Thank you so much to Kelly for sharing her story with me (and now all of you!). I am absolutely honoured to be a part of her journey. Her dedication and commitment is inspiring. I am so excited for what our future holds as a team.
When I started my ALF journey four months ago, I never thought I would be blogging about it. Honestly – I wasn’t even positive that I would still be here (my only goal on my first day was to still be breathing at the end of my first session). Since I am both here and blogging about it though, I wanted to share with you what led me to Amanda, and what keeps me with ALF now.
My journey to Amanda started a long time before I attended my first ALF session. I was working as a National Manager in a job I loved, with a team I loved, got to travel all over the place every week and come home to my beautiful house and children …. you know, #perfectlife.
Health wise things were not quite so rosy though. I was putting on weight (I put it down to an ‘airport diet’ plus a few too many skipped meals) and I was tired (I put that down to only spending two nights a week in my own bed, plus trying to juggle full time work, study, parenting and life). Then I got sick – just a cold. Then another, and another – and then pneumonia. Took some time off. Put on some more weight. Was ridiculously tired, and got sick every time I went back to work for more than a week. After another hospital stay I realised that I needed to make a change.
So, I resigned, and I did what every sensible adult person does …. took another corporate job (because working in a ridiculously busy job that let me come home each night would fix it right!? Yeah, nope). I wasn’t sleeping, was too tired to keep up my morning runs, and was living on coffee and chocolate to make it past 2:00pm every day. I put on more weight and felt awful. Then I got sick again, and ended up in hospital, again.
At the time, the obvious question seemed to be What the hell, body, what are you up to? Six months later, after yet another hospital stay (this time because my pancreas and digestive system had just given up), I got honest with myself and realised that the real question was What the hell, Kelly, what are you doing to your body and what are you going to do to fix it?
So, I permanently resigned from the corporate world, and decided to make 2017 about focussing on my health. I started an online, 7-day challenge with Amanda about 8 weeks later. While I had already been focussing on my nutrition and movement, I really appreciated the motivation and accountability that came with working out with a group (does anyone love working out on their own?). I felt great – it still took me another month to try a Saturday park session though, and another month after that to book myself into regular classes and set my “just keep breathing” goal.
Honestly, in those first four weeks there was more than one occasion where I thought I was going to have to renege on that goal. I discovered cardio was indeed hardio, that I couldn’t do a push up or sit up, and that burpees required a level of coordination that I simply did not possess (side note – if you ever need a good belly laugh, please watch me try to do a kettle bell swing).
And then there was THE park session; the one where I was 100% certain that I was going to throw up, pass out, walk out, or do some weird combination of all three. I vaguely remember doing a sprint thing (that’s the technical term) as my last exercise, hearing the timer go, and trying to work out whether I should lie down or throw up. I looked at Amanda, who smiled oh-so-sweetly and said those four little words that every woman wants to hear at the end of a circuit …… “and now for the finisher”.
Long story short – that was the day that I survived my first five-minute AMRAP, and realised that when I put my mind to it, I really could keep going long after my body wanted to stop. Three months on, I use that same AMRAP as my morning warm up.
I would be lying if I said that getting to this point has been all sunshine and lollipops though.
There have been days when I really did not want to work for it, and weeks when being accountable to Amanda was the sole whole reason I showed up. It was hard to work out how to fit the time in to start with. Harder still to keep it up when I went back to work again, and trust me when I say that it would be sooo much easier to just stay in bed at ridiculous o’clock when it is freezing cold and dark.
I have fallen on my butt, and wondered if I would ever walk properly again because of how sore it was. I have hated Sally (if you haven’t met Sally yet – think Simon says, with squats). I have had to relearn how to use my injured shoulder, and cried from pure frustration while trying to work the back muscle that caused that shoulder to be a problem in the first place.
So why do I do it?
I could tell you about the weight I have lost, the centimetres that I no longer own, or all the clothes that no longer fit. They are pretty substantial. They were not the reason I started with Amanda though (I didn’t own scales, and was comfortable with my body – extra weight and all – before I started). They also aren’t the reason I still get up before the sun 5 days a week to hang out with her and the early morning tribe (not going to lie, I love how my body looks, the reflection in my mirror is nowhere near enough motivation to move me when it is 4 degrees at 4am though!).
I started because I wanted to find the balance I had lost. I wanted to be healthy, to sleep well, and to have enough energy to do something (anything!) other than fall asleep on the lounge in front of the tv every night. I keep going because I have achieved all of this, and gained a support person (read: cheerleader, drill sergeant, and/or excuse to show up whenever I need one) and a whole tribe of like-minded people to work out with.
My personal belief is that exercise should be a celebration of what your body can do, rather than a punishment for what you have done to it, and I am grateful for having found a trainer who lives this philosophy. While there are some days that I am still frustrated by how little I can do (recovery, I have found, is a two-steps-forward-three-steps-sideways process), I am proud of how far I have come since taking my first little step toward a healthier me and look forward to where that little step will take my body (and my life!) in the future.
Watch this space …
Nothing worth it ever comes easy, but when you surround yourself with the right people and the right environment, you CAN be, do and have whatever you choose. It all comes down to whether you are ready to make a commitment to yourself. Apply now to join the #alftribe and get started in August with your first 14 days for $14.