Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Harder You Work

Amy Rice can do anything.
She’s a triathlete who’s won two world championships at the Olympic distance and achieved 4th Overall Master in the 2007 Hawaiian Ironman - you know, in addition to placing in an impressive number of the 300+ triathlons she’s completed and having been ranked 1st by the United States Triathlon Federation - so I think that’s a reasonable statement.
But damn, she’s got her work cut out for her with me.
As my lovely regular readers know, I’m on a mission to get my shit together this year.  You know - in response to my shit having fallen splendidly apart in seemingly all areas of my life simultaneously.  I want this to be an opportunity.  I want to become the best person I can be in all respects, and (to borrow tackily from Oprah) live my best life.  Amy Rice is part of what I think of with quiet egotism as Team Karen, the widely-varied group of professionals currently helping me make the most of my remaining time here on this planet.
So it was that I arrived at the Studio at NBX early one recent Friday morning for an arms and abs session with Amy.
Having had three hours’ sleep and quite possibly still slightly drunk from the night prior.
"I hope it was fun," Amy said, appraising my condition.
I shook my head.  It had not been fun at all.  The night before, I’d learned that finalizing my divorce might not be the amicable matter I’d hoped.  So I’d done the responsible thing and consumed massive quantities of chardonnay, cried until my eyes looked roughly like those of a Muppet, and sang along with Linda Ronstadt until both the cat and the dog pointedly shunned me.
But here’s the thing: Amy understood.  She showed me no mercy, mind you, but she understood.  She’s a divorced single mother.  She’s been through the wringer a time or two (or ten).  She helped me sweat through a whole lot of heartache.  And for about 90 minutes, I forgot all my troubles.  (Well, the ones that didn’t involve my abs, anyway.)  I laughed with and learned from Amy, savoring the work of getting stronger.
Amy knows all about that work.  She knows that very little in life comes from luck.  “The harder you work, the luckier you get,” she says.
A Montessori teacher by trade, it makes sense that Amy is a natural at teaching fitness.  When working with preschoolers, “If it takes them twenty minutes to get their coat on, you let it take twenty minutes,” she explains.  “How else will they learn?”
That ability to assess people and work with them at their own pace translates well into the personal training business.  I first approached Amy with the disclaimer, “I am not going to be your star pupil.  I’m clumsy and I’m thrilled if I run a 9:30 mile.  Also, I’m terrified of being clipped into my bike.”
She laughed, shrugged, said, “Okay,” and we went from there.
Pretty quickly, I learned that Amy feels blessed to be doing work she loves, to be able to take her own athletic successes and life-affirming experiences and pay it forward.  She juggled work and parenting a small child while maintaining the grueling routine of a world-class triathlete.  She loves spreading the word about how personal goals and parenthood really can mesh.
Want to see Amy’s soft side?  Ask her about seeing her daughter, Kirstyn, cheering her on at her races.  There’s pure joy in her voice when she describes hearing Kirstyn cry, “Go, Momma!  Momma’s a champion!”  And I can’t help but think: what an absolutely awesome way to model for her daughter how to be a healthy, happy, strong woman in this world.  What Amy does for herself, she does for her daughter as well.
So sure, if you try to weasel out of a thirty-second plank at the twenty-seven-second mark, Amy will call you out on it.  But who doesn’t need that push now and then?  I sure do.
Just as I need the truths Amy affirms for all her clients - the very same things she’s always told Kirstyn:
You can be anything you want to be.
You can do anything you want to do.
You just need to decide on it.
Work your tail off.
And never, ever, EVER give up.
Amy Rice can do anything.
So can you and I.
{FYI, RI peeps: Amy works with everyone from folks looking to get off the couch to world-class athletes seeking to improve their performance.  She is helping me get super-fit, and her training programs are very affordable - a must because my income lately is leaner than I’d like my middle to be.  Check her out and find your strength!}

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