December 2018. I was feeling stuck. Successfully running my own gardening business, but feeling burned out and desperate to jump into the fitness industry and explore my passion. I was teaching a few group fitness classes and lucky to have less than a handful of incredible personal training clients. I was studying at home to get a more challenging personal training certification than the one I currently had. My dyslexia was taking a real toll on my learning ability when a friend emailed me a link to a free community workout at Gymnazo in San Luis Obispo. I booked myself a spot. I had no idea that this workout would “unstick” me, and ultimately change my life.
The workout was fun, a blast, really! I was partnered with one of the owners, since I had come alone. She and I worked out with lots of equipment (toys), smiles, our own bodies, and lots of other people! I became intrigued and looked up the gym’s website to see if I could join in on this fun at some level.
After an application and intense 2 hour group interview, I was accepted into a ten week internship program. We began in January of 2019. Over the ten week program, my two fellow interns and I learned the basics of Applied Functional Science (AFS) which included new names for different strategies. We learned the specific styles of the Gymnazo brand. Warm-ups, cool-downs and the structure of their exercises. We practiced coaching techniques, volume control, eye contact, pacing and body language. We dissected the environmental, biological and behavioral aspects of a client achieving success. We discussed 3D Motion and filmed ourselves practicing exercises in the three planes of motion; Sagittal (forward and back), Frontal (lateral or side to side) and Transverse (rotational).
As inspiring and informative as all this was, it didn’t come for free. While the coaches offered up their detailed programming, unlimited patience, vast knowledge and unconditional support, I was struggling with my ego. I came in feeling confident and immediately became overwhelmed and intimidated. There were a lot of words (education), a lot of intensity (passion), and I struggled with reading and comprehension. I even struggled with applying it to the body, the very thing I’ve been doing for a few years now! I felt slow. I felt dumb. I kept going.
I had become comfortable in the life I’d developed up to that point and then I went outside my comfort zone (unknowingly) and wow that was hard! It had been a while since I had experienced personal growth on a large scale and I’d forgotten it can be a difficult process.
Luckily I was supported by my fellow interns, by the incredible family at Gymnazo, and also by my own colleagues, students, friends and family. I loved the fact that my students in my Cambria core class would ask about my current assignments, be willing to learn the new warm-ups with me and listen as I tried to explain what I was learning.
When it cam time to complete the Internship Exit Survey in March I found I was having trouble articulating the experiences that contributed to my personal growth. As underdeveloped as I felt at times, I was uplifted by the shining example led by the excellent coaches at Gymnazo.
What I did learn was that they wanted me to talk less, listen more, and not just show a client “how” to do something but to find out “why” they want to do it. The goal was to support, empower, strengthen, open, and connect with people by finding out who THEY are, and what makes THEM happy and I think that’s why I got so much out of the community workout at Gymnazo.