I want to say first how very excited I am about the launch of the 6 month weight loss challenge.  I can’t wait to see the amazing results at the end of the 6 month challenge, but only a small road on your fitness journey will end in six months (which is my birthday)…so I want HUGE presents from you ladies in the form of great weight loss and great successes and most of all great feelings of self esteem.  It is not about the number on the scale or the size of your pants it is about how you feel when you walk down the street and after six months I am sure you will all feel great.

So, since the weight loss challenge starts today and everyone has an excuse at one point or another to not exercise I thought that I would share my experiences with some extraordinary people to get you all moving in the proper direction.

First, meet Dawn.  I met Dawn training for my first competition last August.  Dawn, unlike me was smart enough not to jump onto the competition band wagon one week after her first competition and try to do it again (that was my mistake).  Dawn has it going on, she has a kick butt job, a great cross fit community and a very supportive husband.  From the outside Dawn was enviable, she seemed to have it all…but yesterday I saw that Dawn had started a blog and realized even the “go to” girl sometimes loses her mojo.  So, if you would like to follow Dawn’s journey to get her mojo back…here is her blog. http://dawn-mcleod.blogspot.com/2011/07/finding-my-way-back.html?spref=fb

Two other blogs I have shared before but are worth repeating Paula  (http://www.facebook.com/pjoanhannah#!/pjoanhannah?sk=info) and Erin (http://rhoadestofitness.wordpress.com)

But, just when you think you don’t have it anymore and you want to give up and all is lost I want you to think of this family and then I want you to put your sneakers on and get your butt out the door or hit the floor for crunches or plank or start doing squats while you are washing your hair.  Do something, because if you aren’t inspired you may need to check if you have a pulse.

I was asked about a month or so if I would like to take on some clients who had autism and their mom.   Two girls, I am going to screw up their ages but they are teenagers around 15 and 17 and they are sisters (again, both have autism).  And, yes I just said that two sisters both have autism.  As a parent this scares the crap out of me, I mean really one kid with autism is hard enough but this family was given two….but when meeting their mom you would never know that she was dealt this hand.  Ok back to the story, one of the girls is very vocal and quite funny and sometimes has no filter which I appreciate and the other is a bit more reserved, not very vocal and needs a little more direction.  I jumped at the offer, sure why not, I have worked with younger kids, older kids, the elderly, the general population, why would this be any different.  Then, I realized I had worked with all of those populations in the physical therapy arena, not the fitness arena…but it was worth a try and I love a challenge.  So  we started with some core training, thirty minutes twice a week.  For those of you saying, that’s not much…you have no clue how much is learned in that 60 minutes a week by both parties.  Fifteen minutes into the first class, I realized that the younger of the two girls (the one who doesn’t speak as much) was able to fix her posture when doing a core move with just one cue on her back, the older girl was able to hold plank for longer than some of my “typical” clients.  The first session , I introduced some basic core moves and decided we could move on from there…the second class so much information was retained by both girls that I was able to do more advanced moves with them…it was wonderful.

The girls are getting better with each session, but I have learned a ton too.  The retention of information by people with autism is amazing, I don’t have to reteach every class; they remember the cues from the class before.  I love the fact, that the older daughter doesn’t think that I am “as bossy as other personal trainers”, and I even got a hug on the way out the door by the younger daughter.  My physical therapy brain would tell me that the weight bearing and core stabilization should help the girls with their mental focus and the core strength will help their ability to concentrate more.  It will also decrease the need for involuntary movements and times of aggression.  But more importantly my parental brain tells me that all of the above are creating more self esteem and teaching the girls to carry themselves with better posture and creating happier kids.

Here’s my lesson, fitness is important for everyone just not for the same reasons.  I am sure that the girls’ mom is doing fitness with her daughters for physical health reasons but it helps the mental state too.  The girls achieve new goals everytime and it’s for the most part always a success and to be very honest, I leave with a big smile because these are my very favorite clients of all time.  Don’t take for granted what you have, if you have it use it.  Don’t make excuses for yourself, the girls and their mom don’t.  How easy would it be to say my daughters have autism, screw it I give up on fitness I have bigger fish to fry.  But, their mom didn’t.  She sees the importance of fitness and that in itself is a victory.

Remember it’s your race and your pace..enjoy your journey.