So, picking up where I left off in 2002 and I have just started working for myself. A brand new ‘entrepreneur’ in Manhattan. I was working nonstop, feeling so grateful that I had so many wonderful clients and NO boss and was making more money than I ever had before. On top of that, I loved what I was doing- what’s better than that?! 

Um… sleep, food and time to use the bathroom. Like many 20somethings, it took me a while to figure this out. With my first client at 6am I would get up at 4:30am. I had 15 minutes to walk the dog, 15 minutes to get ready and it took an hour to get to the gym. 15 minutes is not a long time to get ready. Basically it was- get dressed and then have a choice between brush hair, brush teeth or wash face. Makeup never happened. Not sure how I looked, but I kinda felt like a wreck right from the beginning.

Clients from 6- 12ish (there were some breaks 15 minutes here, 30 there), then I’d commute the hour back home- walk the dog and crash out completely between 1:15-4pm. Completely- OUT. Then force myself up, in a painful daze (you know what I mean), commute the hour back to work and train clients from 5-9. Then the hour home (4 hrs of commuting per day) and at 10pm have dinner, try to correspond and pass out around midnight. 4 and a half hours of sleep and it would start again.

And I wondered why I was tired all the time and couldn’t seem to keep up. I thought it was normal and even noble to work that much. Thought I was badass. Ha! It didn’t occur to me to say no to anyone who wanted a session with me and it didn’t occur to me to set boundaries.

After about one year of this my health started to suffer. I was irritable, and I easily snapped at people (sorry to my victims!!). I looked horrible and I had no life of my own. I still didn’t change it. So my body started to make me change it. I started sleeping through my alarms. Just didn’t hear them. Would wake up at 6:30am (sometimes with the alarm going and sometimes I turned it off in my sleep) and realize I missed my first client. I would call and apologize, and offer the client a free session to make up for this. Haha- so instead of cutting out the 6am’s, I gave away free sessions. To punish myself so it wouldn’t happen again.

But, of course, it kept happening. The only thing I could focus on was other people’s workouts. Anything requiring any other part of my brain stopped working. I slept through many of my early morning clients and I was in tears a lot of the time and would do wacky things to attempt to keep my energy up. Coffee, Red Bull, you name it. You get the point.

I started getting sick to my stomach a lot and it was clear, even to me, that my health was deteriorating at a rapid pace. I stopped working with the 6am’s. I got some resistance, and I had a really hard time with it. But it was clear that this was self preservation. And it didn’t matter anymore to me if I didn’t make enough to pay my rent or buy food. All that mattered was that I could function again. 

I was then getting 5 and a half hours of sleep. The 7am’s had to go. I lost some more clients, but I gained my health back. And you know what happened? I made more money somehow. I don’t know how. Maybe because I wasn’t doing all those free sessions anymore. I do believe that if you take care of yourself, the Universe (or whatever you believe in) will take care of you. I made enough money to move to a better location (as mentioned in the previous post) and cut my 4 hour commute down by 2 hours. Ah-mazing.

It makes sense if you think about it; I began working for myself, which is a scary prospect for most people. I thought that in order to stay afloat I had to work every hour that is offered to me since I’m my own lead generator, and I have no idea how to generate leads. So when I got work, I took it. I’m a workaholic anyway, and it didn’t occur to me that my body wouldn’t be able to handle it.

It also didn’t occur to me that in order to move my business forward I couldn’t be running around in the middle of it like a hamster on a wheel. A-Ha!

With my move and the extra sleep, I naturally started thinking of how to move my business forward. I felt like I wanted to be a ‘real’ business, so I turned MirZuk Fitness into an LLC. I did it through a website. I don’t recommend this. If you are curious about your options, you should speak to an attorney. I now know a handful, but at the time the thought intimidated me. So if you want, let me know, I will hook you up.

Over time, I cut back on the evening hours as well. And where I used to do 8 or 9 sessions per day, I now do 5 or 6. And I have a bit more of a life, but I still hate to say no to people. We’ll pick up there in the next post…

Here’s to Your Life!!

Your Fitness Coach,

Miranda Zukowski