Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How I got here, Why I do it, and How to start

I often get asked "how did you get to where you are today?" "what motivates you?" "why are you so into fitness?" "how do I get started?". All of these are great questions, and here are some answers. It all started in about August of 2009. I decided it was time to join a gym, and get into shape. I was always an athletic person growing up. I played soccer for about 8 years of my life, and also played basketball in middle school. So I ended up joining a gym, and of course, fell into the "cardio bunny" category. I would run for numerous miles, spent way too much time on the treadmill, and not enough in the weight room(if I did, I was playing with the little beauty bells). My diet was poor as well. It consisted mostly of cereal and granola bars during the day, and for dinner I would eat cereal again. Thinking this low calorie diet and burning so many on the treadmill would make me skinny, and I guess I thought abs would magically appear? Who knows. I continued to do this for about a year, but never saw results. I ended up switching gyms in January of 2011, and continued to do the same thing. I began to read articles and attempt to educate myself more about fitness. I slowly started incorporating weights into my routine, but still fearing the "bulk" that most women do. I also added protein powder to my diet, drinking a shake after my workouts, with doubts still in my mind about protein making you "fat". Continuing to read articles and attempting to educate myself more, I realized the importance of DIET and the weight room. I was barely eating anything, I wasnt lifting enough, I was running for endless miles, so how did I expect my body to grow lean sexy muscles? In January of 2012, I moved to California for 6 months. I didn't want to get a gym membership because most of those come with a year contract and I knew I wouldn't be there for that long. So I started p90x. And my life was changed. I began to eat more, every 2 1/2 hours or so. I was using weights with the workouts and doing them consistently. And what happened? Results. My body began to change. I started to notice abs. I started to notice the fat melting off. Granted, I wasn't fat before. I was actually fairly tiny. But my body responded to well. I leaned out, and all that muscle underneath began to show. I loved the results. So why stop? That is why I do this. That is why I love to workout. I realized that I have the ability to form and shape my body whatever way I please, because lifting weights allows you to do that. No, you can't spot reduce where you lose fat, But you sure as hell can build curves in all the right places. Ever since then my life has changed completely. The way I used to think just makes me want to slap the old me in the face lol. But I dont regret anything. I made my mistakes but have learned so much along the journey. I've grown to be a different person. I used to be someone who thought cardio was the answer, that eating small amounts of food would make me skinny, drinking alchohol frequently was ok.. The results of that was the old skinny fat me. I looked good in clothes but when they came off, I just looked soft, with no muscle definition at all. I'm not only stronger physically, but mentally as well. And why wouldn't anyone want that? I moved back home in June and joined the gym again, and really started hitting the weights even harder. I currently don't do any cardio because of my fast metabolism, it keeps me from making any gains, and that's my goal right now. I won't ever stop this lifestyle. I feel better when I workout. I look better as well. I have no reason to quit.

So how can someone starting from ground 0 , build there way up? Well, this is what I suggest. Evaluate your goals and what you want to achieve. Are you serious about it? How bad do you want it? What does your health mean to you? Ask yourself these questions. Remember, this is a lifestyle. It isn't something you can do for a few months and then quit. You learn to find a balance between eating clean and indulging, time in the gym and time off, and working it into your daily routine. Here are a few tips on how to start your fitness journey:

Step 1-Evaluate your goals and what you want to achieve. Make small, reasonable goals. This way, you won't get discouraged if you don't reach your ultimate goal in a certain amount of time. For example, if you want to lose 30 lbs, make a goal of first losing 5 lbs by "x" date. Do this until you reach your ultimate goal! Make sure you're serious about this, and realize how important this is to you.

Step 2-Clean up your diet. I cannot stress this enough. People always ask me "how do i get abs?" "what are your ab workouts?". YOU WILL NOT GET ABS BY DOING AB WORKOUTS. You'll only strengthen the ones you already have. The only way to see your abs is dropping your overall body fat percentage, and that starts with your diet and eating clean. If you're eating foods that are packed full of sugars and are way too processed, you aren't doing anything good for yourself. Check my "clean eating 101" post for a checklist of things to help remove the processed junk from your diet.

Step 3-Join a gym. Some memberships are as low as 10 dollars a month. Start slow and build yourself up. Remember, this doesn't happen over night. Even if you can't afford a gym membership, there are plenty of workouts you can do at home. Bodyrock.tv is a great website for at home workouts.

Step 4-Make a budget and plan ahead. If you make "x" amount of money a month, find out how much you can spend on food and your gym membership. When you prepare your own foods and buy in bulk, this can save you money as well. Places like costco and sam's club allow you to buy in bigger quantities which may save you money!

Step 5-DONT be so hard on yourself! We all have slip ups. As long as you're trying, that's what's important. You just read earlier how many mistakes I've made. You get up and learn from them. As long as you keep moving forward. Don't ever look back or quit. It isn't called a journey for nothing. Trial and error is what I tell everyone. You will learn what works for you and what doesn't. Listen to your body and nourish it accordingly.

Please everyone, take this advice and run with it. If I would have known what I know today about 3 years ago, who knows where I'd be right now! But that's ok! But learn from these mistakes. I look better now then I've ever looked before and it's because of what I do with my body. You are all capable of doing the same. Don't ever give up! :)

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  1. Hi there! I love your posts on IG and wanted to keep up with your blog too.
    I'm starting out a bit like you did. I too am "skinny fat." A tall lanky girl turned into a tall lanky woman who is now "soft" from all the alcohol and years of doing nothing. Now I maintain a very healthy diet free of processed foods but then there's the occasional sweet at the office or beer or two on a friday night. :-)
    But back to my point. I have recently lost like 20 lbs just cleaning up my diet and running. I'm training for a half marathon coming up in 8 weeks and I'm really going to kill it, I feel like. I am VERY interested in gaining muscle because I am indeed pretty skinny. However, I do love my cardio. I don't do any weightlifting right now but I want to. With the mileage I'm putting in for my training, would lifting be a complete waste of time? I don't see how it could be but I want to be sure. I don't want to burn off all the muscle I'm trying to put on with the weights by running it off. I want to do both. :-) It's like my goals are similar to yours in that I want to grow muscle, but the 5k's and 10k's that I have run are just SO MUCH FUN and I really want to be a runner ... I just need to add weights in. I don't care anything about having a completely ripped body but I do want to look athletic.
    Can you give me a little insight into this? I run 4 days a week with my long runs on Saturdays (like this last weekend I ran 7 miles for the first time in my life and it felt amazing :-).
    Thank you for your help. Currently I'm logging about 17-20 miles/week but I'd love to start beefing up my legs, butt, and arms on my off days.

  2. Hi! Thanks for the support on IG, I appreciate it :) You should definitely incorporate weight training! Even though you're doing these runs, it can still be helpful if you're eating the right way, getting enough fuel, and enough rest! I don't know how long you usually do cardio for those 4 days a week, but try doing about 30 minutes of added weight training. I don't know if you've heard of HIIT cardio, but it can be a great way to still get your run in while preserving muscle! Or try inclining your treadmill if you can. Remember, if you're going to be adding in the weights along with the cardio, you're going to have to eat more! I've posted my workout routine on here maybe that can help you get started, but bodybuilding.com has great workout routines as well that can help you get started. Good luck! :)

  3. Hey! I am from germany and found you on IG. Sorry when my english isn't the best.
    Well, first I want to say that you and your story really impresses me. What you have done and what you reach is fantastic on my mind! And I really take my hat off to you (don't know if it is an english impression)!
    After I read your text I was really motivated to change my life style finally. But I know that it isn't this easy and that you need much of discipline. I hope you can help me a little bit..
    Now something about me. I am 16 and I would say that I am a sportive person. I practice track and field 3-5 times a week and really love it! But now my problem. 3 years ago I wasn't that motivated anymore and quit doing sport for a whole year. The consequense was that I gain weight. It made me really sad. And so, Later I started training again and lost a bit of that weight. I think my body is okay now and I am not big, but i am not really statiesfied too. I really want to make the best of my body I can. Thats why I ask you for some adviece now. The fact it that I tried a lot. I start eating 3 times a day and with this and a lot of cardio I loose weight. But eating 3 times a day was hard for me and after eating a bit more I gained it again. Then I tried it with low carb but I have the feeling that my body needs carbs but eating to much of them and to many times a day i feel like i am getting better. I also have the problem that I don't know if I should loose my fat or gain muscles first. You see it ist really complicated and frustating for me. I think I just need a fixed food and practice plan.. I hope now you are able to give me some adviece if you have got some time and it isn't request too much. It would make me really really happy to hear from you and I say a big THANK YOU in advance. (the last think I want to note: please think about that I couldn't get a gym membership or buy whey protein or
    things like that because its just too
    expensive :( ) now greets and love from.germany. Keep up your great and hard work!

  4. I just want to take a moment to THANK YOU. You're so inspiring and made me wanna grow a booty/eat clean. Thank you so much for taking the time to educate and help people out who are looking to start a healthier lifestyle. Your meal plans and workouts look amazing!! Thank you!!