Turning Points & Influences

by Stephanie on November 4, 2011 · 2 comments

in Inspiration

This week’s Fitness Blog World post is not so much a topic as it is a series of questions about motivation and reasons for being active or following a healthy lifestyle.  It’s kind of a lot to cover so I’m going to break it down and answer one question at a time.  Here we go!

Q#1: What was your trigger or turning point that made you chose fitness and/or a healthy lifestyle? 

There wasn’t a trigger that made me choose fitness or if there was, I was too young to remember it!  I started swimming competitively on a city team when I was 5 years old.  I didn’t stop until I graduated high school.  During those years I also played volleyball (4 years in middle school) and basketball (6 years – middle & high school) and lifted weights.  When I went to college I played intramural soccer and volleyball, tennis with friends, and lifted weights here and there.  I continued to be active because I love it, because I’ve always done it, and because I would go crazy without an outlet for my (slightly large) competitive side.

I should point out that I have never been super skinny and though I was very active, I was at least slightly overweight for most of these years.  That confession leads in to the two triggers that I do remember

The Running Trigger – I started running after college because I didn’t like how I looked in my graduation pictures.  I had let myself go a little and wasn’t happy about it.  The running has stuck though the weight has fluctuated.

The Weight Loss Trigger – The full story of my decision to focus on getting to a truly healthy weight is one of the first posts I ever wrote on this site, appropriately called The Turning Point.  The short story is that I lost a very special Uncle to a sudden heart attack and it shook me to my core.  I realized that heart disease is common in my family and that by being at an unhealthy weight I was increasing my risk of experiencing the same problems. 

Q#2: How did that process get you where you are today? 

Being active in sports has absolutely defined me both as a child as an adult.  It has provided me stress relief, excitement, accomplishment, and wonderful friends.  It has taught me dedication, time management, and mental toughness.  It has taught me how to overcome adversity (injuries, losses, etc) and has given me some of the best memories of my life.  Running has opened new doors for adventure, allowing me to complete two half marathons this past year.  I would not be the same person today if it weren’t for all these experiences; I have no doubt about that!

As for the weight loss journey, that is still underway.  I struggle with my eating habits mostly and my progress has been slow.  However, I have lost about 20 lbs over the last year and though my progress is slow, I am on my way to reaching the healthy weight I want. 

Q3: What or who has had the most influence on your fitness life?

The award for person with the most influence goes to my swim coach, hands down.  I had the same coach all 13 years that I competed.  So much of what I know about sport, training (like the 16 week rule!), and life comes from him.  I’m not sure he’ll ever realize how truly influential he really was. 

The most important thing I learned from him was sportsmanship.  Win or lose, he expected his team to act in a manner that displayed the utmost respect for everyone present.  Yes, he wanted us to win.  He turned out quite a few conference and sectional champions and State competitors.  He wanted us to do our best and got damn frustrated when we didn’t.  But the time I saw him the angriest wasn’t because we swam badly, it was because we acted (truly, really) badly.  That is a coach that has his priorities in order.

Just thinking about all of this has made me feel very blessed! :)

What was your turning point?  How has motivated you the most?

I’d love for you to share your answers with me!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Allison Siemens November 5, 2011 at 8:32 PM

Awesome FBW post! Great, motivating story – thanks for sharing! What I love is how someone “doing their job” (ie. swim coach) can have such a profound effect on a person. You just never know how much influence your example can have – so wonderful that you are reaping the rewards of that relationship. :)


Stephanie November 6, 2011 at 2:50 PM

I’m glad you liked the post! It’s true that we rarely know the influence we have. That certainly makes me think twice about the example I’m setting!


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