By Dyan Tsiumis
Very few things in life make me more irate than being in a fitness class and hearing, “You wanna get right and tight for summer, ladies!” WTF?
Why is “summer” the goal, a reason to get fit? Is there some magical countdown to Memorial Day, where I’m shamed into wearing a sweatsuit on the beach unless my arms are perfectly sculpted and my thighs no longer lovingly rub together? Is it totally okay to be sedentary and overeat processed food in the winter? It seems crazy to me that instructors and fitness professionals speak this way to students.
"Is there some magical countdown to Memorial Day, where I’m shamed into wearing a sweatsuit on the beach unless my arms are perfectly sculpted and my thighs no longer lovingly rub together?"
Don’t Assume Someone’s Story
As a teacher of fitness I never assume why someone is in class, or worse yet generalize an entire class. We all have different reasons for showing up to get our sweat on. While some narrow-minded may think everyone’s goal is to drop lbs or to be 10% body fat, we should never surmise that there is one answer for all, or that a “bikini bod” is the ultimate prize, especially as we come into the summer months.
Maybe someone had a terrible day and needs to destress, perhaps you’re sweating out last night, maybe it’s your first workout after a baby, or you’re coming back from injury, working through a breakup, celebrating a raise… there are millions of reasons to workout, one for each of us. It’s time for instructors to learn people’s “why,” and allow students to challenge themselves to be better every day… not just in the days leading up to summer.
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Maybe You DO Want to Look Good Poolside
Hey, I’m not one to judge — I was in a bikini competition! You may think, “Who is she to tell instructors not to talk this way, her goal was to get on stage in a bikini and heels?”
Well, outwardly that may be very true, but my reasons were not for that purpose. At one point in my life I was nearly 200 lbs, and being in a bathing suit always brought up issues of not being good enough. Being an instructor forces me to live with integrity, and stand as an example for my students. My goal in challenging myself to take part in a fitness competition was to raise my fitness bar. Could I maintain that level of diet, working out, and building strength? It took a degree of focus I had never experienced before and yes — I achieved my goal, I got in a bikini and sparkly heels, and strutted my stuff. But that was not the lesson I learned.
What the completion of that goal revealed to me is that no matter how fit I got, I had to have the confidence to believe in myself, and FEEL good no matter what size I am or how much weight I can lift.
Get Better Every Day and LOVE Where You Are
It’s just like cramming for a test, when you try and jam it all in until 3AM the night before, you’re not going to actually learn anything… the same goes for healthy living. If you work out like a mad person and reduce your caloric intake to unmaintainable levels for a momentary goal, A. that’s not healthy and B. your results won’t stick.
You can look and feel beyond amazing in a bathing suit in December AND July when you work to challenge yourself and your body with workouts and healthful eating year-round. I think the icing on the proverbial cake is loving yourself through the process.
"I think the icing on the proverbial cake is loving yourself through the process."
We already judge ourselves too harshly, we don’t need our fitness instructors who are supposed to educate us and be our cheerleaders berating us into “summer bods” to top it off. When we maintain healthy habits all year long, January through December, we will not only feel great year-round, but there will no longer be a need to cram for summer. You won’t regret it.
"We already judge ourselves too harshly, we don’t need our fitness instructors who are supposed to educate us and be our cheerleaders berating us into “summer bods” to top it off."
Dyan Tsiumis is the founder of GET FIERCE Training, a holistic fitness company focused on getting you to your dream life and body. Dyan has a B.S. in Athletic Training and is certified in group and personal training. She is Head Instructor at SWERVE Fitness, the only team cycling studio in the world, where she develops programing and trains SWERVE's highly skilled instructor team. Her role as Head trainer for HealthClass 2.0 is Dyan's passion — being able to empower high school students reminds her how far she's come since weighing nearly 200lbs and sitting behind a desk in the corporate world.
Dyan has been featured in SHAPE, Women's Health, Health Magazine, Fitness, and Rodale Wellness, among many others for her transformational fitness journey. Certified in Mad Dogg Spinning, Schwinn Cycling, Kettlebell Concepts Level I, TRX, 30/60/90, intenSati, and Booiaka, Dyan is always a student of fitness. In addition to her physical certifications, she also graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. "My dream is to light up the world with my energy," she says.