobbled up in a heartbeat, well then don’t buy them, and don’t keep them in the house. When it’s time to screw up, make it count, go out and have your cheat meal, enjoy it, have it be something you really want, not just a bag of cookies, and then get right back to your regularly scheduled program.
I feel pressure to look a certain way
So we are our worst critics, but sometimes being in front of a room of people sizing you up when all you are wearing is spandex, can get to you. If I don’t look good… well I’m out of business, point blank. Who wants to hire a trainer that’s out of shape? Sure they might have all the knowledge in the world, be incredibly proficient at training … but when it comes down to it, no body is going to hire a trainer that’s not fit. When I’m at my tip top shape, lean and cut, I get way more business. Motivation to stay on point, right? We all have different ideas of what the ideal body type is. I struggle with my own insecurities about my body as well as trying to balance what I personally want to look and feel like, with the pressures of what society expects. Am I not muscular enough, do people expect trainers to look like body builders? Am I too muscular, do I look like a man? Am I not skinny enough? Should I look rail thin as a fitness instructor? What if I don’t have an 8 pack? The only way I’ve come to peace with this pressure, is to train for what I believe is a realistic and ideal shape for me. I don’t want to look like a body builder, I want to look fit, feminine and healthy. I want to be strong, capable and enjoy all of what my body can do. I want to continue to challenge my body and keep it healthy and injury free. If I feel good, that’s what is important.
I don’t judge you
I’m Facebook friends with a lot of my clients and students that take my classes. I see your check ins at the Montage, Salt and Straw, Red Robin, Burgerville, etc. I see the late night party photos you were tagged in, and understand why I didn’t see you the next day in bootcamp. There’s nothing more awkward then running into a client at the grocery store, and getting a peak of their basket filled with wine, cookies and chocolate. Or running into gym members or clients when out having a drink. They feel as if they have to have an explanation, or have been caught red handed, guilty as charged. I don’t judge you! Seriously! We are all human, we aren’t going to be perfect all the time. I’m at the bar too having a beer, let’s relax and enjoy life. Now if it’s every single night, well that’s another story. But I don’t expect perfection, just your best. Yes, I’m here for motivation, to be a healthy example and to keep you on point, but being human is also important. We don’t get very much time on this planet, creating happy memories is important too!
I don’t know everything
If you meet a trainer or fitness professional that claims to know it all, don’t trust them! I don’t have all the answers, and I’m not afraid to admit it. If a client asks me a question that I don’t know, I answer them, that I might now know the answer, but I’ll find the answer. I love this, because if forces me to learn something I might not of ever thought to research. The industry is ever changing, there’s no one right approach to fitness, and new studies are always coming out left and right. That’s why I love my job, there’s always more to learn. I love picking the brains of my fellow colleagues, taking courses and staying up to date on the latest trends and studies. The more I learn, and the longer I’m in this industry, the more open minded I become. Studies come out that can completely blow what we had previously thought out of the water! There’s so many philosophies, and different approaches to fitness, it’s not a one sized fits all way. Every single client I work with is different, and each client I work with has different injuries, personalities, likes, dislikes, goals, etc… it’s all about finding what works for that individual.
You don’t have to only talk about working out when you see me
Yes working out and eating healthy are a huge part of my life, but there’s more to me than that. Who wants to talk shop all the time? I get it, you associate me with fitness, after all that’s my business, and you want to ask me what I think about cross fit and the Paleo diet. But sometimes it feels good to get away from it all. Don’t get me wrong, I really love sharing my passion for health and fitness, but sometimes I like to talk about other things to! I love gardening, dogs, skateboarding , computers ( I’m a huge technology nerd! ) movies, traveling, fashion, shoes- don’t get me started on my shoe obsession… or better yet, why don’t we talk about you, and what you do? Oh wait, you don’t want to talk about work?
So there you have it… the truth from your trainer! I’m sure there’s plenty more imperfections that I’ve failed to include, but it’s a start.
Yours in health,