Fitness. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you see/hear/read that word?
It’s a concept that has been distorted and overcomplicated through years and years of media propaganda, societal demands and expectations, and body shaming campaigns of so-called health and fitness professionals.
What is the FIRST thing you think of, when I say the word “fitness”
- “6 pack” abs?
- Bodybuilder-type physique?
- Marathon runners?
- Someone who spends hours at the gym per day?
It is the mission of Metabolic Meltdown, to change this perception. To empower and educate people to understand that fitness is so much more than having a low body fat, and chiseled muscle.
I know, I know – just let me explain.
For the remainder of your reading right now, do me a favour.
Clean your slate. Empty your cup. Basically….open your mind.
Fully open your mind to a new way of thinking. Allow yourself to forget everything that has been demanded of you, and impressed upon you in the world we live in, in terms of becoming fit.
Instead, let us begin to view the concept of fitness as a complete, 360 degree approach.
Fitness, you see, is a multi-faceted idea.
When my career in fitness began, It was a result of a deep down love for all things exercise, and in motivating, inspiring, and assisting others to become the best version of themselves. I can say with a whole heart that I am passionate about what I do, and I love every aspect of it.
BUT, what if I told you that looking back now, I would not describe my early years in the fitness industry, as having successfully achieved “fitness” myself.
I know, that sounds like I’m either being ridiculous, or I have a pretty low sense of self-worth. Many of you have seen professional photo shoots I have done over the years, in building our business. Those photos have showcased real decreases in body fat, significant muscle development over time, etc. And I worked hard to achieve all those things. I am absolutely not denying that they were the results of a lot of hard work in the gym.
Knowing what I know now, however, I still wouldn’t describe those days as my “fittest”.
Do you know why?
Because back then, I was over training, and oftentimes, under eating. Always striving to become that 5-10 lbs leaner. I had a long list mentally, of “forbidden foods” that I would never even think of eating. I cut carbs, and sometimes worked out 3+ times per day. I was never really satisfied with any performance in the gym, or presentation in a photo, and never capable of gracefully receiving a compliment on any of those things.
Also, for a period of that time, I was working hard to build a career in fitness. So, I was still working full time at my office work, and also working almost full time in the gym. On top of that, I had my beautiful baby boys at home, and my amazing husband. Not to mention my own workouts 1-2 times a day that HAD to get done. The obvious result of this piece of the puzzle, was lack of sleep, and therefore lack of self-care.
I wasn’t spending the amount of time I wanted to spend with my family. I was spread pretty thin (no pun intended).
Looking back, it was a combination of all these things that eventually set off alarms in my brain, and alerted me to the fact that this was far from the example of “health and fitness” that I wanted to set for my clients, my followers, my friends, my family. In fact, a lot of these trends I described above, border on disorderly eating, and exercise obsession.
Was THIS what I wanted other people – other women, other wives, other mothers – to aspire to? On the outside – I looked great! Lean, muscular, strong, The picture of fitness!
In actuality – over trained, under fed, exhausted, stressed, burning the candle at both ends…..the OPPOSITE of fitness!
My partner in business and fitness, is Heidi Clowe. And she was my partner in the gym back then as well. Over a several month process, following similar paths and spending countless hours training and working together, we began confiding in each other. Our struggles with balance, and other personal things. We have so many similarities when it comes to the importance of family and friends and we both knew that somehow, somewhere in the mix of things, we were allowing our passion for exercise, hold us back from real fitness.
It was as if a light bulb went off. An apparition of sorts. We knew how to train, training is top priority! We also knew what to eat, and when. And somewhere deep down inside, we also knew that enjoying big meals with family and friends was not only okay, but it is a major part of a balanced, happy, FIT life.
So, we took our common philosophies, or common goals, or common dreams, wishes, and life’s desires, and we created a fitness business that for once, actually and completely, whole heartedly, focused on REAL fitness. Fitness of REAL life.
How do you do that, you ask?
You ignite that passion for physical challenge, physical betterment, and physical development, and get the fun back into your workouts.
On top of that, you begin to focus your nutrition on fuelling for performance, instead of tirelessly striving to rid your body of every ounce of body fat.
The final piece of the puzzle is to add all the things that make you emotionally and mentally fit – and that comes from investing time and energy into cultivating the important relationships, with important people, in our lives. Time with loved ones is not, and never should be an expendable item.
Surround yourself with people who share the same zest for life – the love, support, and encouragement of family and friends, the willingness and eagerness to spread warmth and positivity. BE the type of person who goes out of their way, to bring a smile to someone else’s face.
Get out and explore. Live life. Take chances. Tell someone you love them. Reach out to a long-lost friend or family member. Volunteer. Pay compliments. Have deep, meaningful conversations. Develop a healthy relationship with food. Try new things. Let people see the REAL you.
My clients, friends, family, and followers have been with me every step of the way on this journey. Right now- I am stronger than ever. How do I know this?
Well, for one, my deadlift, my bench press, and my squat, are the heaviest they have ever been. YAY! But more importantly – my marriage is the best it has ever been. My kids are as happy as they have ever been. My relationships with my parents, my siblings, my in-law family, and my friends, are better than ever. I am strong. A million times over, and in a million proud and happy ways, I am strong.
We, as a society, have spent decades following the “less is more,” “lose fat today,” “trim your waistline,”and “shed unwanted pounds” approach to fitness.
Not only is that an unrealistic approach, but it is a dangerous and damaging approach, It is one that is setting up our children for guaranteed failure against the fabricated ideals of our society.
Heidi and I, and everyone at Metabolic Meltdown (MM) are here to tell you that this is the end of that way of thinking.
Done. Fini. Finito. Gone-zo. Over it!
It’s time that we decided that instead of constantly trying to shrink, become smaller, be less than what we are today, that its time we become MORE.
Become MORE. Do you hear that? MORE.
When I first started to write this article, I posted in our MM Members Facebook group, and asked them what comes to mind when I say the word fitness. The responses almost brought me to tears. Because the reality of what we have created at MM, is that people are discovering what fitness actually is.
When we asked what was the first thing to come to mind when hearing/seeing the word “fitness” , here was what was said amongst the MM clientele:
- “2 years ago: Scary. Today: my happy place”
- “Feeling good, inside & out”
- “Healthy results”
- “Goals, achievement, and support”
- “My gift to myself”
- “The ability to find a place where there is friendship and support and you will come to love and need fitness/workouts for both physical and mental health. And, when you can’t get to your workouts you really miss it!”
These days, I practice what I preach, with my entire heart and soul. So does Heidi, and every other Coach at MM.
I have achieved a higher level of “fitness” than ever before in my life. I am not saying that I do not have daily stress – I’m an entrepreneur, of course I do! But I now have a beautiful balance in my life.
I workout every day. I always try to learn something new, and I always try to be as good a student as I am a teacher and motivator. I am always learning, and always interested to become MORE of me.
I have more family time than ever before. I deliver my kids to and from school each day, and we eat dinner as a family every night. All four of us have interests/hobbies/extra-curriculars, and we all support and encourage each other in those.
I no longer stress about what I will eat, when invited out to dinner. I’m no longer “afraid” of certain foods, or any associated negative impacts to my body.
I do not have to force myself to exercise. I keep it fun, and fresh, and it’s a highlight of my day, every day.
Let’s properly fuel our bodies, and then push them to do MORE. Let’s ward off heart disease, diabetes, and other physical ailments through fuelling our body like the machine it is, and the gift we’ve been given. Let’s fight back against arthritis and osteoporosis through lifting weights (proven to retain bone density and joint mobility as we age).
Do MORE. Be MORE. Be the biggest, baddest, healthiest, happiest, version of you, that you can possibly be.
That, my friends, is Fitness.
Gill Whelan is a 35 year old MUN Alumni, having completed her Bachelor of Commerce Co-operative degree in 2003. After years of experience in Accounting in both oil and gas, and federal government, Gill became certified as a fitness coach in 2009, and found her passion! In 2013, Gill, along with her business partner Heidi Clowe, took the entrepreneurial leap, and founded Metabolic Meltdown. Gill is happily married to her best friend and love of her life, Peter, and they have two sons. Hunter age 6 and Pete, age 8.