Updated: May 3, 2021
For as long as I can remember, the gym has been my happy place, a soft spot to land, and my connection to like-minded people who were all, in their own right, working to be better humans.
To say the least, I was inspired every day by the commitment my gym friends and acquaintances made in order to better themselves. Despite countless barriers that could easily have stopped them, I watched, with genuine awe, how they overcame time restrictions, family commitments, work demands, inclement weather, health issues, and non-supportive networks. I witnessed the gritty intensity with which they invested their time. It meant the world to me every single day.
Excuses are a difficult barrier of entry to begin the journey of wellness, but with a tiny switch in mindset, those barriers can be lifted. The trainers and group instructors gladly shared their wealth of knowledge, and as a group fitness and cycle instructor myself, I was humbled to be a part of that demographic in a small way.
Needless to say, I was devastated to hear that my large and small gyms were to close due to COVID at the end of the business day on March 16th, 2020. In fact, I remember where I was sitting when I heard the news. It was surreal, and a part of me believed it couldn't possibly go on for long, so emotionally, I ignored it.
For several weeks following the lockdown, I worked to repurpose my gym time by cooking for my teen/young adult children who landed at home after their schools and careers were 'canceled.' Those moments were undeniably beautiful. I had spent most of my busy career as a single mom in media and fitness, opening 'food boxes' for the kids, rather than rolling up my sleeves to cook with love for them. So I chose to look at it all as a truly wonderful time - until I gained 10 pounds and began to feel helpless about my own fitness regime.
I simply hadn't taken the time to 'grieve’ the passing of the old normal. Life felt upside-down. I realized that was my truth when I found myself crying at the grocery store because I so missed exchanging a smile with a stranger. These new protocols affect all of us profoundly and in hundreds of different ways. My favourite quote becomes more and more poignant, "Be kind, without exception because everyone you meet is facing a battle you know nothing about.”
Feeling a bit lost, despite having a lifetime of fitness background, I sought out some of my former superstar instructors, and we began to connect again via online classes. It was a learning curve and working out from my living room was definitely a far cry from being connected in person. Still, after several weeks of online classes, I was able to stop crying and get serious about my commitment to wellness.
Below is a shortlist of some simple strategies I have found to be helpful. They are just a couple of tiny switches you can make to drastically improve your wellbeing.
Get moving, every day - a daily walk, climb a flight of stairs 5-10 times with two full laundry detergent jugs. Physical activity is paramount for mental health. If you begin to find a way to sweat for just 20 min a day, you have taken an enormous step.
Seek out superstar instructors online; YouTube is an excellent resource for this. If you are new to fitness, start with just a ten-minute introduction (i.e. beginner yoga class).
Start a gratitude journal or find a guided morning meditation app.
Keep a wake-up routine (get dressed, eat, etc.)
Structure at least one meal a day as a planned event.
Learn something new or just pat yourself on the back that you made it through the day.
The motivation came for me when I realized that I was just over two years away from turning 50. Whew, 50!!! I found myself asking the ominous question, did I want to walk into this next chapter defeated or did I want to set my sights on being the best version of myself that I could be?
Heck yes!!!! I want to be the best I can be, and under the new circumstances, I feel confident that sharing my knowledge with other like-minded people may be the best pathway to achieving my goals. Together with two of my greatest inspirations, Diane and Nigel Akam, we have decided to share, via YouTube, everything we collectively know about fitness, mindset, wellness and positivity. Diane and I will share all we know about helping you take the first steps (Diane will also guide you into some pretty serious training if that is where you intend to go), and we both look forward to joining you in your journey.
I invite you to our tribe to learn and discover, share what you know and connect with people who are also searching. I will never be able to thank you properly for reading all of this, but in some way, I feel tremendously excited to meet you. We are truly all in this together, and this is a time to create something new. Let’s make a commitment to support each other, share what we know, and be consistently kind.
Chief Experience Officer
Over the course of her 20-year career as a wellness personality and on-camera host, Shannon has travelled the globe, connecting with both leaders and consumers in the health and fitness space by utilizing her rank as an industry thought leader. Shannon has been a featured speaker at national women's conferences, educating the thousands of attendees about the benefits of staying healthy, active, and mindful. Shannon cheers loudly for all fit and over 40 warrior women who juggle so much. Most importantly, Shannon works every day to become a better human.
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