How Lisa Found Her Inner Athlete

As my relationship with fitness, and even ideas and perceptions about it, have changed over the years, it is fair to say I have been on a wide-ranging journey with my health and physical wellbeing. 

Growing-up, I never considered myself an athlete, yet spent many hours each week dedicated to ballet lessons and recitals, competitive baton twirling (yes, it is a sport J), and gymnastics.  I worked hard and was committed to doing well; I was competitive and enjoyed being active. 

As I got into my teens, in the 80’s, things changed somewhat.  An active social life, regular aerobics classes, and looking good at the beach in a bikini seemed to become more of the focus.  There was so much emphasis on aesthetics and physical appearance, which I hadn’t really thought much about previously.  I encountered friends on crazy diets, obsessed about every calorie, and was first exposed to bulimia.  Young women placing so much pressure on themselves, wrestling with significant body image issues.  I wish I could say I was immune.

Blessed with a high metabolism, I soared through my 20’s outwardly fit and healthy. I was busy with building my adult life and career.  I honestly did not think much about fitness or exercise.  

By the time I got into my early 30’s, I realized I had become “skinny fat” and needed to do something about it.  I consistently weighed-in around 105 pounds, but had virtually no muscle mass left from my active younger years.  And I was constantly more tired than I should have been.  I simply did not feel healthy.  I became focused on not just looking fit (in my clothes) and healthy – but actually being and feeling fit and healthy. 

This is where my relationship with fitness, as an adult, began.  I started with a local big box gym and personal trainer.  I evolved-on to a hard-core boutique studio in Seattle, with personal training several times each week, fit ball classes, and boot camp five mornings per week.  I found my way to my 40th birthday with my body fat under 18%, six pack abs – and actually being and feeling fit and healthy.

In my early 40’s, with a family member fighting leukemia, I became involved with Team In Training and signed-up to run my first (and only) marathon.  After six months of training, we traveled to San Francisco and completed our marathon.  Regrettably, I did not listen to my body and ran on a stress fracture.  Following the marathon, I found myself with injuries that would unfortunately go on to affect the next few years.

I had severely injured my one foot to the point it would never be quite the same.  I also ended-up with plantar fasciitis in both feet, for which I was regularly treated for more than two years.  All of a sudden, it seemed, I went from being fit and healthy to being unable to walk even a block without debilitating pain.  

Over the course of these next few years, I found myself in my mid-40’s with a plummeted metabolism, atrophied muscles, and, most damaging, a deep case of the blues.  I was gaining significant weight for the first time in my life and had no idea what to do about it. 

I started to decline social invitations and almost hide from my personal life, as much as I could.  I was embarrassed and felt terribly about myself.  I could not stop gaining weight, no matter what I did, and was struggling horribly with my feet.  Desperate, I tried different diets, but just found myself transported back to the diet craziness and body image issues I had first experienced with friends in my teens.  By this point, I had gained over 40-pounds and was sad and lost.

Thankfully, after time, my feet healed and the plantar fasciitis started to subside.  I was able to start slowly exercising again – but was overwhelmed and did not know where to begin.  I was so out of shape; my body had become foreign to me.  I was also really concerned about getting injured again. Confidence in my body had been rocked to the core.

I started looking into options that could help me.  A big box gym wasn’t going to do it, nor was a hard-core, show-no-weakness studio or high-impact boot camp or cross fit.  I was a physical wreck, fearful of re-injury.  This is when I came across Inner Athlete.

Inner Athlete brought me back to life.  It was clear to me very quickly that IA was different, a truly special kind of place.  Despite more than a decade of training with a wide-range of fitness professionals, studios, classes, personal trainers, etc., I had never before encountered anything on the level – or in the league – of Inner Athlete.

IA’s team is truly exceptional.  They are not only incredibly skilled and experienced, but also really great human beings.  They care – truly care – and they meet you where you are.  In the beginning, I could not do much.  However, I became amazed by how quickly they helped me gain strength... and hope – lots of hope.  I started to feel like me again, bit by bit.  All the while, the incredible trainers and coaches at IA personally tailored my training for maximum results, while keeping me safe and injury-free.  They also provided nutritional coaching to help support progress and ongoing success.

I joined Inner Athlete in July 2016, with the goal of being healthier at 50 than I was at 40.  As this milestone birthday approaches in January, I would like to say my time with IA has been perfect and without obstacles – that I have reached every goal and made it to all of my training sessions.  Truth is, I have not.  As life twists and turns, it turns-out this past year has been one of my most difficult, filled with the types of problems and challenges that can occur as life progresses. 

As I adjust to new normals, both personally and professionally, IA has become an amazing constant and source of strength.  Even though I have not been perfect in my training, and have been struggling to balance new conflicting demands, IA has continued to meet me where I am, and to encourage and inspire me.  Inner Athlete has become an invaluable partner to me in my health and wellbeing.  Every step of the way, they have worked with me to make the most of my health and fitness.

In the mix of this, the most amazing side-benefit has been realized – I have actually started to enjoy working-out.  It has become something to which I look forward – rather than a means to an end or necessary evil. J  It actually just dawned on me recently that my experience with Inner Athlete has changed how I think and feel about fitness.  This is the greatest gift of all. 

With January approaching, I still have a little ways to go to reach my goal, but I know I will get there with Inner Athlete.  Moreover, it is no longer about the goal… It is about enjoying a lifelong lifestyle that includes health and fitness.  I am no longer after a milestone, but rather lifelong strength and wellbeing that allows me to do the things I want to do when I want to do them, as well as face any challenge with stamina and resilience.

Inner Athlete is one of a kind.  To anyone considering joining the IA family, but perhaps not yet certain if it is right for them, I would encourage you to get started.  You will not regret it.  It does not matter if you are currently an accomplished athlete or just starting out, Inner Athlete will be a key partner in enabling and inspiring you to achieve and sustain your health and fitness goals.  Truly one of a kind – IA rocks!

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa C.

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