Feeling failure, seeing truth.
I had a long blog written up about how annoyed I get when people say to me, “Well, of course you’re in shape – you teach.” I basically go on a rant about how yes, while I do need to be in shape because I do in fact teach fitness classes, I’m still up there working just as hard. Who knows, maybe harder?
Teaching classes isn’t just about the physical fitness of the instructor, though. It also has a lot to do with preparation. Not only do I teach during my designated hour, I also spend a lot of time preparing for the classes. There are days when I go through track after track, sometimes with kids on my shoulders to imitate the weight I’d use during Body Pump, just to make sure that the members have a good experience. There are times when I sit and listen to the same song, over and over again, to make sure I have it just right. Sometimes I listen to the same songs so much that even my kids can sing along.
I’ve been told so many times in so many different ways, “You must love being forced to workout.” Sort of, I suppose. In a way, I guess I do. But here’s the thing – even if I didn’t teach, I’d still be there, at the gym, reaching goals I’ve set for myself. What most people don’t realize is that while I’m teaching and educating, I too, have goals. I, too, want to get stronger, fitter, healthier. I, too, want to be there. Not just because I get paid. Not just because I’m in the front, leading the class. But because I want others to see that I’m working hard, too. That just because I’m the instructor, it doesn’t mean it’s easy.
I still look in the mirror and some days don’t like what I see. I don’t say it out loud, but I think it. I think about all the ways I should work harder. All the ways I can improve. We all do this. I know I’m not alone.
But then I step back and remind myself that I can only do this one day at a time. That I’m doing my very best. That where I am, right now, is better than where I was yesterday.
I bet I’m not the only instructor who feels this way.
When someone new starts taking a class of mine, first thing I tell them is, “If this is something you plan on sticking with – take measurements and a photo. Don’t rely on the scale.” I tell them this, because days like I had last week, happen. You look in the mirror and you don’t see improvement. You see a number on the scale and it isn’t what you hoped for. You feel a little extra jiggle and you over analyze. You don’t feel beautiful in your clothes.
So I drag out those photos and I see facts. I see growth. I see strength and improvement. I may feel bloated and gross, but that feeling will pass. I look at those photos. We all have our inner battles. We all have our issues. Last week I felt like a failure who has made zero progress. But in fact, when I looked in the mirror…
I saw me.