Friday, March 22, 2013

Importance of a Support System

Three years ago I was weighing in at 226 pounds, my hair was falling out, I had no energy, slept all the time, and felt hopeless. I was warned that my lifestyle was leading to a path of diabetes and I didn't know where to begin on getting better. I started researching diabetes and how one can change their diet. I was also afraid to go to a gym because that's where all the fit buff guys workout. I had made fun of myself for so many years that I just knew that's what people would do if I tried to go to the gym. So what did I do? I started by walking. I would walk early in the AM or or late evening so no one would see me there. I started reading oxygen magazine and any fitness reading I could get my hands on just to educate myself on a fitter lifestyle. My passion grew to better myself as I began to feel better.

Fast forward one and half years later and 90 pounds lighter, I moved to Salina, Kansas. I began working out at Genesis Health Clubs to stay in shape. I chose the club because it was the only club I had been to where group fitness classes were included in the membership fee. I started attending the cycling classes ritually and eventually got my certification through Body Training Systems. I became the person who then taught those 5:15 am classes that I once attended. And after a year of being an instructor part time and working retail at the Buckle full time, I was offered to join the personal training department. I humbly accepted the job and they have been working to educate me on biomechanics and anatomy so I can train my clients safely and effectively. Then just a few months after becoming a full time personal trainer, I pursued my certification in Zumba. The director for Genesis Health Clubs in Group Fitness urged me to go to the training in Omaha and I've been teaching Zumba since July of 2012!

But who would have thought all that would have transpired? Definitely not me! And as many of you who keep up with my journey through Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, know that I just recently went to Las Vegas for the IHRSA Convention with the company I work for. It was a huge honor to go with Genesis Health Clubs to meet and network with so many amazing individuals in the fitness industry. I was able to see the newest and latest gym equipment as well as listen to amazing speakers who have been apart of the fitness industry for years. The individuals who spoke at a seminars had so much wisdom to offer someone like myself who is just starting out in this field. I was able to take away so much from each of their individual stories.

So what was the biggest lesson I learned at the convention?
The importance of human interaction! The reason why I wasn't successful on my own for the numerous years I tried to lose weight is because I tried to do it alone. I didn't know where to start. I needed a support system, a group of people who supported and believed in me, and that was what I received from training with experts. They kept me motivated, encouraged, and accountable. No matter where your gym is or what amazing gym equipment there is, we NEED people! We want to be noticed and we want to know we matter. And that's why I love the company I work for. The Genesis staff always welcomed me with open arms and they wanted to see me succeed from the time I joined as a member, to my current status of Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, and soon to be Nutrition Specialist. They care and want to see me grow because I care. As a personal trainer for Genesis Health Clubs my ultimate goal is to love the people who walk through our front doors. No matter if they're my clients or not, they're apart of a community. And our community is all working towards one ultimate goal, to better ourselves one day at a time. And that's my vision! I desire to see the people in our gym be inspired and encouraged to get moving and living healthier lives!

Challenge: chose someone you regularly see at your gym, get their name, and encourage them!

***Lastly, huge thank you to Genesis Health Clubs! Thank you Mr. Rodney Stevens, Mr. Johnny Stevens, Mr. Preston Petersen, Mr. Joe Humiston, and Dr. Mark Slavin who believe in me. Thank you for investing in me and for allowing me to be apart of such an amazing team. You all have touched my life in ways I'll never be able to explain.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Don't Let Your Past Hold You Back!

Karla Wagner

Why did you make the choice to start working out?

I had always been fit and active until I completed graduate school in 2005. I quickly found myself swamped with responsibilities. I felt pulled constantly between raising a family, commuting to work full time, and completing the necessary tasks of life. I allowed everyone else to be my focus and ignored my own health needs. So my weight started to climb and my energy dipped.

Then, I had an accident in 2007 that left me with chronic back and neck pain. Since that time I have had a few surgeries, undergone many rounds of physical therapy, received numerous nerve blocks, and tried nearly all other conservative/alternative treatments available. No matter what I tried nothing helped. I only was able to go to work and function but I was never able to truly enjoy life. This accident robbed me of nearly everything in life that had been a hobby or sense of pleasure. Gone were the days of riding horses comfortably, running, softball, and living an active lifestyle. I slowly gained weight and fell miserably out of shape. Finally, one day, I woke up and thought enough was enough. I had to do everything in my power to get better as I was "sick and tired of being sick and tired".

Why did you make the choice to get a personal trainer?

I knew that with my medical history that a trainer was going to be very valuable as I needed someone with the expertise to guide me thru the exercises. I had lost a tremendous amount of muscle strength and I realized that gainging this back was going to be the key to not only sustaining weight loss but also relieving the stress placed on the body from the injured areas.

How have you benefited from having a personal trainer?

I have gained not only a ton of strength (and the start of some definition) but also a huge amount of balance improvement. Ashley has worked opposing muscle groups in a ratio that I would have been unable to do without her expert knowledge.

Who is your personal trainer?

Ashley Vernon

What have you learned from training?

I have learned that there is hope. I feel and act 20 years younger! My energy has tripled, my size is dramatically reduced, and I'm able to live and enjoy my life again.

Any tips you want to share from you experience?

Keep on fighting and give recovery every ounce of strength that you have left. It is not an easy battle to win but it can get better if you regain your health. I will never be "normal" again but I have reclaimed what was taken from me and I am not giving a bit back without a struggle.

How has your body progressed or has your body made any changes since beginning personal training?

I feel amazingly different than I used to at the end of the day. I have energy, hurt less, and do more than I have done in years. I'm in size 4 jeans and working at getting stronger. My goal has always been to be healthy and fit but the constant flow of compliments on my appearance has been a welcome benefit :-)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Kiss Fear Goodbye!

This morning I was reading a devotional on Fear from Joyce Meyer.  I find her writing very raw a real.  The lesson this time had to deal with fear.

Her opening statement had me hooked.  "Everything in life is a process in motion.  Without movement, advancement & progression, there is no life... God created us to be goal-oriented visionaries.  Without a vision, we become bored and hopeless."

Ah Ha!  That's it!  To fully enjoy life, you must have a positive outlook on life.  You have to be willing to open yourself up and move forward.  So what does that have to do with FITNESS?  EVERYTHING!

When i first stared my journey several years back, i tried the Atkins diet. I lost 40lbs, but then ended up gaining it all back. Why? because i never set a goal. My goal was just to lose weight and look hot. However, i couldn't stick with it because i didn't know how to progress from there. i reached my max of 226lbs my junior year in college and it took me seeing a picture of myself that i realized something had to change. We all have them!  We have moments of awakening where we finally realize we need to do something.  And in that moment, you can decide to keep doing what you've always done- or you can make a change!

I had always defined myself as the fat kid.  But when I finally took hold of myself, I gained a self respect for myself.  I decided that I was going to stop fearing the future and what I didn't have control over.  God has a plan for me.  There are days that I 'feel' like I'm getting nowhere, and then there are days I can SEE my progress.  And that is the key.  PROGRESSION.  We get caught up on the minimal things.  We forget that each day is a new day to better ourselves, that it's a process.  My goal each day, is to be better than I was yesterday.  Not to compare myself to this person or that person, but to dig deep within myself and make a healthier choice than I did the day before. 

I ask you, are you bettering yourself each day... or are you just going with the flow.  Consider, if you don't have goals as well as a plan of action, your backsliding.