Living the Fit Life: The Support Network

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Brittany Hall
Brittany Hall is an American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer (CPT). Known as "Pixie" to her patients at Dr. Evans' The Institute of Family, Preventative and Lifestyle Medicine; she is also an ACE-certified Health Coach. Brittany is an American Karate First Degree Black Belt, co-owner of Lionheart Krav Maga and Fitness, and is a Bikini competitor. She is currently training as a Krav Maga instructor with a special interest in women’s self-defense. She completed the Lifestyle Medicine Core Competencies Program through the American College of Preventative Medicine. She was also an attendee at the Active Lives: Transforming Our Patients and Ourselves conference presented by The Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Getting fit isn’t all about you, despite what you might have heard on the contrary. Of course, some legwork (pun completely intended) is needed on your part, but living the Fit Life isn’t possible without some backup.

Me, myself and I just won’t cut it.

Growing up, I was very lucky to have a good family. My parents didn’t have a lot of money, but I honestly cannot recall ever going without something I truly wanted and never ever without something I needed. That doesn’t mean that I was spoiled, because I worked very hard when I wanted something special. My parents always pushed me to be the best at whatever I did. I earned my parents’ support, and because of it, support could be found in abundance. Because of the confidence they instilled in me, I grew up believing I could be anything I chose.

Never in a million years would I have guessed what I turned out to be and where I am today, which I guess proves that believing in yourself really can make things happen.

As a kid, I never had the same dreams as others. I remember in kindergarten saying precociously, “ I want to be an archaeologist,” and then obnoxiously spelling it for anyone who would listen. My dinosaur obsession still lingers, by the way. Later, when the horse obsession took hold, “I want to be a jockey.” As I grew older, the independent part of me decided that I would own my own business, a bookstore. In my head, it looked like my favorite used bookstore, Read Books (Alas! Now closed), but in a more neat and tidy fashion, rather than the comfortable, cluttered mess that it was. I would have a comfy seat behind the desk where I could curl up and read between customers. That still seems utterly blissful, like a permanent vacation.

Now, I do (part) own my own business, but did I anticipate being a fitness professional? In the past, that question would have been laughable. Ha! I didn’t even own athletic shoes.

The whole point of this is? If I had wanted to pursue any of these things, my family would have my back.

Becoming fit in my adult life took way more effort than I anticipated. I was married with a job and bills and responsibilities and stuff. Fitting in fitness was tricky. Instinctively, I leant on those closest to me when I chose to make fitness a priority. My husband taught me so much about the joy of activity that I owe him a debt of gratitude. My dad, too, considering that after my parents divorced, he became my guinea pig. We enjoyed time together, walking at the high school track, lifting weights, talking food. Somewhere in all my exercise fervor, he lost 30lbs. When I decided to become a personal trainer, my dad, little sister and friends joined my very first small group training class. I’ve roped my mom into self-defense class. She wanted to watch, but I made her participate. Even she couldn’t escape. I’ve run a color run 5k with my sister.

You can find success in your support network, too!

  • Family. Enough said. Just remember that family doesn’t always mean blood. True family loves you unconditionally.  
  • Friends matter, even if they don’t share the same interests. Share your goals, fears, hopes, and dreams and gain perspective from them on aspects of yourself you may not have considered. How many times has your friend let you expend all of your negative pent-up energy in a gripe fest, before shedding light on your issue, solving a problem in one fell swoop?
  • Co-workers can be a surprising source of support. How many of you have work wives or husbands, those co-workers that become fast friends during long work days spent together? Tell them your goals. Their goals at work are often the same. Sitting too much, a spread of calorie-dense carbohydrates in the kitchen, candy dishes on every desk top, short lunch breaks? Weather the storm together.
  • Groups make sense. Duh. They’re called support groups for a reason. These people share your interests. You can tap into groups via social media or in person. If there isn’t a group that supports your interests, create one!
  • Faith Leader. Religion, faith and spirituality play an important role in many people’s lives. If you’re the praying type, use your faith to scale the walls that stand in your way. Also, remember that you do not have to label yourself a certain faith to gain the benefits of spirituality. Connecting with a deeper meaning is possible through meditation.
  • Networks work much like groups, but on a larger scale. Don’t be afraid to meet people. Connect all over by meeting your friend’s friends, your spouse’s coworkers, etc. This can open up doors you didn’t even know existed.
  • Spouse. Your spouse is often your closest confidante. Change can be very difficult, although not impossible, if the very person you share a bed with isn’t on board. Share your goals with your spouse, but also explain why success is important to you. They need to understand the why of the matter.

Having the support of those around you can make all the difference in your efforts to lead a Fit Life. Your lifestyle should be an expression of self, of who you are. If you are living a life that is true to yourself, you bring a deeper meaning to the world around you. Share yourself with others and reap the benefits!

Having the support of those around you can make all the difference in your efforts to lead a Fit Life. Your lifestyle should be an expression of self, of who you are. If you are living a life that is true to yourself, you bring a deeper meaning to the world around you. Share yourself with others and reap the benefits!
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