Hi, I am Jennifer and I work here at the 14th Street Y as the Membership Sales Coordinator.
I basically introduce people to the Y and get them started on membership. In this role, I am often called upon to be a motivator and an ear for people who have hit a wall in their health and wellness and don’t know how to move forward. I feel like I have gotten pretty good at motivating, and I think it is because I am, in a way, talking to myself.
I am a normal woman who skips workouts, indulges from time to time, guilts myself for not fitting into a mold and throws a nasty side eye at fashion magazines with unreachable images of beauty. Most mornings, my alarm goes off, my eyes crack and with a sigh of sadness I dramatically heave myself off of my bed to begin another day. I make a mental list of everything I have to accomplish that day and working out is always on that list. And every day, almost immediately, I start scheming ways to get out of it. Is that a headache? A cramp? Wasn’t I supposed to call my best friend and talk her through a crisis?
How do I motivate myself and how do I talk to people about fitness when they come to the Y? I begin with honesty. I don’t like to work out. More precisely, I hate it…for the first 10 to 15 minutes. Once I have passed that initial hatred and my heart rate really starts going and I realize that it is too late for me to leave, then I feel GLORIOUS! Like everything in life, the key to success is getting past all the negative stuff we allow to hold us back and move into the “I deserve to feel good and live a good life” phase. Below are the all the things I tick off in my head when I talk to people about fitness and the very things that form my health and wellness philosophy.
1. Support from your peers.
Your peers are the people who are around your age and share the same ideas and goals as yourself. I will broaden that definition when speaking about the support network you get when you join a gym: You have a building full of people who are working hard to achieve the same goals that you have! You want to succeed, they want to succeed, you want them to succeed and vice versa! It is a virtual love fest of the best kind of people feeding off each other’s best energy. If you stick with exercising and make it a regular part of your life, you actually have an endless supply of support and help as often as you walk through the door!
2. It’s Social. But not in that way.
I am just going to say it-sometimes it is nice to get away from your friends and family and the people you work with. Sometimes it is nice to be surrounded by people who you don’t know very well. Gym friends are sharing the same goals as you and can be an awesome support system but beyond that, joining your community and being present in your life outside of work and family obligations is good for the soul. Some of the best conversations I have had about books and music have happened in the locker room after an intense workout when I was feeling relaxed and quite pleased with myself for working out hard. Try putting the incline all the way up on the treadmill and chatting with the woman next to you about Game of Thrones (this usually turns into ten people gathered around a treadmill nerding out in all the right ways). You don’t have to talk about working out while you are at the gym, you can actually just BE at the gym in a way that you cannot BE at work when you are filling deadlines and answering endless emails. Trust me, it is magical.
3. Addressing Stress Relief, Seasonal Depression, Energy Levels, or a combo of all three.
Instead of sitting at home and watching The Bachelor (seriously, don’t watch The Bachelor, it is bad for your brain) and sinking deeper into seasonal depression, GET MOVING. When you are exercising and burning fat and building muscle, you have all kinds of endorphins running around like crazy in your body telling you how very awesome you are. And you are awesome, you just didn’t realize it when you were drinking your third glass of wine last night and wondering if you will get four or five hours of sleep before you have to go to work the next morning. If you work out regularly you WILL sleep better, have more energy during the day, be more motivated to achieve goals and cut WAY down on your stress levels. I like you better already!
4. Being the person you are meant to be! (treat Yo’self!)
Not much to say about this other than the fact that being your best self is the truest of love stories. Looking good, feeling good and surrounding yourself with people who support you being happy leads to a great life. And who does not want a great life? You deserve it and so do the people you love. Stop looking at working out as something that you have to do and look at it as time spent taking care of yourself. If you can put it on the same level as getting a pedicure or taking yourself to the movies then you are one step closer to making exercise a regular part of your life.
5. Your Basic, Overall health
There is a ton of science out there about what to eat and how to work out. I won’t try and sell you any of that. I am just saying to move. Walking on a treadmill, stretching on a mat, jumping in the pool and doggy paddling in a circle-these all lead to immediate health benefits. A long life sounds wonderful but imagine if you could live a long life where you also FELT great? Doesn’t that sound like something you would want for yourself?
Jennifer Cutillo is the Membership Coordinator of the 14th Street Y with over 10 years experience in the fitness industry.
Winter is her favorite Season.