The End

It’s over! – Strongbad

Last week marked the end of the AirdrieLIFEstyle Challenge.  In January, 4 groups set off on a path to better health and fitness.  I had intended to blog my thoughts far more often than I did, but for various reasons, declined.  I did, however, have to mark the ending with one final entry.    I struggled with whether I should, because not everything I have to say is positive, but I am a believer that the truth is the truth, and even great things can have some negative aspects, and that they shouldn’t be hidden under a rug.

It is not my intention to insult, or point fingers, or lay blame.  I am speaking from my experiences, and mine only.

What I didn’t tell a lot of people when we first started this journey is that I almost quit before I began.  As most of you know, my schedule is a bit north of insane.  That being said, when I commit to things, I commit.  And I committed to this challenge.  Trying to figure out group exercises within my schedule was difficult.  But we did it.  I rearranged some of my calendar.  But before that, I was asked how I could ever do this.  I was told my partner was invested and that I better not let her down.  It seemed to me that my schedule was indicative of lack of true commitment, which couldn’t have been further from the truth.  Yes, my schedule was a little hectic, but I was trying to make it work.  I rearranged, I sacrificed, and I invested, and for the first couple of weeks, I was worried that my partner was disappointed she was paired with me.  Of course, if I had just talked to her, and told her all that had been said before we even started, everything would have been cleared up.

It was a little difficult.  Due to scheduling, I wasn’t at Monday workouts, so I felt like I was the odd man out (something that never really left me – to the fault of no one).

About halfway through the challenge, a group bowed out.   It was an individual choice for both of them, and while I was sad I wouldn’t see them at the gym, I understood.  Sometimes when we try to change our life for the better roadblocks pop up and there are times we aren’t equipped to hurdle them.  Just because they’re not at the gym, however, doesn’t mean they’re not working on a better lifestyle.  They’re just doing it in a different manner.  Different means to the same end.

That meant there was 3 groups left, and 1 of them was a group in name only – they weren’t part of the official challenge.  It was direct “competition”, and I don’t do well with that (mostly because historically speaking, I don’t win).  But we were still working away, and losing weight/inches.

I will say, that while I like being a girl most of the time, if we could switch genders any time we wanted, I’d want to be a dude during weight loss.  Sam was incredible!  A legitimate work-out beast, and he saw and is seeing great results!  I swear some of the times, he was just thinking of losing weight and poof! off if would go.  He’s doing the Spartan this summer, so all who are doing that, keep an eye on this guy!

About ¾ of the way through, I got injured.  There was a pinched nerve in my shoulder, and it took a couple of weeks and massage appointments to get it back to fighting form.  I’m still having trouble with it, but I’ve learned I’ve been doing some exercises wrong, which may have exacerbate it in the first place, so I’m confident it’ll be 100% soon.

There was drama.  A LOT of drama.  There were hurtful things said.  The fellowship was broken.

The last week with our original trainer was my performance week not only for my kids’ classes, but for my own show, so I wasn’t able to get to the gym.  When we first started, we took measurements.  When we don’t see results on the scale, more often than not, we see results on the measuring tape.  I missed out on that final measuring, so I don’t really have a full indication of how well I did in that 3 months, and I’m little bummed about that.  Yes, I know the blue team didn’t win the competition, but I didn’t really care about that.  I paid for a year’s membership about 3 weeks before the challenge was over.  Yes, it would have been nice to not pay for three extra months, but before I was even chosen to be a participant in this challenge, I had been planning to get a gym membership.  That’s just a roundabout way of saying I want to know how many inches I lost, but that number is forever lost to me.

But it’s not all bad news.  My partner and I are still working out together, with a new trainer.  Something I thought that was disappointing about this challenge is that there’s no transition period.  It’s work out classes 3 times a week, then when it’s over, we’re pushed out of the nest.  Even though the blue team didn’t win the big prize, we’ve committed to our journey in the long term, so our push out the nest isn’t so bad.  In fact, I’m enjoying it more.  Yes, there’s accountability, yes there’s challenging exercises, but there isn’t the “this is over in 3 months so then what do I do?” thought hanging over my head.

I’m still not sure I’m glad I joined the challenge.  I’m glad at the direction my health and fitness journey has taken.  I’m glad I’ve met some great people – people who will continue to encourage me, but sometimes the interim was not was I expecting.  And that interim was so disheartening at times that it made me question everything.

But here I am.  Before and after.  I have had people come up to me and tell me how wonderful I look, and that’s all the encouragement I need to continue doing this.  I am far more confident.  I’m going for things I never would have before.  My dreams have become bigger, but also tangible. PhotoGrid_1397353469088

And our group.  Some of us might not see each other again.  We might see each other in passing, and give a friendly nod, or a smile.  We might have coffee dates for years to come.  But whatever happens in the future, we will always have those 3 months of struggle, of minor defeat, and major success.  We saw ourselves stretch our level of ability to unimaginable lengths.  And we didn’t die, so there’s a plus.  I know this journey isn’t over for any of us, so good luck, keep pushing, and don’t quit.




  1. I’m still glad you did. The gym was SCARY to think of, but this got you into it with a group of fellow unsure-about-it people, who as a group with your trainer looked right in the eyes of anyone who dared think “why are the fat people in the gym” and stood them down.
    And you got the Simply for Life resource for three months, a great foothold to step off from too! Truly education & lifestyle rather than “diet”.
    Not to mention, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’

  2. The gym is a scary place and taking control of your life is a scary adventure. You also did it in a public way. Good on you. There are no endings here. Everyday is a new beginning!

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