Monday, February 21, 2011

Dear Goodlife,

I am writing to you today to express concern about something that I was asked at a Goodlife Club while inquiring about membership pricing and information. The gentleman who showed me around the club and went through the form with me was very nice and gave me a lot of great information. As he asked me questions about my goals, etc. I could tell it was just a set of questions and prompts that he is supposed to ask and things that he is supposed to say so I in no way was offended by him personally but I think one of the questions is surprising, troubling and a huge cause for concern.
The question that I was asked is on a scale of 1 to 10 where would I rate myself in terms of current fitness. When I, surprised at the question said that it was hard to answer, trying to imply that I wasn't comfortable with the question, he prompted me, "would you say 6, 7?" (I think this was him innocently trying to associate a number with where I told him my current level of fitness is and not making a judgement on his own but I did feel that there wasn't an option to 'skip' a question I wasn't comfortable answering).
I understand that having a benchmark where you begin can certainly be a motivating factor as you achieve health and fitness goals but a number from 1 through 10?! We must all realize the connotations that such a "grade" conjures up for many people and often especially women. To have to pick a number of "where I'm at" right now feels oddly a lot like picking a grade for my body 1-10 and I don't think that's a healthy road to go down for most people.
Personally for me, seeking out a gym membership is primarily a way to improve my health and fitness, be more active and interact with friends who also have memberships. Having to appraise myself with a number 1 through 10 felt like a message from you to me of what my goal should be; having a body that would be described as a "Perfect 10".
Thank you for your time and please consider removing the question from orientation for future inquiries and memberships,

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Conflicting Goals

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was/is to run faster instead of farther, focusing on increasing my speed instead of my distance. Having been running only once a week or less for the last several months, I am starting out at a point where doing 5K in 30 minutes is doable but challenging. As far as my running goals are concerned, this is my starting point. But then I also want to work on toning and building muscle and let’s face it; be in the best shape of my life!

Somehow when I’m working out I feel guilty that I’m not running and when I run I feel guilty that I’m not working out. And then the weather comes into play and my running sneakers and I are quite comfortable inside the warm house, away from the cold and snow. It seems so funny to me that setting really positive goals for myself could end up being so conflicting. I think that the solution for me is to make a schedule at the beginning of the week of what I want to get in as far as workouts and do my best to stick to it. I will of course update on what this ends up looking like!
Do you have any conflicting goals? How do you find the balance between them?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Beginning.

So here I am at the beginning. And right now that sounds funny to say; sort of like I’m a narrator in a movie who knows the ending before they’ve even started telling the story. In a way I guess I do. It’s funny to feel so strongly about something. To be so sure of yourself. In a way I think that’s kind of sad. So often we don’t get what we want in life and not because we aren’t smart, or capable or any other number of things. It’s because we haven’t made the choice to go after it. To really go after it. I’ve started this blog because I’ve made a choice. I’m writing this post because this is the beginning and that’s how things generally start.

I’ve had a desire for many years to get in shape. And I don’t just mean lose a few pounds and tone up a bit. I want to be in amazing shape. Over the years I’ve called this many things. Ten years ago when a roommate used to complain about her stomach being squishy we would do Denise Austin’s Rock Hard Abs video on VHS and call it de-squishing. Five years ago a friend and I would watch the movie Stick It over and over, amazed at how good of shape Missy Peregrym was in to play a gymnast. We would call working out “stickin’ it” and would dream about being in such ridiculous shape. We would also eat chips and drink pop while we watched the movie but that’s a story for another day.

Last Summer I started running with a friend three times a week. She had just run a marathon. I hadn’t run in months and months. While I slowed her down, she made me push myself harder than I would have running alone. And when we would be trudging along, side by side down the lovely trails our city has to offer under the hot summer sun I would hit that point. You know the one. Where you want to stop. You’re tired and you don’t think you can go any further, and I would think, “you’re conditioning yourself” over and over and it would get me through the hardest points of my run. I guess what I meant was, if you don’t push past the point where it gets really difficult you’re not going to get any better. If you constantly get to the point where it gets really hard and stop you may be exercising but you’re probably not doing all that much to improve your athletic ability (but I’m no exercise physiologist either). So I would chant to myself, “you’re conditioning yourself, you’re conditioning yourself” and it would work. I would push through and past the tough part of my run. And on our last run together I was doing hill repeats in the blazing heat faster than the pace we’d run for most of the summer.

Two weeks after those hill repeats I would find myself completing a for-fun sprint triathlon just killing the hilly 5K and feeling so strong while I was doing it. And I started chanting something else to myself. I started chanting, “You’ve conditioned yourself! You’ve conditioned yourself!” as I had a smile plastered on my face the whole way. On that run, following the swim and bike I didn’t hit the point I needed to push through; I was just running. And it felt good. It felt great!

So here I am today and after a few months of pretty minimal physical activity I’ve decided to condition myself. Once and for all. And for real. I plan to be in the best shape of my life. I hope you’ll follow me and my journey wherever it takes me and I hope we can inspire each other along the way! So no matter where you’re starting, what your goal is or how far along the way you are I hope you’ll stick around awhile and share in my adventure!