Hi - my name is Carla and I am an exercise physiologist and an ultramarathon runner. How the heck did I get there? In elementary school I had the opportunity to join the track team but I was too susceptible to my own negative narratives that I wouldn’t be good at running. So, I didn’t start running until University, where I had another opportunity to join a track team - but the narrative I had told myself was that I wasn’t as fit as my peers and couldn’t run fast enough to join the team. I also have a Masters in exercise science. That’s pretty cool because I didn’t know if I would ever get into the program, let alone finish it. I am a teacher at Mount Royal university, the Dino’s Women’s Hockey team's Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, and a personal trainer of athletes and average joes alike. I train guys and girls your age and older to meet their physical and athletic goals, and I love every minute. If you could take a moment right now to bust out your phones and find me on social media.
I’ve posted a question box so as this talk goes on, if you have any questions related to fitness or nutrition that you want to ask me - type it in that box. If I don’t get to your questions by the end of this talk - I’ll reply directly to you after and answer them! (Take 5 minutes to post a question). The thing that bothers me lately is that there’s a lot of negative narratives out there on social media - especially Instagram. Looking back on my elementary middle and high school self, who was already telling herself she couldn’t, I can’t imagine having had to pair that with a platform like Instagram, showing me the ideals I should be striving for - like a bikini body - or something along those lines. Back then, I got my workout advice from magazines, and that advice was no good either. Similar to the narratives on Instagram today, I truly thought working was out had the sole purpose of “toning” my muscles to make me look longer and leaner. As someone who has studied this stuff for the last 8 years, Its hard to watch celebrity fitness people with no qualifications sell wrong and/or harmful information like specific “toning exercises” "Fit Teas" and "keto diets". These negative narratives are sometimes hard to spot in captions, but involve some combination of selling their bodies with sex appeal, gaining money from selling print off exercise templates, and telling the you about the latest way to lose weight. Taking this a step further: WHAT IF exercise could make you gain the confidence to apply at a University that you think is out of your league? WHAT IF exercise could be your saving grace to pull you out of depression? WHAT IF being able to do 10 chin ups changed your mindset from “I hate my body” to “I love my body and it’s strengths”? What if you knew someone who has experienced this exact shift? What if it’s me? While I do want to inspire you today, "I am not your fitspo. I'm not hardcore. I don't do 20+ exercises circuit-style and leave the gym drenched in sweat. My diet isn't miserable. I don't wake up at the crack of dawn to blast through the day. I choose not to get into twisty poses for selfies, and I don't know how to use photoshop. I want to be an example for women out there as someone who is comfortable in her skin without having to be shredded, without contorting her body to make her booty look bigger and waist appear smaller (nothing inherently wrong with that; it's just not my style). As someone who can eat French fries and enjoy every bite and then move on with her life without an inkling of remorse. As someone who is completely okay scaling back on a workout or skipping it altogether if she's not feeling too hot. My methods are incredibly moderate, and that's boring to many. I'm probably not going to be the fitness buff whose picture you have saved as the lock screen on your phone with "body goals" written across. I am not your fitspo - at least, not in the traditional sense - but I do want to be a role model and educator. I want to be a platform for sound, common-sense, evidence-based exercise and nutrition information. I want to show that I talk the talk and walk the walk and teach others to do the same." - Sohee Lee The difference between me and other fitness influencers on Instagram is that I believe influence is something a person earns with time and experience, not a title to be given. The difference between me and other fitness figures on social media is that I care. I care a lot about my students and athletes and clients. I care about people more than I care about making money. Someone can charge you $20-200 for a print off piece of paper of a random workout. But will they care when their program fails to work for you? The difference between me and other fitness professionals on Instagram is that I have the education to back up what I say. Some of you have probably already spent money on these templates online - but do you know anything about your fitness expert's education? When you take your car to a mechanic you expect to pay money for someone who is qualified to work on your car and not just a cool Instagram face, right? Today I also want to play a quick game. (I want to teach you that you are enough just the way you are and also teach you how to not be susceptible to a negative narrative) First, I want you to tell the friend sitting beside you one or two complementary words that describe them well. For example, you are beautiful!!! Next, I want you to discuss with your friend 2 things that you love the most. Now, would you ever describe yourself the same way you described your friend, even if it was true? Did you include yourself on the list of things you love?? Why not? Don't be susceptible to your own negative narrative, that you may be learning from your social media platforms. I am a big believer that self love is the base for all the rest of your success and accomplishments. Without it, the heights that you can teach will be more limited. For example, without self love, when I lost my job 2 years ago now, I cried for 1 week straight. I believed that losing my job was failing. As I rebuilt from the ashes, I realized that I am enough just the way I am. I didn’t need that job to be enough. I didn’t need someone else to tell me if I was enough. The only reason I hadn't started coming up with a back-up plan for losing my job, was that I believed I wasn’t good enough to land a new job or thrive at a harder job. What I want you to take away from today: Lesson #: YOU ARE ENOUGH Lesson #2. Don’t be susceptible to a negative narrative. I want you to have a resource that is positive, encouraging, and that offers accurate information. Follow me or ask me a question if you liked my talk!! Thanks for being here, for allowing me to be a part of your journey. YOU ARE ENOUGH.