It seems my blogs get fewer and fewer as we get busier. I figured I might as well take advantage of being home sick today. I have been plannning to write about the next chapter in our fitness journey, and the lessons we have learned along the way.
The past four years, Gary and I have been working on creating a healthier lifestyle for our family. We have been eating healthier, and though we are not always successful, gone are the Little Debbies (except the occasional Nutty Bar after a long run), the bags of chips, and desserts baked for no reason. We also added exercise to our days. First, we began to run and bike, and then the running pushed everything else aside. We began to enter races, and have since run countless 5Ks, 10Ks, and I am preparing for my fifth half marathon. Gary is training for his second marathon. I became a Zumba instructor, and now teach four classes a week. We, along with our daughters, have become active at the gym. When we began we also wanted to set a positive example for our children. It took a couple of years, but the girls are now exercising regularly, and have actually found joy in working out.
This winter, we began a new chapter in our lives. Gary and I are now coaching a team in our gym’s Biggest Loser competition. Gary won the first season of Biggest Loser last summer, so he was an obvious choice as a coach. We decided we would coach together, and it has been an incredible experience. We coach the orange team, and are so blessed to have so many dedicated members. They have made working out fun. While they have thanked us for helping them, I don’t think they have any idea what they have done for us. Some of our members had never exercised in their lives, yet they have taken on every challenge we have given them. They have mastered the treadmill and elliptical, suffered through their first spinning classes, danced the calories away in Zumba, built muscle in pilates, and consequently, lost weight and inches. Stepping into a gym can be intimidating, even for those who are in shape. Trying new classes isn’t easy. One doesn’t really know what to expect when the music starts. The orange team, along with all of the other Biggest Loser contestants – 180 of them! – have stepped up and met the challenge. Their dedication and bravery has inspired me to keep going. I am trying to learn as much as I can about living a healthy lifestyle so that I can share that information with our team.
While I will always be proud of the accomplishments I have seen through running and working out, the pride I have in our team members cannot be surpassed. Getting their texts on weigh-in day, seeing their pride when they’ve gone just a little further or faster, and watching them laugh together as they sweat their butts off is so very fulfilling. We have told them over and over that this is not a 12 week program; this has to be a lifestyle change. We want them to make choices they can maintain. They need to make food choices that they can keep long after the final weigh-in. They need to find exercises that make them happy so they will stick with it even after they complete their Biggest Loser journeys.
I have to say, Everbody’s Fitness is an amazing place. The staff and clients are so supportive of everyone. We all, no matter our size or fitness level, are working for similar goals. We want to be healthy and more fit. We want to live active lives so we can keep up with our children and grandchildren. We want to see just what our bodies can do when we step out of our comfort zones. While one might be uncomfortable during that first trip to the gym, once he or she experiences the support, that discomfort will quickly dissolve. We are all cheering for others at the gym.
The friendships I have made over the past year are invaluable. I have made friends with fellow staff members, people who attend my Zumba classes, clients, and now our Orange Team. These friendships will last because we have sweated together, opened up to one another, and because they bring me joy. Orange Team, I am so stinkin’ proud of each of you! I know that there have been times you’ve wanted to quit, but you haven’t. I promise that you won’t regret sticking it out. You would regret quitting. Remember that first workout? I told you that if it were easy, everyone would be thin and fit. It isn’t easy. It will likely be the hardest thing you ever do. But it will also be the most worthwhile thing you ever do. Promise. And Gary and I will be here through it all, whether you want us to or not!
Now get off the computer and do something active!