As a zookeeper, my life was consumed by my passion to provide the best care for animals. It's something a lot of zookeepers can relate to. Because zookeeping isn't just a career for many of us, it's a calling. A calling to care and inspire others to care about the earth and all its inhabitants.
In 2014, I had an epiphany of sorts. While contemplating an assignment to create an enrichment activity or device for elephants, I came to a stark realization. While I cared deeply for my animals, I often let my own health and well-being suffer for it. How could I take great care of my animals if I wasn't taking basic care of myself?
I chose a different approach when I started on my journey. I decided to use the principles of zookeeping for my fitness program. Eating clean, living green, and training positive became my mantra. This methodology became a program I affectionately call ZooFit.
Rather than focus on the negative and forcing myself to workout and eat healthy, I utilized the principles of operant conditioning through positive reinforcement. I created healthy habits by breaking my behavior up into smaller progressive steps and working my way up to a lifelong habit. I stayed motivated not just with rewards and incentives, but also with a positive mindset. Setting myself up for success and learning to not draw attention to setbacks made fitness fun and engaging.
Making exercise fun was absolute key in ZooFit. If it wasn't fun, it wasn't worth doing. I found a way make exercise a game by modifying exercises to fit my needs and goals. Animals were a true inspiration. They didn't just motivate me to exercise, they changed how I exercised.
Habit after habit, I started finding connections which strengthened my well-being, while also impacting the environment and planet in more positive ways. I see the benefit of gyms, but I wanted to be in a more natural element. I started working out outdoors, in nature. I created exercises inspired by natural movement. I made up games to play. In essence, I was making my workouts as enriching as possible, to stay engaged and excited about my fitness.
It didn't take long for me to see results from incorporating the principles of ZooFit. My diet, my exercise routine, and my healthy habits helped me lose fifty pounds, and drop from 28% body fat to 20%. My whole attitude and outlook upon life changed. I saw my actions as not just benefiting my health and well-being, but that of the planet's. I gained more energy, my mood improved, and my creative ideas flourished as I never imagined. The truest measure of whether ZooFit worked was seeing how the quality of life for my animals improved from me simply taking care of myself.
Sharing my ideas with others motivated me more. Teaching fitness classes, leading health and fitness oriented groups, and hosting seminars to teach others the principles of ZooFit has shown me this program can change the world.
Everyone exercises for their own reasons. Whether you want to improve your athletic performance, lose weight, or gain energy to play with your children (or animals), ZooFit has the perfect routine for you. ZooFit helps make your fitness program more fun.
Along with exercises and descriptions, I am also including several sample workouts that I have enjoyed. There is also a section of short programmed basic workouts to target specific common goals- metabolic conditioning, mobility, core strength, agility, and toning muscles.
Welcome to ZooFit. Where we eat clean, live green, and train positive. Have fun with your fitness and let the best version of yourself shine through.