Hey, mama: a letter of encouragement from 2 of your biggest fans
I've been a trainer for 13 years. I've worked with a diverse client base ranging from 14 year- old volleyball players to 80 year-olds who burpee for fun. Tonight, I want to shine the spotlight on the parents that attend my classes, particularly mommas, and their kiddos.
If you are one of these parents, I want you to know that I see you.
I see you hauling your littles into the gym after a long day of work.
I see you running into class late, with a look of embarrassment on your face.
I see you putting in work to take care of your body and mind every day in class.
I see your littles watching you as you are putting in the work to take care of your body and mind every day in class.
I sense how much pressure you are under on a daily basis, managing kids, work, spouse time, and time for YOU (gym time).
I know how important your gym time is to you, and understand that that may be the only time during a 24-hour period that you have to yourself.
Here's what I want you to know:
I don't "think" you're killing it, you ARE killing it.
When you come to class late, my heart is filled with JOY to see you, because I know there are so many other plates you have spinning at any given moment. I know that it may have been a 10 step process for you just to even get to the gym, from putting on your leggings and feeling "BLEH" to having a kid barf on you as you pull up to the doors. I don't care if you're late. I care that you're there. Don't waste any of your precious time feeling as if anyone is judging you for tip-toeing in. I am proud of you and so happy to see you.
Witnessing you putting in physical labor at the very beginning and/or very end of your day is nothing short of inspiring. It's always fun for me to chat with you after class, even if you feel like you look like a drowned rat. And yes, I will always hug you, even if you are soaked. You may cringe at the thought of a sweaty hug, but for me, here's what goes through my head....sweat is more than a sign of increase in body heat. In order to sweat like that, there had to be some major internal dialogue going on in your head, including thoughts of inadequacy, fear, and anger, yet you chose to continue on, smashing through boundaries in your head. A lot of the time, we focus on physical capabilities as a readout for fitness. Yes, the physical component is important, but I have watched very physically fit people give up on a new routine before even giving it a chance because it made them feel vulnerable. You are not afraid to be vulnerable, and that's why you are able to handle the challenges thrown at you in the gym (and in life). This means you are able to continue pushing yourself through a workout, despite the negative voices that may creep into your head. That's bigger than a workout. That's life skills. You inspire me.
Your kids think you are a hero. And you are. I love it when you bring your kids to class and they sit at the front of the gym and play. Do you know how often they watch you and see what you are a part of? It's A LOT, and it makes my heart grow 3 sizes in an instant. They look at their mommy or daddy doing burpees, so THEY want to do a burpee (channeling Mean Girls right now..."I saw Cady Herron wearing army pants and flip flops, so I bought army pants and flip flops"). It's true. They wanna be like you. How amazing is it that you get to show your sons and daughters that it doesn't matter what body type you have or how old you are...you have a right to fitness just as much as anyone else does. You are teaching them that they can practice like you do to be STRONG. That is the coolest.
I know you feel under the gun. Oh if I had a dime for every time I heard "I didn't do well tonight" or "If you see me slacking, I'm just not feeling well" after a workout class. You don't have to justify ANYTHING to me (or anyone else) regarding YOUR gym time/performance in a workout. Nada. Zip. I don't know yo' life and everything you're going through day to day. The gym is your safe zone. If you want to lay on your back and count the ceiling tiles the entire class, go for it. YOU DO YOU. My goal is to provide you with a space and time in your day that makes you feel better about life. Do me a favor and give yourself some credit. Please refer to the previous 3 paragraphs highlighting the great things about having you in the gym. Did you notice that none of those things have anything to do with how many push-ups you can do in a row? That's not a coincidence. WELLNESS and sustainable fitness is not measured solely by performance. I want you to see in yourself what I see in you. Greatness and grit. Give yourself a high five. Now.
Whenever you're ready. Let's hear it.
FINALLY: If gym is your therapy, DON'T SKIP YOUR THERAPY SESSIONS. I know that it's more than burning calories for you. I know parents that love coming to the gym because that's the only place they can get a hot shower in peace. I LOVE THAT. OWN IT. That's what we are here for! At the end of the day, a happier you = happier coworkers, kids, spouses = A MORE JOYFUL, PEACEFUL, CONTENT life. There's nothing more that I want for you than PEACE. Peace in how you feel about yourself, your kids, and the people you are surrounded with. It's the best feeling in the world, isn't it? YOU deserve it, 100%. Take care of yourself. You weren't meant to handle it all alone. If I can help take some of the proverbial weight off of your shoulders by putting actual weights on your shoulders, C'MON THEN!
You're doing a great job, mom and dad.