You can read part 1 here. On with the story…
Part 2: the middle years
2007: With the rising popularity of Teh Interwebs came a tidal wave of fitness and nutrition information, which I greedily consumed. I learned portion control, better food choices, and cut back on sugar. I started walking regularly around my neighborhood after work and (gasp!) tried exercising.
My at-home fitness program was The Firm Total Body TransFIRMation Kit, a four-disc DVD set complete with purple carrying case and adjustable dumbbells up to eight pounds. I can’t even remember how I got it, to be honest.
I’d put in a DVD, push play, and huff and puff my way around an 8-foot by 8-foot space in my apartment, often with a flushed face and waves of dizziness from not breathing properly. But I persisted. This was probably the most consistent I ever was with any form of exercise up until this point.
The weight slowly came off, and my body shrank down to 140 pounds, the lowest I could remember! All felt hunky-dory in my world. I gained confidence, self-esteem, and got used to wearing clothes that actually fit me well and were age-appropriate.
The next year, though, the holiday season, job stress, and a fledgling sense of commitment would lead to abandoning my workouts, a 25-pound weight gain, and spiritual frazzling.
2009-2013: I found Zumba Fitness in August 2009. Or maybe it found me. Either way, this chapter in my life is so big that it is extremely hard to condense down here. But I’ll try.
I fell in love with its sassy Latin moves and exotic music, took Zumba classes three to four times a week, and signed up for the Basic 1 Training course in May 2010 to become a Zumba instructor. I was obsessed!
I started co-teaching classes with my sister-in-law within weeks of receiving my license, and thus began a very intense period of personal growth. I had to practice getting through issues I struggled with in school – interacting with strangers, public speaking, perfectionism, self-confidence, performance anxiety, to name a few.
On top of all this mental gymnastics, I actually had to TEACH.
As in get a group of women with differing levels of fitness, hand-eye-foot coordination, and rhythm to move in unison for 55 minutes while injecting some humor and fun to keep them coming back week after week.
As in memorize music and moves for around 25 routines, while continuously learning new ones to keep my ladies wanting more. Whew.
While I taught Zumba classes, I also became interested in fitness in general and started exploring online for useful information. I quickly found Craig Ballantyne and his Turbulence Training website.
After signing up for his newsletter, reading articles, and watching round upon round of others doing his programs and seeing results, I decided to throw my hat in the ring. In early 2013 I filled out an online form to formally compete in his TT Transformation Contest.
I worked out in my bedroom using what little equipment we owned plus bodyweight exercises to get me through the workouts each day. I started shrinking again! And look here–muscle! The before-and-after photos show fat leaving my midsection and shoulder definition growing. And I won second place. 🙂