You quickly realize that the “pinup” is not really the end goal or the point. It’s a way to feel good about yourself, in the skin you are in.
I am stronger right now than I have ever been.
I came to Aspire on the recommendations of several friends. I had commented on how strong they looked, how fit, how confident. I was looking for those things in my own life. I laughed out loud at the name of the program I was signing up for. Pushups to Pinups? It took me a while to understand that this wasn’t about vanity, it was about strength, pride, grace, determination and owning the body you are in.
I’ve been fit-ish, on and off my entire life. “Ish” is the key word here.
I ran track, played basketball and field hockey and a bunch of other sports in high school. Then, life got in the way. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in my early 20s and was sick throughout that decade. Plus, I smoked a pack a day. Ugh. Gross.
Then I had kids and cleaned up my act a bit. Quit smoking. Ate better. Joined a running club, ran a few half marathons and worked out where I could. Time marches on.
And, like lots of women of my age (in my glorious 50s), stress took a toll on me. Work, life, teenagers, aging parents, relationships and on and on and on. I tried to cope in so many ways: yoga challenges, doctors, running, work, social media, therapy, shopping, medications, junk food, drinking and diets. Some of them were great, some not so great and some were downright destructive. They all were sort of Bandaid fixes for life. Most of them couldn’t be permanent or sustainable.
In 2016, everything changed for me. I got a full-on wake-up call, like you often do when you’re willing to see them, that it was time to make some drastic changes. I was willing. I won’t bore you with the gory details but it was a pretty shitty time that I can look back on now with some degree of not-quite- but sort of – fondness because it made me change so many things.
So, Aspire became a big part my plan. I knew/know the benefits of exercise and diet. But, yet again, I was looking for the quick fix. I wanted the results but wasn’t really committed long term to the “work.”
In February 2017, I convinced my husband to join the program with me. He had no idea what we were in for. Neither of us did.
We both immediately felt at home at Aspire. Jason and his team don’t judge where you are at. They simply want to help you move forward, however that looks to you. You quickly realize that the “pinup” is not really the end goal or the point. It’s a way to feel good about yourself, in the skin you are in.
We did the first round well. We switched to full on paleo, did all the homework, lost a bunch of weight, got some muscles. All good. By the time we reached the photo shoot we were pretty damned proud of ourselves and we looked good and felt good. Smug in fact. Gord weighed what he did in high school. We had more energy and because we did it together it brought us closer as a couple and as a family.
Jason and his team had done an amazing job helping us transform ourselves and encouraged our progress every step of the way. The program is designed to build slowly over the weeks and you see incremental progress in strength and stamina as you go. It’s a brilliant program and one I’ve never experienced anywhere else. The gym itself is set up for maximizing your time there in the most efficient way. It’s personalized to you. The team is responsive, willing to adapt and likes a good 80s tune. The camaraderie among fellow gym goers is a lovely bonus.
So what happened after round 1? Did we live paleo-ly, healthily, strongly ever after?
Yes. And no.
Like many others, we were determined to keep up the good work. But, what I didn’t realize was that I had attempted another fix. That had nothing to do with Aspire. That was on me. They had done their job, I hadn’t done mine. We sort of maintained good eating, sort of exercised, sort of did a bunch of it. After 18 months, we had fallen back into many of our former habits.
So, when our friends signed up in 2019 we joined them. Back to it. Again, all the great things about Aspire were still here. And, yes, the photo shoot was super fun and the results were actually better than the first time.
But, something had changed in me. I am now working on round 3. I know now that this program, these people and this place should be a more permanent part of my life. I look better but most importantly I feel better. I am calmer, more present, mentally and physically stronger. I credit some of that to the magic of Aspire for me. It’s no longer about the short-term fix. I am in this for the long haul and am patient with myself as I get there.
Jason and his Aspire team continue to give me the tools, encouragement and the space to get mentally and physically stronger every day.