Confessions of a Reality TV Contestant
If you really want to test the bounds of your marriage, do a reality TV show. As incredible an experience as American Grit was for me personally, my husband saw it in a different vein.
First, there was the audition process. I was contacted by a casting director and, on a whim, I filled out the form. From there it went to learning Skype, creating a background video,
interviews with multiple producers, flying to Los Angeles for a week,
watching as many military training You-Tube videos as I could, practicing obstacle courses with my trainer and survival swimming,
all while keeping it a secret from EVERYONE for months.
Then, lo and behold, I was cast! I made it!
Though excited for me, my husband was left in charge of caring for the kids while I traipsed about in the Pacific West wilderness with a giant log. Even though I arranged for a babysitter to come to help with homework, laundry and making lunches, being a single dad for a month during the holidays was never remotely part of his vision for what marriage looks like.
When I came back I was changed. You can’t go through such an intense process as a military training reality TV show and not have it impact your life. While I told him what it was like, I could tell he didn’t really understand and couldn’t relate to having microphones and cameras focused on you 16 hours per day and the pressure of wanting to win for yourself, for your team, while still missing your family. For ten days I woke up thinking I was still on camera. I was physically home but mentally back in the woods with my team much of the time.
We were a close-knit cast and texted each other every day. The closer we got to the premiere, the more it was like living in the house. There were disputes and laughter and passionate opinions and fear and jealousies and triumphs and all of it was kept secret, which weighed heavily on all of us extraverted people who were used to sharing our thoughts and feelings. And we confided in each other that we were all trying to adjust to “civilian life” again and our families were ready for us to “switch subjects already!”
Once the cast list was made public, what a joy! What a relief! What an extensive new set of challenges to face…
There were premiere parties to set up and Twitter to figure out and marking efforts and interviews cross country that was thrilling for me but a burden on my family.
They supported me and were proud of me and were excited that I was on a TV show. Yet equally, they wanted the old me back, the mom who lived in Pflugerville and folded laundry and who woke at 4am to exercise before school started so as to not interfere with anyone’s schedule. My trainer wanted the old me back too. The one who was fully focused on bodybuilding and not the one busy getting her “ducks in a row” updating her website, filming exercise videos, live tweeting so late into the night (to cover both East and West Coast show times) that she slept through her training session the next day.
Now I’m home and trying to figure out my next step, as I fold laundry, make lunches and workout at 6 am (the kids are on vacation, so I can “sleep in”). Per the request of my family, I’m taking the summer off from competing. While it’s nice to be able to share birthday cake with them and a glass of wine at dinner, it’s fair to say that I’m thrown off by not having a major fitness goal to look forward to or a reason to be in front of a TV camera.
But I definitely feel the grounds shifting, like some other interesting opportunity is approaching in the distance. After a major event in my life I tend to become introspective. I’ve been listing to Tony Robbins during cardio and Eric Thomas while I organize the office and garage, removing all the clutter from my life. I’ve been reading Love Dare and You Are a Badass and journaling too.
I’m spending more focused time with my kids, not just going places, but talking at the dinner table, reading together, and having movie night. (Last night we introduced them to the original The Karate Kid. Wax On! Wax Off!)
I’ve made it a priority to reconnect with my husband. Last week we took a two day staycation to a place called Travaasa. It has your typical resort things like a gorgeous pool and fantastic farm-to-table food, but even cooler than that are all the activities: Zipline, obstacle course,
archery (Anyone who hit an apple won a bottle of wine. Can you say “Proper Motivation”?)
trail runs and couples dancing, among other things.
We took turns throwing the hatchet
and then burying the hatchet too. Being on a reality TV show impacted my life and my family, in ways that are still being revealed. Sometimes a little separation reminds you how much you really love being close. Don’t you just love a Hollywood ending?
P.S. – If you’re serious about getting healthy, but need help getting started, try my S.L.I. Method on my website ShesLosingIt.com. Only YOU can do the work, but I can give you the tools that I’ve learned over the past four years about nutrition, exercise and overcoming excuses.
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX!!!
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