Muscle Manifesto

You have to start somewhere and that place is here.

I’m stuck in a rut. A fitness rut, that is. I’ve been a regular exerciser since high school and since then, I’ve tried almost every fitness activity or trend under the sun. Running? Check. Gym? Check. CrossFit? Yep. Bikram Yoga? Of course. Pilates? You know it. Outdoorsy sh*t (i.e. mountain biking, skiing, hiking)? Call me Ms. Granola. I’ve had trainers. I’ve gone to group classes. I’ve run solo for miles and miles at outrageously early hours. Where has that left me? Stuck in a rut.

Fed up with injuries, plateaus and boredom, I’m on a quest to figure out what I want from fitness and how to get there. I plan to take what I’ve learned from my experiences above and combine it with new ideas and programs, meanwhile documenting what works, what doesn’t and everything in between. The most important lesson I’ve learned from the past is that I have to do this by myself and for myself. Like most things in life, there’s no simple solution – a trainer can’t make you dedicated. There’s no miracle class that I can attend 6 days a week that will magically turn me into a supermodel. I have to dream it, plan it, and execute it!

So let’s begin where any fitness professional worth his or her salt would. What is my goal? The question is simple enough but the answer can be a remarkably elusive. I was asked this question a few months ago by my most recent trainer and was shocked when I didn’t really have an answer for him. I don’t want to “lose X pounds” or complete a marathon, etc. In an effort to conceal my cluelessness about something that should be so obvious, I muttered something about the chub around my waist and the cellulite…well…you know where and moved along to the workout. The fact that I didn’t have anything to say really surprised and frustrated me, and I’ve honestly been thinking about my answer to this question since it was asked. I think I’m finally at the point that I can make my “muscle manifesto.”

Deep down, I’ve always believed that there was a tremendous athlete in me just waiting to be uncovered. I’m not really sure why I think this as I have never been an “athlete” in the conventional sense (high school/college team sports). However, I’m pretty decent at most of the athletic pursuits I’ve tried and I pick up new things quickly.* (*I know I’m tooting my own horn a bit here, but more on horn-tooting in a later post.) Plus I love buying workout apparel, a critical skill when taking up new fitness-related hobbies. So my goal is to set my inner buff self free – to sport abs that I’m proud to display at the beach, to ditch the “jiggle” and to take myself to the next level. Importantly, I want to accomplish this by doing my own research and being accountable to no one other than myself. Why? Because I truly believe that in the end if you aren’t doing something for yourself, one of two things will happen: 1) you will never see it though to completion; or 2) you will not get the true feeling of accomplishment/satisfaction from it when it’s over.

So if I’m doing this for me, why blog about it? First off, I like to share. Second, I write (and read…a lot) for a living and for me, writing is a very introspective process. I’m hoping to learn something about myself from documenting my journey. Third, I hope others will end up reading this down the line and perhaps share some of my feelings/experiences. Perhaps I’ll have the opportunity to learn from someone else, and maybe I’ll be able to do the same in return.

There it is, in a nutshell. My Muscle Manifesto. More to come…

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