Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How my Fitness Journey Began | It's Not When You Think

There are several on my FB Fan Page who have known me for decades. Some of you, have known me since Elementary School or even High School.

Through the encouragement from many of my former classmates – I am sharing you my fitness story and background.

Many believe my fitness journey began over a year ago, when I popped in a home DVD or even when I began my running journey to run the Vegas Half.

It did not begin in 2010. It began when I was a young child.

Look in any of my school annuals you see me as a Cheerleader, Basketball, Drill Team, Track Team – if there was movement, I was participated. I even played on a boys flag football team in the 6th grade.

Outside of school, my love and passion was competitive freestyle roller skating. Ice Skating, but on Roller Skates. I lived in a world of spins and jumps.

After High School – I entered into the new craze of Aerobics. I participated and taught. Yes, you could see me in those hideous leotards, tights and leg warmers. And oh yes, the head bands. At this same fitness club, I trained to be a competitive body builder. I trained for a year and competed once to figure out I didn’t like body building.

However, during that time – I learned an enormous amount about anatomy, supplements, how the body works and nutrition. Little did I know, it would be the knowledge and skill that I would utilize the rest of my life.

After my time as an Aerobic Instructor and Personal Trainer (this was before the days of required Certifications)- I moved away from the fitness industry entirely. Burn out. I did not walk into a gym for YEARS.

In the late 80’s – my health took a nose dive, due to some female issues that came about, genetically.  It stopped my life – and I suffered and battled with this, until 2001. Unfortunately, after that time – still smoked (not sure why!) and I let my diet go out the door. While I didn’t gain weight, my life revolved around what fast food joint I could eat at. I loved French Fries (still do, but I bake them now!)

By the turn of the century – I was thin, but so out of shape. The days of me being fit enough to teach 3-4 aerobic classes a day, was long behind me. I was now in my 40’s.

In 2009, I had another life changing moment. I had kidney stones and a kidney infection. I have given birth and I have had major surgery – the pain of the kidney stones was worse than both, combined.   Being a person who rarely drank water – and drank coffee, sodas or whatever – it changed on that fateful day in June 2009.

That moment – I began a water addict. I religiously drink my water on schedule, everyday and with every meal. But still, it didn’t change me completely.

Not until the Spring of 2010, when I was 48 yrs old – even though I was “thin”, I was not healthy.

Almost overnight – everything changed in my house. The way we ate, what we ate – and I began working out. The knowledge I gained in the 80’s as an Aerobic Instructor, Personal Trainer and Bodybuilder – all came back to me. I knew my body, I knew how it would react to food, supplements and exercise.

When I started to run – I had a whole new world to learn. I learned about what to wear, why to eat what you do, the importance of shoes and much more. Met incredible people who were willing to share and learn some valuable lessons along the way. It added to the knowledge I had gained in the 80's. 

I am grateful that I learned so much in my earlier days about health and nutrition as it serves me well now, too – and those lives I encounter and mentor/coach.

While I will never be an elite athlete, and probably never run in the Boston Marathon – I feel confident to know I have learned about the body and I look forward to learning more in the future. There is no end to this adventure – it’s just in a different package and a different time.

At times, I still feel like a fitness novice – but many have showed me, I am not.   Every fitness endeavor or program I ever participated in as a youth or young adult, has brought me to where I am today.

If I can ever be of assistance to you, need some inspiration or motivation - please contact me.

My deepest desire to see each and everyone of you healthy and fit. Come join's a great place to be!

How did your fitness adventures and journey begin? I would love to hear your story!

Live and Run Strong,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Half-Marathoner, Business Blogger, Public Speaker
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