My health and fitness journey started about the summer of 2011.
The big push for change came when I got engaged, and as many women do, I decided I needed to look my best for my big day. And of course for a lot of women, this means losing weight and fitting into a dress that is 1 or 2 sizes below your actual size…not quite the healthiest way to start a new fitness regime, but more on that later.
Up until then, I knew I needed to get back on track with my weight, nutrition, and activity levels, but hadn’t had the proper motivation to get me started. I had been blessed with a good metabolism for my teenage years and my early 20’s, and therefore hadn’t ever felt the need to adhere to any diet or fitness plan. In that sense I was the girl everyone loved to hate; I could eat anything I wanted to, not break a sweat, and still maintain a nice flat tummy. But as time went on, my unhealthy habits finally started to catch up with me. After a few years of frequent clubbing, drinking, eating terrible food, and not working out, I had developed quite a distinct muffin-top and gained about 20 pounds.
With my wedding on the horizon, I finally stopped to assess how I felt about my body and I realized that I truly disliked what I saw in the mirror. Now it was up to me to make a change.
My co-worker and lovely co-blogger, Nicole, suggested I try a free trial at a women’s only cardio kickboxing circuit called the 30 Minute Hit. It was tough, especially after being inactive for such a long time, but it felt wonderful. The next day when my muscles were sore and I could barely move, I finally felt like I had done something good for myself. I signed up for a membership and quickly fell in love with the Hit. It is the only “gym” I have ever enjoyed and stayed committed to, and I cannot say enough great things about the place and the amazing trainers there.
Then a few months later I realized that something funny had happened. Over time my goal changed from the more superficial “looking good for my wedding”, to a genuine interest in fitness and nutrition. It was no longer a simple short-term goal, but I began to see the importance of a full and permanent lifestyle change. I wanted to be the best version of myself that I could be, and not simply look good and be skinny, but rather be truly strong, healthy, and happy.
As we all do, I had a few slip ups now and then. A few months before my wedding all the stress and hectic schedule caused me to shy away from my workouts, and I gained a bit of the weight back that I had lost. After the wedding I got right back into it, but then moved to a city where it was more difficult for me to get to my gym and workout. Eventually though I came to an important realization: you have to make time for working out. If you have time in your day to sit on Facebook, to watch TV, to sit on the couch and aimlessly text your friends, then you have time to get your butt out there and get some workout time in. You have to take the time to prioritize your life, and make time for the things that count.
Around this time I also started reading up on nutrition, various diets, cleanses, etc. I started to pay a lot more attention to what I was cooking with, and more and more I have tried my best to eat “clean” and avoid processed foods, added sugars, and so on.
Once I got that key combination of fitness and diet, the changes in my body were almost instantaneous.
Now I am closer to my goals then I have ever been. More importantly, no longer do I strive to be the skinny, but unhealthy, 18 year old version of myself, but I rather a new stronger me. One that can do remarkable things with her body like complete a Tough Mudder event, or run a race. One that can help to inspire others to take control of their lives and realize that when it comes to your body, your mind is the only thing holding you back. The sky is the limit.
Fitness… It’s something I have thrown myself into. It is my therapy, my drug, my happy place.
I’ve always been active; I played soccer, volleyball, basketball, and field hockey growing up. I played soccer for 10 years, and loved every moment of it. Unfortunately once I grew out of youth soccer I found it difficult to find time and a team to play for. Once I stopped playing youth soccer I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had never done anything other than seriously commit myself to soccer, and I didn’t think I was good enough for the college league. Taking a year off while I adjusted to college life seemed like a good idea.
Then I got pregnant.
Pregnancy scared me, for obvious reasons, but I was also afraid of getting fat and looking pregnant. I didn’t have family support, and since I was the first of my friends to become pregnant, I had no idea what to expect. I sucked in my stomach until I couldn’t anymore, then it all but exploded.
I guess I was lucky, I was all baby. My face was chubby by the end, and my thighs have the scars of getting bigger, but I remember the moment I delivered my son and the doctor said “look down”, my stomach was flat- lumpy and squishy- but flat.
It took another year and a half before I looked somewhat normal again.
Working out had never been something I was interested in. I loved soccer because it didn’t feel like a “work-out”, but actually going to a gym and trying to figure out what to do stumped me. I managed to play a season of soccer on in a women’s league and had a blast, but it was too hard to fit practices and games into my working and school single mom schedule.
About a year and a half after I had my son I took him to the annual Sapperton Day’s festival. It’s always busy, everyone doing their own thing, so when a very energetic woman with spiky red hair started waving a piece of paper and yelling “its kid friendly!” at me, I was a little surprised. Intrigued, I took the piece of paper and checked out the 30 Minute Hit website once I got home. I decided the free trial was worth a try, and booked one for later that week.
I seriously contemplated bailing. I didn’t have anyone to go with, I didn’t know anyone there, and I didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous. But I went and I was hooked.
30 Minute Hit has been my life line for the past two years. I can honestly say that this gym changed my life, and I am so thankful for that woman who all but shoved that piece of paper down my throat.
Shortly after starting at the Hit (as we Ninja’s like to call it), I went through a very messy and violent breakup with my sons father. My son, my current boyfriend, my friends&family, and working out constantly helped me make it through the mess that was my life.
I dove head first into exercise. At first I over did it. I didn’t eat enough and I Hit too often. I lost a lot of weight in a very unhealthy way, and was disappointed to see that once the stress started to ease, I gained some of that weight back. All I knew was that working out made me feel better. I could think clearer, I could breath, I could picture my ex’s face every time I punched or kicked a bag. I started healing, I started getting stronger, and I finally started believing in myself.
I truly believe the phrase “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”, but I also believe that you have to make yourself stronger. I figure there are two ways of looking at a difficult situation; you can either submit and give up, or you can fight back. I didn’t know how strong I was until I started fighting. I found that once I made the decision to fight the stress of the unknown went away. Sure the fight was hard; I cried a lot, I had panic attacks, I was scared, but I knew deep down that I was finally doing something right. I was finally standing up for something great- my and my son’s LIFE.
I am a different person than I was four years ago, and honestly, I wouldn’t change anything that happened to me during these four grueling years. I have grown, I have learned, and I have gotten stronger. I want to inspire. I want to help women find themselves through fitness like I have. I want to help women feel strong and confident in their own skin. I want to show women how beautiful they are, and show them how to love themselves.