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Beyond the Surface

One thing I know for certain in nearly 4 years of personal training is that what you see on the surface doesn’t necessarily equate to what lies beneath. As I’ve mentioned previously, I really had no idea how much of a blessing this “job” would be….and how much I would learn about training, about people and about myself.

I was assembling a video slide show for a volunteer event that I was asked to participate in recently. In piecing together the photos, I began to get more and more excited at the transformations I as viewing. These photos were of our bodybuilding team, many taken from our kickoff meeting in January. The changes these athletes have made to their bodies in just a few short weeks is nothing short of awe inspiring!! And having spent the last 3 months working with these awesome folks, I’ve also had the privilege of getting to know their stories…..testimonies of overcoming some obstacles that would have otherwise devastated them.

Now, if you’ve ever been a spectator at a bodybuilding show, there are 2 things that happen with our human nature. First, we will usually be in awe of the “chiseled” and “ripped” physiques. Second, we will pick apart the flaws and cut them down in any number of ways, any athlete who’s not “up to par”. And this is normal…’s part of our emotional self-preservation mode! However, as I look at our bodybuilding and figure team, something began to rise up in me.

I’ve participated in MANY bodybuilding and figure shows over the last 5 years. I’ve also had the opportunity to judge several of our military shows. One thing I have been humbled by is learning what a particular man or woman went through to get to that moment on stage. I met Charmaine in 2010. Her goal was to compete before she turned 40. And guess what….she’s still going strong!! I met 2 beautiful women at Stuttgart in 2011 who had lost an incredible amount of weight (over 80 lbs!) and wanted to show off their hard work and determination, as well as their new healthy bodies. Unfortunately, I was sitting behind a small group of women who proceeded to completely slander and belittle these beautiful women. My heart sank…..what if they only knew what these women had sacrificed and endured? What if they could possibly understand how incredibly terrified they were to step out on that stage in their bikini in front of hundreds of strangers? Would they have said those things?

Did you know we have a figure competitor on our team that suffered a traumatic leg injury several years ago and was told she would never walk again? It took her 2 years and now she’s squatting more than her body weight! Were you aware that we have another competitor on our team that just hit the 100 pound weight loss mark? And she did it all naturally!! I am so proud of our new moms on the team…..several who’s babies won’t even be a year old by the time they walk on stage. Our men!! Many have lost 35+ pounds and are now leaders of health and fitness within their military squadrons/companies, inspiring and guiding others into healthy lifestyle!! We have men and women who struggle with severe depression and anxiety, men and women who have never had self worth or confidence because they have never been told they are absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! Yet, each and every one of our athletes that will step on stage May 18th have already accomplished amazing things and have already won!! They are stunning….both inside and out! I hope to be able to share as many of their stories as I possibly can. I do hope you will join us on May 18th.

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