I was not a sporty kid. I was the 4th grader who, when she jumped over the Pommel horse in PE, somehow fell onto her all-the-moms-call-him-cute gym teacher, in front of EVERYONE, causing them to fall to the ground together with this girl — ME — on top of him. Beyond my newfound fear of Pommel horses, I was afraid of sports that demanded any running or catching. I pretended to have my period every day we had to swim. And I could NOT understand how the kids in high school that smoked the most ran the mile test the fastest. So I figured it was all rigged and I was not born to do anything athletic. Meh, so what? This all carried me into my theater-major adulthood, where I survived mainly on pots of coffee, Pop Tarts (cinnamon and brown sugar, please), Lean Pockets and wine.
Fast forward to four years ago. People I hadn’t seen in eons were SHOCKED to learn I’d become a personal trainer. Even my parents were confused.
And now, this week, I’ve begun my official training program to prepare for my Strong First Level 1 kettlebell certification, one of the most challenging certs to get in the industry. (Let me tell you: Signing up for this was an out of body experience with my 4th grade self watching my 35-year-old self clicking the "submit" button to process the sign-up.) While I am doing this partly to have a much bigger toolbox to bring to my clients, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you my major motivator is to prove to myself that I CAN get through this. Because for 30+ years, I lived in a world where no one expected any physical feats from me beyond doing a great job in a dance recital or looking pretty. Not that I had any desire to deadlift 200+ lbs or perform any pullups back then. It just took a special coach to see what I might be capable of and to open my eyes to my potential. What he did for me is what I try to do for my clients every single day.
THIS is why I love my job. Yes, I help you learn how to breathe more optimally and how to squat without pain and I give you life tools for how you can eat your veggies every day. But more than anything, my job is to stand by you and show you all the things you can do now to get you to places you may not have considered before simply because you grew up thinking you couldn’t do fill-in-the-blank because you weren’t fill-in-another-blank.
Coaches are people who help you figure out what stands in the way of your success. Heck, we help you figure out what success really means to you (hint: It might not be what you’ve always thought it was). We help you separate fact from fiction. We help you stop saying, “Sorry,” or, “I suck.” We help you figure out where your priorities are and where they might need to be. Yes, we personal trainers and coaches teach you how to do exercises but it’s more than that, it should be more than that. A good coach will know where your limits are and will help you stretch those limits in a safe way to turn you into the Superyou you didn’t know you could be.
As we approach the end of another year and the start of the next, here is my challenge to you: Find people you can trust, who will help lift you up to where you want to be. This might very well be a coach but could also be your friends, family, partner, etc. Build your village of lifter-uppers and start to see your accomplishments accumulate as the year goes by. Who knows: You may even surprise yourself.
If you are looking for some guidance in the New Year with your health, fitness and/or weight loss goals, please don't hesitate to reach out to IzzyFit Personal Training in Evanston to see if it might be a good fit! Set up a consultation by calling 312-497-8999 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also be sure to check out IzzyFIt's Clean Slate program to start 2015 on right foot!
I first spoke with Melissa on the phone before I met her in person. She said she no longer recognized herself in the mirror. She, like most clients who come in, was feeling frustrated and fed up and ready for something better.
Then we met and this girl floored me with her wit. She is incredibly intelligent, well-spoken, and has a fantastic sense of humor. She's like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler rolled into one.
Melissa committed to this journey, making optimal nutrition, exercise and lifestyle habits a priority and it shows (every week she comes in showing me how much baggier her clothes are). Best of all, I've seen her grow into someone who is now way more kind to herself than she was when I met her, who is taking pride in her body and abilities and who no longer makes lots of jokes at her own expense.
She rocks my world and I'm so happy you get to meet her! Read her interview below!
Please tell me a little bit about yourself!
Hi, I'm Melissa. I moved to Evanston (after years of living downtown) in March and I started working with Isabelle in June.
What were your initial goals when you hired a personal trainer?
When I started training, I felt like my former fit self was hiding. Physically, I felt lousy. My energy was low and I wasn't sleeping well. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to lose weight and look better. But it was also really important for me to feel better - physically and mentally.
What has been your biggest celebratory moment so far on your journey?
Since I began my training, I have had so many reasons to celebrate. From the routine - I made it to the gym 4 times this week! To strength - I can deadlift 115 pounds! I can do real push-ups! To food - Half a slice of cake really is enough. To clothes - today I wore a dress that's been collecting dust in my closet for at least 2 years. On top of all this, I feel great.
What do you enjoy the most about your training?
I love the energy I feel after a great workout - it's like I can do anything. I love feeling strong and knowing I did more than sit at my desk and run from meeting to meeting.
Do you have any fitness goals for the rest of this year going into the next?
Right now, I'm working on making sure I schedule time for working out like I would anything else in my daily life. Consistency can be tough for me.
How would you describe your philosophy on working out and nutrition?
Since I began training I've learned to listen to my body. I know that I feel better and have more energy when I'm exercising regularly and eating mindfully vs. hanging out in front of the TV and eating everything in sight. I really like feeling good- why would I want to make choices that would deprive myself of that feeling? Most of the time this philosophy works. Some of the time, I want cake and reruns of Downton Abbey - and that's ok.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
You probably don't need to overhaul every element of your lifestyle - acknowledge the many things you're already doing to support a healthy life. Then, look at areas where you can improve. Small changes to your daily routine can make a huge difference. An extra hour of sleep can take me from cranky to pleasant. (In October, I switched from my daily grande iced coffee with half-and-half to green tea. The result - much more energy and a lot less fat and calories.) (Yes, it took some getting used to.) Try to be patient with yourself and be sure to celebrate every victory no matter how big or small.