Tell me a little about yourself and your background?
I am 24 years old and currently working as an office manager for an elementary school. I am also a dog mom to a 4 year old pitbull. I joke with him all of the time that I work so hard so that he will have a big backyard of his own again one day!
What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?
My favorite part about fitness is the sheer fact that there is NO LIMITATION. With fitness, you are constantly able to evolve. I know that when I started my fitness journey my “goals” were completely different than what they are today; and that’s ok! We are allowed to change what we want and with fitness, we are able to do it!
How long have you been into fitness?
I grew up playing soccer and being active but never considered myself to be “fit”; as active as I was, I didn’t live a fit lifestyle. I never really got into the fitness lifestyle until about 3 years ago.
How did you get into fitness?
I first got into fitness almost 3 years ago after hitting an all-time low health wise. I was diagnosed with moderate-severe IBS and Generalized Anxiety disorder when I was 20. I fell into a viscous cycle where my doctors would try new medications, I’d feel crummy, not want to do anything, and then all I wanted to eat was comfort food. Before I knew it, I had gained 40+ pounds in less than a year and I was MISERABLE. My self-esteem was completely broken. It took me finally saying, “enough is enough”, and I first started with learning to eat PALEO as it helped subside my IBS symptoms. From there I started working out with a friend 2-3 times a week for no more than an hour each day. I will always be grateful to my friend for pushing me; without her I am not sure I would have ever had the drive to continue. Slowly but surely (and I mean VERY slowly in the beginning) I finally started to lose weight. After about 8 months, I had dropped almost 50 lbs!!! If you had told me then that losing weight was not enough, I would have called you crazy. But shortly after losing the weight I was left with this strange sense of not knowing what to do. I mean, I had hit all of my weight goals, so now what? That is when I discovered bikini competing and body building and made that my new goal. From that moment on, I have pushed for a healthy lifestyle. While extreme at times to prep for bikini competing, still a healthy lifestyle.
What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?
I really began to take my health and fitness serious once I had lost about 30 lbs. It became so much easier to say “I don’t eat that” when out with friends because for me, having that slice of cake or drinking that margarita was not worth not feeling good the next day and hindering any further progress. Don’t get me wrong, I will indulge on occasion and even still while prepping to bikini compete, but I have learned a lot about moderation and really preparing for my indulgences. If I know I am going out to dinner I will check the nutrition menu ahead of time and adjust what I am going to eat leading up to dinner to make sure that I can enjoy my night out while not derailing my progress.
How has fitness impacted your life?
Fitness has become one of the largest components of my life. I can’t remember life without it and I don’t want to imagine life without it. Fitness has really become the part of me that I can control 100%. When my anxiety is heightened, almost nothing feels better than going and lifting some heavy weights or going for a run. The mental clarity that my workouts have brought me has become invaluable. I have truly found a passion in fitness and health. I am actually now working on getting my personal training certification to help people, who just like me, struggle and don’t know where to start. When I first started I had so many questions and felt extremely intimidated. I didn’t even step foot into a gym for almost 6 months! I did all of my workouts at home or at my friend’s home. But eventually I outgrew our home workouts and knew I needed to start at the gym but it was extremely intimidating. I had to slowly learn what worked and didn’t work with my body and I did a lot of it on my own to start. I want to help people overcome their fears and help them live a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
What words of advice or encouragement would you like to give to someone who is just starting out or would like to start but doesn’t know where to begin?
You can either choose “one day” or “day one”. I had many “one days” before I finally started my “day one”. I have made LOTS of mistakes along the way but one thing I always strive to do is not give up. Fitness as a whole should not be a short term fix. It should always be a lifestyle; and the best part is that if you do it right, you can have a healthy and balanced fitness lifestyle. We are all humans; trust me, I love to be lazy and over indulge as much as the next person and on some days I do but as a whole I do my best to fuel my body. I have people ask me how I stay motivated; it isn’t a matter of motivation but discipline. I do it because it has just become a part of who I am; not some short term goal I have set. It has taken me a few years to get to this point so do not give up! I am just like any other person; I was not blessed with great genetics and a fast metabolism. I was not blessed with the appetite satisfaction of a bird. I was not blessed with easy muscle development. I was not blessed with excessive amounts of time to spend in the gym every day. What I was blessed with however is the courage to start. I was blessed with the ability to learn how to help my metabolism (which I am still learning!). I was blessed with learning to control and curb my cravings and understand portion control. I was blessed with learning to adapt how to strengthen my body. I was blessed with learning how to structure my workouts to fit with my work and social schedule. It is not easy every day, but I am blessed with how far I have come. I could have easily let my life win and said “it’s too hard” but I like many, are so much stronger and deserve so much more in life to just throw in the towel and quit. Since finding fitness I have gotten divorced, moved, and held several new jobs. I could have easily said “this will never work”. But I love myself too much to quit. Fitness has kept me grounded and the one area of life that I have complete control over. So don’t get discouraged if every day is not perfect because in time, whether it be a week or a year from now, you too will be lucky enough to look back and say “wow, I am not the same person I was then and how blessed am I for that”.
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