This is something I have been wanting to share more about for a long time because I know exactly how it feels to be new to fitness and the feeling of overwhelm, comparison and fear that comes with it.
I have always been active most of my life, I grew up in the country so I was always outside or being active in some way but the thought of fitness or training was never of interest to me. Fast forward to high school when my issues around food started to rise and I started to gain interest in working out, at this point it was all for the wrong reasons and unfortunately lead to a pretty unhealthy relationship with my body and exercise.
I was obsessed with cardio, I wanted to simply lose weight and the thought of gaining muscle or putting on any weight whatsoever was the last thing on my mind. I would wake up extremely early, force myself to exercise even though I hated every minute of it and then wouldn’t eat very much throughout the day. It seemed like a never-ending cycle and it honestly made me hate all forms of exercise. I would refer to it as a punishment for eating too much or I would make sure to eat less on days where I didn’t exercise. It was a feeling that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Fast forward a few years, I finally decided enough was enough, I needed to take back control of my health and regain my happiness. After stumbling upon a blog post talking about plant based nutrition and the effects of food on our mental and emotional health it was the first time that everything clicked for me. It was the first time I had ever thought about food as more than a calorie source. In that exact moment I made a commitment to better my health and transition into a fully abundant plant based lifestyle. Within a few weeks I felt amazing, I actually had energy again and my happiness was resurfacing. I no longer worried about carbs or how much I was eating, I listened to my body and gave it what it needed to thrive.
At this time I was actually starting to crave some sort of movement in my life, I knew deep down that I needed fitness in my life, call it fate but I decided to go with my gut and study fitness and health promotion for 2 years at my local college. It was there that my love and passion for fitness truly developed. I ditched the mentality that exercise was a form of punishment and realized that it instead was a form of love for our bodies. We should be exercising to better ourselves, to get stronger and to become healthier not just to lose weight but to better our mind and body as a whole. The more I learned about the human body and it’s capabilities the more I fell in love with fitness, we all have incredible capabilities and being able to help people realize that through fitness and healthy living is an incredible feeling.
I became a spin instructor and a personal trainer after graduating and I jumped right into teaching classes and training clients. I fell in LOVE with being able to push people, inspire people and hold them accountable to their fitness goals. Seeing the look in people’s eyes when they are just about to give up but instead they push through and rise up fills me up with so much gratitude and happiness. I completely fell in love with training, with getting stronger and realizing that fitness truly is a lifestyle. It’s not a fad or a quick challenge, it’s something that you will have to commit to for life. The key is to find something that you LOVE doing, for me I love getting stronger so I began weight lifting to build my strength and finally gain back some weight on my tiny frame, it felt amazing to see my own progress and actually begin to get stronger as time went on. Not just for the physical benefits but for the mental health benefits it provides as well. I fell in love with the high energy and intensity of teaching spin classes, something about being in a room full of people, with loud music, good vibes and a ton of sweat is absolutely perfect. I not only get to show up for myself but I get to show up for those who need it, for those who need that hour to dedicate to themselves and forget about their worries. I am always so grateful after class being able to be that motivation that so many people need in their day.
I have been teaching classes for a few years now and my love for fitness has only grown. I’ve learned to accept my body and embrace all that to can do for me each day and I have finally found the confidence in myself that was lost for so many years of my life. I aspire to inspire others to learn to love their bodies too, no matter where they are at in their fitness journey, I want everyone to come from a place of love when working out, do it because you love yourself, do it because you can! In saying that, it’s also important to strive for balance, you need to ensure you are giving your body proper rest when it needs it.
My current fitness routine includes teaching spin anywhere from 7-12 times per week, 3-4 days of heavy strength training, 1 recovery day spent doing yoga/stretching and mobility work. This changes all of the time but the important thing is I enjoy each and every single minute I am training, I look forward to getting stronger or increasing my endurance on the bike, it has become a lifestyle that I love more than anything and finally now have the energy for thanks to a fully abundant plant based diet, and yes….. I get enough protein!
For all of you who are new to working out, know that it is completely ok to feel overwhelmed, the best thing you can do is start small, just find an activity you love or want to try and get moving. Ask a friend to go with you or to keep you accountable, check out your local gym and the personal trainers they have available to help you get started or simply try out a group fitness class, you may even meet some new likeminded friends. It’s so important to find your WHY, especially when it comes to training. Why do you want to do this, is it for your mental health, your physical health, to get stronger, to train for a competition or to simply better your life, once that becomes clear the actionable steps that follow become easier and will keep you going in times of doubt. Fitness is an amazing thing, it can help you tap into a potential that you never thought you had, it can help you become stronger and more resilient in life, what more could you want.
How has fitness changed your life?