1988: I cannot stand exercise. I’m not good at it, it hurts, people laugh at me, and I don’t care about it. Junior high PE has taught me everything I know about working out and playing sports and for me, it’s all terrible (the running – why all the running?!?). But I dislike being so weak and scrawny. During our fitness assessment, my PE teacher told me I have really high body fat, and she said it in a way that I knew I should be ashamed of myself. I’m skinny-fat, the weird place where you really need some sort of workout program to be healthy, but don’t think you need to bother because you don’t have a “weight problem.” Besides, did I mention I hate exercise?
1992: Huh. I like swimming. And my high school has a “Modern Dance” class we can take for Physical Education. (It’s really a hip-hop dance class led by a professional cheerleader, but let’s not split hairs.) I like dancing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still bad at all things athletic, but I’m not miserable in the pool and dancing is fun. I’d like to take a weight-training class, but I’ve been told that the weight room is for the football players. Until one day I get my chance! We got to go in there, but when I couldn’t lift the Olympic bar, the teacher made fun of me. (Side note: an Olympic bar weighs 45 pounds, which was easily half of my body weight at the time. As a fitness professional, I would never ask someone to do that their first day in the gym. Poor form, PE teacher.) Back to square one. Oh, and we still have to run.
1995: College. No PE requirement (yay – no running!!), but my major requires several hours of dance classes, which I love. It’s barely even exercise, although my heart and lungs are challenged and my muscles have to work incredibly hard. Could it be that I’m truly starting to enjoy physical activity? Enter a boyfriend (now husband) who’s willing to take me to the gym and teach me how to use the weights. He’s a former football player – is that irony? It doesn’t stick right away, but the feelings I have in that weight room stay with me, and a couple summers I joined local gyms and would play at strength training. My world is changing…
1999: Baby born. No more time to dance multiple hours a day. Thank goodness for my sister, who has been doing home exercise videos forever. She lets me borrow some, along with the equipment they require, and BOOM – game over. Ten years later, all those thoughts of wanting to be healthy and not knowing how, all those people who felt free to mock my lack of athletic skill – gone. I am an exerciser. It is a part of who I am and what I do.
The whole thing snowballs. I join a gym, because those home workouts gave me confidence. I start teaching group exercise, because it pairs my love of dance with my new love of exercise. I get certified as a Personal Trainer because I just have to share this with the world. For 10 years now, I’ve been lucky enough to help hundreds of people find strength in themselves to be healthy, to do uncomfortable things, and learn to love not just the physical benefits of exercise, but the mental, emotional, and even spiritual side effects of fitness. And my hope is that Bright Fitness can do that for hundreds more people!
PS – Earlier this year I ran a marathon. Take that, junior high PE teacher.