Hello world. Welcome to my first blog. Ever.
I’ve been grappling with how to present myself to the world in my new fitness venture.
How do I put myself out there into the land of Instagram bodies and their feats of epic strength and flexibility? The girl who was last to get picked for the sports teams at school.
In everything I read, the advice is always to be “you”. Be authentic. Be vulnerable.
*deep breath* So here goes...
I've been teaching dance for 9 years and for the majority of that time I've felt under pressure to show up each week and be a perfect example for my students. If I made a mistake with a combo or choreography I was teaching I'd feel self-conscious about it for the rest of the class, worried I wasn't giving the dancers the standard of training they deserved. That I wasn't good enough.
Then, when I was training with Belly Dance legend, Rachel Brice, I discovered the Growth Mindset principle (more on that in future posts). Amongst the many things it taught me was that I was actually doing my students a disservice by covering up my flaws. For real growth to happen, making and learning from mistakes is an important part of any success story. Learning comes from that uncomfortable place of struggle and error. Being open when I make a mistake shows my students that it’s okay to make their own, and that’s where the true lessons lie. From correcting mistakes comes development and progress.
Ironically, I originally discovered belly dance because I was looking for an alternative to going to the gym. However, as my passion for dance grew it quickly became clear that I would need to cross-train to improve my fitness, so I delved into yoga, Pilates and eventually into the gym courtesy of a programme called Dance Stronger, by Monika Volkmar.
She was the first to inspire in me the idea that we are human before anything else and humans need to move.
So this is why I'm here. To help other humans move their bodies.
I've gone from a semi-sedentary, drinking, smoking party animal to a health-conscious dance teacher and fitness professional in 12 years. The party animal is still there though… I'm not ready to let her go and I don't know if I ever will.
Do I enjoy healthy, nourishing food? Yes, of course. Do I eat pizza? Yes. I love it. But gone are the frozen supermarket pizzas and greasy takeaways. I'm lucky enough to have a partner who loves to cook and is intent on creating the perfect, fully home-made pizza.
Is it the healthiest, “cleanest” thing to eat? No. But it's my favourite food and it makes me happy and warms my soul.
Do I drink like I did in my twenties? No. Do I still enjoy a drink? Yes.
What's changed? I couldn't have achieved what I have if I drank the way used to. Boozy nights and early mornings are not compatible for me. Consuming that much is not going to allow my body to perform in the way I want it to. It wasn't an overnight transition by any means, more like a slow, steady change in habits. I now enjoy a cold beer after class (beer is another of my favourite things) or a glass of red wine with a meal. I’ll maybe have a little more when I'm not working the next day. Then occasionally I’ll have a blow out.
Is it perfect? No. Might I perform better if I were teetotal? Maybe. But for me it's about finding balance and it makes me happy to let the party animal know she has not been left behind and forgotten.
So this is me putting myself out there as I really am. I'm no fitness guru or nutrition goddess. I’ve definitely undergone a metamorphosis in the past 12 years and I have aspirations for further transformation.
What I'm trying to say is that fitness doesn’t need to be perfect. Just moving the body a little more and making small tweaks to nutritional habits will gradually add up to some big, lasting changes.
Yes it involves effort. Struggle. Willpower. Mistakes. Failure.
But the knowledge that I'm doing what I can to allow me to live to a happy, healthy, active life fires my passion to continue the work and to help others on their journey too.
I would love to know your thoughts. How do you define fitness? What aspirations do you have for your future self?
Please comment below and let me know if you have any questions.
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