If you asked me to pinpoint the exact moment when I made the conscious decision – “I am on a fitness journey” – it would stick somewhere in the middle of a sleepy January morning in 2016.
To know me is to know that I am righteous believer in all things girl power and self acceptance. So you can imagine how much it went against my nature to start my day one of two ways: completely avoiding the mirror, or paralyzed by its power. Yet, this is exactly where I found myself
a year two years (!) ago. Let’s get real, I would be foolish to blame my perception of self worth on the glass perched above by vanity or a tinted window on a crowded street. After all, it was me in the reflection. I could list thousands of excuses poorly dressed as legitimate reasons for how I wound up uncomfortable in my own skin – like everything that comes with being a 20-something “adult” – but my day-to-day habits made it clear: I wasn’t prioritizing myself, I wasn’t respecting myself, and I wasn’t loving myself. I had put myself in a position where my condition of physical and mental health restrained me. Me being me, that was not something I was willing to settle for. So I said to myself, “I am on a fitness journey.”
Enter Tone It Up, a global community and member-based fitness & nutrition plan developed by founders Karena Dawn & Katrina Scott. Hey K+K, it’s your girl albabe!! The captivating IRL mermaids are equal parts down to earth bestie, chiseled bombshell #fitspo, and pocket personal trainer. Together, they have built a platform that empowers women to live each day to their healthiest, in turn changing bodies, minds, and lives.
My journey began when I signed up for the ultimate TIU challenge, better known as the Bikini Series, a comprehensive 8-week program complete with a daily workout and meal regimen. I stood in front of a white wall while my
boyfriend fiancé shot my before photos (cringe with me, but it was worth it). I researched #fitgirl words like meal prep and HIIT and kale. I studied nutrition labels and ingredients. I created an Instagram profile and connected with #tiugirls around the globe. I worked out, I journaled, I ate clean. And slowly, but undoubtedly, I began to transform inside and out. In 56 days, I went from chronic snooze-button pusher to habitual BootyCall-er (morning workout in the TIU dictionary), from craving grease to yearning for greens, from telling myself I was less than to knowing I was enough. (You can read more about my Bikini Series transformation here)
The Bikini Series came to a close, and something happened. I kept going, and I liked it. My healthy lifestyle was not just a summer fling, I fell in love and we were committed – like, put a ring on it, committed. Day after day, workout after workout, meal after meal, I found happiness in the choices that made me feel good.
Looking back, I suppose I’ve always been on this journey to some degree. And looking forward, I am certain I always will be…
ahh, I am *so* happy I wrote this line! When I decided to revisit on this post in the hopes of adding to it and documenting the last 365+ days – I was slightly apprehensive as to how I labeled my relationship with health and fitness a year ago. Alas, go me!, for I knew continued change, discovery, and evolution was bound to be.
When I last signed off on this article, I had just finished two back-to-back Tone It Up challenges (The Bikini Series and The Bikini Series: Round 2), and was almost half-way through a third challenge (#TIU31) when something began to shift. I began to react – at the time subconsciously – to a craving for not only more, but for me.
I began to cook my own meals, engage with expanded fitness opportunities like ClassPass and Lauren Gleisberg, and venture to the gym with my fiancé, thus developing personalized meal plans and workout schedules to meet my specific needs. I experimented with my nutrition, from eating intuitively, to tracking macros for leaning, to tracking macros for gaining, to a brief stint with carb-cycling, and back to intuitive eating again. This period was a time of self-discovery in all spheres: the input and output of my body and how I, as a self-proclaimed fittie, related to the world. And with each first – from recipes, to classes, to machines – I began to craft a definition of what health and fitness really meant on my terms, without guidelines or instructions from preexisting plans and programs.
In an alternate universe, maybe I fell deeply in love with the heart-pumping beats of spin, or with the body-bending flexibility of yoga. I have literally tried it all, free of judgement or expectation. But in my very real world, I found my groove in weight-lifting. There is something about voluntarily pushing and pulling your body through weighted conditions, with accountability to preform falling solely on your own willpower and determination, that I latched onto like chalked up hands gripping a barbell.
And then the rest of my life – you know, the (very few 😉 ) things that don’t involve sports bras and dry shampoo – began to happen around the very sturdy foundation (s/o to meal prepping with only a microwave* and adjusting my wakeup time to 4:30 am) of my Fitness Journey. Most notably to this trajectory, I purchased (and renovated*) a home in a town where I knew no one, save my roomie-turned-fiance. Whats a fit girl to do? I joined a local gym and made strides with my weight training, kicking off my membership with Lauren Gleisberg’s Weight Training Guide 2.0 (which I freakin’ LOVED and still highly recommend to anyone looking to get into the weight room). And then those eight gainful weeks were up, and for the first time in a long time, I felt…
lost confused stagnant. Maybe it was the mileage between me and all my familiarities, or the extended commute to and from the gym, or the limited layout of the weight room, but I felt the once ultra-violet glow of my routine fading.
Enter: Crossfit. Hey, it was long-winded, but we made it to the present! Though it never fully dimmed, my passion for fitness and heavy weights and nutrition is brighter than ever as a result of becoming a Crossfit athlete (more on that later!). Plus, new passions are brewing in the form of gymnastics and endurance, and an IRL community that feels like family. Through functional training and strategic programming, I am checking-off long sought after goals in record time, and still have an ever growing list of to-be-accomplished milestones.
Through all of these peaks and valleys and plains, I’ve found my voice, which I hope can be motivational and authentic and relatable and sometimes sassy 😉 My relationship with health and fitness is completely free of labels and guidelines, and it is uniquely mine. It’s a bright and beautiful (and sometimes awkward and confusing) blend of fit, healthy, and happy. I’ll call it: fitlicity.
From here, my future is wide open, the promise of limitless possibility filling every cavity of my being like a steady, deep breath. 2017 was a year of discovery, and 2018 is a year of evolution.