Yesterday, a client of mine sent out a snap chat that casually mentioned his new t-shirt was a size smaller than he used to wear. Milestones like that are worth so much more to me than tracking exactly how much you weigh. He comes in for his sessions and he works his ass off; I don’t need to force him to step on a scale every week to see what it says. Letting him tell me that his clothes are fitting more comfortably and he’s shopping for new sizes is much more valuable.
A big part of fitness is obviously focused on your physical appearance. I would guess that most people decide they want to start working out primarily to change the way that they look. I know I did.
When I was a senior in high school I was getting ready to go to the Bahamas for the big senior trip and decided that I needed to lose some lbs. (I did not, btw). I joined a gym for the first time, cut my calories ridiculously low, and did a lot of cardio on the elliptical. It sucked -- duh. I tracked my progress by stepping on a scale and reaching for a certain number (I think I might have weighed 112 lbs. when I went away on Spring Break, which is honestly insane now that I think about it because I am almost 5’8).
In my freshman year of college, my focus remained seeing a certain number on a scale, or basically keeping my weight below 120lbs. Because this somehow meant to me that I was in shape! Even though I was doing insane amounts of cardio and eating very little, which clearly does not = fitness.
Fast forward to my junior year of college when I lived abroad for 6 months, stopped working out, and ate literally whatever I wanted. I gained a lot of weight (in an unhealthy way, there was a lot of European fast food and a lot of dessert to be had) so when I got home I knew that my first priority would be getting back in shape. But this time I had a much different approach and a different definition of what “in shape” meant. I honestly can’t tell you how much I weighed when I came home from Europe, or 6 months into training, or today. I would guess around 130-135 lbs, but I’m not sure. I probably weigh almost the same now as I did when I got back, because I’ve been lifting and building muscle (bootybootybooty).
And in training this way, I fell in love with going to the gym. Somewhere along the way it went from a suck ass obligation to (for serious) the best part of my day. When I wake up one of the first things I think about is that I will get to leave the office and go work out later. It clears my head, it puts me in a good mood, and it makes me feel strong and capable.
That change in my thought process was a big part of why I decided to become a Personal Trainer. So that I would have the chance to show people that getting stronger and healthier is about so much more than the way that you look. I guess I Iooked pretty good when I was skinny as hell, but I was unhealthy and probably (definitely) a little mentally unstable.
I still look at myself in the mirror to check out how I look, I am a human woman after all, but I don’t worry about weighing a certain amount or even care to step on a scale. I care about having awesomely strong muscles and feeling good overall and reaching new goals, like doing 5 pull-ups or deadlifting 200lbs.
And, most importantly, being able to do things like crouch down in a crowd of people, put my older sister on my shoulders, and literally squat her weight so that we can stand up and dance like one giant lady. It’s the little things.
*fun fact* I just realized that in both "unhealthy" before pictures my diet also consisted of excessive amounts of cheap tequila. So yeah, I'll just leave that there.