I am Kelly and I am on an intense personal fitness journey in Granada, Nicaragua that started in September of 2017 and hopefully will never end. From the beginning of the project, I have been working out in the morning with trusted and talented trainers six days a week, alternating days between yoga and strength training.
Up until last year fitness for me was just a memory. There have been times in my life when I have been exceedingly ambitious with my body. From a young age, I was a dedicated ballerina attending dance class six days a week and then years later in high school, I would wake up diligently to go to the gym at 5.30 in the morning before the school day began.
Even at the time, I can remember being aware that the success of my program was firmly based in the frequency and intensity of the exercise. Aside from enjoying what I did, it was the habit of going that kept me with it and rewarded me with the results that made the effort worthwhile.
But years later in my 30s, I fell out of this practice. Partly, I think that when I became a mother I instinctively prioritized my family over my own needs and I was trying to not draw attention to myself for my own reasons. I was aware that this neglect toward my physical self created a sense of self-abandonment. Not only did I lose an outlet for managing my stress, I inwardly felt that I was letting myself down.
At the same time, I was steadily losing weight. This can be nice when you want to lose weight, but if you are already thin and in your forties, it’s not very healthy to be excessively lean and it doesn’t look great. I was losing ever more muscle mass each year and my clothes didn’t fit; it was also obviously aesthetically aging.
For the most part, my coping strategy was to stop looking in the mirror and hope that there would be a time some day when I would slow down and think about what I most wanted for myself.
Timing is everything and 2017 was the year for me when I decided to prioritize my own well-being. There was only so much time I could ignore my own happiness and health before I realized that those emotional and physical deficits had made me feel like I really was defeated. But yet there was something inside me that still was very much alive and hopeful. It was a kind of memory of happier times and of feeling stronger, more capable and in control of my life.
I made some important personal decisions and I got busy writing and volunteering. I began to go periodically to a yoga class and felt really elated attending the sessions and feeling more connected with myself, again. It was an encouraging beginning. But physically, I wanted a greater challenge. I wanted my strength back.
I had read that women in their forties should workout with weights to counter the process by which we naturally lose bone mass. Growing muscles effectively works to also pull on the bone underneath which reverses the diminishing process. So when I met Chris and Bertina, people who took their own health seriously and could confidently work their way around a gym (I knew this because when you see good health on other people it so obvious it is undeniable), I asked them for help. And fortunately for me, they said yes.
So here I am now six months later to date of this writing in February 2018, and I am now on my way. Everything feels so different in a short amount of time. I do feel stronger and my body is developing form. I wake up with tons of energy and I like that I feel more confident and relaxed. Overall, I like myself better and I look forward to each morning when I get a new day to do more of what makes me happy.
I am sharing this journey now publicly because it was a struggle in the beginning, there was a lot of fear of failure and of facing the truth of the lens (all my workouts with Chris and Bertina are photographed and videoed for the record and for eyeing strengths and weaknesses). I am on the other side of that fear now. Yes, I still worry about small things, but I am not worried that I will fail and I am not afraid to see myself how I really am. I actually like to see my progress on film for the visual validation of what I am feeling inside.
If you are considering doing something big to jump start your body and improve your self-esteem, I wholly support your desire to change and I hope that reading about what I am doing here in Nicaragua will help you there, wherever you are.
I can vouch that what I have done is so totally worth the effort and I sense that I still don’t even realize all value that I will enjoy from this journey as I keep moving forward with the personal commitment to continuing it forever.
So I invite you to follow me along as I go. For me, having an online record of my effort and progress is a new experience and I am looking forward to hearing back from people who are interested in their own fitness projects. I am really just getting started and there’s going to be a lot more to share going forward.
All my best,