My life has changed in the last few years. It started with a dream I had 3 years ago. A really, REALLY, seemingly improbable, if not impossible, dream I had of becoming a fabric designer. I was scared that I even thought that. Who was I?  I was just small. Just me. Nothing too fancy or even really noticeable. But, I had always felt I was more than unnoticeable. It wasn’t that people were ignoring me, it was that I wasn’t letting the real me out. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know who she was. I was hiding something special about me. Nah, that was too conceded to think that way and so I’d stuff that ridiculous thought down. Still, I felt strangely connected and driven to this dream and decided that scary or not I was going to try. Even more scary, I was going to tell people of my dream even if that meant failing publicly.

For a year I picked myself up, gave myself really good hugs and great peps talks and cried a lot, set back after set back. I could feel myself becoming who I was meant to be, but I was still holding back. Fear is a funny thing like that. I knew what I wanted. I still doubted that I, little me, was capable of something that seemed so wonderful. It felt beyond me. I even felt ashamed that I was starting to think that way. What would people think of me if I thought I was wonderful?

I’ve always been body conscious. I believe most girls are, maybe most boys too. Just before my fourth baby was to turn two, I decided I really wanted to take control of my thought process. If I didn’t like my body I was going to do something about it, not just complain. This was two years ago, 2011, which was one year into my quest. I had started to believe that I was in charge of my fate. Not fully convinced, but in the fake-it-‘til-you-make-it phase. For Christmas I asked my mother-in-law for a month with a personal trainer. She told me to pick the gym and she would sign me up.

There were so many to choose from. I did a lot of research. I finally settled on GPP. I can’t remember all the reasons I choose GPP, but I do remember that one of the biggest deciding factors was that it was the closest. Lucky me.

I started January 3, 2011. I didn’t just start at GPP, I jumped in feet first without looking. I committed and stuck to 6 workouts a week, after doing nothing for who knows how long, and The burst cycle diet for the next 6 weeks.

I couldn’t lift my almost 2 year old out of his crib the first week. I would cry every time he woke up because it hurt so, so bad to move anything. I would kind of get him balanced on the railing and slide him out and catch him on the way down. And I washungry! I would retreat to the bathroom every. Single. Night and take a bath as there was NO food allowed in the bathroom because that, my friends, is disgusting. Even I, the lover of all things food, draw a line at that one.

But I did it. I was perfect at it. Perfect. I never cheated once. I even ate every single piece of 4 -6 oz of meat, for the whole 6 weeks without a single seasoning on it. Not even salt. Why? Because I thought it was against the diet. I didn’t want to do anything to mess it up. I was in control of my fate. Me.

Little me who was realizing how strong she was. She could clean 75lbs, more than half her weight, easily. She could do burpees with the best of them. She might have been the slowest at every workout, but she continually beat her own times and more importantly she finished every single one of them. Every day she was doing more than she would have thought probable or possible.

I was strong. I was in control. I could change.

The funny thing about GPP is it kind of seeps into your whole life. Yes, physically you become stronger, faster, leaner, but so does the rest of your life. You begin to draw parallels. If I can lift that much, endure that long, then surely I don’t have to be afraid of a refusal. I could probably beat them up if they get really mean. I don’t have to fear trying and failing because I have learned that trying is never failing. It’s just the practice, the conditioning, before the success comes. But beyond that you start to realize, I am kind of awesome! Look at what I’ve been able to do and it’s OK that know that and even that others know that.

GPP encourages us to know that. To know that we are awesome. To know that it’s OK to be good at something and, AND even talk about it. *GASP* That is so very hard to do. Not in a braggy way. No, let’s leave that for those who care more about fitness than life. No, GPP focuses on owning your awesomeness because if you don’t know where your strengths are you will fail to use your best path for success.  You will continually try and fail because you are using other’s strengths rather than finding your own. They don’t care if it works for everyone else. YOU are not everyone. You are unique and so is your life and so are your strengths. Anyone who tells you otherwise hasn’t found their awesomeness either. GPP teaches you that.

I completed my first 6 weeks (losing 9 inches overall and 10lbs) at GPP a warrior. Both in the gym and in my soul. I had done hard things, really hard things. Hide-in-the-bathroom-because-I-WILL-eat-that-chocolate-if-I-don’t hard things. And while I was battling in the gym I was taking those tools I’d been armed with and using them in my life.

I ended up having a really great year fabric design wise. You would not believe the big wigs I just walked up to and asked that they look at my designs. Seriously, head of companies, big. Without appointments. I know! WHO was this girl?!!? I was very kind and polite, but I was no longer unnoticeable. I was Emilie. Just a girl, but a girl with a really big heart and a big dream who knew that she would succeed no matter if she was the last one left on the floor. She would finish her goal. She would finish her “workout”. And they listened. I could see it in their eyes. They didn’t know why exactly they were listening, why they were responding, but they could sense that I was capable of whatever I set my mind too and so they listened.

I didn’t get a contract that year, but on Oct. 24, 2012 I signed my first contract to lease my designs for fabric production! I never gave up. I knew it would happen. I felt driven and guided by many things and I feel strongly that I landed at GPP for a reason.

GPP and fabric design are not a likely pairing, ­­­but they belong in the same story for me. GPP helped set me free. It taught me it was good to try and become great at something. I could be the person I’d always thought I was, deep down, when no one was looking. I was strong. But more than that, I could become strong. Just because I started out weak did not mean it had to stay that way. I could do hard things, really well.

When people ask why I do such “crazy” workouts or diets I look at them and tell them, it helps remind me of who I came to Earth to be and how much potential I have to do some good in this world. I may be only one. One who is not physically large by any worldly standards. But you should see my soul. It’s a giant! And it’s been freed. That, my friends, is worth every burpee you can throw at me.