In 2014 I reached my heaviest weight topping off at 190 lbs standing 5'2" tall. Depression and mindless eating lead me there, but I wasn’t inclined to stay very long. By the summer of 2015, I lost 50 pounds, and I felt great. That’s when I decided to pivot careers and get my personal training license. And even though I fell into fitness later in life, the truth is, sports played a significant role in my life growing up as a kid and continued well into high school. From the moment I picked up that first orange sphere, I was hooked on basketball and convinced myself I would one day be the first woman to play in the NBA. (I grew up in a time when the WNBA didn’t yet exist.) I always excelled in sports. I was the fastest girl in my elementary school, the girl picked first when assembling kickball teams, and I was even voted most athletic alongside my male counterpoint Brian. It comes as no surprise that getting in shape was a natural path for me. I’m proud of how hard I worked, but I’m aware of the slight advantage I had embarking on my fitness journey because of my background in sports.
That’s why, as a trainer, I feel as though it is my job to support, encourage and hold my clients accountable, but it is never my job to preach and set unrealistic standards for what someone else’s personal goals are. I know that we don’t all have the same capabilities, and we might not even have an equal endgame in mind. I happily share my story with the hope that what I was able to accomplish can inspire someone else, but I never expect someone to mirror what I’ve done. It’s much more exciting to help people find their own Origin Story.
I am not a Guru…
I remember this commercial when I was a kid. It garnered a lot of attention because the truth of the matter was, whether he wanted to be or not, Charles Barkley was someone that lots of kids like me looked up to, but he didn’t want the responsibility of living up to a standard. The twelve years old version of me was too young to understand it back then, but I find myself at the same intersection as Barkley now. I am not a fitness guru. I mean, at least I don’t want to be one, because the responsibility of being an example for others makes you feel like you have to model perfect behavior and I’m way too human for that. I mean, what will happen if you see me on social media eating a cookie??? But my notions of what it means to be a resource for others shouldn’t stand in the way of the responsibility I accepted the moment I completed that certification telling the world I’m an expert. From the moment I started on this path, I’ve felt as though I would buckle under the expectation that I meal prep 3.5 square meals a day, every single week, and spend hours in the gym. So this space is me being transparent, instead of trying to create some persona that none of us can live up to.
…but I will be a resource
This section of my blog won’t be about how to be a superstar fitness fanatic. I’m not interested in creating unrealistic expectations for other people, and I’ve released myself from the pressure of having to be perfect. This space will instead be about how we, as simple humans, can carve out ways to include health and wellness into our hectic lives. And to get started, I want to share my three basic fitness philosophies that I live by:
1. Find what works for you
This goes for working out and your nutrition. I get asked lots of different questions by people like, should I buy a treadmill for my house? No matter what exercise they’re asking me about, my answer is always the same: It depends. Do you like walking on a treadmill, or does it make you feel like you’re just on a hamster wheel? Do you like the kettlebell, or do you always feel like it’s going to slip out of your hands and break someone’s foot? Can you jump rope for 30 minutes, or do you have bad knees? Here’s the thing: don’t do the CrossFit or the kickboxing or the whatever, just because everyone is doing it. Do what excites you, or at the very least, doesn’t bore you to death. That’s what will stick. The same goes for making better eating choices. Don’t go vegan because you think that’s what’s required to lose weight, create your eating style based on what you like. I’m not knocking any of these methods; my point is what worked for your best friend Aisha isn’t necessarily going to be what works for you. I know everyone who believes in their method tries to help others by telling them; this is absolutely the road that will work for you because it worked for me! It’s not about one method that works over another method; it’s about your commitment. What matters most is finding something you’re going to feel comfortable enough committing to.
2. Be consistent but be kind to yourself
Let’s get one thing out of the way: You’re gonna “mess up,” but if you change your mindset regarding consistency, it won’t discourage you from getting back up once you’ve missed a step or two. Always do your best. And your best today might not be the same as your best yesterday. Yesterday you might have felt like a rockstar in your yoga class, and today you’re struggling to get that next rep or set in, but don’t kick yourself over it. Do what you can, and then do better the next time. But whatever you do, don’t stop taking steps in the right direction just because you’re not moving as quickly as someone else.
3. Don’t measure yourself by a scale
I know, I started the article by telling you how many pounds I lost. I’m not knocking the traditional methods of measurements, because using a scale is great for tracking your progress, but the real key to making fitness a lifestyle is by using a habit-based approach. What will you do every day to continue your commitment to fitness once you’ve reached this magical goal weight? I focus on just doing the work. I want fitness in my life for the long haul, so I work at keeping it that way. I committed to not letting my health get away from me the way it has before. And this is the space on my blog where you’ll learn a lot about what my fitness habits are, what areas I’m working on in my own life, and how I make fitness a priority even when it would be easier to let it fall flat. I focus on making fitness a habit, and not so much about the results anymore. Keep showing up, and the results will come.