My Fitness Journey

I like to think of fitness not as a destination, but a journey.  A journey to figure out what to do, and then how to keep doing it. And it's not always pretty. Everyone has a story through this and I wanted to share mine.

I was always a pretty active kid.  My brothers and I grew up in a house with a big back yard, and my mom worked hard so I could take gymnastics and dance lessons.  Gymnastics made me stronger than the boys (through middle school), and I developed coordination and agility in my dance classes.  I joined cross country, basketball, track and dance team in middle school primarily because it was something my friends were doing.  I always looked forward to practice, meets, and games after school.  

In high school I was on the dance team in the fall, played basketball in the winter, soccer in the spring, and danced with my studio yearlong.  For me, participating in sports was probably 50% about being with my friends, 50% about liking the games.  Looking back, dancing was really what I intrinsically enjoyed. 

Being so active in high school, I rarely ever worried about what I was eating.  We learned a little about nutrition in a semester of freshman health class, but otherwise it wasn’t something I knew or cared a lot about.  And for the most part, I was comfortable with my body through high school. 


Then came college. And even though you hear about it over and over again to the point of cliché.. it happened to me too. That college weight gain.  I was going to the gym or for a run almost daily BUT I was eating whatever without second thought, and drinking a lot each weekend.  I had no idea how offset my calorie intake and expenditure was.  I thought I was doing it right; I was working out like everyday! Slowly I started to see my body change.  My arms and stomach developed this unappealing layer of mush, and I became uncomfortable in most of my clothes. 

Summer after my freshman year I discovered INSANITY.  I fell in LOVE with the high intensity workouts that reminded me of my days in high school athletics.  I realized I was hardly working AT ALL when I went to the gym.  That 45 minutes on the elliptical did not even COMPARE to the work I was getting done in 45 minutes of INSANITY. 

So, I had half of it figured out.  I continued with INSANITY and even moved onto ASYLUM 1 and 2.  I was getting into better shape than I had been in high school! These became my soulmate workouts. I would do them in the basement of our college house, and eventually in the underground parking area at our apartment. Even my roommates began to join me in the programs!


During my junior year, a good friend told me about upcoming tryouts to become a group fitness instructor on campus.  I had no experience leading a class, and public speaking was NEVER my forte.  But I knew how to workout and I loved to share it.  So I went for it and made it through both levels of tryouts! I went through a semester of training, and had several of my own classes at the UW Campus gyms.  That little decision to step out of my comfort zone and tryout led to an incredible opportunity that has shaped my life since.

Despite loving exercise and leading classes, I still had a significant amount of excess body fat that did not reflect the way I felt about myself or my fitness.  I FINALLY realized that my exercise was in check, and that it was what I was eating that needed to change.

This is where things got a little messy for me… I began over-restricting calories, and eating as little as I could.  This would only be manageable for a couple days and I would be absolutely miserable. Then I’d hit my breaking point, through my hands up, and abandon all intent to eat “healthy”.  Few days later I’d be frustrated with my body again, and head right into the same cycle.  I’d cut out carbs so hard-core, that the moment I “broke my diet” I headed into a downward spiral of binging off of all the foods I restricted for myself.  The worst part of it was that I kept a lot of it from my roommates, and would do it in secret.  Then this also became a painful cycle with a lot of overeating and self-loathing.  YUCK.  My highest weight that I know was in January 2012 when I was up to 170 lbs. But I know this whole process was more harmful to my self-respect and mental health than it was even to my physical body.  It is a crazy contradiction for me because I had the knowledge and the tools from studying exercise science, but could not find a steady balance where I felt happy and healthy.  

This is a REAL photo from a finals study sesh with my friends
Summer 2013 is when I think I really began to get it together.  I graduated, got a new job and had an opportunity to start fresh.  I realized that if I was going to be truly happy with myself I needed a system that was MAINTAINABLE.  I decided to keep track of what I was eating each day, doing my best to stay honest with myself.  I found out what types of situations and feelings were leading to binging and random eating.  I learned that this happens when I am anxious, alone and/or tired.  This was a HUGE eye opener for me and is really helping me to curb those behaviors.  Currently, I’m writing down and keep track of the calories that I eat, as well as those that I burn teaching classes and in my own workouts.  I aim to end up below my resting metabolic rate (for me is 1400) each day, in order to keep chipping away at my excess body fat.  The last couple months have been going SO WELL.  I have learned to “have a diet” instead of being “on a diet”.  These changes to the way I approached my fitness were SOLIDIFIED after participating in a group that completed Chalene Johnson’s 30 day PUSH in August.

As of September 2013 I’m down to 145 lbs and about 25% body fat.  I like to do at home workouts, and am currently in the third week of Shaun T’s Focus T25 program and loving it! I also like to lift weights, and try to at least twice a week!  Check out my blog posts for more info about my meals and workouts! My goals are to be down to about 20% body fat and in the best shape of my life!

1 comment:

  1. You look great Lindsay!! I also love Chalene's 30 Day Push! I am thinking of going through the videos again for an extra push before 2014.