October 2, 2015 by Darlene McC
Most people I’ve known well spend at least part of their 20s evolving emotionally through the idea that they are not a collection of static adjectives. That each of us isn’t a set of words that define us; but a person who evolves and changes and grows over time. It’s funny that on the cusp of 32 I’m re-learning that lesson, applied to fitness.
I spent my early years as an athlete; mindless of the impact on my body and assuming that my physical sensations were universal, and static. That everyone had “bad” knees and that any extra weight I was carrying was because of my “large” frame. I’ve written many times before about how injury caused my decline, 8 years ago I was diagnosed, and decided not to accept what I’d always assumed was an inevitable decline into sedentary weight gain.
That journey eventually lead me to a career in fitness and coaching – during the first few years of which I reached the best fitness of my life. I was proud of the body and lifestyle I had built; but also looking to expand my horizons, so I stepped into a management position at the fancy gym I work for.
I love my job. I love my team…. But 2 years of management has destroyed my body…
As a fitness pro, especially a female one, you’re subjected to all the unrealistic body standards of our normal societal pressure; but compounded by your client projecting their body ideals onto you as well. As a manager I get the extra layer of other pros looking to me as an example. I’ve been in interviews and watched the candidate scan my body trying to hide the look of “you’re a trainer!?” behind their eyes.
But 2 years of devolving into who we think of as “our clients” (sedentary, bad diet, sore back, looooong stints at the computer, high stress) has taught me just as much as recovery from illness did. And the the old adage “you don’t use it you lose it” has been deeply driven home.
Fitness isn’t a destination, just like life isn’t.
It’s a process, and that’s what’s great about it.
As our priorities shift and evolve, our bodies (and, in turn, minds) will as well.
And my body shifted these past 2 years from the athlete I was to the desk jockey I sometimes must be…
I’m fortunately at the crossroads where I’ve grown into my job enough that I can shift at least part of my priority back to myself and my wellness. I needed some incentive, structure, and a plan.
Expect that I’ll be writing more on this journey in the coming weeks/months. I’ve been hearing more and more in the population of my gym that work is shifting focus away from wellness as early Millenials try to balance all their good intentions with finally having a job and some money…which means wanting to give 110% to work and having -10% for yourself.
But that’s the thing about caring for your body and your mind – it doesn’t end. It just evolves. And you’re the harbinger of whatever change comes down the line. So over time these late 20s/early-30s post hipster workforce jockies will shift back to caring for themselves better.