Monday, October 26, 2015

Surrounded by Chihuahuas {Guest Post}

iConveyAwareness | Guest Post Andrea Cordes - Fitness is an Attitude

This is the second guest post from Tabata Bootcamp Master Trainer, Andrea Cordes of Formation Power Fitness (her Facebook page is linked). Her website is forthcoming. Last June, she wrote a guest post on moving more, drinking more for a ten day challenge I hosted several months in a row. (Drinking more water and moving your body more - exercising!) See Move More, Drink More for guidance and challenges you can set for yourself starting tomorrow for ten days. You can do it! 

"You have probably walked into a class at the gym and one of the first things the instructor tells you is to: "Leave your problems at the door, this hour is for you!" If you've been to any of my cycling classes, you've probably heard me say something similar. Leaving life behind for a while has its advantages. There's power in taking charge of when you want your problems to hold you. The escape of getting lost in physical movement and the sweat is also therapeutic. But what about the days that those problems refuse to remain in check?

And can it ever be advantageous to face the problems full on, perhaps even embrace them? I believe the answer is decidedly "yes" and I'll tell you why.

The privilege of being a trainer is that people allow me into their lives. Tabata Bootcamp allows me to be more than simply an instructor that stands in front of them for an hour and screams, "GO!" I get to know the "whys" behind the "whats" of their wellness goals. And the bootcampers get to know each other. Each Tabata Bootcamp session becomes something of a secret club. And we all become like sisters.

Last week, I could tell within about the first five minutes that my sisters and I were all a little off. And there have been similar days, but by the end of the warm-up things are feeling lighthearted again. But that day, the energy of the room was just all around wrong. I could tell those problems we were all carrying around had not stayed at the door but rather followed us all in for the workout. I realized I could take two different approaches in cuing: Remind the gang to forget about life, or encourage them to about-face and square up to the issues head on.

I went with door number 2 and it sounded something like this: "Ok, what is it about today?! You guys are not yourselves! I am officially declaring today's workout to be an ‘Airing of Grievances.’ Seriously, out with it...what's dragging you down? I'll start. I cannot get over the fact that [use your imagination here]!"

And just like that, everyone spewed out about something that was eating their shorts. None of the issues shared were major, just the little things that add up. I refer to such problems as Chihuahuas because one or two yapping at your ankles is mildly irritating. Anything more than about five or six, they can probably take you down.

So within mere minutes of our airing-of-grievances, we were back to having our usual fun. There was power in sharing, and in empathizing with each other. And power in knowing the friendships were a little stronger after that day. The experience of that class continued to linger in my mind, so I allowed it in hopes I would figure out why.

And then it did occur to me.


Being in week 4 of our Bootcamp, we were no longer a random, hodge-podge of strangers. We were our own little community! And that sense of community is what contributed to having a better workout. And a better day. Wellness isn't just working out, eating right and getting enough sleep. Wellness, in my opinion, includes emotional health as well. And emotional health is incumbent upon having people we trust. Friends who don't judge. The folks to whom we can reveal our worst and they love us through it. I can't help but wonder if we didn't have our little crew to lean on that day, what direction would the rest of the day have gone? Would there have been another opportunity to vent to someone and feel understood and reassured? Or would that issue, nipping at our ankles and refusing to go away, have stayed all day...and maybe tomorrow...?

I once read an article that suggested it is healthier to eat a plate of cookies with friends than to eat a plate of broccoli alone. I will never tell you to go eat a plate of cookies (Take-3 questions, anyone?!) but I am telling you to get out there and create real connections with people. So that when you catch yourself tripping over a small herd of Chihuahuas, you have someone to help you name the Chihuahuas and then deal with them."

Last words, to stay up to date on nutrition focused resources, be sure to *like* Jessica David's page and to stay up on the schedule for fitness classes with Andrea, be sure to *like* her page as well! 

Jaysen Kim of Studio Icon, LA
Andrea Cordes grew up in Cincinnati, OH and graduated the University of Cincinnati in 2002 with a Bachelor degree in Psychology. Upon graduation, she also commissioned into the U.S. Air Force as a Second Lieutenant. Andrea completed Joint Undergrad Navigator Training at NAS Pensacola, FL and continued onto Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, NC for the F-15E Formal Training Unit (FTU).

In February of 2005, Andrea achieved "mission ready" status as a Weapons System Operator in the F-15E Strike Eagle. Training now complete, Andrea was assigned to the 336th Operational Squadron. During her time with the 336th, Andrea deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After a short assignment in the Wing Plans Office and then as an assistant to the Wing Commander, Andrea was asked to return to the FTU squadron as an instructor. 

Andrea completed her service obligation and discharged honorably in 2010. Not one to sit idle, Andrea quickly found her niche in the fitness industry. Andrea achieved her Group Fitness Certification from both American Council of Exercise and the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America, and became an instant favorite for teaching aerobic classes at the Beaufort YMCA. Andrea next got certified in the trademarked program Tabata Bootcamp. The creator of Tabata Bootcamp, Mindy Mylrea, asked Andrea to join her team of Master Trainers and Andrea is now the representative for Southern California.

Andrea currently works at In Shape health club in Ridgecrest, primarily as a Schwinn certified indoor cycling instructor. She also leads 8 week Tabata Bootcamps in addition to holding workshops to certify new Tabata Bootcamp trainers.

When Andrea got out of the Air Force in 2010, she finally joined husband Neil in Beaufort, SC after 5 years of "commuter marriage." Daughter Madeline was born in 2009 and son Alex in 2011. Husband, Neil, is still active duty USMC and the family is currently stationed in Ridgecrest, CA. 

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