I’ll admit. My fitness career was took on a life of it’s own. Sort of like an addiction. I went to school to be a counselor. I have the student loans to prove it. After the “blessing” (and I mean that whole-heartedly) of being fired from my first real counseling job after grad school, I ended up working for a nutrition education program where I was paid $9.00 an hour to teach low income families how to eat healthy on a budget. Since I had previously lost some weight (before husband #2 came along but that was last week’s blog :)), I knew a little bit about what to stay away from but I had basically learned to survive off Slim Fast and a few fruits and salads here and there. I also knew, as a just removed single parent how to make my dollars stretch to keep my son fed. How was I going to pull this off?
If you know me, you know I am intense. When I do something I do it…..all the way.
In three months, I was pregnant and the director of the program. Two issues that caused me to think twice about what I was doing and teaching. The truth of the matter is I was studying and finding new recipes but I was eating fried catfish with white bread and hush puppies when I got home. Forty six pounds and only a five pound eleven ounce baby later, I knew I had to do something quick. I started researching everything to get the weight off. I was over 200 pounds again (because I was still a newlywed and had gained a few “marital bliss” pounds). I started working for an herb and vitamin store while still working the nutrition program a couple of days a week. I had become vegetarian in the process, was real cozy with Billy Blanks in the evening and thought I had it all together until a series of events pulled me from both jobs and out of massage therapy school (I really didn’t want to be a counselor) and into Alabama with no direction.
I started working sales at a local gym and found that I really wanted to “give” more than sale. I got in trouble a lot for spending more time with people on machines that at that front desk. I started watching some of the classes, talking to instructors and then decided I would take the plunge and get certified to teach a class that was always near and dear to me: yoga. Yoga wasn’t popular at my gym and the popular instructors didn’t teach it but I wanted to so I got certified to teach it. My yoga classes were extremely successful but I wanted more of the popularity so I began to get certified in everything I could afford. To date, I have taught and/or am certified in (and no, I am not joking) yoga, cycling, step, Body Pump, Group Power, Body Jam, Zumba, Zumbatomic, Zumba Toning, TRX, Turbo Jam, PiYo, Urban Strip Tease, Piloxing, Pilates, Silver Sneakers (the traditional class and the yoga), Group Ride, Boot Camp, advanced versions of some of these, core and functional fitness, Balletone, water fitness, some I probably don’t remember and have taken quite a few workshops in other things I can’t remember. (That doesn’t even include my personal training certification, my holistic health coaching certification and all of the other holistic health modalities, etc. etc. ) And I found happiness in teaching very few. There were days I went to work grieving because I did not want to teach those classes. It had nothing to do with the participants. It had to do with the fact that I was involved in something for the wrong reasons (money, notoriety).
These days, I have done enough work and taught enough classes in enough places that I can pick and choose WHAT I want to teach WHERE I want to teach it and how OFTEN. No more suicide schedules and basically living under the pretense that I had to go with the masses to be of importance.
Because that’s what this is about. Not about me and my accolades but about finding myself underneath all of the expectations I piled on my own back. There was no written law which said I had to teach Step in order to be successful in the fitness industry. I was still defining myself according to what I “perceived” others believed. After several thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of practice and teaching, I am back to teaching those things which are authentically me; yoga, dance-based fitness and basic toning classes which draw people in who are not hard core weight lifting individuals. I am at my best in those situations and I can give my students my best. I am at the top of my game because I had the courage to let go of what I believed and lived what I knew.
Crawl from beneath the expectations you have placed on yourself. Your diamond is shining. Being who you are authentically is just the polish you need to bring forth your brightest shine.
“You are free to transform into a higher expression of yourself.” -Debbie Ford