I know it might seem vain to own a fitness blog – but hear me out. From postpartum depression to accountability, find out why I started Ironwild Fitness.
Hi there! Welcome to my little corner of the internet.
My name is Chantal, and I am just a regular woman who happened upon blogging way back in 2014.
I’m also now a NASM certified personal trainer (for over four years now).
I decided to sit down and write this post because I feel like I owe it to my readers.
You see, in the beginning, I had some very loyal readers who I felt very connected to. When I started this site, I had great passion and purpose, and it was easy to be authentic.
I often chatted with fellow moms and other fitness bloggers about all of the topics you find here. Everything was great!
But lately I’ve had to sit back and think about this blog and its purpose in my life.
I recently heard a Brené Brown quote that made me rethink everything I was holding onto. It goes like this:
“Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are.”
I was like – what? You want me to let go of my hopes and dreams? What?
I was curious and a little bit confused, so I looked up the quote for myself. It turns out that the full quote is as follows;
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are. “
I am SO guilty of focusing on what I think I’m supposed to be.
I didn’t start out in fitness. In fact, I didn’t play sports in high school, and exercise was not a big emphasis in my family growing up.
My college major was Elementary Education. I thought I’d teach first or second grade. Heck, I thought I’d do anything but become a blogger! (Let alone a fitness blogger!)
But – I did always love to write. So I had that going for me. But how did I land here?
That’s an honest story – a real one – and it’s what came to mind when I heard that quote from Brené.
You see, I always had this picture-perfect image in my mind of what my life would be with my kids.
As such, I have spent way too much time in the last few years focused on that idyllic life that I always wanted for them.
But in that, I took for granted the life that I actually live. Including my God-given gifts and the experiences I have been through.
Depression Changed My Whole Life
Okay, so that sounds like I took a pretty huge leap. But actually, I got into fitness originally because it helped my depression big-time.
You see, I started experiencing depression at the young age of 13. I started therapy and got on prescription anti-depressants at the age of 14. And since then, I’ve always struggled with it.
That’s a very long story, but what you need to know is that medication made me feel much, much worse than I could have anticipated.
I wanted to find a way to combat my depression naturally.
I had no intention of ever becoming a personal trainer, but I did know that I enjoyed working out.
I thought back to the best days of my life and they all had one thing in common – physical labor. WORK!
While I may not always be able to have a super physical job, I could ALWAYS find a few minutes in my day to exercise. When this began to click, I started going to the gym a lot more.
I noticed a very obvious pattern within a short amount of time. On days that I worked out, I was mentally and emotionally GREAT.
On days that I didn’t, well – watch out.
Fitness quickly became my whole life when I realized that it was the best way to stay level-headed. (At least for me.)
Related Reading: 10 Natural Ways to Combat Postpartum Depression
Once that really clicked in my mind, I decided that I wanted to become a personal trainer. It wasn’t really for anyone but myself, but it did later dawn on me that I could help others with mental health issues in this way.
So, I started working harder at the gym, learning from other personal trainers and learning how to design workouts.
I started learning about nutrition and programing, and I was really living that gym life for awhile.
Then I bought my NASM study course and got to work. I actually failed my first test by two points.
When I decided to try again, I found out I was pregnant. By the time I took my course and passed, I was *super* close to giving birth with my second baby. (Oops!)
Related Reading: Tips to Pass The Nasm
I had actually started this blog before all that (in 2017) with the intention of using it for accountability until I could get certified.
Anyway, long story short, life happened. I got certified right before my son was born.
Then I took some time off after having my son (planned c-section). Just after that, we moved to a new area of our state.
We ended up moving 3 times in 2 years and then coronavirus happened. Life just happened, you know?
Despite my efforts to keep working out and keep working on this blog baby I have here, I slowly started to question the whole thing.
Did working out and being fitness-focused mean I was vain and superficial? Should I be focused on just being a housewife and mom? Am I too worldly because of this?
I could go on – but the gist is that I forgot every single reason I started this site.
I lost sight of basically everything I had going on here.
Why did I start Ironwild Fitness? Originally it was for my own accountability. Because I know that I am a basket-case when I’m not living an active lifestyle. (I joke but I’m entirely serious at the same time.)
I also thought that I could help other women learn to fight back against mental health issues in a really positive way. I’m not a doctor, but I also know what the science says. (Exercise is super powerful!)
There’s also the writing. Oh, how I love to write. Even when I’m just blogging and ranting like this – I love to do it! It may not be professional, but it can be when necessary. Writing is the gift that I believe God gave me. It’s always been my best outlet.
Lastly, I had seen that blogging was a legitimate way to earn money. In my season of life, making money from home was really the only option. And now that I’ve proven that I can make money in this way, I’m never looking back.
Related Reading: June 2020 Income Report
So let me say that again – “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are. “
When I heard this, I thought, “OH MY GOSH.” I’ve been doing it all wrong.
Now don’t laugh – but I wanted to be a farmer. Homesteader. Rancher. Anything that got my kids and I out of the city life. (Okay I still do.)
I was dwelling on it. Hoping for it. Blogging about it. That’s what I was doing while NOT focusing on Ironwild Fitness. Lol.
This is another long story, but when corona happened, I wanted OUT. Out of the suburbs, out of Oregon, and out of the “rat race.”
Actually, I have wanted that simple life for my kids for a long time, but it has just never been in the cards.
I quit working on this blog, and I quit showing up authentically because I was focused on a life I didn’t actually have.
I forgot about how I got here – every legit reason I had to start this blog. Everything that happened to me that eventually lead me to fitness.
I actually wanted to drive off a bridge when I was deep in PPD with my first baby. Fitness helped clear my head.
Fitness wasn’t really a vanity thing, it was a SURVIVAL thing.
It’s why I started Ironwild Fitness.
And no, I haven’t been able to give my kids the country life, but they have a damn good life!
So what the heck!? Why am I sitting here dwelling on things I don’t have?
I have two healthy kids, a hard-working husband of nine years, a roof over my head, etc. I have a car that starts every time. My parents are both alive and still married.
I could really go on about how good my life actually is as a whole. (Gratitude has clearly been missing in my life.)
Guys! NO…. LADIES!
When I heard that quote, I was forced to think about why I started Ironwild Fitness.
When I remembered all of those reasons, I also remembered just what I have here.
I DO have the things I need. I have the blogging skills. Really, I have a HUGE asset here. I have an online business that’s already turning a consistent profit. I have a reason for doing it (depression, kids, health).
The fact is that I have it all RIGHT HERE.
Everything that happened to me in my life landed me right here.
I didn’t plan it, but God knows better than I do. It’s a tough lesson to learn.
That being said, I hope that we can reconnect. In thinking about why I started Ironwild Fitness, I have newfound motivation to press forward.
I always knew that blogging would be a part of my life forever, but I wasn’t sure what that would look like moving forward.
Now I am certain that I want to keep writing, keep making products, and keep pressing on.
The more I focus on what IS instead of what ISN’T, the more successful and happy I am. I know that now.
So, what about you?
What do you need to let go of to live your best life? What preconceived idea do you have about who you are supposed to be?
I can’t promise that I won’t struggle with this again. But at least I am aware of how I’ve been living and what I’ve been focusing on. That’s all very human, I think!
My hope is that if you read this post, you’ll think about your own life and consider letting go of things that are holding you back from enjoying what’s already there.
There’s such a blurry line between chasing dreams and trying to be something we’re not. Trust me, I get it!
Moving forward, I hope that you can trust me to share the best info and things I learn along the way. Know that I am just a regular mama learning everything you see here all on my own. I appreciate you being here.
Here’s to remembering why I started Ironwild Fitness!