Being a “mini Al” has a lot more meaning to me than just being in shape and working as a personal trainer. This path that life showed me, also saved me. Becoming a fit woman has made me the healthiest and happiest, mentally and physically, than I have ever been in my life thus far. Becoming a personal trainer, following in my mother’s footsteps has made this journey even more profound.
When most people meet me for the first time, their common response is “oh you’re Allison’s daughter”. Yes, I am, and proud of it. People are not surprised that I found my way into the “family” business of fitness, but I am. I was born into a VERY physically fit and active family; I was the exception. I would watch my Mom teach her aerobics classes, swim, bop around in the living room to her record player practicing for her classes the next day…I thought it was cool. I mean what little girl didn’t love Madonna tunes, dancing, leotards and leg warmers?
I would sit and watch my Dad workout in the basement, come and go from squash and Golf; I was DESTINED to find my way into this world. I always enjoyed physical activities; I was a softball player, a skier, a soccer player, and a swimmer but beyond that I wanted NOTHING to do with exercise. This girl was far from fit. I was the “fat kid”, right out of the whom I was a little chuncker, but that did not stop me from playing sports or enjoying life…I just never grew up thinking that I was going to be like my parents—mostly like my Mom. I never understood what was “SO GREAT” about exercise. I cringed at the thought of walking places when I could just drive.
I was 14 years old when my weight maxed out at 238 pounds, I still thought I could be “fit” by JUST controlling my eating. I would tell my dietician that I had walked in between our visits (I didn’t). I just became dedicated to my food plan. I was confident that once I hit my goal weight that I would feel GREAT, and hey I was loosing weight without working out. As I got in to my later teen years, my lack of exercise and my insane neurosis about food finally gave way to an eating disorder. It was a living hell and didn’t end for almost ten years. During college I would try to control my food intake and go to the gym here and there, but I did not lose any weight—I gained. As I watched my physical self fall apart; I also watched my mental self fall apart. I became a chain smoker, drank every weekend, binge, purged, didn’t eat (everything you can imagine). I turned to all things “unhealthy”, just to try to lose some of the weight I had gained…but the weight kept coming and so did the darkness.
When I returned home from college I moved back into my Mom’s house. I would see her training clients everyday..sometimes multiple times per day. Occasionally, I would meander down to the basement and hop on a machine for a few minutes but nothing serious. As time went by I would catch myself just sitting and watching my Mom train her clients (a flashback to my early years in life). I watched “Al” GET THOSE LADIES MOVING, and she did it with grace, patience, determination and emotion. I would watch in awe as she would work them out with precision, humor and also acting as their stand-in therapist. She was and still is everything to them.
I started to spend more time “hanging” around my Mom and the girls, and eventually I over stepped my boundaries. “Sam, you need to go upstairs honey”, “Sam, you are distracting them”. I knew I was irritating my Mom, but I just wanted to learn her trade–on some level I knew I could one day become her protegé.
Eventually, my lone trips downstairs to the gym lengthened. I would focus intensely on what my Mom taught her clients–sometimes I would pretend I was training my own. I could see the beauty in what she did everyday, but I was still not physically or mentally ready to even consider this as a career.
My life continued and I took another career route and dabbled in the retail world for a while. I loved it and I was VERY good at it. However, one day my career came to a screeching halt-there was no looking back. Thankfully, during my time in the crazy world of retail I found solace in working out…I FINALLY UNDERSTOOD its magic. Trying to reconcile the “loss” that I felt after my job in retail ended was very difficult, but with grace and exercise, I was able to move forward. I took a job working for a small/local internet company in sales and marketing. The job was a good change–but I was NOT happy nor fulfilled. I resigned from that position in order to re-prioiritze my life and my goals.
As I sat back and reassessed my life, I realized my calling was right in front of me the entire time. I was meant to be like my Mom, and I wanted to be so badly. I nagged and nagged, and eventually she allowed me to participate in her workouts (she even let me help her sometimes!) It was AWESOME. Her clients got to know me, I got to know me and I grew to LOVE ME. The first time my Mom asked me to train a client for her I accepted, but deep down I was TERRIFIED! I tried to go over and over EVERYTHING she would do…I made it through that first time, and it was more nerve wrecking than I could have ever imagined. It also left me wanting more!
As time went on I started helping my Mom more. One client turned into two, two into three and eventually into full days, weeks etc.. I had found my passion. I had to solidify this amazing dream turned career, so I decided to go on and get my certification from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). It was a grueling and gratifying experience.
So, here I am today…training and blogging. Here I AM…strong in mind, body and spirit. I not only have exercise to thank for SAVING MY LIFE and this INCREDIBLE career…but my MOM–the original “butt-kicker” and trainer extraordinaire.