I grew up in an athletic family.
Well, I grew up with an athletic dad and brother.
Sports, playing them, watching them, reading about them, and talking about them, were a constant part of our life.
Both my dad and my brother are natural athletes.
They have athletic physiques, and can pick up almost any sport or athletic activity and excel in it from the start.
They derive a lot of pleasure from being active.
And they can’t sit still for very long.
My mom, on the other hand, was not athletic at all.
She proudly watched from the sidelines, but didn’t participate in any of our athletic activities.
She took us to the beach, but she never got into the water with us.
My dad was the one who took us exploring, adventuring, hiking or biking.
I recall one time where she and my dad rented a tandem bike and it was such a novelty for us to see our mom do something active.
My mom suffered a bad back injury when I was pretty young and it caused her chronic pain.
That, and her personal lack of interest in fitness, led her to gain weight.
She developed knee problems and had her first knee replacement when I was in college.
I never really thought one way or the other about my mom’s fitness, or lack of it, while I was growing up.
Dad was the active one and she wasn’t–that’s as much thought as I put into it.
But looking back now, I see that there was a lot she couldn’t do with us, and what she missed out on.
I was never an athlete like my dad or my brother.
I played lots of sports, but was never amazing at any of them.
I enjoyed them, and had fun, but no one was offering me any scholarships, or even a place on the all star team, for my athletic abilities.
I secretly longed to excel at a sport, to be called athletic, or at least to do an activity enough to justify buying cute workout clothes for it.
The trouble was, I never really stuck with anything long enough to develop my skills or to turn my body into the athletic, fit one I wanted it to be.
After high school, my fitness activity dwindled down to the occasional class at the gym, and easy weekend hikes or casual bike rides.
I liked to imagine I was fit, and interested in fitness, but truthfully, I wasn’t very active any more.
A few years later, after marriage and having babies, I had put on pounds and my body was pretty soft and squishy.
During that time my mom discovered fitness for the first time in her life.
She got a job as a receptionist at a women’s only gym.
And then she began working out.
She was limited in what she could do, due to a weak back, two knee replacements, chronic foot pain, and other heath problems.
But she still found what worked for her and she did it.
And she liked it!
And then she started telling me that I needed to exercise.
It was the first time she’d ever offered me that advice, and truthfully, I resented it.
She explained she wasn’t telling me to lose the baby weight, rather she was offering me advice from what she’d learned the hard way–not to wait to become active until my 50s.
“Start now!” she said. “You’re young, and you’ll be so much healthier when you are my age.”
“You need to take care of yourself.”
For a long time, I didn’t listen to her.
Why do we do that to our moms?
They know what they’re talking about!
Finally, when I had reached a place of desperation with my body, I started working out.
At first it was just to lose weight and fit into my skinny jeans.
But I quickly realized that I wanted so much more than to just be skinny.
I wanted to learn from my mom’s mistakes, and lead an active life with my kids, rather than watch them from my chair.
I wanted that life long dream of being athletic to come true.
And one day, I want to be a grandma who can climb mountains with her grandkids.
I want to be fit for life!
My mom will be 70 next year, and she still goes to the gym.
Her physical limitations grow all the time, and she has slowed down a lot.
It is hard for her and she wishes she could do more.
My dad on the other hand, is in his early 60s and just last year did a 10 day backpacking trip in Spain with my husband.
They climbed mountains and some days hiked as much as 20 miles.
He has been active his whole life and it shows now, even as he gets older.
My mom would be the first to say that she wishes she had pursued an active lifestyle when she was younger.
She lost valuable time.
But, at least she started at some point and still does what she can.
She reminds me that it’s never too late to change your life.
And my dad reminds me of the importance of making fitness a life long pursuit.
And when I think about my kids, I’m reminded that want to show them that fitness is fun!
I feel like I still have so much to learn as I embark on my journey toward life long fitness.
Understanding my past is a part of writing my future fitness story.
It gives me motivation and goals to work towards.
I encourage you to think about your own fitness story.
Explore the past, and how it has shaped you, and then make plans for the future.
Who will you be and where will you go?
Don’t be afraid to dream big.
Don’t be afraid to rewrite your fitness story!
Keep on Living Fit!