I know I'm not alone in feeling like there was never a set path or career that was laid out for me to follow. I've always been passionate about music, but I like to use it as more of an outlet or escape from the harshness of the world. Having been raised by a portrait of a starving artist, the idea of trying to make a living from being a musician only ever seemed like an invitation for more harshness.
I've also had an affinity for taking care of animals since as long as I can remember, and my dream of managing a sanctuary someday is still very active in my mind. The way my brain works, though, is through a hierarchy of smaller accomplishments that lead me to the really big goals. Before I signed my first lease, I had to test myself with paying bills to see if I was stable enough. Before I got my own dogs, I had to make sure I could pay rent AND bills. And when I realized part of my calling was to help people, I had to make sure I could really take care of myself CONSISTENTLY first.
Consistently is the operative word here, whereas I would cycle through phases of not caring or keeping track of anything I was doing for months or even longer and consequently going overboard with strictness trying to compensate. Making yourself a priority requires effort that surpasses simply having a healthy exercise and proper nutrition, but those were always things I felt were out of my control. I was never encouraged to be physically active growing up but instead was provided plenty of junk and fast food to keep myself busy in between overworking myself with academics and music. I should have known that I needed professional help, but I guess I just didn't want to admit it, or maybe I thought I wasn't worthy enough to have it.
Before I actually made the decision to hire a personal trainer, I spent years trying to figure it out on my own. Sure, it was better than doing nothing, but I always felt like I was just one wrong move away from sabotaging my progress. Lots of meal prepping would help me stay on track at first... and then lots more got thrown in the trash.
When I introduced exercise into my routine, my days would consist of chugging pre-workout as soon as I got out of bed so I could coast through another HIIT circuit as quickly as possible... and usually hating every second of it. Sometimes I would even hurt myself in my exhausted stupor.
The only time I looked forward to my next meal or workout was if it was a "cheat meal" or an "active rest day."
If this lifestyle works for you, your mom, and your next door neighbor, that's wonderful. It was not sustainable for me, however.
Last year I started straying away from meal plans and circuit training, and I started saving different kinds of workouts I saw on Instagram posted by people whom I looked up to. It was refreshing to be doing something new, but I was still trying to force myself into eating habits that didn't conform with the life I really wanted to be living.
Since I had already been maintaining the majority of my weight loss from years of training on my own, I really wanted to get to the next level and work on my body composition. The problem was that my lack of knowledge about nutrition had left me with some pretty disordered eating, and I wasn't able to provide the right fuel for my body to get through an intense workout and build muscle properly.
When I say I felt stuck, I really mean broken down... trapped... and on the edge of causing serious damage to my health. Most of all, I was just too scared to do it alone anymore.
Over the last 8 months with my coach Megan, I've definitely achieved some insane body recomposition, but the value of the coaching she provides for me is seriously priceless, and I'm not just kissing ass here. This woman has saved me, and I make sure to tell her as often as I can without sounding like an obsessed fan girl, even though that's essentially what I am at this point. Her wisdom and maturity is so obvious from the commentary she gives and the points she chooses to focus on, and although I'm still personally getting over the habit of assuming I'm a disappointment to everyone (perfectionists say heeyyyy), I have never felt like I'm failing as her client as long as I'm openly and honestly communicating to her what I'm going through. In fact, I know that if I don't give her this information, it won't allow her to do her job of creating a program that works for me. I know that as long as I'm being transparent, she will be in my corner telling me how I can do better so I can become the absolute best version of myself.
Being open and honest is the foundation for any successful commitment or relationship... along with being adaptable and willing to change. I'm beyond grateful to have a coach that recognizes these qualities in me enough to stick with me through some of the darkest and most confusing points in my life so far, and I'm even more blessed to able to have such a true and caring friend.
This is what a coach should be, and this is what I want to become for others. All the knowledge in the world of health and fitness and how the body works isn't going to give you a road map to navigate someone's life and how you can actually help them. If you really want to assist someone, you can't just tell them what to do; you actively need to listen to them and help lift them up to where they need to be when they're down.
This experience has been so enlightening for me that I really just want to keep sharing how much it's changed my life - and not just the way I live, but the way I look at the world as well. I feel like I'm finally at the point where my journey is my destination, and as corny as it sounds, it's given me the desire to help others fuel their own lifestyle change and get on track for their goals in any way I can.