What type of change did you make in your life? Or what goal did you set out to achieve? My goal was to be more intentional about movement. I just moved to Minnesota this year and I wanted to find a way to keep active that I could maintain over the winter months. Another goal I had was to feel stronger and more comfortable within my body- and to build some muscle. On a smaller scale level, I had the goal to be able to deadlift my own body weight, being unable to deadlift more than 25-30lb when I first started. Since mid-late August, I have been going to the gym 3 times a week (except for one week), and if I had a clone, I could deadlift them out of a fire now.
What are some challenges you faced that elicited that change or that made you want to go for that goal? What barriers did you run into while pursuing your goal? My biggest barrier has been my own harsh superego and impatience. Unfortunately, I have some perfectionistic traits that can stand in the way of personal growth. Fortunately, I am also stubborn enough to keep going. It has been challenging not to push myself in a way that might result in injury rather than trying to have a new PR each time. It was also a process to find joy in the uniqueness of my own personal developmental path, and to not compare myself to others in terms of how much (or little) I am able to lift, or how quickly (or not) I progress. It takes practice in accepting that some days my form isn't perfect or perhaps I'm not able to perform at 100% because I'm tired. This whole experience is very meditative in the sense that it's about embracing imperfection and getting comfortable with slow, slow progress. I am sure the upcoming winter months will provide barriers that are much more primordial as well.
What are some factors that helped you make that change or that helped you achieve your goal? Anything in particular that inspired you throughout your journey? List any specific services you used at the DAHLC. The instructors at the DAHLC with their well-structured programs and approachable and encouraging attitudes have been the most helpful. It has been invaluable to have experts with keen eyes and high standards providing constructive criticism. (A special shout-out to some of the instructors who have gone above and beyond- You know who you are!) It also helped to get to know some of the other friendly faces in class now that I have been coming in more regularly. Seeing others striving towards their own goals makes working out feel like a community effort rather than an individual struggle. I also have a few friends outside of the DAHLC that are on their own fitness journeys. We check in with each other every now and then for accountability and to share some of our gym victories. Feeling stronger day to day and being able to do more has also been motivating. I would strongly (pun intended) encourage joining a class as the sweaty solidarity is definitely inspirational. I highly recommend the Barbell Club, Bootcamp, and Yoga classes. If you like cycling and have an all-natural coccyx of steel, the spin classes will destroy you in the best way too.
What would you tell or encourage someone who is in your old shoes and doesn’t know where to start? It's not all or nothing. It's all or something. Just show up, give it your best, and even then, know that progress will still be incremental and non-linear. That said, if you can make small, consistent, and gentle efforts, checking in with the DAHLC's wonderful instructors if something you're doing ever feels off, you will leave feeling better than when you showed up. Don't forget to acknowledge and celebrate milestones in your progress!
How does the future look different than it did before? Considering I can now confidently carry a 45-lb pail of cat litter up the stairs to my apartment, whereas, in the past I couldn't even carry one down the hallway, I foresee a future where my cat feels very proud of her strong human. In all seriousness though, I hope my future will look more active than before. I plan to try out the Zumba classes, would like to get back to running, and hope to someday get into a handstand!