Last night I did 85 full push ups, rows with a 20lb weight, tuck jumps, mountain climbers, Russian twists, plank jacks, weight swings, and squat shoulder presses…for half of my workout. That statement may be super un-relatable, unimpressive, or arrogant in your opinion…Personally I think it’s pretty damn good considering that a month ago push ups quickly fell to my knees, I struggled with a 15lb weight, and took one (or two) breaks in 45 second mountain climber intervals.
I digress…The point of this is not to post all about the butch sweaty shit I fill my evenings with, but instead to speak about fitness from the perspective of a former ‘athlete’. It wasn’t until I was talking to my doctor before the holidays that I realized how far off the fitness trail I had gotten. I think those of us who grew up playing competitive sports consider ourselves [still] to be athletes…training the amount my peers and I did, the mentality becomes a fiber of your self-image.
We, the starlets of ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ athletics may or may not have gone on to play varsity sports…hell, I ran a bloody marathon…or did something to keep the freshman 15 off….but now we’re men and women. Men and women who work, 8-5, which is really 6-6 when you consider getting ready and the commute, and then we go to happy hour because some days never end and we work now, so we can afford pretentious hipster beer to support local start ups run by 20 year olds making triple our salary. Then we go home and creep social media comparing ourselves to all of our other graduate friends while also watching Netflix and planning our next trip on our grown up vacations to motivate ourselves to go to the gym. But we’ll go tomorrow because we’re athletes and we get fit/lose weight/look great easily and naturally due to ‘muscle memory’. Then the vacation is actually soon, we check the weather to see how much we will need to be in a bikini, then pay too much for shadowed spray tans, cut out carbs and drink 4L of green tea a day.
Or something like that.
As mentioned, I had a moment of clarity when I went to my physician before Christmas. She asked what my fitness habits were like. I promptly said: “I’m fit”. She asked what I did to be ‘fit’, to which I got flustered and began reciting my athletic achievements from high school and college to have her so bluntly clarify what I had done in the last week, ‘’or month even’’. My response was “I walk to work…which is like 30 mins a day…and I go to yoga….sometimes…well….but not hard yoga”. Yes, my lack of evidence was a bit embarrassing… perhaps worse, she said I was ‘just an average adult’…I think I signed up for the Blitz Conditioning 30 day challenge that night.
I got to a point where I wanted to get fit. A point where losing weight was secondary to performance. I had been to Blitz’s HIIT (High intensity interval training) a few times. The first time I was sore for 5 days (also part of ‘I used to be an athlete’ syndrome….known as ‘5 years ago this was a joke, so obviously I can do it now’ complex”), so committing to 4 days a week for a month seemed extreme. Also, Blitz is pretty far from my house considering I commute by foot or transit, AND the challenge was 200 buckaroos. (Successful completion results in a ‘free’ February). So if, IF, there were days where my performance and restoring the facet of my identity that included ‘athlete’ weren’t enough…the mentality of it being a ‘$200 class’ got my ass to the gym.
A month, nearly a ‘stone’ lighter, and many inches slimmer I can say with confidence that the 30 day challenge was the best ‘diet’ I could have done. Why? Because I am going to stick to it. Why? Because my life is more fun, includes more great people, I don’t crave my old lifestyle, and I am achieving goals (fitness and otherwise) again. Having to get classes done by Friday has made me avoid procrastination in the challenge but in every part of my life. I feel like I belong to the Blitz community; seeing the familiar faces is my social fix and it keeps me accountable.
Four days a week is a lifestyle challenge not an ego challenge (like 30 day every day events). If all studios did 4 day a week challenges there might be hope to a healthier Edmonton (& society in general). How can people preach to make ‘SMART’ goals, then host challenges that represent unrealistic long-term outcomes?? Exercising 4 days a week should be a habit. It shouldn’t be ridiculous. It isn’t ridiculous. And by the end of 4 weeks—the time it takes to break a habit—you realize it. More importantly you enjoy it, and you want to keep doing it.
HIIT is a great workout, you can read that in any journal or health blog, and many places offer it. So why Blitz? Because I am an athlete: I train, I set goals, I crush them, I set goals, I fail, I re assess, repeat. I’ve come to the conclusion that being an athlete is a mindset rather than a level of performance, and Blitz has made that accessible to me when I thought it was lost with my ‘youth’. I think I have been through every single one of those phases in the last months and I have felt supported and inspired to continue both by the trainers and my peers at every step of the way. That is worth any commute or price tag in my opinion.