Fitness street cred counts for something, doesn’t it?

Dear Blog,

I used to make fun of people who had writer’s block. Back in my journalism career when I was an editor, I used to call writers who were on deadline and say, “TICK TOCK, I’M A CLOCK, WHERE IS YOUR STORY?” when they were late. I had very little tolerance for blown deadlines.

My Alpha dog, Zoey

My Alpha dog, Zoey

So it’s kind of embarrassing to admit I’ve had writer’s block when it has come to this blog. I finally figured out why, though. And as I think it’s a pretty interesting (at least to me) story – and sharing it will help unblock me – I’m gonna tell it to you.

Fitness is a new industry. All the smart people who study it and make recommendations for the rest of us to follow are still figuring it out. It’s cool to be part of a new field that has the potential to help so many people, one that’s constantly evolving and changing. There are always fun and new things to try out and learn.

However, there are a lot of alpha dogs in fitness. They pound their chests about why you should (or shouldn’t) do a certain exercise. They mock trainers who tell their clients to do (or not do) cardio. Some of them call out any program or exercise that hasn’t been involved in a peer-reviewed study. Some of them work in actual human performance laboratories, where they use fancy equipment on athletes and college students. They make a lot of seemingly random rules about what’s good/bad/dumb/smart/trendy/ridiculous. (And, nothing against males in their 20s and early 30s – I have some good friends who fall into that group – but a lot of those fitness alpha dogs are in that category, and God love ‘em, they don’t seem to understand what it is like to be truly out of shape or have physical issues that can make it difficult to work out.) Adding a voice to that din can be a little intimidating. And even though I have a loud bark, sometimes those smarty pantses made me second-guess myself.

Because I’m definitely not an alpha male dog aged 20-30. I started to worry about what I wrote. Was the ab workout going to pass muster with the evidence-based crowd? Do people need cardio, even though my clients who make time for it get the best results? So I shut myself up. How dumb was that? I mean, I work in a pretty fantastic human performance lab – a local gym, filled with real people who want to improve their fitness so they can enjoy their lives, whether that means competing in a bodybuilding show or living at home instead of in a nursing home (and right now I have clients on both ends of that spectrum). I am on the front line. That gives me some street cred, doesn’t it?

So, yes, I’m good enough, smart enough, blah blah.

And now the block is broken. Stay tuned for stories from my human performance lab. Tomorrow morning I’m working with clients back-to-back who couldn’t be more different: a 12-year-old boy followed by a 97-year-old woman. Yep, that’s what is happening on the front lines. And I think it’s pretty cool to be able to participate.

Thank you if you’re reading this. Stay tuned for real-world fitness.

Wendy Watkins

About Wendy Watkins

Wendy Watkins is a Brewer-based personal trainer and author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Losing 20 Pounds in 2 Months. Visit her website at wendyfitness.com.