Health & FitnessLiving

Finding My Way In Fitness

Being fit isn’t just the biggest trend of any New Year, it’s the most “important” one. Regardless of size or body type, living a healthy lifestyle is the key to continued wellness. It’s proven that not all bodies are created equally; meaning everyone can do the same exercises but the results will vary. Any educated trainer will tell you, you need to find the workout regimen that fits your body and your goal best.

When I set out on my own fitness journey, I made a ton of mistakes. Diet plans never worked for me, so when it came time to change how I ate, I began cutting out the wrong foods. Did I need to eat less? More frequently? I’ll tell you one thing for sure, it was not easy to figure out.

Once I got my diet down, I returned to the gym. As someone who suffers from Osteoarthritis, I learned that it’s true what they say; a body at rest stays at rest and a body in motion stays healthy.

Any long periods of time without the gym caused my body to lock up and that triggered chronic pain. I didn’t work out to get in shape, I worked out to stay mobile. Finally, it was time to switch gears.

Similar to most people, I reached my mid-twenties and realized I had acquired some extra baggage along the way. In the past, I was able to maintain a constant weight yet always seemed to hit a plateau which caused me, like many others, to give up. This time I was determined to surpass that point and get that post-college weight off for good.

I began working with a close friend and trainer at a Crossfit gym. After about two weeks, I started noticing a difference in how my clothing would fit. My body slimmed in my waist and legs, making my pants fit better than they had in years. I also began yoga again, which in my opinion, is the best way to get a workout in when you don’t feel like working out.

After learning some new techniques and proper lifting from Crossfit, I returned to my own gym to work out on my own schedule. I was maintaining a steady pace, working out at least 4-5 times a week, and making it happen. Visually, my waist continued to slim down, even though I wasn’t seeing a major drop in the scale. Now to anyone who is well emerged in the fitness world, the problem would seem apparent. As just an average gym-goer myself, it wasn’t as obvious.

I noticed changes in my body that I hadn’t ever noticed before, therefore I continued to go up in weight when lifting. Not to misguide you, I wasn’t benching 80 lbs or using 35 lb free weights by any means, yet slowly but surely my jackets and shirts were becoming tight on my shoulders and back.

My upper arms weren’t drastically changing,  yet they were becoming larger as opposed to thinning out. I didn’t look like I was ready to enter a bodybuilding competition, but for a non-petite woman, it was easy to see I was bulking up.

I thought adding more cardio would help, but it didn’t. I lessened the weight and did more reps, but that didn’t seem to work either. To the eye, I never really looked much different than before, however, the way my clothes fit was another story.

I stopped going to the gym for about three months. Life got busy, I was confused by my results, I gave up for a while. After about 6 weeks, my parents had mentioned they noticed a difference in my upper body size. My clothes started fitting better on my back and shoulders again, but I was losing that toned look in other areas. Frustrated didn’t come close to what I was feeling.

Hellbent on finding the solution, I sat down and attempted to figure out what had worked for me at different periods of time. When I was much younger, I was a dancer. Eight years of ballet and a younger metabolism had me in the best shape of my life. Weightlifting did work at times for building the muscle I wanted, so cutting that completely out of the equation wasn’t going to be effective; and as much as I loathed running, I was aware that it was a necessary evil.

I returned to the gym and in two weeks, I finally started seeing slight changes that I liked. Each day I began my workout with 25 minutes on either the Stairmaster or the elliptical. After, I’d do no more than 15-20 minutes of very lightweight lifting (5-10 lbs at max). Finally, I would finish each workout with a 25-minute mix of barre and yoga in the free space at my gym.

I’m about a month into this regimen now and I feel better than I have in years. I’m eating better without cutting out everything I love and my clothes are fitting better than ever. Although I’m still far from my goal, I realized everyone really does need something different when it comes to working out.

I’m on the right track now with no intention of stopping. Little Black Dress, here I come!  

Moral of the story: It’s not a race, it’s a journey! Sometimes we need to try a ninety nine different things until one finally works. Don’t quit. You can do it.

Does this sound like you? #InsideBeautyFitness wants to hear your story.

Photo by Scott Webb Photo by Maria Fernanda Gonzalez Photo by Maria Fernanda Gonzalez  Photo by Cyril Saulnier Photo by Form Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash