Health and Fitness
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As a health seeker, how do you find that connection you need to succeed in the fitness world? How do you make your health a habit?

In my opinion, you will succeed when you find the place where you fit in, where it feels good, where like-minded people exist. Whatever you choose to do, you have to WANT to return the second, third and fourth time.

As an instructor for 33 years, that is part of my job: to get you to want to return. As instructors and trainers, if we have not made you want to return, we have not done our job. We have to make it fun and challenging, and we have to make it about YOU. Because it is about you.

Being an over-50-almost-60-year-old fitness instructor and trainer has been rewarding beyond belief. And maybe in the beginning it was about me. After all, I was 25. Need I say more?

But really it is about you. You the client, the member, the attendee, the seeker. I never dreamed when I started teaching fitness at 25 that at 58 years old I would still be doing so — and loving it all.

What I have learned is that people want someone they can relate to to lead their way through their fitness journey, whether it’s several classes a week or personal training or a running group. Those leaders should have a real interest in your success. Always.

I often tell my classes the workout belongs to them. I design the workouts for them. They give me feedback and input, and I try to put their ideas into place if I can.

It is NOT my workout. Even though I get the same benefits they do, I never think of it as my workout. I work for them. And if I am not doing a good job, they don’t show up. Period.

As a seeker, please do not let it be about perfection or looking perfect either. And don’t try to be something you are not.

There are always those folks, but most reasonable people know just to do their best. No one is perfect. No one looks perfect. Only a fool strives for perfection, as it does not exist. Be real.

Is it realistic to say, "I am going to start this journey and have no bread, no sugar, no caffeine, only organic, and exercise eight days a week!" Heck no. Get ready to fail, because you probably will.

If you go through life depriving yourself of that cookie or that piece of bread and you get hit by a bus tomorrow, how would you feel? I would not be happy!

Life is about balancing all the balls we have to juggle. That includes living! You can live in moderation and still be fit and healthy, and still do what is right 80 percent of the time.

We should all give up the notion that we are going to be like someone else. Nope, no matter what you do, you will still end up being you. Depriving yourself to try to be like someone else is not going to work, and it is not always healthy or realistic.

One word: genetics. You can fight it, but it usually wins!

So try to find that happy, feel-good place when you become a fitness seeker. Seek out people who will pull you up and build you up and help you reach your goals.

If your trainer or your teacher is more worried about themselves, their workout, the way they look in the mirror, then run the other way. Because I promise in the other direction is a person who can help you find that balance. Keep seeking, because it is reachable.

Ann Angell is a certified instructor and personal trainer and manager of the Oxford YMCA. Her fitness column appears the third Sunday of each month.