All’s Fair in Loving Fitness … a.k.a. Why I Want to Change the World

I’m not sure that many people truly understand my dedication to fitness, and the importance of exercise in my life. Truthfully, I almost feel as if it has been the love of my life for a number of years – and since the only serious relationship that I’ve had in my life throughout the last 6ish years has been with my gym (well, the three that I’ve belonged to in the last nine years), it has truly meant the world to me. Definitely no commitment issues here.

Here’s the thing … I’m a bit of a fitness nerd. I’m always thinking about my next workout, or planning my next workout, or researching something one of my “regulars” had a question about, or looking into a new certification. I love talking about fitness. I don’t know that I would consider myself an expert, but I would say that I am pretty well-read. I genuinely care about the people who take my classes (yes, I recently emailed one of my guys an article I’d come across on hip exercises, because he had questioned how he could increase the strength in his hips). And I try to keep up with the trends (that’s how I became the first Piloxing instructor in the state of Virginia).

Although I can be extremely shy or insecure in a lot of conversations, you get me talking about fitness, I hope you have some time to spare. Because quite honestly … once I get going, good luck shutting me up. I guess you could say that one of my favorite quotes – courtesy of the founder of my previous company – absolutely rings true in this sense: “All I want to do is change the world; make it a better place for this and future generations.” So, yeah, to have someone thank me for “reinvigorating” their love of fitness – well, let’s just say that I’m not sure he realized exactly how much that one small comment really meant to me. Because that’s the type of person I am, and that is the type impact that I want to have in others’ lives – I want to make a difference. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small; just that because of something I said, or a story I shared, or a little bit of time I took to show them proper form, or an advanced exercise, or even just a little extra motivating word, they are changed for the better.

Nothing scares me more than a statistic that I came across yesterday, about the exponential increase in obesity in America that is anticipated by 2030. It makes me want to do something about it – but I have to understand that those people who will become those statistics have to make the conscious decisions themselves. I can only wish that the number of people willing to accept help were on par with the number of people willing to offer it. On more than one occasion, I’ve trained a friend, without expecting anything in return (for the record: most gyms will charge clients a minimum of $50 an hour to work with a trainer). I always end my classes saying that I would be happy to answer any questions. And a large part of why I do these things is because I feel compelled to, as the previously mentioned quote suggests, change the world. To make it a better place. And I think of the many times exercise has acted as a sort of therapy for me, and know that it could do the same for anyone willing to let it be a part of his or her life.

So, I’ll end with a final quote, straight from the mouth of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde: “Exercise creates endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands!” Go ahead and crack your jokes, but it’s true … I’m pretty sure those endorphins have brought me back from a nervous breakdown a time or two or twenty. And if I can encourage someone else to run (or lift, or cycle, or swim … or whatever) until they’re happy, too, I’ll feel like when my time comes, I’ll leave the world a better place.

Get Fit, Support the Troops … Pushups for Charity

Earlier today, I came across an interesting intersection between my “real” job as a marketing analyst for a government contractor and my “fun” job as a group fitness instructor: Pushups for Charity. A fundraiser for the Boot Campaign, which supports veterans, military and severely injured service men and women, Pushups for Charity encourages people to get in shape and give back, all at the same time.

I found myself clicking around the website, hoping I could find out a little more about this initiative. As a fitness junkie and the sister of an Army reservist (not to mention the many veterans I work with each and every day at my full-time job), I think it’s a great cause. Living in Northern Virginia, I figured there had to be an event scheduled in my area (most of them are scheduled for next weekend – Armed Forces Day, May 19), but unfortunately, I was surprised to discover that there is not.

I’d definitely recommend checking it out – even if you, like me, are unable to participate in an event (age and athletic ability doesn’t matter – their website says ages 8-88 participate). They have some great fitness resources on the site as well, including videos with pushup progressions for both men and women.