It’s a tall order sometimes to be the leader. The responsibility is larger than the glitter and the accolades. But when I was given the opportunity to do a group project with the “What’s Beautiful” campaign sponsored by Under Armour (I am being sponsored through my ambassadorship with Fit Fluential), I jumped at the chance. Since this entire campaign started, I have been redefining (struggling sometimes) myself as an athlete. I actually never really saw myself as an athlete. (Wearing Under Armour clothes sort of did help my ego though because all of the cool kids on athletic teams wear Under Armour but I digress…..) But I KNOW that part of who I am in this entire fitness arena is a woman who wants to lift other women up and help them find what drives them and pushes them to go farther than they’ve ever been, physically and mentally. That is what drives me; to be the example. And they see me doing it and admitting that I am human, not perfect in any way. They can then be encouraged to keep trying.
I asked several of my friends who are all different ages, sizes and fitness levels to join me for a day of , well, I didn’t tell them anything. 🙂 I just asked them to come hang for some fitness fun. Because they all know me, they anticipated we were going to be doing Zumba. When the first thing I said was, “we are going to run a mile” I
thought some of them were going to leave. 🙂 They took a deep breath, hustled to the track and ran that mile with guts and girl power. They encouraged each other to push on, sang Bon Jovi, swung towels and kept at it until everyone
was finished. I then proceeded to just lay stuff on them back to back: sprints, burpees, push-ups, sit ups, squats, bear crawls, body drags, pull ups. Lots of them. It just got out of control from there. But everyone was feeling great; great enough to hit splits and round-offs and handstands afterwards. The overflow of how they felt when they left was amazing. The smiles through their tired bodies and their gratitude for the support they felt was amazing. I think every one of them posted on my Facebook page that night, or at least tagged me in a post. 🙂 They were ready for the next day. And I needed them because I was tired.
I have taught Zumba every Monday night at 5:30 p.m. (well, 95%) at the University Fitness Center for the past 6 years. But I had a situation right before I headed to the gym that completely knocked me into the wrong head space, I hadn’t been sleeping because I was nervous, I had been eating weird things because I was stressed and I was feeling the pressure of the crowd I was expecting. I was also wondering how I was going to entertain people who were merely there to win prizes and not hear anything I said AT ALL. I could have literally passed out when I stood on that stage and saw all of those faces. I saw my girls from Sunday and I knew there wasn’t but one thing to do. I pressed play and gave everything I had to those 175 people, despite how I felt, despite how they felt about me, despite everything else. Leaders work with what they are given and make the situation better.
The laughs were real. The tears were real. The gratitude was real. And the experience was real. It solidified my decision to go even harder in this fitness game. People see me as real. And when they see me as real, someone with real problems but real results, it becomes feasible to them to go after what they want.
There is an athlete in all of us. I am so thankful to be a part of holding that mirror to the face of so many and allowing them to see that. And staring into that mirror myself. I know this is just the beginning but I’m ready. I’m ready to be a leader, walk my talk even more and keep helping bring beautiful (and sexy) back to women everywhere.
And I know everyone there will hear Luke or the “Tootsie Roll” again in life and think of me. 🙂