“Strong Bodies, Beautiful Minds”

So this is where I get a little bit sappy and tell the world way too much personal information about myself…But that’s what blogs are for, right?

So here goes.

I have struggled with my weight and body image as far back as I can remember. I have vivid memories of being eight years old and thinking I was fat and trying to figure out how to lose weight. I’ve been through phases of my life where all day, every day was consumed with thoughts about my weight and negative feelings about how I looked. There were days where I didn’t want to leave the house because none of my clothes looked good and I felt too bad about myself to walk out the door. Then I went through phases where I obsessed over how many calories I had to eat in order to lose weight and didn’t enjoy food at all because I was so focused on being thinner. There were phases where I would give up and just eat whatever I wanted because I was always going to be this way and it wasn’t worth trying. I’d end up gaining a bunch of weight in a short period of time and feeling even worse.

I hate to admit these things because I know I should know better. I know we need to love ourselves (especially as women) and be happy with what we were born with. I know that too many women have body image issues and it makes me cringe when young girls say they look fat. I’ve always been confident in who I am as a person – in my strengths, in my relationships and in my jobs. I’ve been great at giving others advice about standing up for themselves and asking for what they deserve; for women’s rights and empowerment. I’ve always told friends they need to be strong, confident women because they deserve to be. But for some reason I am extremely hard on myself.

About a year ago I started Kaia FIT to lose a little weight before my best friend, Kira’s bachelorette party because I didn’t want to be the “fat girl at the pool.” I came to my first class at her recommendation because it had been so great for her and I instantly fell in love. The women were friendly, the coaches were inviting and encouraging, and the exercises were fun. I’ve never been an athlete, but I had just recently started to like running and accomplished my first half marathon (which was a HUGE feat for me) and thought Kaia was a good next step.

In a year at Kaia I have only lost about 5-7 pounds, but I’ve learned that the number on the scale doesn’t matter when you’re building muscle. I’ve said those words to so many of my friends before “Muscle weighs more than fat, so don’t worry about the scale.” But it took me a while to really accept it as the truth. For months I was disappointed that the scale wasn’t dropping until I realized how much I’ve improved. My body has changed so much, I even stand differently than I used to. My posture is better and I never have back problems anymore. I’m the same weight I was a few years ago, but I wear two sizes smaller in pants because my body has changed so much.

I was feeling so great about myself, loving this program and believing in it so much that I decided I want to make it my life. I want to bring this feeling of accomplishment, of strength, of confidence, of encouragement and community to as many women as possible and I want to open my own Kaia location.

But then, when I signed up for certification I instantly started telling myself  that I might not pass. What? This person who finally felt so confident and ready for this was scared? I didn’t understand it either.

I got to certification and I instantly reverted back to this young, scared girl who didn’t feel good enough. I looked at all these strong, amazing women around me and felt like I didn’t belong in their group. Like I wasn’t fit enough, thin enough, strong enough, a good enough coach. I was constantly looking in the mirror saying to myself  “I look awful. I can’t believe I gained those few pounds back last month. I don’t look like I should be a trainer. I’ve never coached anything in my life, how am I going to do this?”

I tried to push those feelings aside, workout really hard and do my best. Overall I had a great time and learned SO much about Kaia, but I just wasn’t myself. I wasn’t fully engaged in everything like I should have been because I let my fear get the best of me. I let the insecure girl inside of me take over and then felt a little defeated on the way home. I got 100% on the practical exam and knew what I was doing (I do this stuff every day!), but I didn’t feel or show confidence while I was doing it. All of the women were so encouraging and extremely positive, but I was having trouble seeing that I was doing well.

I got home last night and one of my coaches and friends who knew how I was feeling texted me and gave me some much-needed support and comfort. She told me everyone has these moments and experiences the same feelings at some point. She said that confidence is key and I need to “just rock it.” She understood where I was coming from and encouraged me to work through it. I told myself that I AM making the right decision because I AM right for this and it will get better and then went to sleep.

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I woke up this morning KNOWING that I belonged in that group. I got up at 5:00am for class and drove to the gym with a huge smile on my face ready to workout even though my entire body was sore and I only had 5 1/2 hours of sleep. I was ready because I finally took the time to appreciate myself for what I’ve done. Last week I did 322 burpees in 45 minutes for our Burpees for Boobs charity. This week I worked out basically for 3 days straight and ran a timed mile in the cold, windy, snowy altitude. This may not be a big deal for some, but those are huge accomplishments to me. I’ve trained for two half marathons, I’ve improved on countless exercises and made some pretty major changes from my life before. I finally took the time to get the negativity out of my head and realize that if someone else told me they did those things I’d be beyond impressed.

I DO belong in this group with these women. They’re MY group of women.574919_267506386714671_1786966701_n

I can’t even tell you everything this program has done for me. Not to mention what it has done for some of the other women in my life. My mom who is turning 65 next month used to go to the gym and only walk on the treadmill because she thought running would be bad for her joints. Now she’s doing burpees, lifting weights, running sprints and lifting 20 pound bags of dog food at the grocery store like it’s nothing. I am so impressed with her determination and hard work.

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I have never felt more supported or encouraged in my entire life than I have since workout out with these women. This is the greatest group I have ever been a part of and I am so thankful for everything they’ve given me. I cannot WAIT to open my own Kaia and bring the same love and support to other women. I will not let my insecurities get in the way of what I want to do. It may take me a while to be comfortable coaching, but that’s ok. I know I don’t have to be an expert right away, but I also know I’ll get there. And I know it will be great.

cf356603b1710f26f9759dfbbc1ba4ca“Kaia F.I.T.’s mission is to create strong bodies and powerful minds. Working together to get fit, feel great and know that we Kan accomplish anything.”

Check out this video of Kaia F.I.T. Owner Nikki Warren!

And check out our Burpees for Boobs fundraiser!

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13 thoughts on ““Strong Bodies, Beautiful Minds”

  1. Listen… You are KICKASS. Don’t let anyone tell you or make you feel different. Not even you! What you have done so far is amazing. The only limits on where you can go from here are the ones you put on yourself. Just sharing the story you did in this post is being an inspiration. You can do this! Go after your goals. Even if you think you may fail, remember that a TRY beats a QUIT any day. There are enough people out there to talk you down, so talk yourself UP. Be encouraged! :)

  2. Amanda – you’ve done some pretty amazing blogs, but I think this one is my favorite. You are such an inspiration. You are so strong. You are so brave. You are putting everything you have out there, and I am so proud of you! Thank you for being you!

  3. Great post Amanda – you should be so proud of your accomplishments. I love that quote – “believe you can and you’re halfway there” – it’s so true! The reality is that we can do anything we put our minds to! Thanks for this inspiring story and good luck with opening a Kaia of your own!

  4. That is so exciting Amanda! You’ll be a great Kaia instructor! I think it’s so exciting that you guys are making the move to Hawaii and making your dreams come true! I looked to see if Kaia fit had locations in SF, but I didn’t see one…I think it would be something I’d enjoy too. Maybe they’ll open one soon!

    • Thanks Theresa! You’d LOVE it! There is a Kaia in Oakland and one is opening VERY soon in Walnut Creek. Two of my friends from the Sacramento gym are opening it. I’m not sure where you live exactly but if you’re close to WC you should come to their first demo day next Monday the 4th at 5:00am. I’ll be there! :) They are growing like crazy so hopefully there will be one in your area soon! Let me know if you want info on Walnut Creek!

  5. Pingback: A Bittersweet Farewell! | Kaia F.I.T. Sacramento

  6. Ok first off I have to admit there’s something reassuring about reading that one of the women I hugely admire around the gym struggles with the same insecurities I fight at times. The Kaia camaraderie really is something special. You are an inspiration and you are going to be an AMAZING coach. We’ll be rooting for you from Sacramento, knowing full well that you will “rock it”! Best of luck! You will be missed!!

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