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Inspiration Works Both Ways

I have heard often over the last 3 years about inspiration. My friends and colleagues have gone back to the gym, have started moving, and some have transformed themselves. Some have started and made many pitstops along the way, but they find it in themselves to start again, and again, and again.

A colleague told me yesterday how I had inspired her to take getting herself back into shape seriously.

If I can do it, anybody can.”


Mom and I in 2008

Seriously. I have stopped and started so many times over my lifetime I stopped counting. So what finally stuck? Working with the right personal trainer made all the difference in the world.

I had a history of self induced over use injuries along with carrying around a gigantic ball of stress on my shoulders and upper back. I was a weekend warrior, working all week, and then trying to kill it every weekend. The older I got, the longer it took for my body to recover from the injuries. The stress of my work week also brought with it unhealthy eating habits-daily trips to Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, Burger King; pizza at least once a week, ice cream and dessert every night in front of the television. I was going to the gym and trying to crush my Body Combat classes and coming home injured.

I tried Pilates, Body Combat, Boot Camp, I golfed 36 holes a day for a week on vacation, and I ended up with tendinitis in both elbows and a rotator cuff strain. Every time I tried to jump back in with both feet, I ended up on the couch with both feet up. I woke up one day and my husband said,

Well, you are getting older…”

I was not yet 50. I was so angry I said,  “I refuse to accept that I need to take Advil to make it through my day and wake up every morning in pain.”

I decided to join a gym and was offered a free 1 hr consultation with a personal trainer. It was not my first rodeo. I had gone this route before and it went nowhere because I never went back to the gym.

The trainer I met with left that gym for another job the week after my initial consultation and assessment, and I was offered a choice between two trainers. I guess I made the right choice at the time.

At that time, nearly 7 years ago, I could not hold a golf club in 1 arm, I had no grip strength, I could not press anything overhead, and I was in constant pain due to a pretty messed up thoracic spine. Twice a week for a year and a half I went to the gym and had my sessions. I did nothing else. My injuries healed, but my lifestyle did not change. I gave up my gym membership and tried to do it on my own for the next year and a half.

I changed jobs and  ended up in a place where employee health and well being were prioritized. My colleagues went to the gym every day, or practiced yoga, or went for a run. As I sat at my desk for hours and hours, I remember a colleague coming up to my desk and saying,

Yes, this job is great, but everyone who works here gains at least  15 lbs their first year.”

I thought to myself, THIS IS NOT GOOD. I was already overweight and uncomfortable. I decided to contact my former trainer and prayed that we could work something out.

That was almost 4 years ago. Losing weight was never the goal. Getting control of my life, functioning pain free and being able to do what I love to do was the goal. Eventually I decided I was working too hard twice a week to not take it to the next level which is when I looked for nutrition advice, and running was recommended as a way to jumpstart my metabolism. At the end of the first year I had completely transformed my body, both inside and out. I would never have believed it was possible in a million years.

If I can do it anybody can.”

Could I have done all this on my own? Maybe. But my competitve nature and lack of basic conditioning would have led to injury and more sidelines.

Working with a trainer provided the single most important piece of any program: consistency.

Working with a trainer provided a high level of training in a supportive environment that kept me injury free and that enabled me to consistently show up and work hard. Working with a good personal trainer makes all the difference-knowing how to be supportive and encouraging while inspiring clients to reach the next level is an art. In that first year I did so much more than I ever thought possible, including running over 500 miles, and running 24 races, including 2 half marathons.

If you have followed my blog posts you know after 3 years it was time for a training change, and in order to continue my journey I needed to find just the right person to guide me and help keep me injury free.

I cannot stress enough the importance of working with a personal trainer who is skilled and kowledgeable, especially if you are older.

Below is  testamonial from a client who works with my new personal trainer at Gain Strength and Conditioning:

Maybe it is because I have maintained my positive changes over the last 3 years- no more stopping and starting; maybe it is because I am getting older and I want to be able to function at the highest level possible for as long as possible, I am not sure what inspires others. I love when colleagues and aquaintances share that they have recently started running, or going to the gym, or practicing yoga.

I know what inspires me: I am inspired by everyone who has supported me on this journey since Day 1. All the starts and stops got me to the place I am today, and I am just now starting to put it all together. Through it all I have learned patience and perseverence. I am looking forward to what is yet to come.


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