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 three 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 HUSBAND! 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.
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. What’s 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…
Reporting Live from 2019
Once again, fam – I applaud myself for writing that last line. Evolution. What a loaded word to use to describe everything I had hoped for the months ahead – for my body, my performance, my mind, my soul. But hot damn, if it wasn’t on point.
A few weeks ago, I sat around a table with my 9-5 coworkers, half of a poached lobster and a kale salad perfectly arranged on the mismatched (but in that super-trendy, super-pricey way) dinnerware in front of me. We were each sharing our top highlight of our year, and as one person after the next spoke of conquering difficult clients and experiencing major milestones, I found myself struggling to pinpoint something. Not because I couldn’t identify the moments I was proud of – the stand out memories of the last 12 months, but because there were so many little moments that, to an outsider, may seem insignificant or unsubstantial, but to me, represented something much, much larger. When all eyes were on me, I spoke of my evolution, my self-awareness and self-assurance, my confidence in my choices, and the way I not only filled the mold I created for myself, but overflowed it.
In 2018, I got to know myself – like really know myself, on a biological level and beyond. From the details like what foods make me feel bloated & lethargic to the big concepts like what I value in myself and others, and everything in between. I discovered and acted on my preferences, my potential, and my passions.
I credit the commitment with which I joined CrossFit to a lot of this. CrossFit taught me not only to embrace failure, but to seek it. And in turn, it showed me the power of persistence. CrossFit encouraged me to prioritize function over physical form (I’m talking about body composition), which became the catalyst for my quest for food freedom. CrossFit offered me an IRL community, which helped me view my not-so-new town as my actual home, with actual friends. A place where I could put down roots and settle in. CrossFit connected me to Moses – my now husband! – on an entirely new level. CrossFit asked me to evaluate and challenge what I knew of my physical potential inside the box. Outside those four walls, it encouraged me to reevaluate my passions and purpose. Now, let’s not get it twisted. CrossFit didn’t hand me all of these things wrapped in satin ribbon. But as I showed up for myself day after day, I left the gym a little more sore and a lot more sure.
Going into this next year ’round the sun, things look different once again. I’ve got a new perspective, a new attitude, and a new means of measuring progress. 2018 was a year of evolution, and 2019 is a year of PURSUIT, in which I actively seek every single objective I set for myself with bravery, with gut, with heart. In which I consciously choose to live as the person I believe I’m meant to be…