For the past four years, I’ve thought (and talked) a lot about beginning a career in fitness and sharing my journey from couch potato to striving to live life as my fittest self.
But I was always waiting. Waiting until I lost 15 pounds. Waiting until I got certified as a personal trainer. Waiting until I looked like a personal trainer – whatever that means. Waiting until I had more free time. All of this waiting, but for what? Why not start now, while I’m still on this journey? Why not share – not only the destination – but also the trials and tribulations it takes to get there? Wherever that there is. Why are we always waiting until…something? Why not start now?
Here are just some of the things I’m working on to share with you here at Fittestah.com:
- Weekly workouts; exercise tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way
- What I eat; foods that fuel
- Family life; balancing home, career, relationships, and all of the other balls we juggle
- Adventures and travel; not every day has to be Disney, but sometimes it can be!
- People who inspire; highlighting people who’ve made an impact in my community and beyond
- Coming soon : I’ll be offering both in-person and online coaching to help you cultivate your own Fittestah journey; pending completion of the NASM Certified Personal Training course and exam
My Fittestah Journey
Growing up, I didn’t know what it meant to live a healthy lifestyle. My mom was (and is) a fantastic cook, but meal portions were huge and half of our plates were filled with carbs – and not the good kind. Instead of outdoor activities on weekends, my brother and I spent our Saturday mornings watching TV, playing video games, and waiting for our parents to wake up; many times not starting our days until the afternoon. My home life was pretty chaotic to say the least.
Despite that, I did everything I was supposed to do. I got good grades and had a lot of friends. I put all of my energy into my education; school was an escape. I got involved in intramural sports. I got my first job at 16. On the outside, I appeared to have my sh*t together.
As I grew older and moved out of state for college, I continued to get good grades, was involved in campus organizations, and had lots of friends, but I wasn’t being true to myself or choosing things that made me happy – truly happy. Unhealthy lifestyle choices continued. I partied too often, my idea of exercise was dancing at clubs with my friends 3-4 nights a week (not the kind of dancing you may be thinking – but close), sports were no longer part of my life, and I was caught up in a negative relationship. I wasn’t doing anything I was passionate about.
Around the same time I graduated college, I met my husband. I gained 25 pounds of ‘happy weight’ as my family so affectionately called it, and while I was happy in many areas of my life, I knew I needed to start cultivating a fitter lifestyle. What that meant, I wasn’t quite sure yet.
Once my husband and I moved in together, things began to change. I started running 5Ks and worked out – for fun – a concept that was completely new to me. I traveled more, hiked and biked around our new neighborhood, ate healthier than ever, practiced yoga, and worked toward a career that would allow for a pretty financially comfortable lifestyle. I got a full-time desk job at an area college, started my MBA, and we bought our first house. Again, I was doing everything I was supposed to do. But something was still missing.
Discovering My Passion
In 2012, I got an amazing opportunity to run the Boston Marathon – you know, the Boston Marathon. Little did I know at the time just how much this opportunity would change my life. Running Boston had always been on my bucket list – after all, I grew up just north of Boston and Patriot’s Day (also known around here as Marathon Monday) had always been one of my favorite days to visit the city. Winter is just about over, flowers are beginning to bloom, the Red Sox play their matinee game, and the world’s oldest annual marathon is happening – what’s not to love?!
When I received that coveted bib number, I had no idea how to train for a marathon, so I researched – a lot! I followed blogs and read books. I learned how to prevent injury, how often and far to run each day, how to use food as fuel, and tested out various forms of fitness (hence Fittestah – but we don’t pronounce our Rs around here!). I began CrossFitting, spinning, practicing yoga and meditation, and found what I enjoyed…and didn’t. Family, friends, and colleagues began asking how my training was going and how I managed to juggle all of my commitments. It was all I talked about for months and I absolutely loved sharing my journey. If you know a runner (or a CrossFitter for that matter), you know that we have to talk about our training – it’s just what we do!
Finally, the day of the marathon had come – April 15th 2013. I was nervous, anxious, and worried I hadn’t trained enough to complete the grueling 26.2 miles. Turns out, I wouldn’t complete the marathon that day – but it wasn’t for the reasons I thought.
I was 22 miles in, had just passed the infamous Heartbreak Hill, when I was stopped by race officials and corralled into a medical tent along with the other runners. We were told that there was an explosion at the finish line and that the race had been stopped. My family was just feet away from the bombings waiting for me to finish. Thankfully, I got in touch with them pretty quickly and found out that they were all unharmed. But others weren’t as lucky. As scary as the day turned out to be, I knew I had to run again and complete the goal I had started a year before. A little over a year later and another tough year of training through the harsh Boston winter, on April 21st 2014, I finished the marathon that had begun long before it started.
I teach an internship course to undergraduate students and I’m always asking them what it is they do outside of their academic work; the things they do not because they have to, but because they want to. Fitness is that for me. The entire marathon experience changed the way I view life and made me realize just how quickly it can be cut short. So why spend it doing a job you’re not totally passionate about?
What Fitness Means to Me
Fitness means so much more than just physical changes. Fitness is not about the number on the scale. Fitness is not about how much you can bench press. Fitness is not about the number of hours you spend in the gym. Fitness is about enjoying the process. Fitness is about finding that perfect workout(s) that you just can’t get enough of. Fitness is about celebrating milestones – however big or small they may be. Fitness is about spending time with loved ones, experiencing new things, meditating, exercising, and whatever else it is that makes you happy – truly happy.
I hope you’ll follow along on my Fittestah journey – and be inspired to cultivate your own.