What I've Learned After One Year of Personal Training

Yesterday marked one year since I started working with Mike at Fitness Options in South Burlington (I had a 2.5 month break when I worked out solo, but went back to Fitness Options). During yesterday's workout, I achieved personal records for the dead lift and bench press. I'm almost able to lift my body-weight - pretty awesome.

In between sets we got to talking about this blog, our life mantras, and how my life has changed, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I want to share some of those changes with you.

1. Can't is no longer in my vocabulary

When I started, I had zero muscle mass. I hadn't lifted a weight in almost four years. After a year, I've discovered that the word can't is my worst nightmare. It ruins whatever positive emotions I had - regardless if I'm doing pushups or hanging from TRX straps. A couple of weeks ago, I hung from a bar giving it my all to bring my toes to the bar above me (like this). The old me would have said, "I can't do this, Mike." Instead, after getting off the bar, I said "I'll get it. We'll work on it."

Lesson: Change your mindset and you can accomplish anything.

2. Sacrifice for the greatest gains

I haven't had fried chicken in almost two years. In fact, fried foods now give me a headache. Large desserts completely de-rail me. And I'm going on four months without a drop of alcohol. I've stopped eating and participating in activities that don't benefit me. It's not selfish at all. Why should I eat things that would get me right back in the place I never want to go back to again? It was the office manager's birthday today. The cake looked delicious. I didn't have a piece. Instead, I had two glasses of water (Although I did nosh on some chocolate nonpareils when I got home - everything in moderation). Heck, I've even skipped dinner with friends to go workout. Because I needed it.

Lesson: Throw out the crappy food in your house, grab your buddies, and get off your ass.

3. Everybody wants to help you

I began my weight loss journey in July of 2011. It started with my then manager suggesting to use LoseIt to track my calories. I did and the pounds literally fell off. I complained of back pain and went to see Shaun at Catamount Physical Therapy (in the same building as Fitness Options). Shaun suggested I start working out and referred me to Mike. Mike and the entire staff at FO has been incredible. They're all there to help you. Nothing is more motivating than being around a group of supportive individuals who want to see you succeed.

Lesson: Surround yourself with people who bring you up - not down.

For me, the gym, and my overall health, have been a blessing in disguise (I almost never use this phrase). I'm in the best shape of my life and continue to get stronger, leaner, and meaner (I mean nicer :p).

How has fitness changed your perspective? Let me know in the comments below.