Fitness Friday: How Group Fitness Gave Me Life.

Happy Fitness Friday! Not sure if this is the only one I’ll ever write, but the topic fit for tonight, so I have to go with the nice little title!

So much has evolved for me in the past few months. I’ve mentioned in a few posts before how I hit an almost two-year long rut after graduating college and leaving the comfort and support of my amazing gym where I spent so much time for four years. Moving on for me when I joined a new gym meant opening up again; letting people know my story, my strengths, my limitations; and being more self-motivated than I’ve ever had to be before.  In 3 months, I can proudly say that I’d almost consider myself back to where I was 2 years ago physically and in an even better place than I ever was emotionally. I’ve also added 2 additional classes to my weekly workouts and tried a bunch more. I was away from the gym for 2 weeks due to a pretty serious abdominal strain, but I’ve been working my way back up since Monday. Tonight I tried a new class, Piloxing-a fusion of Pilates and Boxing, and while it wasn’t my favorite, I was so proud of myself for trying something new.

On my way home, I got to thinking how much Group Fitness (and those that I’ve created lifelong friendships with through it) has changed my life. Because of Group Fitness:

-I spend more time in the gym than I do doing anything else (with the exception of homework). Damn Graduate School.

-I get to have the amazing experience of riding a bike, even though my balance prevents me from riding one on the road.

-I have met some of my best friends (and grown closer with some family members. Love you Claud!).

-I have competed in 5 5k road races and finished every one.

-Physical therapy became fun.

-I feel like a dancer.

-I look at myself as a person-a mind, a body, and a soul-instead of Cerebral Palsy.

-I’ve learned how to modify movements and classes to make them work for me.

-I’m virtually pain-free (if you don’t count soreness and abdominal strains).

-I can look in a mirror (both during a class and elsewhere) and be okay with what I see.

-I’m actually starting to love what I see.

-I am stronger and more physically successful than any doctor ever believed I would be.

-I AM AN ATHLETE.

–I have developed a confidence in myself that I never thought I’d be able to uncover…

The strongest marker of this confidence for me is knowing that, on September 15, 2012, I will be taking a huge leap of faith when I take Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) Primary Group Fitness Certification. I know this is going to be difficult for me. I’ve got the academics/studying down no problem, but the practical component is going to require continuous hard work this summer. My movements aren’t the same as everyone else’s and it sometimes takes me longer to coordinate them. I know all of this, and I’m doing it anyway. There will be hundreds of people getting certified on that day with me, most of whom will not understand how or why I’d want to put myself through the rigors of certification. I know all of this and I’m doing it anyway. 

Why? Because Group Fitness gave me something I did not yet have: passion, purpose, hope. If I can get certified and help one person-with disability, injury, or just starting out at the gym for the first time-to find that too, it will all be worth it.

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Meaning of Christmas

It dawned on me today that Christmas is less that a week away and I have yet to acknowledge it, one of my favorite and most important holidays, on the blog! Opps!

Now that I’m older, I can honestly say that the joy in the season for me really comes from it’s true meaning now. For the past few years, I’ve not cared about the gifts so much (although presents are always nice) and really just enjoyed the time spent with my family and my own private time spend reflecting on the birth of that beautiful baby who changed the World forever. 

I don’t want to get too strong here, for those of you that read the blog and could care less about my faith or my religious beliefs–although, you’ve been getting a lot more of that than I originally intended of this blog (that’s God for you!).  There’s just two things I wanted to share with you tonight about the beauty of this Christmas holiday.

First, Sarah over at Stand Tall Through Everything wrote an amazing post today reflecting on the Fourth Sunday of Advent (today) and the power that one woman’s “Yes” had on every single of us who live this faith. Sarah was probably the second blogger I started following regularly, and her posts are really wonderful and well-written.  Please take the time to go check it out! It really moved me. Thanks Sarah, for letting me post it up on my blog!

Second, is one of my all-time favorite Christmas quotes. Bear with me as I tell you the quick story of where it comes from. The quote is from the longest running soap opera Guiding Light, which ended its 72 year run on September 18, 2009. I know some of you are probably judging me right now for pulling a Christmas quote from a soap, but this wasn’t just a tv show in my family. Guiding Light was sortof an undetectable gule in my family. It binded generations (my grandmother, to my mother and my aunt, to me and my sisters), and it brought us together for an hour each day, whether in person, over the phone, or simply in heart. My grandmother was always the go-to person about GL questions as she was the one who’d watched (or in her case listened) to the show the longest. Anything Grandma told you, you never questioned. My grandmother passed away in 2007 and I remember one of the last conversations I had with her was calling to see if she watched today episode and what she thought about the writers bringing some of the old characters back (and more importantly, if their storylines were truly accurate!). Watching GL was never quite the same when my Grandma passed away, but I remember calling my mom everyday to have the same conversations if I was away at school, and DVRing each episode to watch with my mom if I was home for a weekend or on a break. For those, and many more, reasons this quote holds a special place in my heart. Merry Christmas Everyone.

“When times are tough, we have to stop and appreciate what we do have, what’s important to us, and what keeps us waking up in the morning; our family. Our lives may not be perfect. We make mistakes, but we survive, and we forgive, and although the future may seem uncertain, nothing is ever lost as long as we have faith. It’s Christmas. Where the unexpected gift from the least expected person can turn everything around. Where there once was darkness, there may be light. And above all, there is that one gift that costs nothing, that requires no wrapping, and that is love. Love. What would Christmas be without it?”