Posted April 10, 2017

You all know that I am a Health & Fitness coach.  You all know I compete.  Both I have been doing for a long time.  As a health and fitness professional I am about 26 years in the biz! Crazy right?!

I am sharing this for two reasons.  One is to show others that Health & Fitness is something you work at every day.  You progress and evolve as you age and as you learn.  The biggest message I want to share here is that life in general is an amazing crazy journey.

We all have to start somewhere.  We aren’t born successful or fit.  We have to work at it.  Nothing is going to fall on your laps!  Well for most of us anyways.

This isn’t about look at me and look what I did.  Literally I forget what I have done in my career.  And in life.  I now look back and realize I have pushed through so many things and if I could do it then, I can do it now.  I also look back and see how far I have come in fitness which is so cool!  This can be you too!

After I got out of high school, I went to school for interior design.  Art was my first love to be honest.  I took it all through high school and was not to bad at it.  I decided to go to school for something that involved art.  I attended one year at Humber College that was suppose to be a 3 year program.  I realized that it wasn’t for me.  As much as I love art, this wasn’t for me.  I had no clue what I wanted to do but was willing to figure it out.

I took a full-time job at an all women’s fitness Centre as a receptionist.  Exclusively Women’s Fitness.   I came to work early to do an aerobics class.  Back in the day classses were the thing! I was also doing some weight training.  I was about 21 at the time.  I loved the gym.  Everything about it.  The great feeling I had when I was finished and the results it gave me. But I didn’t walk in buff and in perfect shape.

I remember the very first class I did.  I came from a background of track and field.  But it had been a few years since and haven’t been as active.  I was maybe 98 lbs soaking wet.  No muscle, no energy.  Essentially not very healthy.  I was smoking and drinking. Yes I did smoke.  Terrible but I did!  But even with all these things against me, I thought I would kill this basic level group class.  So I go to the front of the class.  The girl teaching was really sweet, soft voice and definitely in great shape.  We started off with what she said was a warm-up.  Well after 2 minutes I was barely breathing! This sweet girl suddenly became a warrior and thought she was out to kill me.  After 20 minutes I thought I was going to pass out.

I was thinking of an exit strategy.  I didn’t want to embarrass myself but at the same time I didn’t want to faint in front of everyone.  So during a water break I got the hell out of dodge!  I was so humbled and knew I had to make some changes.  And yes I was young.  Making these changes was a bit easier and results did come more quickly than they do now at 46.

I went to the gym almost daily.  Made lifestyle changes.  Quick smoking and started reading more about health and fitness.  Now I think wow!  I started in fitness barely able to go 20 minutes and now I am in the best shape of my life!  It can happen no matter when you start! You can say I am in the best shape of my life at any point!  Just get started!

One day not too long after the above debacle, there was a snow storm.  I was working that night.  A few instructors  called in and said they couldn’t make it due to the snow.  My GM taught a couple and then came to me and asked me to teach. I have never taught I just participated.  I was shy and not very confident.  She talked me into it.  It wasn’t the best thing ever but at least I did it.  After that I got the bug and taught myself how to put together classes, step, low impact, hi impact, etc.  I got my group fitness certification and off I went.

Soon after I was hired as a floor instructor.  Back in the day where gyms had people walk around and keep the gym tidy and help members on the gym floor.  I was very determined to be good at what I was doing so took courses and attended workshops.  Soon after I became a certified personal trainer.  Each year I grew as a fitness professional with knowledge and in my career.  Started as an Ass’t Fitness Manager, then soon after became a Fitness manager.

I won fitness instructor of the year for my classes (which I practiced and taught myself so I could be the best at what I did).  A year later I became Fitness Manager of the year.  This was such an accomplishment for me.  I didn’t have a degree.  My nature is shy and very quiet.  But when it came to this I just excelled.  This was because of my passion and determination to be the best I could be. (cliche I know, but it is true).

I remained with The Alliance Fitness Corp for many years.  I spent a total of 12-13 years with them.  I never stopped educating myself and never stopped trying to better myself.  I had my ups and downs. But that is life.  You learn from it and grow.  You will have moments where you second guess yourself and your purpose.  That happens as you age.

What you started off in or learning you may not end up in.  Nothing wrong with that!  You will change, evolve and grow. You may end up making a huge change in your 40’s like I did.

One thing I never lost sight of is my health.  Again there will be ups and downs.  But being healthy isn’t something you dabble in or do for 2 months to get ready for a wedding or vacation.  It is something you do for life. I don’t care when you start but start and never stop.

Same goes with your goals and your life in general.  We all come from different backgrounds.  Do I wish I went back to school, ya I do. But I worked with what I had and never let anyone tell me I wasn’t good enough.  As a matter of fact, I could go back to school now and become what I want to.  Never put time limits or limits in general based on age or gender.

I wasn’t born fit.  I had to work at it and I am still working at it.  Just when you think you have nailed this fitness thing, you hit 30, you hit 40, you hit 50.  It changes every decade and with each one you have to change with it.  Tackle your health and fitness differently.  Accept the change but never accept defeat because of it.

Most of my life I was afraid to go on my own as a fitness professional. Even though this was a dream of mine for a very long time.  The unknown has always freaked me out.  But something clicked last year.  Maybe it was losing my dad and almost losing my mom. Not sure but what ever it was I realized life is too short to sit on the side lines.

I never thought I would compete either.  But when I stepped on stage I felt so much empowerment from it.  I won’t compete for ever but it was a goal and I did it.  Something I will look back at and be proud of.  Don’t be afraid to try new things or step out onto a limb.  Doing what we fear and what challenges us keeps us young at heart.  Young at mind and soul.

It is easy to remain complacent.  It is a safe place to be.  But don’t stay there because you are afraid you can’t do anything else!

When I start with a new client I ask them why they came to me.  9 times out of 10 it is because they aren’t confident in the gym.  They don’t know where to start.  This is one of the main reasons why people don’t work on their health and fitness.  TV and other media outlets will give you these “diets” and gadgets to get you fit in a minute but reality is none of these things create longevity.  You do it for a month or two and get bored or reach a weight loss goal and stop.  Then you put on the weight you lost and more.

Stop spinning your wheels.  Believe in yourself and trust that you are capable of reaching your goals.  You have to start some where.  We give it all we got to grow in our careers but when it comes to our health we can’t be bothered.  Without health you really have nothing.

Come see me or chat with me on how to get started. Let’s set some goals and make a realistic game plan to get you on track.  It starts with the right mind set and the right plan.

I would love to hear from you

Live well

Carmen Shawn.