In early 2014 I was settling into some major weight loss (75lbs!) and not sure where to head next health-wise. I had spent the previous year learning about nutrition and making lifestyle changes – intentionally excluding exercise for the time being. It was a big change for someone who’d spent the last 24 years eating her feelings 24/7. I didn’t want to add too much at once but eventually I felt so comfortable with those changes that I slowly came to the realization it was time, TIME FOR FITNESS. I was headed in the right direction: looking to workout for health as opposed to weight loss which, up until that time, was a completely foreign concept in my world. Working out for any other reason than to be “skinny”?! Preposterous.
Straight out of the gate I knew my previous methods of CARDIO CARDIO MOAR CARDIO were not the answer. Hell, I barely knew the question! Luckily, a close friend of mine had recently fallen for weightlifting. So much so he was taking steps towards becoming a coach at a soon-to-open Crossfit gym. That’s where it all began…
Did I expect to go in there and get my ass kicked? Absolutely. Did I expect to be immersed in one of the warmest, most welcoming communities I’d ever encountered? Hell no! Learn things about fitness and the human body? Yeah right! Be challenged on a daily basis? I mean, I guess. Hang out with a cute gym pup? Pfft, dogs don’t go to gyms.
SPOILER ALERT: it all happened! Solcana was such a breath of fresh air in so many ways.
I wish I could say I walked in, got fit, and lived happily ever after but that’s the thing about a healthy environment: while it challenges you, supports you, and lifts you up, you’re ultimately left to your own devices. There are still lessons to learn! At least, there were for me.
I’m a competitive person. Ask any friend and they’ll tell you I’m no fan of losing. So, when I walk into a gym and see “RX” written on the whiteboard it’s like a big shiny gold medal. I immediately viewed prescribed workouts as a holy grail and a huge validation of athleticism. Once I got to those workouts with consistency, instead of celebrating the achievement and living in that accomplishment with any sort of contentment, my mindset switched to “if you don’t do RX you’re a lesser athlete”. A glaring example of what my #1 challenge in and out of the gym has been my entire life: myself. I’m hard on myself. I push and I very rarely practice self-compassion. So I ignored pain, took few rest days, told myself I was weak without RX and kept pushing. Fast forward to my first injury. I was cast into a boot and suddenly thrust out of my routine. Immediately, rest and self-compassion throughout weight training and LIFE felt like a no-brainer. Or at very least, something worth considering!
Being out/very limited in my fitness activity for almost three months was hard but I think it was a lesson I had to learn (for so many reasons) and was going to learn whether I liked it or not. I also think if I went to any other gym I would’ve walked away. Become overwhelmed with the idea of setting past personal records aside and starting fresh. Maybe I would’ve tried something different altogether for a while (aka stopped working out, let’s be honest) but the idea of not having a community like Solcana in my life was and is borderline unfathomable. At the end of the day, I’ll happily accept life lesson after life lesson if it means I continue to walk into the gym and see lil’ pup Petey trot towards me with his tongue sticking out. Or if it means I continue celebrating fellow athletes and new friends in and out of the gym. Or even, continue to say things like “clang and bang” in a safe space! More than anything I feel like Solcana and its community represents/is the compassion, patience, and support in my life that I sometimes don’t have for myself. For that I am very grateful to call Solcana home.