I am in a little bit of a frantic mode lately. Our school year started several weeks back (we are a year round school) and I have taught English and Computer Apps for so many years that it comes very easily to me. I'm not feeling frenzied about those classes at all.
Since I have lost a large amount of weight (Losing 167 Lbs. but Finding More of Me) over the last three years, my heart goes out to kids who battle obesity. Especially at this middle school age when they are already dealing with so many internal changes, having a body that doesn't fit in with everyone else's can be difficult. I see their self loathing already starting to develop and I know well the hopelessness they feel at the complex challenge of losing weight.
I wrote a successful grant last year that allowed us to refit the weight room in one of our gyms into a cardio fitness center with mirrors, mats, weights, and a pleasant area to take fitness classes.
I've been asking, no pleading, with our administrators to allow me to teach a fitness class to the kids, since I already teach one to the faculty after school. Their problem was finding a way to spring me from a period of my already locked in schedule. Well, it finally happened. I have the fitness class I've dreamed of having for the last couple of years.
The reality of getting to teach it has me excited but also filled with a little fear, too. I asked for the kids who don't take athletics, who are overweight, and who don't like sports. I've got them in abundance; a group of girls this semester and a group of boys next semester.
My own journey into fitness has been largely self taught and ranges from running to the Insanity workouts to step aerobics to my own summer bootcamp (Tractor Tire Bootcamp). I like hard, intense workouts that focus on cardio and on building muscle through strength training. (Women, you are not going to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime if you lift weights. You will be building muscle that helps you to look toned and burn more calories in your everyday life.) My workouts, though, are probably not fun to many other people in this world.
To make this something truly of value to these kids, they need to see that activity can be fun and enjoyable. So, I'm leaving my tractor tire at home for now and I am boning up on Zumba, Pilates, and some yoga. Dancing is amazing fun to me, so I hope they will enjoy the Zumba I will be starting them off with.
I'll be showing them before pictures of myself so they can see how far into the hole I was with morbid obesity. I want to keep them updated on my half marathon training schedule and the race I will run in November. Maybe, just maybe, they will learn from what I put my body through and be able to reverse this downward slide.
I'm going to let them know from the very start it won't be easy, but it is completely possible with some hard work and determination.
I've been going to sleep with samba and cumbia music ringing in my ears, but I'm ready for the first class tomorrow. In fact, I already have my gym bag packed!