I’m pretty sure I understand why the Little Engine That Could kept repeating “I think I can. I think I can.” over and over again. It’s so those voices of doubt in his head wouldn’t have a chance to sneak in. Everyone has those voices within, some are just better at ignoring them than others. Really driven people hear that negative voice telling you that you can’t, and take it as a challenge. “Oh yeah? Watch me!” and then take great pleasure as they smash that voice of doubt into smithereens. They understand that half of the battle is in your head.
That drive and determination is a common personality trait in good athletic trainers. If you ask them what their favorite part of the job is, not surprisingly most will tell you the same thing. It’s that look of excitement and delight on a client’s face when they finally accomplish something they never thought they could do. Personal trainers are some of the best cheerleaders around. Who else other than your own Mother gets that excited for you? And I’m pretty sure she is required by motherhood law to do so. Seriously, when is the last time someone gave you a high-five for accomplishing something past the age of 6? Personal Trainers dole them out happily all the time. Having a cheerleader in your corner is Awesome. Even better is that they swap out your own voices of doubt with their encouragements in its place.
A lot of people have asked me how do you train to climb a mountain? Kilimanjaro isn’t a technical climb meaning it doesn’t require climbing ropes or climbing with an ice pick. There is a little bouldering involved but for the most part it is a very long, very uphill hike over the course of a week or more starting off in a rainforest and ending up on a glacier. The best thing you can do to prepare is to make sure you are physically fit and are able to handle the mileage and exertion consecutive days in a row. So after years of doing yoga at home, I set out to push the bar higher and joined Burn Boot Camp, a phenomenal fitness community practicing High Intensity Interval Training where you can find me hovering in the back 5 days a week.
I was an athlete growing up, a gym rat in my teens and 20’s but still felt nervous my first camp. Please God, please let me be able to handle this. BBC’s brilliant floating floors are what even make it a possibility for someone like me with Lupus, to handle a class like that. The floor is springy and cushioned and saves so much stress on my joints.
As I looked around the room, I was surrounded with an incredibly diverse bunch of women (and men depending when you go). You had what I like to refer to as the fitness superstars, you know the ones. They are beautifully toned and able to do the entire class while modifying up. The ones you admire and aspire to be. But there were a lot of others too. There were young mothers, lots of women my age, a few teenagers and what I was thrilled to see were women old enough to be Grandmothers shattering any age myths out there. There were all shapes and sizes. There were women sporting knee braces, athletic tape, even one who had an orthopedic boot. What you couldn’t see but I would later find out was there were cancer survivors, mothers of sick and autistic kids, and other women with invisible diseases like me.
And ALL of them, every single one of them, are an inspiration. They along with BBC’s wonderful trainers create a magic component which I didn’t even realize I was missing. Community of like-minded people. It makes my workouts not only more enjoyable, but more effective.
Watching the woman just starting out on her fitness journey, carrying extra weight, soldier on when she’s exhausted and wants to stop, is incredibly inspiring. You go girl. That is strength. If you can keep going, I can keep going. I was you once not long ago.
Turning to the woman next to you who is also drenched in sweat, exchanging a commiserating look of “Holy Smokes can you believe we are doing this?” is unbelievably reassuring and helps you press on.
The “You’ve got this.” and “Nice work”s exchanged with each other are FUEL.
Watching people transform before your very eyes over time is INCENTIVE.
You’re not doing it alone. You are all pushing forward towards your goals together.
Together, I have gone much farther and accomplished more than I ever have alone. Lets face it, if it was a workout DVD at home, I would have stopped a long time ago.
Here’s the thing, I wrote this post twice already. The first time was how challenging (read frustrating) it has been to train when your hands, wrists, feet, ankles and shoulder joints always start screaming before your muscles do. And how I fight for my lungs to expand enough to catch my breath when they feel like they are surrounded by fluid. But that just made me feel like a sick person and wah wah wah. C’est la vie. No one wants to read that. I don’t want to read that. I’m still lucky to have the health that I do and I won’t let the rest stop me. So I scrapped that one.
The second time I wrote I went into detail about how effective BBC is. I used to work out 2 hours a day and didn’t get the same results as I do now in just 45 minutes. But you know what? Burn Bootcamp’s site is FULL of transformation stories with impressive before and after photos of HUNDREDS of their clients with remarkable stats. The walls of their facilities are plastered with them. I don’t need to rewrite what so many others have already written. Go check it out for yourself, just know that everything they say is true. I’ve met these women, they work out beside me.
The most magical part of BBC’s community is their heart. I was only there about a month before they held a fundraiser partnering with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Every year Devan Kline, the founder of BBC helps raise money to send kids with MD to summer camp. He also makes a very generous donation himself. How can you not automatically love a guy who leverages himself to make the world a better place? He had me at “They have special floating wheelchairs that allow the kids to go in the water, so they can have a summer camp experience like other healthy kids do.”
Gah! Take my money.
I would quickly learn that this was just one of many charities and causes they support and encourage their clients to as well.
They love their people, and they love their community.
Each of my trainers has their own, endearing personality. Devan, BBC’s owner, who I initially, affectionately referred to as “Beefcake” (What? The guy is seriously ripped.), always asks you
“What’s your goal? You’ve got to have a goal.”
For the first couple of months I was there, I would always answer him with a
“To NOT DIE!”. Of course he was looking for an answer like number of reps or a period of time and judging by the look on his face, he didn’t find me nearly as amusing as I did.
Devan knows a thing or two about surpassing goals. BBC is experiencing explosive growth for good reason with 21 locations and another 39 opening soon. He helps keep you on track. That is no easy feat to do in a room full of chatty women with ADD combined with horrendous short-term memory. He coaches you that your best strategy is to have a plan and to have laser focus, in and out of camp. The lifestyle he models extends well beyond those walls. He genuinely cares if you reach your goals. Your success is his success. From some of the things he’s said and written, he’s intimated there is an interesting background story to his life. I have a feeling he’s had some practice overcoming obstacles.
Kyle Lane, or “Killer Kyle” speaks my love language; Humor. He has so many what we like to call “Kyleisms” that keeps you laughing while you simultaneously push well beyond what you thought your capabilities were.
“I’m not worried about you passing out, the hospital’s down the street.”
“What are you waiting for?”
And my personal favorite “My lunchbox weighs more than that!” And for the record-it does.
Every client is Kyle’s favorite client and it doesn’t matter if you avoid eye contact, he WILL find you to drop a smash ball in your lap or suit you up with a weighted vest. The first time he told me to take a finger away while doing pull ups I looked at him like he had three heads.
“Just do it, take that last finger away.”
And lo and behold I could do a pull up with only 3 fingers from each hand. The look on my face at that moment is what trainers live for. Kyle taught me not to wait until I thought I was ready to try something harder. You’d be surprised how many times you’re able to do something before you think you are.
“All Day Ashley” Beasley is my hero. The woman can do one-handed pull ups. One hand! While I love the guys it is so inspiring to have that level of fitness and strength modeled for you by a female. I not only take her camps that she trains, but have been in camps with her and witnessed firsthand her extraordinary athletic prowess. The first time I saw Ashley walk in and start setting up a camp I couldn’t help but stare. She is incredibly cut and defined with beautiful tan skin that just exemplifies her hard work and she is gorgeous to boot. I had to catch myself, because I was so entranced studying her muscle definition it took me a minute before I realized I was staring and being a creeper. I’m sure she gets that all. the. time. (Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself so I don’t feel like a creeper.) She is as sweet and funny as she is fit but I soon learned that doesn’t make her workouts any easier! Ashley is teaching me endurance. Every time I think I am absolutely done (and there are many), she throws in one more round. That voice always pops in my head and says “There is no way, I’ve got nothing left.”, yet she encourages you to try anyways, and somehow, with her next to you, coaching you on “One more, c’mon I know you can do one more!” You do. There must be some reserve tank within that only she can see that the rest of us can’t.
It is so very important to be surrounded by those positive voices speaking truth and light into you. Because sometimes that voice in your head is just a whisper, and other times it screams loud. We all battle these voices every day. If you don’t have people in your life that do this for you, you need to go get you some stat!
I’ve had a lot of internal monologues happening since we signed up for the Cause Trek with Compassion. Two particular recurrent voices of doubt and fear have been resurfacing for months.
You won’t raise all the money you’ve pledged for clean water.
You won’t make it to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
My team consists of 30 Compassion Sponsors from across the US coming together to fund this clean water project and attempting the climb. Will you please pray for my team? I’m sure I’m not the only one hearing these voices of doubt. Please pray we are all able to secure the donations necessary so we can help those in need. Pray we will all physically be able to reach the summit together. Because together we can accomplish so much more than we can alone.
I’ve already shared how I’ve learned to turn to God for everything first and foremost. That is key. I’ve also learned that it is imperative to be surrounded by positive voices speaking truth and light into you.
Devan, Kyle and Ashley are a few of my voices of truth and light. I am so incredibly grateful for them. I’ve tenderly tucked them away in my mind and will be listening for them when needed.
“What’s your goal?”
To raise $9,000 for Clean Water and to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro despite my obstacles! “Get it Holly!”
“What are you waiting for?”
I’m able to do more than I think I can. Just catching my breath, the hospital isn’t down the street this time you know!
and when I don’t think I can take another step…
“One more, C’mon give me one more!”
Thanks for introducing me to my reserve tank.
Together, along with an army of extraordinary men and women, I bleed blue. We love each other and we love our community. #StrongerEveryDay
(Learn more about Burn Boot Camp at burnbootcamp.com.
Devan & Ashley are at BBC Headquarters in Huntersville and you can find Kyle at the Charlotte/Elizabeth location. However, I’ve had the privilege of having most of the trainers from other locations train at Headquarters and I can honestly say they are ALL phenomenal, so go seek out your own voices of truth and light.)