Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My 5 Best Health and Fitness Decisions #dishthefit

I've always been a pretty active girl. Cheerleading kept me busy in school, and access to a free gym in college taught me that exercise could be fun (and important). I did my best to eat well, and I read magazines like Self and Fitness to learn new things. But it wasn't until 2009 that I really, truly came to realize that fitness was my calling. I was working a job I hated in a city that wasn't near to the people I loved, so I turned to the gym.

I decompressed at the gym.
I took care of myself at the gym.

I seriously loved the gym.
It felt like being at home.

I didn't doubt myself there, or feel lost.
I felt like I knew what I was doing, and I needed that.

But when I look back on where I was and how far I've come, being in that gym in that city where I felt alone...deciding to make fitness my job instead of a hobby...those moments make up just one of many great health and fitness decisions I've made.

Here are five of my best in no particular order.

1) I started a fitness blog.
My second favorite hobby is writing. It was my job when I was in advertising, and I loved it. So when I decided to switch gears and become a personal trainer, I figured a fitness blog would supplement that and provide a creative outlet. Little did I know how much it would return to me: I've found so many other bloggers that offer up such great inspiration. I've worked with companies that have so graciously given me products to sample. Without the blog, I might be a little less stressed or have a bit more free time, but with the blog, I'm learning more and more about this industry and what others like me are doing in it.

2) I started teaching group fitness classes.
When I became a certified personal trainer (also a good decision), I knew immediately that I would never...ever...EVER in my life be a group fitness instructor. It wasn't for me, I simply wasn't interested. And then (after much begging) my then-boss convinced me to take on a Circuit Sculpt class which, she said, would essentially be like group training. I was terrified, but I did it.

And now, I might...dare I say might...love teaching group fitness more than training individually! Group fitness is awesome, so social, and has this way of feeling like a party. It's also given me a good confidence booster in and outside of the club. Because if I can stand, jump, bend, flex, twist and shout in spandex in front of a studio full of people, I can pretty much do anything, right?

3) I ran the Chicago Women's Half Marathon on June 23, 2013
This is the half marathon that really, truly cemented my love for the distance. It was my second half marathon. It had been four years since my last one, after which I swore that I'd never run another. I don't even remember what made me sign up for the Chicago Women's Half, but I did and I finished. And it left me wanting more. I've since done two more half marathons...one before I got pregnant with Evan, and one a few months after he was born. And I'm looking forward to running more.

4) I exercised through two pregnancies.
Every pregnancy is different, and not every mother has the ability to exercise their way through pregnancy, but I was blessed with this ability and I took full advantage...

Pregnancy #2, about a month before I delivered.
...despite wanting to eat all the things and veg on the couch all the time, I did my best to keep up with my pre-pregnancy fitness routines. I had safe, healthy and happy pregnancies, and I firmly believe that fitness (heavily modified at times) played a huge role.

5) I switched to an ACE personal trainer certification.
When I got certified in 2009, I did it through a local organization that followed the ACE program. I could have taken the ACE test at the end of the term, but opted for their test instead. It was cheaper and, consequently, not as recognized. It didn't hurt my ability to find a job, and I learned so much through the hands-on structure....but the organization itself ended up being a pain in the rear to deal with. I switched to ACE last year and haven't looked back. Yeah, I had to spend some time with my nose in a book, but now I feel a bit more official.

Question: What is one of your best health and fitness decisions?

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