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Guest Blog | Finding My Fitness Tribe: Why I Quit Functional Fitness


Blogger Biography: Kimberly exchanged an office with a view for a life of adventure when she became a military spouse in 2001 and a mom in 2004. Since then, she has been teaching military spouses how to create rich lives through fitness, healthy eating, travel and creativity. She is editor-in-chief for a health and wellness organization, a registered yoga teacher and a lifelong vegetarian who can often be found traveling off the beaten path with her husband, daughter and two poodles.

I didn’t quit functional fitness because I got injured or because I hated the workouts or because the girls were mean to me.

It wasn’t them. It was me. I didn’t feel like I could give it my all. What drew me into the Bubble, as we call the functional fitness space here on the military installation where I live, was a promised sense of community. I was new to post. I wanted to meet other individuals interested in healthy living. It seemed perfect until I gave it a go for one month.

I started to sense I was in the wrong place when I felt embarrassed asking for help modifying down. Could I swing a heavier kettle bell? Yes. Could I do it in good form? Not really. I’m positive all of the coaches in the room wanted every single person to be safe, but in my mind, they had labeled me as a whiner.

I knew for sure I was in the wrong place when the group held a paleo potluck and I really just didn’t want to go. A vegetarian at a paleo potluck? I had visions of lots of bacon and bone broth and didn’t have high hopes for eating well that night. Again, the stereotypes were all in my head, but a great indicator that the community was wrong for me.

Recently, I overheard a college student crying to her boyfriend (real tears in the shoe department!) that she just wished “those girls” would accept her. The mom in me wanted to take her by the shoulders, look her in the eyes and say, “Find new girls. Don’t force yourself into a group where you don’t belong.”

The yoga mat is where I have felt like I have belonged all along. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt as at home as I did during my teacher training. My day opened and closed with meditation, there was lots of boundary-pushing time on the mat, I had world-class vegan food available at every meal and I had access to a Swedish massage therapist (really, from Sweden!) who could make my hurts disappear in an hour. I was surrounded by people who were like-minded, or at least understanding of my lifestyle. I was at home.

Someday, perhaps I’ll find functional fitness taught by a yoga teacher. That would be something! Right now, my next challenge to myself is to get back into the weight room on my own so I can boost my metabolism and build the strength I need for advanced yoga poses, all while packing up and moving to our new duty station where I will look for my tribe of people who care about healthy living. Perhaps this time I can let go of some of the stereotypes to broaden the circle of possibility because I want to find home wherever the military sends me.

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