Ikigai- What is the Alley Gym really all about?

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If you've ever trained with me, you know that I don't actually have any kind of background in athletics. I didn't grow up playing sports, I'm not naturally fast, strong, or coordinated, and I don't spend more than 15 minutes at a time in the gym. So what the hell am I doing here running a gym?

(sidebar, this is actually one of my greatest strengths as a trainer. I GET IT. I know how hard it can be to learn these skills. I had to practice my lifts hundreds of times before anything clicked. I speak your language, all you folks who don't like working out. But moving on...)

I worked my butt off to become a personal trainer and start my business because I believe that everyone should move their bodies more often, I think that there is enormous power in learning how to (safely) move a barbell, and I want to be a part of the shift to make fitness accessible to all bodies. Ultimately though, my goal is to teach women how to feel confident, happy, and strong so that their energy that used to be spent worrying about their appearance can be freed up to DO something in this world. 

So many humans spend their lives on social media, comparing themselves to other people, worrying about how their pants look and researching the best diet. But few people actually get out there and live life to the fullest. 

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IKIGAI = Your "reason for waking up in the morning."

In my never-ending pursuit to learn (and live!) about what makes people healthy and strong into old age, I came across the organization called Blue Zones. It was there that I learned about the Japanese word, Ikigai. Okinawan centenarians can clearly state their purpose in a simple sentence and studies of the longest living populations around the world have shown that knowing your purpose can add up to seven years to your life expectancy. How's that for leading a long and healthy life?!

I've seen it far too many times that women get so caught up in their physical appearance that they forget to nurture all the qualities that make them amazing. One of my favorite prompts to ask my clients in our question-of-the-day is "who was/is your favorite person in your life and why?" Can you guess how many times someone mentioned weight or pant size as the thing that makes their favorite person so awesome? Never. It's always their empathy, extensive knowledge of crappy knock-knock jokes, warm hugs, or ability to make them feel special and loved. Yet we waste our precious time and energy trying to be smaller.

F*CK THAT

It's time to let go of our attachment to what we look like and start living. Learn how to whittle, start a fire, make lunches for the hungry, learn how to identify edible plant species in your region, do a crossword puzzle, teach your neighbor's child how to climb trees. Whatever brings you joy. But I promise you, you won't find your ikigai by staring at the scale or counting calories.

So tell me, what is your purpose for living?