Have you ever worked out, taken a shower, and just continued right on sweating? It's both gnarly and a bit gratifying, right?
Today was one of those days. I attended (virtually) my first Advanced Tae Bo® Nation Certification course post op. My hamstrings are fully healed so no worries at all - my cardiovascular system, however, is a bit cranky. It was a fantastic camp though, and I am still sweating. But at this point it's more emotional and mental. Yep. My emotions are sweating. Some might call that crying, I say sweating. They're just working hard.
You see....(a long story is about to unfold) wayyyy back in 2005, I attended my first ever Tae Bo® certification camp. Back in those days, the camps were three days long and in person. And by days, I really mean it. It was like 12-15 hour days. Of straight up training.
I was fully prepared (how very wrong I was) having done Tae Bo® VHS tapes at home for over 5 years. I felt confident in my technique, great about my cardio, and I was READY to make my dream of becoming a Tae Bo® Instructor come true.
So, I get to the The Billy Blanks® World Training Center or BBWTC (as it was then known) . It was HUGE. It was an old bank that they had turned into a training center, vaults and all. It was absolutely cool. As I sat on the floor with the other campers (about 50 of us) Billy walked down the stairs; it was so totally surreal - Billy, the same guy who's been yelling at me through my TV for years, the same Billy who absolutely changed my life, was walking down the stairs. In. Person. I can't even explain how excited I was.
But then! Shellie comes out and starts talking. This is SHELLIE. Billy's daughter. The chick in the videos I watched tirelessly because of her fierce POWER, her BEAUTY, her GRACE and again - her absolute POWER. She is the one that inspired me to take my life back and start working out - she demonstrated that a woman can be as POWERFUL as she wants to be. I LOVE HER. :) Yep, totally fangirling over here. I can do that because years later she became my best friend, but that's another story :)
My first day at camp I learned several things.
My cardio level had no idea what was coming
My technique needed a ton of help
Shellie was a master technician and her moves spoke with clarity and beauty.
So - we started with a live class. To be clear, the VHS workouts were about 150 BPM (beats per minute). The class was about 180 BPM. Also, I was surrounded by no less than 200 people. I am absolutely not joking. It was huge. So there I was, in the middle of 200 people, trying desperately to keep up, and my head just begins throbbing. It became like a giant tomato. Pulsing with the beat of the music. I had to decide. I would either pass out, or take a break. I reasoned that Billy would probably NOT certify me if I passed out, so the smart thing would be to take a break. Using that logic, I totally survived my first live class, but my face was red for years. At least till the end of the day.
Next day - cool moment. We're all practicing our new found skills, and I hear, from across the room, "MELANIE!!!!" I stop. I look. It was Shellie. Yelling MY name. OMG. She knows my name. Stop. She knows my name. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. That's all I remember. She was yelling at me to correct something I was doing wrong; but to this day, I have no idea what. I could not believe she knew my name. That might sound goofy to you - but she set a foundation in me that day. Know people's names. Take the time to know a person's name. It means the world.
We literally trained at least 12 hours each day. We'd start early and get 2 hours of training in, then we'd take a live class with Billy and the public. We'd get a break and go right back to training. I watched the sun set as we trained, and we just kept going. It was amazing. It was hard. It was exhausting. It was fun. It was exhausting. It was inspiring. It was exhausting. At the end of day two, I was beyond exhausted. I was beyond sore. I was beyond tears. (or so I thought)
The morning of day three: Sunday morning. I am driving to camp. I am literally bawling. Just crying. I am tired, I am sore, and so many other things, and all I can do is cry. I am heading to my third day of a certification camp, where Billy Blanks® holds my dreams in his hands. My dreams of becoming certified, of being a part of Team Tae Bo®, of accomplishing something I didn't think was possible. BUT, in order to do so, I had to endure. Another 12 hour day. I had to do my third live class - only this one was "Ultimate Tae Bo®," which is code for a one and a half hour class. Not just one hour.... but 30 extra minutes of class. And then I had to train more, under the scrutiny of Billy. AND take a written exam. AND take a practical exam. (in front of Billy and like 3 other of my idols from the videos - no freaking pressure there)
So. I cried. I drove and I cried. What the hell. How can he expect me to physically perform any more? I was angry. This is not reasonable. This is ridiculous.
BUT. These are his requirements. If I want to become certified, this is what is required of me.
I have a choice.
My dream was to become certified and teach Tae Bo®. If that is my dream, if it is what I truly want, then I have to do what it takes to achieve it. I have to do the HARD, beyond normal, WORK that it takes to become an instructor.
And with that - I wiped my eyes, and steeled my mind for what was to come. Because it was what it would take to achieve my dream, and I had decided, that I would do whatever it takes to achieve it.
Fast Forward - I totally got it. Of course - ya'll knew how that story ended! Despite Billy's attempts at shaking me during testing ("Did you do that right? Would you place your certification on the line?") I was given my Tae Bo® Certification.
To this day - it is one of the most grueling things I have endured to accomplish a dream. It serves as a foundation for what it takes to achieve.
Camp this weekend was a reminder. A reminder of a time long ago when I pushed harder than I ever knew possible, when I endured things I didn't think I could, when I rose to the occasion and surpassed it. I was reminded that my dreams are still alive. And if I want to reach them, I have to do hard, hard work. I have to be uncomfortable. I have to do things I didn't think I could.
I am so grateful for the reminder. I have become comfortable; many of us have. I have circumstances that I need to navigate, and they aren't even negative. It is just my wonderful life. (I have a husband and children that I adore and that I need to be there for) But, don't lose sight of your dreams. Whether you're ready for the hard work today, or need to wait a bit, hold on to your dreams. And make them come true when you're ready.
But you will have do the hard, uncomfortable and sometimes crazy work. You will love it. You will hate it. You will do far more than you ever thought you could.