I found fitness in my 30’s. Better, as they say, late than never.
To give you some background, I danced all my life, which kept me in decent shape. However, I was generally terrible at sports, hated running with the fire of a thousand suns, and had literally no clue about what to do in a gym. I may even have been known to make fun of friends who were committed to their fitness routines… So, when I graduated from college and my life as a dancer ended, things went sideways. I gained weight, I lost whatever strength I had, and I felt crappy. I tried to get into yoga a couple of times, but never stuck with it.
When I turned 30, my sister called me out. She had became a volunteer ski patroller during college, something we had both always wanted to do, and I was both in awe and extremely jealous of her. She finally said, “If I can do it, you can do it. So do it.”
If there’s one thing I love it’s a challenge, so I was in. My parents put me in ski lessons at age 5 and took us on family ski vacations every year, so I’ve always been a good skier. But I knew that to become a patroller, I’d need the fitness to back up the skills.
So, on my sister’s recommendation, I started working out with Shelby Jacquez at Diakadi twice a week. In the most calm, even-keeled way, she kicked my butt. But the funny thing was that because I was working towards a goal with Shelby’s support and direction, I felt empowered instead of defeated. And as I stuck with it and started lifting heavier things, I even wanted more – more core strength, more endurance, more flexibility. Please note – this feeling surprised the crap out of me and still feels really weird, since so much of my previous identity was wrapped up in being an anti-workout person.
These days, the absolute set in stone non-negotiables are personal training sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and a pilates session on Wednesday. During the fall and winter, I work on upping my cardio capacity for ski season by using the Nike Run Club app on three other days of the week. During the spring and summer, I run much less often (ok, I still kind of loathe it) and instead fill in with a mix of cardio dance classes and long hikes with my husband and dog.
This schedule is sacred. I have had the opportunity many times to work with clients during my previously planned workouts, but I’ve never taken it. Not only does my fitness routine keep me in shape for ski season, but it also allows me to be a better organizer since I can lift and move things many people can’t.
Until I started weight training, I never thought of myself as a fit person. I still sometimes catch myself thinking of myself as weak when faced with a new fitness challenge (like that time I tried Soul Cycle). But to me the biggest benefit of finding fitness has been the confidence it’s given me. Because I feel physically strong, I feel mentally strong as well. Every time I do an exercise with a heavier weight, I finish feeling like I can take over the world. It’s totally unlike my dance life, and still seems sort of alien, but the feeling is real!
Yes, I do wear a smaller clothing size than I did in my 20’s. Yes, I weigh less. Yes, my muscles are more defined. But the thing I’ve realized is that those are just side effects, and they’re not enough to motivate me. For me, my fitness routine has to have a practical reason and a goal that I’m working towards.
On that note, my husband and I have signed up to run the Napa Valley Turkey Chase 10K on Thanksgiving. Nothing gets me running like race fear!