I use the term “nurturing strength” because I believe that fitness is about taking care of ourselves, by becoming stronger and healthier, to live life more fully. I have taken the Health At Every Size pledge, which means that I put health before a media driven appearance of “health” which often is in reality unhealthy and even dangerous. Far too often we see exercise framed as if it’s about punishing the body into submission and into a diminished size. Instead, we can find ways that do inspire us to move more, to bring out our health, strength and well being and make participating in life more enjoyable. We can, indeed, nurture the strength within us.
This, of course, does shape my philosophy about fitness, that it should be about becoming stronger, healthier and more capable to do the things we want. And having fun! I got into fitness because I love fitness, I love the feeling of being stronger and more capable in the things that I do.
My early years in fitness were trial and error, with a lot of error, mostly learning from teen and women’s magazines, my first weights were those 3.3 lb Princess Smart Belles by DP. Yes, I’m dating myself. Women’s bodybuilding wasn’t heard of yet (the first women’s contest was in Ohio in 1977), but at least the running craze had started and I took to that and never looked back there. However, my weight training developed greatly over the years, once I gave up any notion that it had to be a “for women” type thing. Muscle is muscle, it trains the same for men or women.
In 1992 I became a certified personal fitness trainer through AFAA. I worked with clients in the Seacoast NH area, and a couple in Boston, for a few years. But I became discouraged by an industry that seemed so focused on appearance rather than function. I was disheartened by the vitriol and guilt slinging that I often saw, the judging on appearance rather than ability. I never believed that the ultimate goal of fitness was to be as thin as possible, which can lead to weakness, eating disorders and an ever lowering self-esteem. I believed fitness should be about power and vitality. But I also found myself falling into some of those same traps that annoyed me, I didn’t like that in myself.
I moved away from the fitness industry in 1996, but never from my own fitness interests. I continued to learn more not only about the physiological aspects of fitness, but also the social ones, the messages given women to take up less space, to be less powerful, to be less. I have met others who share a similar philosophy and again feel ready to offer fitness training. I have returned to AFAA and updated my certification.