Personal trainer in the making.
People close to me asked why I decided to open a fitness studio. Those close to me know that I've had a very long history of dieting and a crazy relationship with food… or junk food, rather.
I am a self-proclaimed lazy girl who loves chocolates and chips. I am also a self-proclaimed serial dieter.
When I was around 12 and going through puberty I had no idea I wasn't skinny. Or fat. I didn't think about any of that at all. I just was.
Little by little women in my family started making comments that kind of pointed a red arrow to my 'flaws'. Flaws I didn't know I had.
See, the women in my family have also had a long history of serial dieting and a complicated relationship with food.
I am a descendant of emotional eaters.
The psychology behind emotional eating is a complete and deep discussion best left to licensed psychologists. But from personal experience, I can deduce that their upbringing and my upbringing - lack of emotional demonstration of love and affection - left a wide gaping hole in our lives that we sought to fill with food….
food... Junk food.
Another similarity is the manner in which we threw ourselves into dieting cycles. Always seeking the fastest way to lose weight. Not understanding that long term weight loss was always going to be better than how fast we lost it.
Further, we didn't understand that weight loss did not equal fat loss. Sure a 10-pound loss in a week was exciting, but it wasn't effective nor long-lasting.
Punishing ourselves for gaining the weight back that we would have gained anyway because it was just fluid loss, and eating to self-sabotage didn't help matters either.
Now, I'll stop talking about them because they each have their own personal journey that led them to serial dieting. But those are the general similarities.
Why did I open a fitness studio?
Because I was sick and tired of being sick, and tired. There are so many issues that ail me and they all point to food management or rather a mismanagement of food and eating.
In 2017 I hired my 6th personal trainer. He changed everything for me. I saw food and exercise through a completely different lens. I felt as if for my whole adult life I'd been seeing food and exercise through foggy lenses and he adjusted my perspective. I fell in love. I fell in love with the science of nutrition and the science of body mechanics. And eventually, a year later I fell in love with him.
Flash forward a few months, he corrected my posture - I had been suffering from low back pain for years! I also lost weight. Really truly lost it. Not just fluid loss but fat loss. This was a first for me! People I knew and people I barely knew were coming up to me telling me they saw the progress. And to ask me how I was doing it.
Anyone who was hanging around me those days knew all about Rafael, the trainer that took the pain and gave me strength, and balanced my moods. If you had ears I would preach about what he taught me.
My sessions with him ended and I couldn't afford more. I had recently gotten out of debt and over my dead body I was going to use my credit cards again to buy something I couldn't afford in cash.
Looking back, I know that credit cards should be used for emergencies but maybe I should have seen this as a quick loan to invest in my health? I don't know. But I do regret not continuing.
It's ok, he said, just come back when you can, in the meantime here is a program you can continue on your own. He didn't want me to fail, all he wanted was for me and all his clients, to succeed.
It was bittersweet, I did walk away loaded with everything I needed to continue but I wasn't going to see him anymore, I needed the support and accountability.
Over time I lost motivation and during winters I get SAD. Not "sad!!!" but S.A.D. Seasonal Affective Disorder basically shuts down your body and the part of the brain that wants to do stuff. Like get off the couch and go to the gym.
I tried fighting it by continuing to do cardio and some light lifting, but it wasn't the same. My meals became less healthy and more comforting.
Then I wanted more comfort than anything else. Any guesses on where I sought comfort? Yes, at the bottom of potato chips' bags. Spoiler alert… I found more guilt and regret than comfort there. Maybe that bag was defective? No matter, I just gained weight and jumped with both feet into the deep end of the serial dieter's cycle.
But something else happened. We reconnected. I still couldn’t afford training but that didn’t matter. I proposed to him that we work together and open a studio and I can manage it. My business management certification would come in handy. Hopefully being around our gym would help me get back into it and stay motivated while we help our clients reach their goals.
I do have to admit that this whole journey started from a very selfish place but bear (bare?) With me.
He wasn't sure that was a good idea, he had tried something like it before and was burned by a previous business partner.
But eventually, by the magic of the law of attraction, it happened! We got together, as in a romantic relationship, and once trust was built we revisited that conversation.
The beginning of the end. The end of this article.
Now it is one thing to start a personal training business than to actually be a personal trainer. I have a large resume of managing businesses from the ground up (successfully) but this was so different and a lot more complicated than I thought.
I have this great asset, Rafael, who could truly help people and change their lives like he did mine, how can I spread the message? It was hard for me to do the typical stuff like blogging or doing social media because I didn't understand the technical aspects that personal trainers understand.
Also, I was frustrated because I had to put people in front of him so he can make his sales - all this without a gym! Do you know how hard it is to play music with no instrument? Well, this is something like that. We had the music, but no instrument.
So, I thought, maybe by becoming a personal trainer I could be of better use to the company, it makes sense. But I put that on hold. I wanted to reach my weight loss goals before getting my certification.
But wait, there is more.
Then I fell and broke my ankle. I gained another 15 pounds and a whole lot of fat. I was devastated. When I broke it I was trying to lose the measly 5 pounds I had gained over the last year after my training. My daughter and I were at the park on our scooters and I tumbled down a steep slope and the aluminum scooter banged on my ankle and shattered it. I still haven't recovered 100%. There are limits to how much I can walk - forget about jogging or running.
With my weight gaining on me and on the brink of losing my new fitness business I went into my SAD with all of that I had left. (We are now in winter 2019 of the story by the way. )
But I am no quitter - this tiny frail voice kept repeating over and over. And I had no trouble tuning it out at first. Until one day it just became so annoying that I had to do something about it.
Nope, I did not do electroshock therapy to shut out that little voice. I raised the volume and let it tell me louder what I needed to hear. I AM NOT A QUITTER.
Getting back up and trying this again.
I enrolled for a personal training certificate in several institutions including NASM, Transformation Academy, and CPD Group. I also received certifications in nutrition science and nutrition coaching (I am NOT a nutritionist or dietician those require bachelor's degrees and more).
Why though? Because, even though Rafael is a skilled trainer and I love how he trains, I wanted to learn this for myself.
So I can find the best way to train myself to make the weight loss stick. Also, because I believe each individual responds to exercise programs differently and I believe I can do that for others too.
Especially women who have been serial dieters also seeking to fill an emotional void. This by the way is also why I became a transformation life coach. To go beyond the science of nutrition and exercise.
A human is extremely complex. And a simple diet or workout guide from a magazine or on social media will not do the trick.
Now, I am still working on my weight loss. Now I know better. I know what I must eat and how I must exercise to lose fat. But I still have to deal with my mental state. If my mindset isn't there, nothing will get done.
For me, personally, I have to go with the flow and know when to let it go. Somedays I won't get myself to eat properly and somedays I won't get myself to exercise and I have to be ok with that. Because now that I am a personal trainer on the days where my mindset is there I know what to do.
I may never reach my weight loss goals. I may never be a size 6 again. But I will be able to manage my moods, my stress, my hormones. I won't gain any more fat and become vulnerable to heart disease. And I will have more balance in my life than I did before. Also, I'm still not a quitter.
And I want to do this for others. Rafael has taught me a lot, the certification courses have taught me a lot, but none of it matters if I don't share what I know.
So I own a fitness studio and became a personal trainer and life coach to make myself healthy and happy. And now that I am doing that - I want to do the same for you.
Thanks for reading - please reach out if you are also having a tough time. 🙂