Reality Check. The truth behind your 'fitness goals'

 

 

FITNESS GOALS.

 

As a trainer I ask people each and every day what their goals are. What are you doing here? What prompted you to set foot in my gym? WHY??? Do you like exercise? UNLIKELY! Exercise is hard. Exercise in uncomfortable. Exercise for MOST people is NOT fun at all. So what made you decide it was a good idea to walk in and pay money to do something that you deep down DO NOT WANT TO DO!

 

Everyone has their story. Their reason. And my job is to find out what that reason is and WHY.

 

I will give you three chances to guess the most common answer I hear. OH WAIT...you don't need three chances. Cause I bet you said the exact same thing when you were asked what your goals were and why.

 

1. I WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT AND TONE UP....

 

Seriously? Do you even know what the word tone means?

 

It is a clinical term used primarily by physiotherapists to describe muscle 'stiffness' and its resistance to being stretched or its firmness when being palpated (squeezed). Tone has to do with the stiffness of both the muscle itself and the connective tissue that encases the muscle. This tendency towards less stiff connective tissue results often in hypermobility. Basically...ELASTIGIRL from the Incredibles. It also has to do with the size and strength of a molecule called titin. It also describes a muscle's readiness for action or how it responds to signals from the brain. Stronger firmer muscles have better tone...which is where that term was born. But it has been so miscontrued by fitness magazines and marketing that it can mean a million things to a million different people. So let me as you again....what the heck does TONING mean? Cause at this point it is a very relative term depending on who you are talking to...

 

2. I WANT TO BE MORE FIT...

 

TONE? FIT? It all comes down to the same problem. I have no idea what your definition of fitness is? How can i help you become more 'fit' if I don't know what fitness means to you. To a runner, fit might mean being able to complete a marathon. To a bodybuilder, fit might mean you could be the next Hulk the way you bust out of your clothes with all that MUSCLE. To a crossfitter, fit is...well crossfit. I cannot make you fit unless you tell me what fit is to you. What does that look and feel like.

 

 

 

 

3. I WANT TO BE HEALTHY AND FEEL BETTER

 

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Could you be more vague? These answers are honestly the ones I hear every single day. Now you tell me...how can I help you to reach your goals if you cannot be honest with me about what they are. How can you reach them if you won't even be honest with yourself about what they are?

 

Sure those might be your goals...on the surface. But at the end of the day you and I both know that there is more to the story. It took me a really long time to come to terms with my own personal goals and being honest with myself and my trainer about why I wanted them. To this day I still have not completely revealed the reason behind my goals. But here it is. If i can share mine...you can share yours.

 

MY STORY

 

I am the oldest of three girls. We were normal sized children (actually more on the small side) and loved biking and playing outside. As we grew up my sisters both stayed very small. I did not. Teenage years meant changes to my body that made everything a little squishy. I was not outgoing like I am now. I was very shy and convinced myself that I wasn't pretty or skinny enough to be 'popular' or get attention from boys like my friends were. So I did what any self conscious teenager would do and turned to fitness magazines which were filled with advertisements for fat burners. And let me tell you...I tried most of them. Looking back now, I wish I would have appreciated my body the way it was and learned to treat it right because my behaviour then fuelled some very unhealthy habits for my future. University came along and so did the freshmen 15...and by 15 I mean 25 or 30. That was when I started working at my first gym. 

 

I got a trainer and started to see the benefits of exercise and making better nutrition habits...but to be honest I never really gave it my all. My trainer knew that and so did I. I was not honest with him about what I really wanted and why. I was way too self conscious to tell him how embarrassed I was about being fat and how it affected my life. That would have been humiliating right? Didn't help that I thought he was kind of cute and had a huge crush on him. There was NO WAY I was divulging my deep dark secrets to this guy. 

 

I tried a different trainer for a while. Didn't last long. I wasn't putting in the work. I was wasting his time...making the workouts useless by eating my body weight in Oreos feeling sorry for myself. I went on a vacation to Australia feeling fat and miserable and let me tell you...the beach and bikinis did not help. I came home at my heaviest weight of 165LBS. And while that might not seem heavy to some. To me it was the end of the world. I got back into martial arts and did some acting classes and when I was looking at what I wanted to do with my life I decided to pursue the ultimate dream...I was going to be a movie star! How was I going to do it? Hmmmmm I am really good at kicking things so I could totally be a stuntwoman. That was my plan. And I enrolled in stunt school. I even had a connection in Hollywood who emailed me and offered to take a look at my headshots and give me advice and possibly an opportunity. This was the defining moment for me and something I have told very few people. He gave me his honest opinion and told me my body wasn't right. I had to lose weight if I wanted to even think about going into the film industry. He was the first person to put into words what I told myself every day. He made it real for me. I couldn't lie anymore. I was devastated.

 

I hired my third trainer. I told him I wanted to be stronger and faster because I was going to the world martial arts games. I didn't tell him I hated my body and wanted those horrible thoughts to stop. I didn't tell him I would severely restrict my eating and then binge...but he is smart. He knew. I knew he knew because I didn't get the results I should have been. He gave me every step to success but I wouldn't let him help me because I wouldn't be honest about what I wanted and why. I just hoped I could lie and get it anyway. But deep down I had a very serious problem with my self esteem and body image that couldn't be solved by a workout plan. 

 

I have been with this trainer for 2.5 years now. And I have made some progress. He helped me win 6 medals at world games. I was strong and fast. I still sucked in on every picture from that trip though because I hated my stomach pudge. I wasn't proud. I wasn't happy. I wasn't motivated. I loosely did his programs and didn't see the results I wanted. Go figure. Then I thought...hey maybe its because I don't have the right gym. Maybe having a gym that is convenient and set up the way I like it is the way to go. So I opened a gym. YEP...that was one of the primary reasons Back Alley Fitness exists. YES, I had developed a passion for fitness. YES, I love helping others and it truly is what I am meant to do with my life. But it started as another path to my DREAM BODY! This time it was going to work. At first it was great. I had tons of energy and big dreams and I could do anything...

 

Then reality hit. The insecurity crept in as it always does. My body is not a 'typical' trainer body. Who wants to train with a person with all this extra body fat? How can I help others if I cannot help myself? I am a fake and a phoney and I should not be a trainer. Every once in a while that feeling still creeps up on me. But then I remind myself that the reason I am good at what I do is because I truly understand what it is like to be on your end. I know what insecurity and shame feels like. I know what struggling with weight and body image is like. I know how hard it is. I get it. I still struggle with it. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And I am no longer afraid to admit it. I know what I want. I know what my goals are. I know why I want them. And it is time to shout them from the rooftops. Because if I cant be honest about my goals...how can I ask you to be. So here they are....

 

I want to lose body fat. I don't care how much...the number is not important. I want to not suck in for every single picture. I want to flaunt a bikini on the beach, not hide under a tshirt. I want to put on an outfit that makes me feel attractive and confident...not one that hides the back fat around by bra strap and the love handles over my jeans. I want to be close to my man without worrying about my belly touching his and being embarrassed that it sticks out that far or that it jiggles. I seriously think about this crap every moment of every day! It is exhausting. I want to be an example of health and fitness that my clients can look up to. I want people to judge me on my skills as a trainer and not on the shape of my body. I want to go shopping with my sisters and not compare myself to them but be proud of our differences. I want my body to reflect how strong I am and how hard I work in the gym. I want my goal to finally be something athletic and not aesthetic. I want to have a healthy relationship with food and not use it as a comfort for self pity. I want to be happy and I want to do everything in life and never hold back because of my body....I WANT FREEDOM FROM THE PRISON I HAVE BUILT FOR MYSELF.

 

That's my story. That is as honest as I can get...and saying it out loud sets me free in a way I never though possible. Now it is your turn...

 

WHAT DO YOU WANT????