BE STRONG NOT SKINNY.
I sat down at my computer today and I was going to post a recipe, but then I decided that I needed to get something off of my mind. When I took a leap and started my fitness journey, about 3 1/2 years ago, I thought I was being healthy. I wanted to get stronger, but really I wanted to tone up and I wanted a flatter stomach, even some abs would've been nice. At the time, I was in school, and working part time, so I had a good amount of time to devote to exercise. I started to follow the schedule that Tone It Up posted, and then eventually Sal got into going into the gym as well, so I would sometimes workout twice a day. I would workout for an hour with him doing cardio and weights at the gym, and then I would come home and do the Tone It Up workouts. Sometimes I would workout for 2 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. I would consciously make an effort to eat extremely healthy, and I would barely stray and eat unhealthy things. I know now that this wasn't a healthy way to reach my goals. I looked skinnier, and I may have been stronger, and gained a ton of confidence in the process, but I forced my body into overdrive, and my body pushed back, which lead me to a few Dr visits.
After realizing I was pushing myself way too hard, I cut back on my workouts, and started to realize I had met my goals of toning up, and I hadn't stopped pushing. I realized fitness goals are not short term, they're for life. I needed to figure out a way to continue this healthy lifestyle and fitness journey in a way that was going to benefit me in the long run. That's when I found my love of kickboxing again, and I really started to zone in on the workouts I loved to do. I didn't love going to the gym and running on the treadmill and then repeating the same weight exercises every day... so I stopped. I loved going kickboxing and combining powerful punches and kicks, with tough floor workout. I realized I wasn't as strong as I thought, and I began to see a shift in my goals. I wanted to become stronger, and while I think losing weight is a great goal to start with, everyone should ultimately want to be stronger too. It feels amazing when you're finally able to do a push up on your toes, and then bang out ten, and eventually build up to clap pushups. Your confidence soars when you push out one more rep when you wanted to stop at the rep before. Seeing your progress in the reps, in the way you feel, and how you look, is better than any scale process. That's why I NEVER use one. Nope, that's right... this girl does not hop on a scale.... ever. The Drs. office is one thing, but I never care when that number pops up on the scale. I don't let numbers play a role in my fitness journey, unless it's the number of reps I'm doing! You shouldn't allow yourself to focus on the numbers either, because when you're building muscle, your weight may go up or stay the same, but you'll look better than you did when that muscle was fat, and you'll feel better too.
Don't get me wrong, I still continued to workout, but I didn't workout for 2+ hours a day, and I'd give myself 2-3 rest days. I was focused this time on taking care of my body, listening to what my body needed, and giving it the rest it deserved. I worked out shorter, but doing workouts I loved - kickboxing, running occasionally, and toning/strength training exercises. I wanted to BE stronger. I wanted to know what my body was capable of, if I gave it a chance.
I hate when I see individuals, young girls especially, wanting to look like someone else, wanting to be just as skinny as they are, wanting to be as pretty, or fit. They feel as if their life isn't as good, or they aren't as happy as the person they're admiring, whether it's in a magazine, on TV, or on social media. They try crazy fad diets, develop eating disorders, and workout every way possible for as long as possible just to lose weight - to look as pretty, as skinny, as happy as their idol. While their real goal is to be happy, none of those things will ultimately make a person happy in the end, because they're not being their true self.
You have to understand your WHY. Why are you working out and what are your goals? There has to be a deeper reason why you want to lose weight, get stronger, or become fit. For me, I want to be the best version of myself, and I want to LIVE. I don't want to just pass by in life, I want to feel the sweat dripping down my face, I want to feel as if I cannot go one more rep, and I want to feel my lungs burn. It makes me feel alive, and gives me an insane amount of confidence in who I am as a person, and a personal trainer. If I'm making my members and clients do a certain workout, I want to make damn sure I can do it too. So really, it's so much more than just wanting to be stronger, and I'm sure it's so much more than the fitness goal you tell yourself and everyone else that you're trying to achieve.
I'm happy, healthy, and strong, but I will continue on this journey to make sure I stay happy, healthy, and strong, because what better way is there to live?
What are your fitness goals? What is your WHY?