BY MADISON SKAKLE
The fitness world can be a shallow place, but once you move past the aesthetics involved with working out, a whole new, beautiful world will open up to you. I’m sharing my personal revelations and motivations I’ve learned as a fitness professional for ten years.
Here’s a little bit of a back story. I graduated from N.C. State with both an undergraduate and graduate degree in fashion marketing. From there, I decided to keep on the marketing track for several years. All the while, I taught group fitness classes once or twice a week. I originally started teaching group fitness because I had grown up dancing my whole life (ballet, jazz, hip-hop) and wanted to continue to stay in shape. Teaching fitness seemed an easy next step for me.
What started as something small, blossomed into a true passion for teaching fitness. I began to look forward only to those few hours a week I taught classes and ended up growing tired and complacent in my marketing career. In December, I decided to make the plunge into teaching fitness classes full-time, and am now Engagement Director of Group Fitness at the Robinhood Family YMCA. I could not be more excited to be in charge of the fitness classes!
One of my worries, when I started teaching fitness, was that I would become shallow and have to encounter people who wanted to look a certain way and wanted me to help them get there. That scared me! Yes, there are lots of people who work out to look good, but I’m here to tell you that when your motivation changes from working out to look good to working out to feel good—whoa! That’s an amazing change, and it’ll help you work out harder and become even stronger. If your single motivation is aesthetics, then you can only go so far, and the challenge becomes small and shallow.
Here are my favorite reasons to work out:
- I mentioned this earlier, but I feel better when I work out. I also take better care of myself when I spend a few hours in the gym a week. I eat better, I drink more water, and I try not to go crazy on the sugar (“try” is the key word here). I stand up taller; I’m not winded when I go up stairs, and my blood pressure is pretty awesome. I owe all of that to working out.
- I work out because it makes me confident. Confidence, for me, is not gathered from, “Oh, my biceps are bulging out.” Confidence is deeper when it’s a challenge you have accepted and won. For example, set a goal of 4 workouts a week and when you beat that goal, you become confident because you are proud of yourself.
- I work out because statistics show that people who live an active lifestyle, live longer and healthier lives. I want to live long, have kiddos and see them have children, but I also want to do that while being healthy. Working out lowers blood pressure and reduces strain on your heart. It also increases good HDL cholesterol and reduces bad LDL cholesterol.
- My mood is improved when I work out. My husband always jokes when I’m in a crummy mood, “Did you work out today?” A brisk workout is like a bad-mood repellant; it eases your stress and anxiety while making you feel happier and more relaxed.
- Being physically active helps you sleep better at night. Let’s be honest, we all love a good night’s sleep. A recent National Sleep Foundation study found that up to 67 percent of regular exercisers say they get a good night’s sleep!