Imagine the toughest workout that you’ve ever done. Now add a little bit of sweat to that. This is how my body felt hiking up the Montserrat. The hike, almost completely an uphill battle, left me feeling proud and thankful for my body’s physical capability. My fitness journey and history of working in the fitness industry has taught me a lot about my physical and mental capabilities.

Moments before beginning the Montserrat hike, I felt unmotivated and hesitant. Looking to the top of the mountain, I had no idea what to expect.

The Montserrat hike brought me back to one of the hardest fitness classes that I’ve taken. Although I am not a Crossfit fanatic, I challenge my technique and endurance through Crossfit workouts. Right off the bat, class began with a fast-paced warmup, transitioned into a strength component and finished with a brutal endurance challenge. The WOD or workout of the day, consisted of seven rounds of 7 cleans, 7 push press, and 7 burpee’s for time. I started the WOD at a quick pace, underestimating the weight that I was lifting. Almost halfway through the rounds, I was having trouble catching my breath and pacing myself through exercises. My coach called out encouraging words that helped me push through each movement. A cloud of doubt fogged my brain. “Can I finish this workout?” I finally stumbled up from my last burpee. Adrenaline filled my body. The cloud of doubt was wiped away and in that moment I felt like I could achieve anything.

Feeling tired just from the first 20 minutes of the hike, I looked down on the path from where we started.

In addition to this memory of Crossfit’s challenge, hiking the Montserrat helped me reflect my fitness journey thus far. As a freshman in college, I was incredibly intimidated by the heavy weight lifting area in the gym. My idea of fitness was casual running and bike rides on local trails. I had no idea what Crossfit was and its components like power cleans and push presses. Seeing the confidence in females who weight trained inspired me to try something new and out of my comfort zone. Not only did I want to improve my own physical fitness, I wanted to educate others as well. My goal was to build a background in all realms of fitness so I could educate others about the benefits of different forms of fitness. I knew that overcoming this “mountain” was a gateway to achieving my personal and professional goals. Within a year of serious lifting, I lost 10 lbs of body fat (body composition of 18%) and gained 10 lbs of muscle mass. As my physique improved, my experiences and knowledge grew. Within 3 years, I became a certified AFAA instructor and a certified NASM personal trainer. Similar to the Montserrat hike, my main focus was getting to the top of the mountain and embracing the challenges along the way.

Moments away from making it to the top, I looked over the edge of the Montserrat.

The Montserrat hike represents unstructured goals in my life. There is always a definite beginning and end, but the journey of achieving the outcome goal is unknown. It is up to me to create success within the unknown. My career as a fitness professional represents a goal that is structured. In order to obtain certifications and pass examinations, I follow programming that will specifically guide me to achieving the outcome goal. The path is already built to lead to success. I learned that it doesn’t matter whether the goal is structured or not, I am fully capable of tackling the mountain of success.

A religious figure overlooking the cliff side. At the top of the Montserrat stands the monastery that pilgrims from all over the world have walked miles to see.

My view from a train station that transports people to the top of the Montserrat. I was proud that I hiked to the top, I didn’t take the easy way out.

My final moment looking over the beauty of the climb.