Saturday, April 21, 2012
Paying it Forward
I finally caught up to commenting on all the bloggers who linked up to the Summer Challenge. I felt kind of strange talking about Week 4 when we're pretty much done with it, but still, I wanted to show my support. I tried to comment on other blog posts as well, not just the Summer Challenge update, but couldn't do that for everyone. I hope that I can get around to the posts sooner next week.
This week's mini-challenge was about paying it forward.
I'm not sure how I do this actively at the moment, but I have started looking into getting a certification in nutrition and fitness and maybe one day work up to be a trainer of some sort. It's been a dream of mine for quite a while though I've never vocalized it before. I guess I'm just afraid of putting it out there in case I don't succeed. However, I really, really want to be able to pay forward the things that I have learned by being more involved in health and fitness. So I guess this is the way I can pay it forward in the future.
As for right now, I think the best I can do is continue to comment on blogs and communicate with others who are struggling to lose weight. For me, having a supportive community - whether real or virtual - has been incredibly important. I know that I don't want to let myself down, but I also know that I don't want to disappoint anybody else who may be rooting for me or at the very least watching my progress.
Aside from the blogs, I also try to be friendly and approachable at the gym. I think this is important because I know how intimidating the gym can be. You walk in and see already super-fit people running on the treadmill and lifting lots of weight; you see them doing the classes with lots of gusto and energy; you see the trainers having a good relationship with these people and wonder - where do I belong? How will I ever get there?
I think by being an overweight person who enthusiastically hits the gym and is not afraid to sweat, to try, to stumble and pick myself up can hopefully take the fear and intimidation out for some people. When I'm in the classes, I try to put my all into it, and people have commented/noticed. I've had several people, especially new Zumba-goers, come up to me and compliment me on how well I do in the class and they have said 'I could never do that' or 'I don't think my body can move like that' - to which I can say. Yes it can. It will. You just have to try. If you don't try or if you don't keep coming and practicing, you're right, it won't. Stick to it, and there will be a change. Even if you don't do the exact moves, at the very least, shake your ass :)
There have also been a few times when I've stopped doing whatever I was doing in a class to help someone else with an exercise. This is a tricky one. I know nobody wants to be told what to do and nobody wants to feel like they are being criticized/watched. At the same time, I know that when there were exercises that I struggled with, I would have loved it if someone would have come up to me and given me a suggestion or some advice. I try to frame it like: I used to have a lot of trouble with that exercise, but then I tried it this way, and it slowly got easier. Usually I've gotten a good response, but at the same time, I don't want to step on anybody's toes. The fact that they're at the gym at all is a huge achievement.
So that's my contribution to paying it forward in terms of health and fitness. I hope that I can continue to do so in a more significant way as my own health and fitness improves.