From growing up competing in sports and constantly battling a chubby physique to failing at a half-marathon and waking up in the hospital, I have had quite a few aspects change my own view on fitness over the years.
“It’s only $19.99 a month,” “…for the rest of your life!”
I can remember being about 9 years old and watching the U.S. win the FIFA Women’s World Cup against China. I remember this so clearly because of Brandi Chastain’s celebration afterwards where she ripped her shirt off and the picture went viral. I thought it was so cool how incredibly athletic and aesthetically fit she was. So when I would see Bowflex commercials on television and the advertisements were geared towards looking like the person on tv and becoming a better athlete… I was hooked! I began to beg my parents, coming up with every reason I could to get a Bowflex. I specifically remember one attempt I was convinced would do the trick, “It’s only $19.99 a month!” but the response I got was, “Yeah, Kesha, for the rest of your life!”
Needless to say, I never got a Bowflex and eventually that little monster of a dream turned into wanting to own my own gym. It was a done deal… I was going to own a gym and Dani (Burgess) Burke was going to have a boutique on the side, who knew we would be such little entrepreneurs at such a young age. :)
As I got into junior high and high school I became really self-conscious of my chubby body. I had no clue what to do to get the physique I wanted… not to mention, every time I ran (which was the only thing aside from “diet” that I thought would help) my face would turn fifty shades of red and I would get so winded - I definitely hated running.
Luckily, while in school at Tecumseh I took a strength & conditioning class with Coach Jamie Stinson. Aside from really respecting his drive and own athletic ability as well as his ability as a coach to get athletes to demand more from themselves, I really began to like strength. I liked the changes I was seeing aesthetically but I really just liked being strong - resistance training and plyometrics were definitely to thank.
Love for Running
When I first went to Peru for college, I saw a girl who was not overly athletic running the hills of Peru and thought, “Shoot, I should probably do that too!” As odd as this is going to sound, it was not until I started running the awful hills of Peru, whether it be long runs or just hill sprints, where I started to enjoy running. It was difficult, particularly gut buster (a road that goes straight up at a 110% incline - seriously!) Then, one weekend I came back home to Tecumseh and ran a one mile course that used to be the death of me. As I was running I realized, this course was a lot easier… so much easier that I ran it three times! I felt so good, so accomplished. I wanted more!
I began running more frequently... I was in the weight room a little bit, but not a lot. I started watching half marathons, marathons, triathlons, etc. on TV and made it a goal to do at least a half someday. I signed up for a half marathon in Wichita, KS in 2010. I was amped about it and everyone knew it. However, I did not run smart, I ran too competitively for my own good – a pace I could not maintain. I did not make it to the finish line, one mile short and I collapsed. I don’t remember anything from the end of the race, but I do remember waking up in a hospital bed not being able to recall anything from the previous month of my life. It not only scared myself and a few people really close to me, but it was also embarrassing. I had failed.
It was almost exactly one year from that day that the cross-country team needed an extra runner because they did not have enough to fill a team for conference… I decided 3.1 miles was not that far and agreed to do it. I was not good at cross-country but didn’t place last. On the ride home the coach asked if I would be want to be on the team the next year – if I said yes early enough I would get some scholarship money. As soon as I agreed to do it, I made a promise to myself that I was going to run more, drink less, improve my nutrition, and take my strength training more serious. Not only did I improve my times in the next year but my physique also changed quite a bit, like 20 pounds worth.
For various reasons, I kind of got in a rut with working out as a whole for a while. I was working in Lincoln, living back in Tecumseh, and just had not quite found my groove. Once I finally moved to Lincoln, I started CrossFit and really enjoyed the workouts and also the people, who did not take long to become great friends. Later in the year, I started instructing boot camp classes at Good Life Fitness in Lincoln, satellite classes in Seward, and 57Fitness classes Tecumseh. Needless to say, I was starting to become stretched pretty thin and I was putting my own fitness on the back burner.
In January 2014, I went back to school and started to find my groove again... in the weight room and running. One of the first days it was nice out during the spring, I told Marshall, “I really want to run to Hwy 75 and back from Peru.”
[Before I tell you his response, I should probably point out a few things:
1. That’s 13 miles and I had not attempted to run anything over 8 miles since fall of 2011.
2. The last time I tried to run 13 miles… Marshall was one of those individuals I mentioned earlier that was worried when he heard I was in a hospital bed.]
“I am not going to say I’m not worried, but I really think you can do it.”
Boom. Nailed it. :)
For me at this point, I enjoy working out. I am still driven by the same things I have been since I was just a little booger: having the ability to compete, aesthetic physique, and overall health. Not to mention, I am incredibly motivated by those around me (57Fitness, family, active friends, etc.).
But just because I am a pretty motivated person and really do enjoy running, does not translate into me always wanting to go for a run. I mean good gravy, we live in Nebraska and it’s 30 below outside… yesterday I had a chihuahua make a b-line for my life… or maybe the fact I just don’t feel like it. Trust me; it happens and it happens with not always wanting to do resistance training as well.
However, I have really come to realize I am a pretty upbeat person, and when I do not get some form of activity in to break an absolute sweat for at least 20 minutes – I get irritable, which ends up taking a toll on not only myself, but also those closest to me.
So what’s my mentality? I stick to my workout routine (including a balance of resistance training, HIIT, endurance, etc.) as much as I can. It’s set up to keep me having the ability to compete in most events if I would so choose on a whim (5K, 10K, half-marathon, lifting, etc.) I enjoy it, but it also challenges me. I have everything set up so that when I am spot on with my nutrition, my body’s appearance also responds and I become even more confident, and confidence is something I value.
On days I cannot make it work out to stick to my plan, because sometimes time is a factor and having a balance of living life is important… I make sure I get in 20 ridiculously sweaty minutes of something (burpees, lifting, HIIT -something!) The earlier I get it done in the day, the better – I have a ton more energy, creativity, and positivity for the day ahead of me... keeping me on track mentally and physically and then I pick back up the next day with where I left off.
While my health concerns probably differ from yours, there is one thing we both need and that is our health; without it we are gone. That alone is about enough to get me up off the seat and make at least 20 minutes work in my day. :)