Three years ago, my husband and I joined the YMCA. At the time, my main concerns were losing weight and avoiding the sorts of major diseases that run rampant in my family: diabetes, heart disease, cancer.
I began working out in earnest and using an online program to track my calories in and calories out. This basic formula consumed many of my thoughts and informed just about every decision. I’m tired; can I skip the gym tonight? Check the calorie balance sheet to see if you came out ahead today. I want to have this treat someone brought to work. Check to see if you worked out hard enough to offset that treat. Translation: did I deserve a break? What had I done to earn it?
Following this regimen, I lost weight. And I gained confidence to try new things, like when my friend asked me to join her at the roller rink. I began taking classes at the roller rink, and then with Derby Lite. I lost more weight. I got stronger. And I found a form of exercise that went beyond personal satisfaction and improving myself. Somehow, I had stumbled upon exercise that was fun. Now, here I am: still a member at the Y, but now, a skater for The Chicago Outfit. And those Derby Lite classes I once took? Now I teach them. Me. I teach fitness.
And I’m still overweight.
Over these three years, life happened. I lost a close family member. I was injured and recovered. I was injured again, and recovered again. I’ve gone through a major life change and struggle with depression. I put on muscle and lost fat. Put on fat and lost muscle. I fell off the wagon and clawed my way back on, again and again. Every time, derby was there, waiting for me.
Never before in my life have I maintained a relationship with exercise and nutrition. Any other time I started a workout regimen, boredom or life change or discouragement at a plateau eventually set in, and the gym and I parted ways. It’s not you, it’s me. Life would reset back to sedentary activities, eating what I wanted, and a bigger pair of pants.
But now, when life intervenes and I find myself drifting away from the gym and good nutrition, derby beckons. I’m eager to get back to it. I’m no longer going to the gym and eating well to lose weight. My primary motivation is to get stronger for the things I want to be able to do on the derby track.
I don’t want to eat the “right” foods so I can slim down. I want to eat the foods that will give me the fuel I need for my body to perform all the tasks I ask of it. I don’t want to run intervals because they’ll “scorch fat.” I want to up my endurance so that I can hold my own during speed drills. I don’t want to do a bunch of lunges and squats to tone my butt; I want to gain strength so I can get low and stay low, so I can get more out of my skate strides. I want to be a better skater, for myself and for my team.