One of the reasons why I wanted to start writing this blog, was because I wanted to share my love of fitness with people. I didn’t always love exercise though; in fact, I hated it! I’m not very coordinated, I DEFINITELY don’t have a natural flair for sports, and for most exercise-related activities, I just am not very good at doing them!
I played T-ball for one season, and then quit, because I was the worst player on the team. It was coach-pitch T-ball, and even though I practiced and practiced, I always missed catching the ball. (And ummm…even today, I am horrible at catching the ball!! I can only catch it if it is thrown in this small, 1 square-foot “zone” on the right side of my body, and if it is thrown at a relatively slow speed! Any fast, high, or curvy pitch, and I’m going to duck and run in the opposite direction!!) And don’t even get me started on my batting skills! On family vacations, my dad would always want the family to play baseball together, and I would always cry and beg to not have to bat when he said it was my turn! I still have nightmares! I swam on swim team for 8 years, and always dreaded the swim meets, because I was always put on the slowest relay heats, and those other three snails and I would dream together of getting that oh-so-beautiful purple Participation Ribbon at the end of the race. Woot. The only times I did place, was when there were 4 or less swimmers even competing. But hey, a 3rd place is still a 3rd place right? No one else has to know that it was the end of the night, and only 3 swimmers were left to swim the 50-meter Breaststroke! And in practice my last year, my swim coach gave me my very own lane line, so that I wouldn’t slow down the rest of team who really had a chance at Divisionals!
I still am embarrassed at how I made my team lose at camp volleyball, always was out first at dodgeball, and was always the last one picked for um, basically every game I tried to get in on! Anyone else out there still as an adult still feel like a failure when it comes to participating in sports???? Or is it just me?
Well anyways, in high school when I had finally decided to just give up on trying to be good at anything athletic, my older sister would literally force me out the door to work out at the gym with her, so that I wouldn’t spend my whole summer reading books on the couch. I would get so mad at her. Didn’t she realize how stupid that whole “work out at the gym thing” made me feel??
The next year, I started doing dual-enrollment at my local community college, and I had to include some type of sports or exercise for a PE requirement. Another older sister (not the one who forced me to the gym. My other older sister—I know, I have a lot, it gets confusing) suggested I try group aerobics to fulfill those credits, and told me about some fun ones she had tried out. It sounded less threatening than tennis lessons, so I signed up. I went to my very first class—a step aerobics class.
I’m pretty sure I spent then entire hour standing behind that step, wide-eyed at the whirly twirly jumpy moves those crazies were doing, and feeling extremely panicky and 100% lost at everything that lady in the hot-pink spandex shorts and matching tennis shoes in the front was shouting out over the techno-on-steriods music! I would have never gone back to that horrid place, if it hadn’t been for my mom, who basically said that she was paying for these classes, and I had better get an A from that one-credit PE class, or I’d be paying for it with my own money! She was not kidding, and I had no money. So, I went back to that crazy-lady step class. I tried to follow along as best as I could, and eventually got a few steps in with the rest of the class. Each time, I would get a couple more moves in, and I began to get the rhythm and understand that there was a pattern to the moves. I started to realize that I didn’t really hate it anymore…It wasn’t a competition, and I started to notice that everyone in the room would work at a little bit different level of intensity—there wasn’t any “required” standard that I had to perform up to. I had never had an exercise activity that I’d ever done that I didn’t feel like I was being compared to someone else…and no one won special awards for being “the best” or “the fastest” or “the strongest”. And I started meeting new people in class, who would tell me things like “I would never have the motivation to exercise on my own, if I wasn’t for this class”, or “This instructor is the best. She makes exercise fun!”, and “it was really hard at first and it took me a few months to really get the hang of the movements, but now I’m hooked! I can never go back to just walking on the treadmill!” It wasn’t much longer, and I was hooked too!
I tried out Pilates, cycle, Muscle Sculpt classes, and Bootcamp classes. They all were definitely challenging, and some were tricky to get the hang of, but at the end of every class I went to, I’d always leave energized, with a sense of accomplishment; feelings I had never before felt from an exercise! It made me want to keep going, and to challenge myself more and more each time I went to class.
Long story short, here I am, 9 years from that first Step Class, teaching my own group classes. Group Fitness classes were what made me realize that exercise can be fun, and now I want to help other people have fun exercising too! If you’ve ever felt intimidated by exercise or sports, believe me, I can totally relate! I am still scared to play volleyball, and to catch a baseball, but I’ve found my love of exercise in Group Fitness classes. They are super motivating, challenging, and so diverse! There are so many different styles of fitness classes, that just about everyone can find at least one that’s perfect for them! Living a healthy life doesn’t have to be torture; it IS possible to have fun along the way!!