In the past two years, I've learned more about my body than I can explain. I've learned what works for it and what does not. I've experimented with varying levels of fitness, different types of exercise, and changes to my diet. In 2014, I was probably in the best shape since I stopped playing sports 24/7 in high school. I weighed the same weight I did in high school, and I was confident, sleek, and proud of every inch of my body. Two summers later, and I'm 20lbs heavier, but still in love with my form. However, I know I can do better. All efforts fell through when I lost a job in August of 2015, and I packed on weight due to a coinciding loss of motivation. Classes, gym friends, and easy access (the gym was next door to that job) help keep me on track, and I lost those with the job.
When the opportunity came up to work with local personal trainer Jeremy Genin, I jumped on it. He operates Functional Fitness in downtown Saint Louis, which has been super convenient for me because I work downtown most of the time. Jeremy offers both personal training sessions and group bootcamps, so I'm ready to get moving hardcore.
My photographer friend Allan Crain graciously tagged along on my first day to help me document my starting state and provide a peek into what I'll be doing over the next several weeks!
Something super fun and also new to me is kickboxing! Who doesn't like punching things, especially when it's for fitness purposes? I've always wanted to try something like this, so Jeremy's classes and sessions are perfect for me. We have worked on kickboxing in both group and personal settings, so it's varied and stays exciting. Jeremy is also in-tune to what's going on with his pupils, and I can tell that he's able to see what each person's boundaries are, push you right to them, and just past what you think you are capable of. That's why - for me - training in a gym or group setting is more effective when aiming to build muscle. If you are alone, you're more likely to quit before you really hit that breaking point.
I certainly felt like a total badass getting to punch stuff during this session, and since then, I've had a few chances in group sessions to work on my form. Being a former dancer, I automatically go into a soft, fluid form when it comes to action. A lot of control and snappy movements go into kickboxing, so my first day ended in seriously bruising the tops of my feet. Lesson learned - you land roundhouse kicks with your shin, and not near your ankle! But as I always tell myself, no pain no gain. After last night's bootcamp, I'm stiff as a board, but nowhere near light as a feather. That will come in time, and with loads of patience and hard work.
And one of the best things about having a trainer is that they're your support system when it comes to keeping you moving forward with your patience and hard work. I've noticed that Jeremy tailors your exercises to your individual goals, even when you're in a bootcamp with 5-7 other people. I died last night trying to do pull-ups, but I know he had me do those on my own because I mentioned missing my defined upper body and back muscles. Along with weight lifting, sessions always include cardio, and I've already noticed a difference in my stamina with jumping rope in just a few weeks. Outside of working with Jeremy, I play soccer twice a week, and I am really looking forward to seeing how training helps my skills on the field.
I'll be sharing more about my journey as time goes along, so check back in a few weeks to see how things have been going! I'll be doing some "before and after" photos again like I did with my yoga bender, and I'm betting these will be a lot more obvious when it comes to changes.
Please pop over to http://www.functionalfitnessstl.com/ to learn more about Jeremy and to sign up for his newsletter - which will give you access to free work out videos, special offers, and more! And maybe I'll be racing you in sprints and punching with you soon as well!
All photos courtesy of Allan Crain.