There is nothing as humbling as starting over. When I signed up for the Ultimate Oxygen Challenge it was like walking into the gym again for the first time. The fear of failing and of not measuring up combined with the uncertainly of whether I could really keep the commitment made me feel like a beginner all over again.

Now I know that I needed to feel those feelings again. Not only was the OxyChallenge the best thing I could have done for me personally right now, it was something I needed to do as a fitness professional. It reconnected me not just with the joy I felt when I was beginner but also the anxieties I felt then too.

The anxiety of stepping on the scale.

I used to be a slave to the scale. It took years to move past weekly weigh ins and not letting one “wrong” number ruin my whole day (or week). I didn’t want to go back there but I also knew that I needed to gather regular data to achieve my goal. To avoid being defined by a number, I had to redefine progress and data, much like I tell my clients to do. One week I might weigh, another week I might measure my waist and hips and another week I might take pictures. I got out my skinniest of skinny jeans and let them give me a reality check. I still fussed over the numbers, but it was much less often. There was some anxiety when I compared myself to others but I took a step back and realized my only real competition was myself. I started to feed off the drive of my teammates and let it help push me forward. I had to tell myself … Real fitness isn’t a number; it’s a feeling. Real fitness isn’t a competition; it’s a sisterhood.

The anxiety of doing all the work, sharing it all and having nothing to show for it.

When I first thought about signing up for the OxyChallenge, I thought about not telling anyone. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it or that my results would be “less than”, that I feared embarrassing myself. Of course, keeping it a secret didn’t last long. In the beginning I would panic because I would look in the mirror and swear nothing had changed. It took 5 or 6 weeks before I really started to see anything I would call results. It was gym selfie I posted to Instagram that made me stop and say out loud, Where did that shoulder come from? I honestly wish you could feel my butt right now because it’s tighter than it’s been in a few years.

Sticking to the program paid off in the end. Consistency always does. The reality is 90 days isn’t a long time. 90 days is long enough to get you hooked, to get you motivated. I like what I see but I would love to see more of it. That means staying focused and consistent, even when life gets crazy. I reminded myself … Real fitness isn’t about overnight success; it’s about small and consistent improvement.

The anxiety about being selfish.

I worried about having less time to walk and talk with Brian. I worried about less time to work on work. I took this as an opportunity to reclaim time and reassess my priorities. We all waste time on Facebook and bad television. We all spend time with people who drain us. I let go of what wasn’t serving me so I had time to focus on what was nourishing me. The reality was I needed the self-care time more than I realized. I was in a funk and had been losing my way. My energy was low and I didn’t realize how much I needed to recharge. Today my energy and confidence is back! I have more energy for my all my relationships (including some that have been sorely neglected for a while). The challenge not only helped me find my strength again, it helped me reignite my passion for fitness as a profession. It made me remember why I started Thrive Personal Fitness. I remembered ... Real fitness isn’t about how much work you do; it’s about how much heart you put into the work.

Pamela Oxygen Challenge
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Just for the record here are the stats:

  • 1.8 lbs lost
  • .6% body fat lost
  • 1.25 inches off my waist

I didn’t make the cover competition finals but I am hopeful sending in my Future of Fitness pictures. Mission accomplished.

Now on to a new focus…making Thrive Personal Fitness better than ever! I’m taking this renewed energy and focusing it on YOU! I’ve got a new book coming out at the first of the year and plenty of new projects in the works for 2016. What can I do to help make being a beginner (again) a more joyful and less anxiety filled experience?

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