People do all sorts of things to “get in shape.”
Maybe they’ll take a class or two at their local Y, take up walking, join a community softball league – and all these things are great.
What many people find, though, is that jumping from one activity to another doesn’t really allow them to get better at any one of those activities, and it often impedes their overall progress.
That’s where Nancy Murphy was a few years ago, before she found GMB.
The GMB Alpha Posse community is a source of inspiration, insights, and accountability. And loads of fun. And the monthly challenges and tutorials in Alpha Posse are great ways to learn and attempt things that I never thought I could do.
Nancy has been a member of the GMB Alpha Posse from the very beginning. What led her to us was her frustration with bouncing around from one thing to another with no direction. When she found Alpha, she realized she could be active without getting bored, and with the support of an online community.
What she’s achieved in the past several years is very impressive.
Nancy’s Challenge: Finding an Approach to Fitness She Could Stick With
Nancy always had an interest in being active and took up running while in college. She relied on traditional fitness activities for a while, as she focused on raising her family and building her career.
After the birth of my second son I did some weight lifting and running, but for about 25 years my main source of exercise was walking, Pilates and old lady yoga classes.
Eventually she got bored, so she moved on to triathlon training. After completing a few of those, she realized she had no idea what to do next.
Being a playful minded person, Nancy started to experiment with adding jumps and crawls into her daily runs. Her curiosity about locomotive and bodyweight fitness prompted her to do some online research for more info, which eventually led her to GMB.
Ultimately I decided that I liked the GMB approach much more than trying to be a warrior princess so when the Alpha Posse opportunity presented itself, I grabbed it!
After years of bouncing from one thing to another, Nancy was ready to join a community that would help her master her body in a fun, supportive, and sustainable manner.
The Results of Nancy’s New Approach to Fitness
Initially, when Nancy started working with GMB programs, many of the training challenges she faced were internal rather than external hurdles.
When I first found GMB, my publicly stated goal was to get stronger, and more “fit.” What did I know? It’s what everyone says, right?
My internal goal was to magically transform myself into someone about 5 inches taller, 20 years younger and become a shining physical specimen. So that didn’t really happen…
But my biggest challenge was shedding preconceived notions and trusting in results. Getting past the weird looks family and friends made when I told them what I was working on. But my head. Mostly my head. It kept trying to tell me what I could or should do.
Once Nancy was able to move past her preconceived notions, she dedicated herself to going through Floor One and then Parallettes One, and her results were incredible. Here’s what she achieved:
I became stronger!
I also woke up without pain in my hips or back.
I listened less to the Drill Sargent and the jeer sections in my head.
I didn’t worry about whether a 5 mile hike with friends would disrupt my training schedule.
I don’t fall as often, or trip as often. I don’t turn my ankle very often either.
I’m not afraid to cross streams by log bridges, rocks, etc.
I don’t avoid stairs when carrying stuff to the office, and I don’t have to hold onto the stairwell when descending them in heels.
She also achieved a 10-second freestanding handstand at our August 2013 seminar in Seattle! She had been working through our handstand tutorial, and then surprised us all with her progress that day!
I don’t think anyone was more surprised than I was to find myself in that position! The handstand hold came at the end of a long day, and it was eye-opening how much strength it takes to stay up there. But it was fantastic to finally stay up long enough to feel how dynamic that “hold” is.
Nancy’s “big wins” didn’t happen overnight. But with some strategic steps, Nancy was able to set herself up for success.
Nancy’s Suggestions for Gaining Control of Your Body
Here’s a few lessons that helped Nancy keep progressing:
1. Growing older doesn’t have to mean giving up
As Nancy grows older, she notices that she’s not just managing the physiological effects of aging, she’s also having to navigate the societal pressures of how people should act at her age.
It’s a daily fight against aging and decaying – not just physically, but fighting against the social assumptions we all make about proper, quiet decay. I see the results of walking 3 miles a day, or biking 12 miles at a nice, safe pace, and I’m feeling a bit rebellious.
There aren’t many female role models at my age. Maybe there’s a good reason for that, but so farI haven’t found any reason not to keep trying to be strong and flexible. I’m also working at forgiving myself for not being perfect, and learning to tap into play, creativity and spontaneity in physical ways.
One of my favorite memories as a child was when the whole gang of us-sisters, cousins, friends-would walk a couple of miles down the road that snaked through thick woods to the water dam, and then back home. We’d time it so that our return trip was just at dusk, and the shadows and darkness were part of the thrill of walking home together. There was always a bit of frisson coursing through our young bodies as we climbed the last hill in the dark, and a warm flood of relief when we were able to see the porch lights on just ahead.
If I get to choose, I want my aging to be like that: walking with friends and family, a bit of thrill and excitement in my veins, and a warm sense of coming home at the end.
2. Don’t underestimate the value of a good support network
To help keep her focused on the right things and to avoid self-doubts about whether she should just give it all up and just take easy walks now and then, Nancy kept reaching out to people who could provide encouragement and guidance while she worked through her training.
Eventually she discovered our Alpha Posse community, where she connected with a group of people working on the same programs, and who shared similar backgrounds and could thus identify with some of her challenges.
The Alpha Posse community is a wonderful little jewel. I feel like I have friends all across the globe – corny, but true.
Nancy’s biggest fitness breakthroughs came about as a result of finding a community that she could belong to, and one that could help hold her accountable, while also encouraging her to keep practicing.
If you’re having fun with your fitness, you’re more likely to keep it up!
I particularly appreciate the positive supportive feeling, the healthy competition and the out of left field comments that land in your workout log.
Having the constant feedback and support from her peers helped her to stay motivated. They believed in her abilities, and enabled her to shed her limiting beliefs about the kind of fitness and training she could handle.
3. Prioritize your health above all else (and before it’s too late!)
After a couple of years facing a lot of external stressors and big life changes, Nancy became more aware of the value of maintaining good health.
It’s interesting to see how much focus we put on accumulating lots of money to retire, but don’t worry too much about whether we’re enjoying our life now, or if we will be able to enjoy good health when we have the time.
It’s been quite a life lesson to see how quickly health and relationships can nosedive when the emphasis is primarily on the money, not the living.
She also realized that prioritizing one’s health is a choice, and one she was ready to make.
You never know who will be influenced by your actions or suggestions.
Each day is made up of thousands of decisions. And once you’re stuck in a pattern or routine, it takes some effort to build momentum to create a new routine. But every choice you make has an effect, and often affects those around you. You are influential, even when you don’t realize it.
My son urged me to train for the triathlon and it was his belief that I was, or could be, an athlete that started me on that journey. When my husband saw my health improving, he started working out because he didn’t want to be less healthy and less capable. My older son started working out too and got involved in mountain biking, and now road biking. We are all much healthier than we were just a few years ago.
Nancy’s little choices (and changes) influenced her family to prioritize their health as well.
How to Really Get in Shape
If you’ve been inconsistent in your efforts to get in shape, it’s likely you’re not doing the things that will help you stay consistent.
For Nancy, finding a new approach to fitness, along with the help of a supportive community, allowed her to finally start seeing some results she could be proud of.
You may be bored with your current efforts, or maybe you’re not seeing the results you’d like. Whatever it is that’s holding you back, you can learn from Nancy’s example.
Don’t let age or other life circumstances get in your way.
Find an approach that speaks to you, and make sure you have a strong support system to help you through it.
You’ll be amazed by the results you can achieve.