E11 – Liz’s Story: How Cycling Helped Make the Shift from Perfectionism to Self Acceptance

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Liz Kamp, Reston Mom of 3, Certified Personal Trainer and owner of New Trail Cycling Studio opening right here in Reston, discusses how indoor cycling helped her make the shift away from perfectionism and towards self acceptance, which opens the door to enjoying fitness for fun and wellness with a new positive outlook.

Connect with Liz and New Trail Cycling Studio:




Pre Opening Campaign (ends June 22nd, 2018):


Additional Links mentioned in this episode: Lake Anne Plaza:




Transcription of this episode may be slightly modified for ease of reading vs. listening:

Meg Donnelly: 00:14 Hello Northern Virginia. This is NoVA Weekend Warriors focused on those runners, cyclists, athletes, outdoor enthusiasts and fans of fitness in the northern Virginia area. I’m Meg Donnelly, a Licensed Massage Therapist in Herndon, Virginia, focused on those weekend warriors. Today, it is my pleasure to welcome Liz Kamp. She’s a local mom of three, a Certified Personal Trainer and she’s the owner of New Trail Cycling Studio at Lake Anne Plaza in Reston, which is opening late summer or early fall of 2018. Liz has been working in the fitness industry since 2003. She has a passion for helping others and a passion for improving people’s lives through fitness. Liz, welcome.

Liz Kamp: 01:04 Thanks Meg. Happy to be here.

Meg Donnelly: 01:06 When I asked you about topics that might be interesting to discuss today, I was so excited for your response. You said one of the things that you are most passionate about is making the shift from fitness for a good body to fitness for fun and health. I love this for so many reasons, but can you tell me a little bit more about this?

Liz Kamp: 01:30 Sure, yeah. I think it’s really kind of about the larger shift away from perfectionism and towards self acceptance. I think we live in a time where there is a lot of pressure to be accelerating in your career, to be the perfect parent, to have the perfect body. And if we can take away some of the stress and some of the pressure, then I think we’ll just be living a better, more enjoyable life. And to me, I think the benefit of fitness just reaches far beyond the physical benefits. So if we can focus on fitness for fun and for wellness, then the great body is a byproduct of that, I just think it’s something that we can take off our plate and take away some of the stress by turning it into something fun. So I think that’s just, it’s an important thing and it’s something that I have been working on myself for a long time. So I want to sort of share that with other people.

Meg Donnelly: 02:32 Yes. So tell me, cause this has been a personal struggle for you in the past, can you share a little bit about your story?

Liz Kamp: 02:38 Yeah, I think from a young age I struggled with body image and I think that being a young woman who was an athlete and into sports and fairly naturally fit, I felt like there was too much of a tie of my identity of who I was was. It was too tied what I looked like and what my physical abilities were. And so I think, you know, I had two times in my life where injuries really forced me to be grateful for the function of my body. And one of those times was in high school I played tennis and had a shoulder injury that knocked out my senior year, a season. And on something like that happens to you, I think you realize that there’s more to your body than what it looks like. And then after I had kids, I had severe ab separation called diastasis recti and, and that prevented me from doing the things I love, like running around with my kids are running in races and being as active as I liked.

Liz Kamp: 03:47 And both of those times really forced me to look at how I saw my own body. And what I was doing to help it on the whole as a whole. So I don’t want others to have to have an injury to learn not to take their bodies for granted. That’s sort of why I’m in the industry and trying to help people find ways to take that pressure off themselves.

Meg Donnelly: 04:13 Yes. So share with me some of the tips that have worked for you.

Liz Kamp: 04:18 Yeah, I think, you know, realizing no one is perfect and focusing on that in some ways, you know, comparison will make you miserable. And I think that unfortunately we are living in a time where it’s incredibly easy to compare yourself to lots of people who you really don’t know what their lives are like. So I, you know, referring obviously to social media, if you are following someone that is not lifting you up and you’re finding you’re hard on yourself because you’re looking at them and saying, oh, I don’t have, you know, the abs that that person does that then stop following them.

Liz Kamp: 04:56 You need to find things and people who are lifting you up, not making you feel worse about yourself. And I think along with that I try to remind myself that I need to treat myself like I would treat my best friend. So if you are finding yourself thinking negative things about your body or anything along those lines, would you say that to your best friend? Probably not so, no reason to treat ourselves any differently. And then also I think actively pushing, you know, negative thoughts away and being grateful for what you have. You know, lots of times I think in conversation it that’s the, “Oh I don’t like this aspect of my body”. Well then stop yourself and say, you know what? I may not be super comfortable with that, but at the same time I can run a mile or I can walk a mile and a lot of people can’t do that. So let’s focus on the positive things that our body can do. I think if you start shifting toward your mindset for being grateful for what you have and not necessarily looking to what other people have, it can get you in the right mind.

Meg Donnelly: 06:10 Yeah, like does it just pushes you in the right direction. And I think that that’s huge because I think for everyone, right, it’s like if something bad is going on and you just hang out in that place of negativity, you’re only going to bring on more negativity. But if you can find something positive that’s coming out of an experience per se, you’re going to be able to find more positivity and find ways to kind of get out of that. For me. It’s different for everyone. But you know, just speaking strictly for me, and I think in fitness it’s the same way, right? If instead of saying that to ourselves, right. We’re so competitive, a lot of us are so competitive. I mean I’ve spent my entire life comparing myself to someone else and saying, well, they run faster than me or they do this or they’re able to get out, you know, five times a week and I can only get out three times a week. Or I’ve been doing it for the same amount of time as they have, why are they doing more? And if I just say, hey man, I got up today and I thought I was going to go for a walk and I ended up running half the time. Or you know, I, my plan was to push a hundred pounds of the chest press and I made it to 1 20, like don’t set yourself up for failure.

Liz Kamp: 07:21 Exactly. Yeah.

Meg Donnelly: 07:25 So now I didn’t mention it earlier, but you were the Fitness Specialist for the Herndon Parks and Recreation department and before that you have been teaching group fitness since college. Can you tell me a little bit little bit more about that. Now cycling has become, you’ve become really passionate about that. So how has cycling become such an important piece of fitness for you. Especially given your, you know, you have such a wide range of activities that you’ve taught that you’ve done yourself, that you’ve excelled at . . . why cycling?

Liz Kamp: 08:01 Yeah, cycling, has been sort of a part of my fitness life, since I was in high school and it really has been something up until now that I have not been able to share with people from a leadership side. Back in high school, during that time that I was injured and I was rehabbing my shoulder and found myself working out in a gym. And the cycling room was one of the places where I felt completely comfortable to be in a dark room where no one, you can’t compare yourself to other people. You’re in a dark room and you’re feeding off the energy of everyone else in the room. It’s just a very safe sort of zen place. And at the same time you can obviously get a great workout. So in the different places where I have taught and worked previously, I haven’t, we haven’t had indoor cycling. So my goal was always to create a brick and mortar where it was very motivating, body positive, friendly, not intimidating environment. And when it came down to deciding exactly where to start, cycling was sort of a natural fit. I think that that really is a great space for people to come in and gain confidence and be comfortable. So yeah, that’s, that’s why I’m opening New Trail and I’m excited to finally share that with other people.

Meg Donnelly: 09:34 Yes. It’s funny cause I always call, I always jokingly call it bubble training, but I love like when I can train in my safe little bubble, right? I’m on one machine. There was a set time to program, whether it’s a cycling class or working on a program on a universal strength trainer. Something that I can claim it’s mine for the whole time, for the whole session, no one hovering over me, no one waiting, no one’s watching me and comparing me. I’m not comparing myself to someone else. And I think that’s one of the worst experiences in fitness. And it’s really far too common. It’s when I’ve come from some of come somewhere to work out to feel better about myself, whether it’s mentally, physically, both, whatever. I walk in, I’m intimidated by the people around me. I hop on a machine to machine to machine hoping no one is figuring out that I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing, because it’s not the machine I’m used to. And then low and behold, someone comes up and says, “Hey, how many reps do you have left?” And I swear, I swear they’re looking at me and judging me. Granted, that’s not the case, right? It’s probably more so that they’re just in their routine and genuinely asking for timing purposes. But that intimidation factor is already there. So when we can take that away and make it accessible and make it body positive, I think that’s amazing. So I love the concept of what I call bubble training.

Liz Kamp: 11:03 Yeah, for sure. And I think it’s great for exercise to be an escape, you know. In a lot of ways it’s a break from our day and from the grind. And so to have it be an environment where someone is telling you exactly what to do, you don’t need to think about what’s coming next. You don’t have to worry about what people are doing next to you. You can really get in the zone and I think it actually is a mental break as well, which is great.

Meg Donnelly: 11:30 Totally. We, we talked, we touched on it briefly, but your studio is opening either late summer or early fall [of 2018]. Can you tell me a little bit about the studio and we’ve touched on it a little bit because you talked a little bit about how the program will differ, but can you talk about the studio? Can you talk about the program?

Liz Kamp: 11:46 Yeah. So we will have it set up with a per class fee so you can sort of drop as you like. And we’ll have classes throughout the day. And what people will be able to do, what’s neat about it, is they can schedule their bike online. So on Sunday you can go on book all of your bikes for the week if you like, and that will link your specific, like your account. So if you have a particular bike you like, you can just click on that one select it, that will link your console. So after your workout, you’ll get an email saying how you did during your workout, what your numbers are. We will not have a leader board up in the studio, so you’re not going to be comparing your statistics to somebody else, but you can compete against yourself. So you’ll see, hey, in today’s class, I hit this average on my watts, but last week I was here, the next week my goal will be 10 more than that. So it will save all of your information which I think is really great for people who really want to track their progress or track their training.

Meg Donnelly: 12:52 Yeah, totally. And I think that’s empowering to, right? Because then I see what I did last time versus what I do this time and it brings a lot of awareness. So even if you’re a little bit slower, one time. It brings awareness to like, hey, what was going on? That guy. Yeah. I love that. And I think that’s one of the things that is missing and just starting to kind of like rise up right now in the fitness industry is that piece of it. It’s using technology in a really smart, really effective way versus you know, the negative way we talked about earlier. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So you are currently running and I fund women campaign as well. Can you briefly tell me about how people can get either founding memberships or sweet swag like I have including my studio workout shirt that I’ve been wearing around town.

Liz Kamp: 13:47 Absolutely. The campaign ends on the 22nd of June [2018], so there isn’t a whole lot of time left. Really, it was just a way for people to get some of the shirts and tank tops ahead of time, all the way up to, if you want to sponsor a bike then you can have your name on a bike in the studio. So there are lots of options, you know, really it’s a way for me to raise [funds to bring] outdoor workouts and bring the bikes out on the plaza. So there are lots of ways to get involved in ways to get connected and learn a little bit more about the studio if you check out the site.

Meg Donnelly: 14:28 Awesome. All right. How can we, if we want to learn more, how can we connect with you and how can we find out more about New Trail Cycling Studio?

Liz Kamp: 14:37 Sure. we have a website that’s up right now, newtrailcycling.com. And New Trail Cycling is also our username for Facebook and Instagram. So check those out. I’m always town at different events, giving away rides and we’re also hoping to put on a couple of outdoor rides in the next couple of months before we open. So definitely follow along if you want to make sure that you catch one of our free community rides.

Meg Donnelly: 15:07 Awesome. And I can totally attest to that, Liz, because we bump into each other everywhere from networking events to Lake Anne Brew House to right here in Reston Town Center.

Liz Kamp: 15:19 Exactly.

Meg Donnelly: 15:20 Absolutely. You’re everywhere. I don’t know how you do what you do because you’re everywhere at the same time.

Liz Kamp: 15:30 As are you.

Meg Donnelly: 15:30 So Liz, I want to thank you so much for taking time to talk to me today. Is there anything else you want to touch on or any final thoughts? Anything that we didn’t get to talk about?

Liz Kamp: 15:41 No, I think I just would encourage people that, you know, if you want to try to start making the shift to a more positive body image and looking at fitness as sort of general wellness. Don’t expect that shift to be perfect either. You know, all of this is not to say that I don’t still struggle with that every once in awhile. But don’t let that hold you back.

Meg Donnelly: 16:05 Yes, Yes.

Liz Kamp: 16:06 it doesn’t have to be perfect right away.

Meg Donnelly: 16:08 Exactly. And I think you know what? Listen, I can tell a great story. But when we tell stories, just like when we look at social media, right? Where that’s a nice little bundled package. So I think it’s so great and so brave and so important for you to share that, you know, you still have struggles. There’s still struggles everyday. There’s still things that happen every day. It’s just changing your overall mindset so that those things aren’t as overwhelming and aren’t controlling you as much. Yeah?

Liz Kamp: 16:38 yeah, absolutely.

Meg Donnelly: 16:38 Fabulous. All right, Liz well, thank you so much for talking to me today about such a personal and empowering subject. I want to quickly remind everyone you only have until June 22nd [2018] for her iFund Women campaign. Again, Liz Kamp is a Reston mom, Certified Personal Trainer, and owner of the highly anticipated New Trail Cycling Studio, opening in late summer or early fall [2018] right here in Reston, Virginia.

Meg Donnelly: 17:07 I want to take this final moment to thank our listeners. This podcast is just over a month old and the feedback has been tremendous. I’d love to hear more from you. You can also rate NoVA Weekend Warriors on iTunes and Stitcher or simply leave me your feedback at massagetherapybymeg.com/podcast. Catch NoVA Weekend Warriors twice a week. Sundays are typically Sunday Shortcuts and then Wednesdays are for interviews featuring 15 to 20 minute conversations with people who make northern Virginia run cycle, climb, lift and swim. Until next episode, have a great week. Have Fun with your fitness goals and enjoy each and every new challenge.


This episode first apperaed at: https://massagetherapybymeg.com/podcast and https://novaweekendwarriors.com/podcast