Thursday, January 09, 2014
..that I have decided to go down a path I had only toyed with before. My new Sparkpage design brings in targets, as I have now honed in on exactly what is going to happen.
I've thought about competing before, thinking it'd be fun to do once just to say I did. But to be honest, I never really knew if I was serious. It became more and more of a pipe dream as I continually did the opposite of what I was trying to do and gained a bunch of weight. No more.
Yesterday, I paid my registration fee to become a member of my provincial bodybuilding association so I would be eligible to compete in their shows. I have chosen my competition, which is taking place on October 25th. I will be in the best shape I have ever been in. I will astound everyone, including myself. And I will ROCK IT! After I rock it at provincial level, I'm going national with the aim of eventually qualifying for an IFBB show and gaining my Pro card. It will happen. Oh yes, it will.
I know I have the body to do it, and I know I have the determination. I have now told EVERYONE I know, and a bunch of people I don't, that it's happening this year. Can't back out now.
289 days to make it happen. 289 days that will be begging ME for mercy!
Tuesday, July 09, 2013
I just can't do it anymore. I can't continue on the way I am, pretending that nothing's wrong. This is not going to be a happy blog. This is not going to be focused on my weight loss. This is literally the culmination of every horrible thought that I have been fighting with for the last couple months that caused me to break down into tears last night.
I have seen some progress. I have seen some regression. I have gained some clients. I have not gained many others. I'm trying very hard to take the good with the bad, but when the bad seems to so far outweigh the good, it's been a very tough battle.
This is also on top of the fact that my fiance and I split up in May, so I also just moved into a new place with a friend of mine on June 1st. This requires some getting used to, as we're still getting used to each other's "quirks" (in other words, we're irritating the piss out of each other with little things that we don't think about. This is more true of me being irritated because I have OCD and cannot stand when things are not exactly the way I organize them. Not her fault, I'm just nuts).
Some of you may have seen my status update not too long ago that I finally got under 20% body fat. This is an amazing accomplishment for me, one that I would really like to celebrate to its full potential. But I can't. I just can't. In spite of this drop under 20%, I cannot ignore the fact that along with it, I am also back to almost 200lbs. I understand it's muscle. I love having the muscle. But you would think that with a drop of 2% body fat, I'd be able to see something. I'd be able to measure something. ANYTHING. No. My measurements are exactly the same, if not even LARGER, than they were months ago. My weight has gone up. With all of this, I'm trying to decide whether I even want to believe that the measurement of 18.4% was accurate at all.
My eating is out of control. All the work I put in to ween myself away from my sugar addiction, out the window. I've been eating chocolate like the cocoa bean is going extinct, and that's being polite.
I am still doing my workouts, though I don't feel like I'm pushing myself as much as I should because I feel like total crap due to the lack of change. I push, and push, and push, and push.. And eventually, I wonder what for? Yes, I love the muscle gains. Yes, I love the strength increases. I see these things. I love that they're happening. But my main reason for working out was to lose the stupid body fat so I could feel confident and happy, and wear whatever slutty clothing I wanted to if I so chose. Am I vain? Damn right I am. But vanity is my driving force, and I have no problem admitting that. You have to be honest with yourself and those around you. That's my honesty. But even with that, even working out like a beast six days a week, even when I was monitoring my food like you wouldn't believe.. it just wasn't happening. I'm disheartened, disappointed, and so far beyond frustrated I don't even have a word for it. I do not like the way I look. I was getting to a point that I was starting to, but that has long since disappeared. I will even go so far as to say that I am getting to the point where if I don't get a handle on it, I will start hating my appearance again. I do not want to let this happen, I have worked too hard for too long to let myself go back to that mental state. But I feel myself slipping away...
Now, while having my mind in that state, my job comes a-knockin' like "Hey, while you're already in such a horrible place, I'm just going to give you more of a reason to hate yourself. KAYBYE!"
I constantly feel as though I got the short end of the stick when it came to locations to be hired at. The gym that I used to work out at (which I will refer to as YEC), is a tiny little thing. But it's on the subway line in a very populated area of the city where people are willing to listen to trainers because they see the value in them, and have the money to be able to invest in one. My gym, PV, is HUGE. YEC's entire gym could fit in PV's cardio area alone. But PV is in the middle of a business park, hidden in a building with no outside signage except right near the entrance (and on the parking structure, which you only see from the highway and not the residential area behind our building). The member density is quite low because of the location and the fact that it's a little difficult to find. And then the members we do get in here.. The majority come from a cultural background that makes them very closed off to me because I am female. I have been met with cold indifference all the way to outright hostility.
This "welcome" that I receive when I try to talk to members only extenuates the fact that I have a VERY hard time approaching people. I have always had a problem trying to strike up conversations with people. It started because I was a shy child, who turned into a very obese and very self conscious teenager. I always feel as if I am being judged, so I do not like going and talking to people. This is a problem, since it is a very large part of my job. I am ragged on for it constantly by my boss, and I am trying very hard to improve, but... the more I try, the more I fail, and the harder it gets each time. As I sit here writing this, it is because it was another failed attempt at being on the floor, so I holed up in the trainer's room like the coward I am and turned to the internet. But I digress.
As I mentioned, members at my gym are not very open to trainers, particularly female ones. On top of being female, I am also very visibly overweight, and young. Three strikes. There are two other female trainers at my gym. One of them has a very extensive sports background and is an older woman so she has the greying hair which visually represents "experience" to most of the population. She does fine for herself. The other is around my age, but has worked as a trainer before being hired here. I can honestly say, without a doubt in my mind, that when it comes down to actual training, I am the better trainer. But she can get past the defenses of the member population here in a way that I cannot, which leads her to get more business. How is that? She's pretty, and she's visibly fit. Old men and young boys alike.. they're willing to pay money to spend time with the pretty girl and have her put her hands on them. And women.. well, from my experience, women will look for a female trainer who has a body something similar to the one they hope to have. Voila, not me. My roommate works at YEC and had a member pay $1500 extra and not be matched with a trainer who knew how to get him to his goals better than the one he ended up with because he wanted to train with the pretty girl. Facts are facts, and humans are visual creatures.
The caboose to this s**t-train is something that I am constantly aware of, but do my best not to think about. I missed my friend's birthday party on Sunday, because she only sent out invitations on Facebook and I never really go on FB. My ex, however, did go and told me yesterday that she sent her love (apparently not enough to text me herself though). I felt awful when he told me and sent her a message right away. He said, probably intending for it to make me not feel as bad, "I'm sure she'll forgive you. She didn't seem upset."
Where did my mind go? "Of course she didn't seem upset. Because she, just like everyone else, is happy enough if I end up in front of them for some reason, but they couldn't really care less about my presence (or lackthereof)." I have long since accepted the fact that.. well, I don't actually have any friends. Two, possibly. As soon as I decided I wanted more from my life than clubs, drugs and alcohol and focused more on getting into a career, no one had anything to do with me. For a lot of them, it was exactly what I expected. But this was not just my club-acquaintances that fell by the wayside, but people I had known for 5 years or more. I don't go clubbing anymore, so I do not exist. No one calls me, texts me, messages me.. nothing. When I try to reach out, arrange a hangout that is outside of a club, no one gives a crap. The person I used to consider my best friend.. haven't seen her in something like nine months, and we haven't even spoken in at least four. Best friend, eh?
All in all, I have not been doing well. I'm depressed, frustrated, angry, and lonely. I would love to be able to talk to someone about this, I have abused the ears of the two people willing to listen to me more than I really think is fair on them. This is my last resort, knowing full well that it will likely not be read with any great enthusiasm, but hoping that at least getting it out there will help.. somehow.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Holy craaaaap, this weekend was amazing.
I was actually attending a course this weekend. That may not seem like a very interesting thing to be doing to most people, but I liked it for a multitude of reasons. I love to learn things, anything really, just for the sake of having knowledge. Give me a chance at something I'm really passionate about, and I'll be all over it.
The course I took was for the Darby Training System, and covered physical assessment and program design. My class was full of trainers who have been in the industry for a really long time (14 years, 10 years, 9 years, etc.) so when it got to me it was like "Well, I've been in the industry for a whopping two months.." haha. It was cool though, because the guy who won PT of the year in the company I work for was actually in my course. He's interning, essentially, to become an instructor for those courses, but having access to him to ask questions was an amazing opportunity.
I knew some of the issues that were present in myself, but having to go through the assessment process many times and have it done many times gives me a really in depth perspective on what I have to work on to improve my own fitness, as well as what I'm doing pretty well in. Wicked.
With this also came a new way for me to help mobilize my joints, and the ones for ankle and hip mobility were of particular interest to me. I've been trying to improve my squat down to full depth (with load), but have been severely restricted on my movement depth due to my ankles. They're both tight/restricted and unstable, so my squat suffers. Two options for mobility are ones I already do (foam roller, lacrosse ball for trigger points), but I learned some self-traction... holy CRAP is it amazing. Since learning this on Friday, and doing it for about 10 minutes a day since then, my squat depth with proper form has increased to parallel with no elevation under my heels. I was so happy about this, it could have made the course worth it on its own.
The physical assessments done in this course are SO MUCH better than the ones I have to do at work - they tell me more accurately exactly what I should be getting clients to focus on and they take a fraction of the time. I can literally finish one of them in about 15 minutes, and know at least one thing that can immediately help them. Love it!
Program design was definitely something I wanted to learn as much about as I could. I do know how to write programs, or else I'd never have passed a practical exam or my interview, but I knew there was room for improvement. What an improvement. We had a few case studies that we had to write programs for during different phases of training. The entire class went from struggling to write a days workout in 25 minutes (and they turned out lower quality) to being able to write two days in around 15 minutes with higher quality programs being produced. Wicked thing to see, and I feel way more comfortable in my knowledge now.
Today, being the last day, had us doing a full workout so we could physically experience how different ways of programming felt. The first workout in the morning wasn't too bad. The class was divided in two groups, with half doing it on the full gym floor with the one instructor Brian, and the other half staying in the area we were in with Kevin. When we got back downstairs, Kevin was in the middle of a story and stopped to say that Brian's group didn't look like they'd worked as hard as his, said we looked all relaxed and such. He likes to randomly put people on the spot, so in the middle of talking, he went "So, Raven, how was the workout?" The conversation progressed as "Yeah, it was alright - "Just alright?" - "Yeah. Kind of feel like I could have done more.." So he challenged me. Of course I had to take the challenge, he put it right out in front of everyone. "Could have done more? So you're saying you're going to win on the rower this afternoon?" - "Rowing machine? Hmm.. Sure, why not" - "No, are you going to be the women's rowing winner or not?" - "Yes, I am." - "Alright ladies, there you go. Raven's thrown down the challenge."
Silly me. Went and had lunch at the little diner across the street. Way too much food to be exerting that much energy so soon afterwards, but still. We did get to settle for a bit before we actually started working out, and it was a 5 round circuit. One of the stations was the one with the rower. 4 minute round. What had to be done was row as fast as you can to 250m, off the rower and do five full burpees (touching the floor with both chest and thighs at bottom, and both feet required to leave the ground on the jump). As soon as they're done, back on the rower and row as much distance as you can onto that 250 until the round time was up. The winner was whoever rowed the furthest distance. He said before we started that anything over 700m for women or over 1000m for men was great. I obviously started at the rowing station because if I was going to do the challenge I needed to do it before I used up my energy. I'm going to outright say that I felt like I was going to puke when I was done and my head was feeling very light and floaty, but I was bloody determined to win. He even decided that's when we was going to be at the rowing station to try and distract me. I actually found it hilarious, but I refused to let him beat me.
Guess who won the women's rowing. Bam.
My total distance was 993m. I was kind of annoyed that I missed 1km by 7 stinkin' meters, but it didn't matter. I knew I was going to try and likely do pretty well, but I surprised myself with just how far I got, and I'm stupidly proud of myself. I've had a silly grin on my face since it happened.
The silly grin is also due in part to Kevin himself. Now, bear in mind that Kevin is actually the Darby in Darby Training Systems. It's his program, and his course. Super intelligent, been in the industry a long time, and overall really cool guy. When we were doing the introductions at the beginning of the course, I had mentioned that I'm still a fair bit nervous talking to people on the floor and trying to sell myself. He stopped me before we all left today and was like "Ok, I have to ask. Seriously, -you- are nervous talking to people on the floor? Do you see how you walk around? It's like you own the damn place, and with good reason. You're sharp, you have the knowledge, and you train insanely -anywhere- on the floor. You have no reason to be nervous, just go do it. You're going to be incredibly successful."
Not that the testimonals to that effect from everyone else I've heard it from don't mean anything to me. They're all important and I appreciate every single one. But to have just started in this industry and hear something like that from a guy who's essentially a "household name" in fitness.. Awesomeawesomeawesome.
I was talking to my friend afterwards, and mentioned that fact. I was told "You know, you're the type of person that he looks at to teach those courses. So just be aware of that."
I still can't wipe the silly grin off my face. I'm so proud of myself, I've learned a LOT of really useful information that I can start using immediately, and I keep getting outside support telling me that I'm in the right spot. Great feeling.
Friday, February 08, 2013
Don't blog in forever, then two blogs in one day. Madness I say! But it had to be done.
I was supposed to be at a course today, but they cancelled it due to the snow storm we're experiencing. The course happened to be at my own gym, so I figured I'd go in to work anyway. When I got there, NO ONE was there. My gym is huge, so only seeing maybe five people there that weren't staff was a really weird thing. Sean told me that it was unlikely I'd be doing a heck of a lot that was useful, so I could stay or go or whatever I wanted. Felt like doing a workout, but because it was also pretty early, I figured I'd boot back to the gym I went to before I started working at a different location to see all the trainers I became such good friends with and NEVER see anymore (Derek actually comes to my gym to train me, with Sean's permission, rather than having me come to him, since it gives me more time to be seen on the floor at my work). By the time I got there, Derek was the only one left. I hadn't missed Maggie by too much, but I sent her a text moaning that I came all the way to see her and she wasn't there. One of the reasons I want to see her so much is she's actually competing in just under a month. She was always super fit and had an awesome physique, so I'm really curious to see what she looks like right now. And I need to find out where she's competing so I can go root for her. haha. Apparently she was driving to Detroit tonight. That woman is INSANE. That's a four-five hour drive on a -good- day, tonight it's probably going to take at least twice that with the snow and whiteout conditions. Yeesh. But I did arrange to have my Monday session in the morning at that location so I could see her, Max and Simone. It'll be nice.
I did see Kyle though, who is the fitness manager at that location. He came over to me and was like "You! Welcome to the team! I've been hearing lots of good things about you!" That was awesome. He also knows that I've been running Derek around like a client when he comes to see me, and actually said "I don't know what you're doing to him, but keep it up. Seriously, this is the best I've ever seen him look." Proud Raven is proud.
I still wanted to get a workout in, and Derek happened to be in between clients so he opted to join me. The looks he was shooting me though! hahaha. We were working out at the same weight on pretty much everything we did, and I was keeping pace with him too. A few reps below on a couple things, a bit lighter on others, but mostly we were evened out. Proud Raven remains proud.
Friday, February 08, 2013
I just realized that I haven't actually written a blog here since I started my new job, and that seems like an awfully silly thing for me to have done. Granted, I do tend to spend somewhere between 10 and 12 hours at the gym now because of it, but that's no excuse to not write out how my experiences have been going.
In case you are unaware, I up and left my job at the bakery in the beginning of December. I spent a few weeks unemployed and preparing myself, then applied at the gym I go to. I got a response from the recruiter less than 24 hours later asking me when I could come and talk to her as a pre-screening interview to make sure I would suit their needs before I was sent to a fitness manager. At the end of that interview, she asked me if I was available the next day to come and meet with the FM for a second interview. She made sure to point out that she wanted me in the next day. I said I was definitely available, and that I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly she wanted me back in. She said, and I quote, "I normally give at least two days so you can complete the homework, but if not tomorrow then there's no availability until next Wednesday. I don't want to wait that long. When we find someone we like and know will fit, we don't play around." Safe to say, I felt pretty confident walking in to see the FM, Sean, the next day. The homework I had to complete was a case study, a mock client that I had to create an appropriate workout for, explain my choices, then run the FM through a few of them to prove I knew both how to do the exercise properly, but more importantly how to communicate effectively to make the person do the exercise properly. He gave me a few pointers along the way, mostly to change a few of the words I chose to cue. I was offered the job pretty much immediately. And thus began my adventure.
Yes, I am aware that I am officially a walking cliche. The fat girl that loses weight then becomes a trainer. But it just.. worked for me. I have so much gathered knowledge from years spent doing exactly what these people are trying to do. I understand how bad cravings can be, how crippling your own mind/thoughts, and most importantly, I know the mental and emotional battles that are being fought at the same time as the physical, because I've been there and done it. They may crave different things, they may have different thoughts and emotions that they fight, but those are just different battles in the same war. It is this understanding that I believe gives me an edge, because I can relate to them in a way that trainers that have always been fit cannot. I also remember how hard it was to start on my own, and how much harder it was to continue when I kept failing. What I would have loved to have had, to have had said to me, to have been shown during those times. I may not be the image of the tight, fit woman most people would attribute to a trainer, but underneath my jiggly bits is more muscle than most of them would know what to do with, as well as the know-how to help them get the same. I believe my knowledge speaks more than my stomach does, and I aim to prove that.
I will admit, going up and randomly talking to people has never been something I've been incredibly comfortable with. Too many years being as self conscious as I was, I still feel like I'm 300lbs sometimes and people are looking at me for all the wrong reasons at a gym. Instead of going and giving myself panic attacks trying to strike up conversations right off the bat, I've made my presence known in my own way. I have two uniform shirts until I can actually order more (these ones were given to me), one men's and one women's. The women's shirt actually fits me really nicely, so that's the one I wear when walking around, standing at the front desk, or working with people. The men's shirt I have designated as my workout shirt. Any time I'm actually doing a workout, I have that shirt and my name tag on, so people will take notice that I am in fact a trainer, and in spite of the belly, I know what I'm doing. The men in the gym, especially, seem to take notice of me a bit more when they realize I'm in the weight room moving almost as much as they are, if not -more-. On Wednesday, one of my coworkers and I had been joking about deadlifting for most of the day. We were both bored and had nothing to do around 6pm, so I smacked him on the arm and said "Come on Johnny. Let's go deadlift." Off we went. I personally don't normally do conventional deadlifts, much preferring the stiff legged version, but we decided to try conventional ones. At this point, it's key to note that I had already done an insane workout with Derek earlier in the day, and I'm in the middle of a sickness that I'd been fighting off, so safe to say I'm anything but at 100%. But hey, what the heck, right? We started at 155 for the first set, then went to 175 (I also threw in a couple stiff legged deadlifts here, just because I was curious). Then 185, and finally 195 for the last two sets. This was a happy day for me, since I finally had evidence that I can deadlift more than my bodyweight. I can't wait to try this again when I'm not sick or pre-exhausted from a previous workout and see how much I can do. haha. I did all of this, of course, in full uniform in the middle of the weight room full of big burly men. Oh, they noticed.
Another thing getting me noticed is Derek. Because he remembers what it was like trying to get your first clients, he's helping me out. He's already totally jacked, and knows as well as I do how good a trainer looks when they're training a client who is in good shape, so he lets me run him around the gym as if he is my client. It's a small thing, but something that gets me seen on the floor, lets people hear me training someone, and gets me noticed for the right reasons. I appreciate that he does that for me, but he's benefiting from it too because I've actually come up with a few things he's been totally surprised with and asked to use with his other clients. He's always been very free flowing with information for me to help me succeed as a trainer, so it's nice I actually get to give something back.
Speaking of free flowing information... I finally went and did my practical exam to get my certification to be a trainer. Derek was my mock client, and I'd mentioned to the pro trainer (Mike) doing my exam that he was my trainer (and of course I went to the exam in my uniform, just because I could). During the course I took, Mike was always very open with information. My exam was nothing less, and he was having a LOT of fun with it. He said that I was his last appointment of the day, so he didn't have a time constraint holding him back, and the fact that we were both working trainers enabled him to get right into it. Everything we did, he had some tiny little variation to add in. And each of those little variations was like "..holy crap, that's awesome." I gained so many little pointers during that exam, it was amazing. I admit, I did something I knew I shouldn't do for the actual client case study I had, but I'd weighed it out in my mind and thought it was worth the risk. I had remembered that during the course, he mentioned that he'd had a practical exam the day before and the person had actually used the rower as the warm up and he was impressed because he hardly ever sees it. I know the rower very well, I even have my own at home, so I knew I had to incorporate it in spite of the fact my 'client' had lower back pain and I'd never actually put a client with low back pain on a rower. He brought up that I'd lost some marks because it was an inappropriate exercise for the client, but that he was impressed that I used it and even more impressed that I explained and cued it perfectly so he gave me marks for it. It was a calculated risk, but one that worked out in my favour. I ended up getting 93%, and officially gaining the title of certified personal trainer.
I've done a number of consultations already, though no one at this point has gone beyond that yet. I have a couple people who genuinely seem interested, but until there's a signature on a line for me, interest is just shadows and dust. There was one person in particular, Jason, that I -really- hope decides to start training with me. He was a really cool guy that is already pretty fit but is looking to put on muscle. -That- would be fun. We ended up spending about two and a half hours in his consultation because we kept getting sidetracked talking about other things. Got along really well, and he hung on pretty much every word I said. He told me at many points during the consult that everything I said made perfect sense, and he was learning a lot just from the pointers I gave him. I have him booked for a reassessment later in the month, and I hope by that point he's made a decision and will come work with me.
As of right now, my goals for myself professionally are to get over myself and actually start talking to people on the floor, and gain at least one (but aiming for two) clients by March. A personal goal is to be able to do a full depth unassisted tricep dip before the end of the month. I can currently get about 2/3 of the way down, so I'm not too far off, and it's something to work towards. Reasonable goals, and ones I'm very sure I can accomplish.
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