Just Ten More Seconds – Shannon’s Fitness Challenge

“A person can stand just about anything for ten seconds, then you just start on a new ten seconds. All you’ve got to do is take it ten seconds at a time.”

– Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

“One, two, three, four, five…” I continue on, “…six, seven, eight, nine, ten.”

That’s what goes through my head as I push the sled. The sled is my nemesis.

Then, start over. Repeatedly counting to ten until I reach the end. If I can get through these ten seconds, I can get through ten seconds after that. And then the next. As many ten seconds it takes until I reach my destination.

In the past two years, I’ve put a lot of effort into my career. I co-founded a communication and branding firm, and I put my passion for health and wellness into earning a Health Coach certification. Any given day, I’m encouraging others to let my firm take care of things for them so that they can focus on their business and themselves.

Any entrepreneur will tell you that building a successful business is challenging and takes a lot of work and time, but I have never been one to back down from a challenge. I think of myself as a driven individual. I’m ambitious and hard-working. As the oldest sibling, I’ve always felt it was (and still is) my responsibility to set a good example for my younger brothers and sisters.

Now a wife and a mother of two young daughters, I work daily to provide for my family and show our children that they can do anything they set their mind to­—that girls can be smart, strong, fierce, and independent while remaining soft and caring. Knowing that my daughters are watching has kept me going for years, and it has kept me from quitting when the going got tough. Showing them that I amevery woman – and I want them to know that they are as well. Cue Chaka Kahn.

But hold up—don’t press play yet…

From the perspective of my own health, I have to admit that I was just going through the motions. I had put on 30 of the 70 pounds I had worked hard to lose post-baby. I was working out, but not more than a few times a week, and I wasn’t truly pushing myself. A busy schedule had contributed to less than ideal eating habits for both myself and my family­ – choosing convenience and eating out over meal planning and eating in. Stress and anxiety contributed to a lack of sleep. Without realizing it, correction – acknowledging it – I had become so wrapped up in the energy of placing effort into every other area of my life, that I had stopped putting effort into myself and, frankly, was feeling like a huge fraud.

When my friend and Gold’s Gym Fitness Manager, Marcus, suggested that I join the Challenge, I think I said something like, “Whaaaaaat??” while on the inside I said, “Holy **** he is seeing into my soul.”  I didn’t take him up on it right away, but the minute he said it, I knew I needed to do it.

I vividly remember the first day of the challenge and the first workout. I remember being horrified that I struggled to do a sit-up – something that had once come so easy – and wanting to quit. Feeling that I would disappoint all those I cared about but, at that moment, the Kimmy Schmidt quote popped into my head.

“Do it for ten seconds,” I told myself, “then do it for ten seconds more.”

Over the past 12 weeks, it’s become a mantra of sorts. Not just to help me through workouts, but to resist temptation as well. “You can resist that donut for ten seconds, then keep resisting it for ten seconds more…” (If the sled is my nemesis then donuts are my kryptonite.) It’s my own little way of telling myself that I know I can do this and, in the moments I did falter, to start counting to ten again and keep going.

This Challenge has helped me in so many ways. I feel stronger and healthier physically, but more importantly, I feel healthier mentally. My workouts have once again become my daily meditation, helping with stress and anxiety. Healthier, more mindful eating has helped my body and brain to function better. The once elusive sleep has returned. I’m happier and more confident, which in turn makes me a better businesswoman, friend, daughter, sister, wife, and mother. I have remembered (and finally taken) the advice I give to others all the time – if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t adequately take care of anything or anyone else.

If I’m being honest, yes, I would love to be the “winner” – who wouldn’t want to be – but the Challenge has helped me to feel like ME again. And in that respect, I know that I’ve already won.

Hit it, Chaka Kahn.