One thing that is very much on my mind right now, and I am sure it is as well for many of you all, is the concept of “challenges.” Not challenges in the sense of tough times, or trials and tribulations, but with regards to fitness challenges. I am well aware that challenges and streaks are big news in the fitness and blogging world.
From plank-a-days, to photo-a-day, to running every day, to blogging-every day to prompts, these challenges are promoted as tools for accountability, and I am absolutely not saying that they are or are not. I am well aware that several of the networks I am a part of really like to use this approach to stimulate activity as well as engagement. And I think that, for many, this can be fantastic for those that are looking for something to inspire them, to help them figure out an approach, and to get them up and going. And that is great! Like following a diet, or following a marathon training plan–it is comforting to know that we are doing the right thing, or on the right path.
My first question: But what if that path isn’t right for you?
You may notice that I don’t follow other people’s plans for me. I don’t use a marathon training plan, I don’t (or very,very rarely) take place in blog challenges (here is why), and I train myself. I wrote a post on a similar subject as a guest post for Heather a while back, and I think that it does a good job of explaining my need for flexibility in what you do, and who you are. In short: no two pairs of pants are alike, no two people are alike–why should the same people wear the same pants? And what if you are crazy bloaty that day, and can’t button them?
My Second question: What do you do when that ever-so-structured-and-carefully-laid-out path abruptly ends? Where do you go? What do you do next?
My problem with many challenges and training plans is that they impart no education, no knowledge. You simply follow suit, do them, and yes, you absolutely are doing work, but really, they are doing the heavy mental lifting for you. What do you do when you have to make decisions for yourself? When you move out of the house, have to do your own taxes, your own laundry, learn how much cereal and toilet paper you need to buy, how often to vacuum?
And this brings me to some exciting news, and my thoughts on my job as a personal trainer.
Right now, I have the distinct privilege of working with one of my favorite bloggers and someone who I have felt a connection with from the moment that I first made contact with her. Whitney is a full time working mom to a toddler, and she has made the brave, brazen, and
questionable amazing decision to compete in a fitness bikini competition. She approached me about training her for the competition in November, and I couldn’t say yes quickly enough. She has lifted and worked out for a while on her own steam, but never under the guidance of someone. And, little did she know it, she was my first training client 😀 And I am so happy for that. And not because I FINALLY get to use one of my many accreditations.
My first question to Whit? What is your goal? Why are you competing, but above all, what is your longer term plan?
We are, right now, in the midst of challenges, resolutions, and go out there and do its. And that is great–the first step out the door is always the hardest (and trust me, when it gets cold here, leaving your comfy cozy warm apartment is indeed the hardest). But don’t we, as athletes, always tout the benefits of the recovery? Of the follow through and the refuel? As much as I am getting Whitney ready for this competition (and girlfriend is KILLING IT), I also want her to figure out a longer vision. And then to help her achieve that as we are achieving her short term goals, and via the manner in which we are achieving her short term goals.
I want her to understand why I asked her to incorporate yoga into her week. Why I am grouping muscles in such a way. I want her to see that she doesn’t have to do things the “traditional” way, but that she can use those tools to find what works for her. I gave her a set of gym workouts and home workouts for the same muscles, so that no matter where she is, she can get it done. And she knows what to drop is something has to go. This truly is about training for life. I want her to love what she is doing, love the flexibility, and love how she can make it a part of her life.
Does that mean she isn’t going to have to get uncomfortable? HELL NO. I’m going to make her uncomfortable.
But I am also going to make her self-sufficient. Because, in my mind, self-sufficiency is the goal of every trainer–from the gym to parenthood.
I can’t wait till she becomes a teenager and starts to rebel…..
Do you consider yourself self-sufficient with regards to health and fitness? Or do you require guidance? (beyond simple inspiration and mixing things up sporadically)
Have you ever worked with a personal trainer? Done a “challenge”?