Last year at this time, I was earning healthy six figures at a prominent investment bank. When my team was eliminated in mid-February, I had an advantage not many who lose their jobs get: a severance package. When you work for eleven years at a top-tier investment bank, the severance package is substantial because few make it to eleven years – either by their decision or, more often, by someone else’s! Over the years, I had experienced many a “RIF” (Reduction In Force) and what felt like a real-life episode of Survivor. Last year, it was my turn and, I realize, I had set the wheels in motion with my 2015 New Year’s intentions:
The word “shift” sounds ambiguous, but it was deeply personal to me. On the career side, my role seemed to have stagnated the past few years despite my best efforts to jump-start it. I felt far more valuable and purposeful in my $15/hr job as a fitness instructor. As an instructor at an established gym or studio, though, I was limited in what I could do and who I could reach.
This revelation guided me to create my own fitness oasis here in Henderson in what has felt like a divine unfolding.
Many an evening I have woken up in the middle of the night with heart pounding out of chest wondering why I hadn’t just let my small fortune earn interest in an investment account until I found another six-figure position. And then, invariably, I’ll walk into my studio and see shining faces filled with warmth and joy, I’ll receive a hug from a complete stranger who realizes she or he has found their new fitness home, and I’ll see progress and confidence in clients I was never able to influence to such an extent before. This is why I do what I do. Not because I must…because I have to. My soul demands it.
Last November, I was in Tokyo to teach seminars as a freelance consultant. The pay wasn’t terrific, but I viewed it as good exposure and a chance to return to a country that I love. While there, I met up with friends from my investment banking days and told them about my studio.
A fitness studio? Oh Sarah, why are you doing that? Bored? Just for fun?”
I could see, from his standpoint, it made little sense…or, I should say, little financial sense. The fitness industry is not the moneymaker my former profession was. Or, as a well-respected law partner in town said to me:
I mean, how many years can you realistically teach fitness?”
Many of these (older) men see my career shift as silly, small, and temporary. “She’ll be back to corporate,” they probably think. And, maybe I will, but…I doubt it. There is too much to do here.
The people walking through my studio doors are not the usual suspects. Not the gym freaks, studio fanatics, or hot girl wanting to look hotter. They are more often the ones who haven’t found their fitness home, have never liked exercising, are sick and tired of being sick and tired, want to feel connected to something more positive and meaningful, feel an urgent need to do something before their bodies spiral out of control, and, ultimately, want to step back into their power. Their personal power.
Q: Did you know that female prison inmates gain significantly more weight than male inmates?
Fact: a lot of women use food to cope with boredom and depression.
Fact: more women than men succumb to diets, cleanses, detoxes, or other quick-fix programs that kill their metabolism and guarantee a rebound-plus scenario.
Fact: More women than men are in the care-taking business, whether that refers to their chosen profession or as the primary caretaker of their children, aging parents, or sick loved one.
Fact: More women than men fall into unhealthy eating patterns after situations of abuse, domestic violence, or rape.
Fact: Most women feel they have lost their body since giving birth.
My mission with the studio is to empower my clients to take care of themselves…and show them how….while staying on a budget…for long-lasting results. That’s why I offer a full fitness solution and not just one genre of classes. That’s why I offer supermarket tours and not expensive supplements or cleanses. That’s why my coaching services have the end-goal of getting you into a class, not dependent on a personal trainer forever. That’s why my instructors have been carefully hand-picked to keep the messages of positivity and empowerment intact. That’s why I haven’t hired a front desk person. When you walk through the door, I want to be the first person you meet. I want to know you as much as I want you to know me. Even though I’m an economics major, this isn’t about pure economics; it’s much more personal.
I recall when group fitness saved my life. Maybe I wasn’t dying, but I felt like I was. In my case, it was panic. In your case, maybe it is a demanding job, a tough personal situation, an unhealthy relationship with food or your body, or the tendency to put yourself last. Mostly, I want you to experience how good fitness can feel when you take away the punishing mindset, the competition, the sense of scarcity…and that freakin’ scale!
Having called the traditional big-box gym “home” most of my adult life made me numb and somewhat desensitized to the craze and neuroticism. Maybe you’re like I was or maybe you know exactly what I’m talking about, which is why your gym card collects dust most months of the year! In a revolving door of faces, egos, and gymmicks, it’s easy to get caught up or to shut down. 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. I can only imagine, but fortunately, there is another option. Come join us in the movement for empowered fitness.