Monday, March 17, 2014

Little me and the Big World of Fitness



Well you see, here's what happened...a, how it all started, if you will. 

*A slight warning for this post only: this may take a few minutes, but bare with me here.*

What had happened was- nah I'm just kidding, but have you ever loved something so much but never knew you did? Well, that's pretty much what happened to me about April of 2013...and for anyone who may already know me personally and is reading this, you will probably be shaking your head at what I am about to say in the next paragraph. And if you are new to my little corner of the blog world, and don't know me, feel free to head on over to the "About Me" tab and get to know me real quick-like.

So, when I find something I am really interested in I get excited, really excited. Now I don't mean your normal person excited, because I am by far not your normal person. I throw myself into it, completely and wholeheartedly. I give it everything I have, not stopping to think, and try to learn everything about that particular thing (that's the inner researcher in me). I try to become the best at it that I can possibly be. Then what, well I LOVE to talk, to anyone for that matter, and love to share what I learn with people. So I think you can see what happened during this whole "health and fitness phase" that I seemed to be going through last year...I wanted to share my new-found knowledge of everything fitness and health with the world!-- all of my facebook friends and your friends, included. But here's the thing...Not everyone is like me. Everyone else probably doesn't like change, probably doesn't want to hear all about what I learned with the level of excitement that I have, definitely doesn't want other people's opinions (especially about how they do things) shoved down their throats, and probably doesn't want to hear about the awesomeness I found in the huge topics that are health, fitness, and working out, all the dang time. I get it. And I understand. Maybe those people will finally get it when or if they see this. Maybe, just maybe, this will light a small fire somewhere in them, so one day they come back to visit. And if not, then hey that's life. You live, and you learn, and you keep on lifting.

So how did I get to this point? 

Why thanks for asking! In April of 2013 (April 1 to be exact. Fitting right? I thought so ;) ), I decided once and for all that I would finally change my habits and actually keep the promise to myself to become the best and fittest version of myself. Just like that.



Ok, let's not kid ourselves, when I started all of this all I wanted to do was get back in shape and have my clothes fitting like they used to. Sounds about right for your average Jane, right? No one goes into these type things saying, "Man, I sure would like to change everything I have ever known and done, spend hours in the gym every day, and eat out of Tupperware the rest of my life!" (lol I kid, I kid!) But seriously, never in my life had I been so out of shape and unhappy with myself before. Yes I was still (by everyone's definition) skinny and had not gained a ton of weight physically. But it was enough to make me really unhappy. My entire life, I had always been skinny. I couldn't ever complain; I could eat whatever I wanted, without having to exercise much at all. (I won't bore you right now with the 'cardio bunny' part of my life). I could still maintain that "skinny" figure that everyone wants for the rest of my life... 
      Summer 2009      Early 2012       September 2012

Right? WRONG! Oh, I couldn't have been more wrong. How could I honestly expect to still be "skinny" and look "toned" while eating fast food and junk all the time? Who was I kidding. It hadn't taken long to catch up with me really after my healthy habits became outweighed by the bad ones. Before we moved in August of 2012, I was "moderately active," attending Zumba classes pretty often, did boxing for a few years in there somewhere, and even weight lifting some off and on in the previous few years; but never with a set routine or purpose (except for the boxing which I loved!) and never 'indefinitely.' And mind you, while also eating whatever I felt like, whenever I felt like it. And I wondered why I never had abs...Who knows, probably over the past few years or more, I had become skinny fat. Here are a few glimpses of myself to help explain this "skinny-fat" concept...I'll spare you the details for another post, but I think you'll get the picture...


Yes I tried to pick a few unflattering pictures of myself, because no I didn't start out like some with a ton of weight to lose. But everyone's journey will be different because we all start from a different place. I started out as what I thought was a really out-of-shape and not "toned" version of me who could no longer fit into some of her clothes; simple as that. We all hear and want this thing called "tone"- myself included. What is this magical thing and where can I get it, right? Well, when you are skinny, like me, and never lift anything heavier than a purse (although mine are pretty heavy), this thing called "toning" won't happen. You actually have to develop the muscles under all that "skinny-fat-ness," or even just plain "skin-n-bones" as my Grandma would've said, that will give your body shape. *GASP* I know! Why didn't I learn this a long time ago?? They do say, "you can't tone what you don't have." Whoever said that, should be making millions.

So then what did I do? Well, the inner me took over and started researching stuff. I wasn't really sure of anything at this point except for a few facts: I definitely needed cardio in my life, I needed to eat better, and I could act like I knew how to lift weights. Then I stumbled across this amazing resource that some of you may know about (if not then get ready because this is awesome!) called bodybuilding.com. And let me tell you, man was I intimidated when I pulled up this page! I definitely remember asking myself, "What the heck are you doing?" a few times while surfing around on the net. But here is the thing: You don't have to be a body builder or muscle-woman to use the resources it has! So I started clicking around on things and before I knew it, I found myself a program to do and created a bodyspace. Now at the time, this is what the plan told me to do so I did, but little did I know that this profile could even track my results and so many more things! You definitely should go see for yourself how awesome their site is, so I will spare you the details (No I am not paid nor endorsed to say this).

Back to the plan...I started Jamie Eason's 12 week Live Fit Trainer in the beginning of April. I actually took the first week and did a few days of only cardio, in the mornings (before work) at our apartment gym, to really get comfortable with working out again. Yes, I was definitely nervous about going into a weight room again, let alone by myself, to do a whole new plan and things I had never seen or done before. But it is alright. And if you are in the place I was: nervous and probably a million other things that come with normal life stressors...It is ok. You can do it and you will succeed, and as a plus, I am here to share what I learned in my experience with all of you! 

I finally got started on the program later that month and went all the way through Week 9 of her trainer. I did the best I could with sticking to the meal plan exactly and getting in every workout. I cut out all sodas and some sweet tea when I started, and haven't had soda much at all since last April; and, surprisingly I rarely drink sweet tea now and don't miss it too much either. Honestly, I re-did multiple weeks throughout the program probably making it way longer than it actually was, because of missed days, etc. But I kept going. I wanted to quit on those weeks where we would be traveling or whatnot, and I missed workouts, but I didn't let myself quit. Here's a quick look at progress in the program (and please no derogatory remarks- to be completely honest, I never in a million years thought I would need "good" first pictures to share with anyone, let alone the world. These will have to do!):


The very beginning. April 2013.
At Week 10 of Live Fit Trainer. End of July 2013.

I made the choice to discontinue the program, before the carb cycling in Weeks 10-12, because I personally felt like I had not gained enough muscle to start a cut. I also was having doubts that I was achieving the best results I could get at the time. I mean, don't get me wrong, I was amazed at how far I had come. Anyone should have been or should be at this point and even before. Going from living off of quick dinners and fast food (most of the time), sodas, and junk, to changing your habits completely and going to the gym for an hour or two 5-6 days of the week...That strong interest I had from the very beginning, had turned into a full-on lifestyle change. Yes my habits changed, but so did my mindset, my priorities, and my life. 

With all that said, I wanted to go further. I felt like I could do better, or that something was missing from the plan I was on. Even further, I wanted to improve even more, see more results, and more muscle definition, and even had the tiny thought in my head about competing one day. So I started asking questions and doing more research...I went to supplement stores like GNC and Nutrition Zone in town and started asking about what I could do to make things better or see better results. I met a new friend at GNC in Manhattan who in turn told me about his trainer in Kansas City. I knew that deep down I was becoming impatient and wanted answers soon, about a lot of things training and nutrition (Like I hadn't gotten enough already right?). Honestly, I thought I was doing everything right- I was eating better, working out all the time, lifting weights, and all that jazz. So I thought, "what can I lose?" and contacted my friend's trainer with my interest. I was able to start working with him so he sent me a custom diet plan to try out and a few tips for how I should be working out...and so the plot thickened. 

Now, I only want to touch on this right now for various reasons, but don't get me wrong...I loved Jamie Eason's plan and think it was an amazing start to my fitness journey, it taught me countless things that I wouldn't have learned otherwise, and honestly, without it I don't know if I would be where I am right now. I seriously doubt it. So I would encourage anyone to try out her plan or to give it a go even if you are a seasoned 'pro.' But...there is one thing that sets what I am doing now apart from plans like that...Customization.


 Unlike the plan on bodybuilding.com, a trainer is able to personalize your needs in the form of an eating plan, according to your specific goals. That is exactly what I got, and boy did it change my results. Now, the first bit was trial and error for me personally and I have learned a ton along the way that I will have to share with you all eventually. But from July of 2013 to now, I have seen more changes in my body than I know what to do with, a huge increase in strength, and really more of an overall lifestyle change. I never truly grasped the 'diet' before July, and let's face it- diet is 80% of it. If your eating isn't on point, then you won't see all the hard work that you are putting in; and I definitely learned that! So, let me show you what happened after I got my eating on track where it should be...



Slow progress at first, and definitely some 
learning involved, and life in general.
And mind you here was not a very good flex, 
it's a work in progress.
A bit more muscle growth here, from heavier  lifting and changes in intake.
Definitely some noticeable changes between these two. 
Combine all of those efforts and small changes over time, 
and big things can happen.

And...you caught me without a smile ;)
And I never thought I would see this day.
            March 8, 2014    
A little practice posing. It was laundry day :)























There you have it! From the very beginning to the day, that I always dreamed about, but never thought I would see. All of those small efforts, combined, have carried me through almost a year of changes that I would have never imagined, both mental and physical. The beginning has been a long and hard road, good times and bad, but I wouldn't trade any of it for the world because of what I have learned and how much I have grown as a person along the way. I know what you're thinking...a year is the beginning? Yeah, it is actually...

Because you see, this "fitness phase" isn't just a phase, like some would think or may have thought; it isn't a fad, or just something I am only interested in even to this day. The small inkling of interest that I had in the beginning grew, and continued to grow. I have spent a ton, I mean A TON, of time researching throughout the past year, both on bodybuilding.com and off of it. I still do to this day because everything is always updated, and new things are always discovered, causing things to change constantly in the fitness and health community. I guess you can say that in the beginning I developed a never-ending thirst for knowledge, and never could seem to quench it. I still can't. So to some, it may have seemed like I had completely fallen off the horse and become obsessed. I can see that. But what really happened that no one else could see, was the rapid growth of that small inkling that created a desire in me to throw myself into this wholeheartedly and give it everything I had. You know how people tell you, if you do something enough times, for long enough, that it will eventually stick?

They were right. It has become a part of me, my lifestyle, my passion, and something that I am fully, and with everything I have, committed to no matter what. It is really quite simple, actually. When something becomes a part of you, you no longer have to think about wanting to do or acting on that thing any longer; do you think about breathing before you do it? That is the closest analogy I can think of. 



And this passion is something that I never get tired of. Not to say that even the best or the most passionate don't have "off" days too, I mean we are all human and everyone has those days. But when you have a passion for something, you bounce back or you find a way to get back on track no matter what. It almost happens like an instinct for me now because it is a part of who I am. It also is a driving force that motivates me day in and day out to become better than I was the day before. That is a beauty of what we in the big 'ole fit family do: there is Always room for improvement, always new and exciting things to try, a never-ending chance to be successful in what you are doing; and that is just the tip of the iceberg. A very wise man once told me this and ever since it has stuck with me; I still apply this to many areas of my life. And when you have this outlook on life, there isn't anything that you cannot do.

"When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful."




For me, this journey is only beginning. It sounds crazy, but I have so many more hopes and dreams to achieve in the future because of this passion I have found for health and fitness. I am beyond excited to be able to share everything with you, because I truly do love sharing my experience and journey with others. It breathes even more life into me knowing that I could potentially have the ability to change someone's life one day. The only hope I can have in sharing my journey is to one day motivate someone to change their life. I won't lie to you and tell you it will be easy, but worth it...now that is a different story. I could give you a million reasons, quotes, transformations, you name it; to try and convince you that it is worth it. The only person who can decide that for you, is you. Nonetheless, I will be here to share my journey with you.

Thank you for stopping by and hanging with me until the end. I only hope that you come back to visit again soon. I am happy to share with you my journey and experiences along the way, plenty of workouts and recipes, and quite possibly a random thought or crazy story or two thrown in from time to time. Not everything in life is certain, and sometimes it can seem a little crazy. But, there is one thing I know: Every day, I will still be here living and learning, and will never stop lifting.

2 comments:

  1. Hey girl, Congratulations on your awesome new journey. You look amazing. Good luck with the new blog!
    -Mo

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    Replies
    1. Thank you girl! :) It really means a lot! It has been a long time in the making but exciting to continue too. I appreciate the support! <3

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