The beginning of summer 2011, I began my fitness journey, weighing 208lbs.
I hired an encouraging trainer when my daughter was roughly about 15 months old. Her eccentric personality and exciting bikini competitions kept me motivated. I wanted to accomplish what she had accomplished. I followed her strict food and exercise regimen by severing all my ties with my beloved foods. I began taking supplements that I did not understand. I couldn’t tell you why or even what I was taking. All I know is Ali told me to take them and if I wanted to look like Ali then it was vital for me to follow her program to the exact tee. Ali was wonderful, I dropped weight, and I continued this journey even after I ended my training program with her. However, I still needed to look like Ali and compete. I continued to just repeat the original program she had written for me, never allowing myself to cheat and never allowing myself to rest. I was down to 135 for 208 and to me I was still not skinny, I was still fat no matter what anyone said.
Shortly after I hit my goal weight I decided to become a personal trainer. I studied the key points of my NASM study guide, I watched all my lectures, and outlined my whole book, but I really wasn’t listening to what I was learning. I studied just enough to pass my test, earn that certification to become a NASM personal trainer. Soon after I became a trainer I was hired on at American Family fitness. I learned one of my coworkers competed in bodybuilding and I just needed to train with him so I could compete as Ali did. I strived to look like her, not taking into account that I had children and she did not or that our body types were very different. I just wasn’t paying attention to anything I had learned over the past year. I hired Salby to walk me through my competition prep.
During my competition prep I remember spending countless extra hours in the gym, even though my work day was over. I would stay to practice posing, complete slow paced cardio, or to lift just a little extra; anything to get me there faster. The competition began to run every aspect of my life. Members of the gym started to pat me on the back and set my accomplishments on a pedestal, because they began to notice the change. It however was not enough, I wanted more. To them I was committed and they were so proud, but what they didn’t see was just how unhealthy I had become!
EditIn the midst of competition prep my relationship with food became even darker. As I prepped many things were cut from my diet. My cravings became more than I could handle. I craved sugar, sodium, and many other nutrients because my body was lacking in so much. In secret I would binge on multiple candy bars in one sitting or eat a whole box of sugar cookies and then drink a recovery shake to be healthy.
I began suffering from amenorrhea (an abnormal absence of menstruation) from the countless hours of extra cardio and workouts, that I did not fuel my body properly for. I became easily aggravated and impatient with my loved ones (who were originally my inspiration). My health began to suffer and my relationships followed.
Because I spent so many hours in the gym my children were often in the care of babysitters, instead of much needed time with me. Never wanted to be the mom who put myself above my family, but I was slowly becoming that. I am so blessed that they loved me through it. My poor husband saw a selfish woman replace his wife. I treated my beloved family as if I was more important. When I first became a trainer my client’s programs always came before mine. I would research their questions and medical conditions. From there I would design a program meant especially for them. I worked hand in hand with their health providers to ensure they had the best program designed just for them. As I got further into my competition prep I became the very trainer I loathed; a cookie cutter trainer! I started giving everyone the same workout even if it wasn’t what they needed, I came unprepared to training sessions and my clients began to notice the change and my relationships with them were hindered. The moment I started to put my training above them was the moment I lost their trust. I became so consumed I didn’t care and I was acting as if I was better than them. I never treated anyone that way before and in fact it bothered me when I would see a trainer treat their clients this way. I went my whole prep blinded and harming those nearest and dearest to me.
Now nearly 6 years into my fitness journey I can finally look back and see exactly how
unhealthy I was both mentally and physically. I have 4 beautiful children who I spend every waking moment, with including my workouts. There is not a day goes by that I wish I could’ve changed that brief period of time that I missed out. I feel healthier now at 150lbs than I ever was at 120lbs. It is my goal now as a fitness and wellness professional to help women create realistic/manageable goals while maintaining a healthy mind and body. As a wellness coach and fitness professional I have familiarized myself with the signs of eating disorders so I may refer my clients to receive the help they need. I will help my clients to lead a healthy life in all aspects not just looking “fit”, because fit doesn’t necessarily mean healthy.
It is so very important that we do not try to compare our selves to others! When we compare ourselves to someone else or set goals to be like someone else we are creating an uphill battle that we will not win. My goal is to teach my children self love and self respect at all stages. I want my daughter to know that being healthy on the inside is more important than being “fit” on the outside. I am thankful for that struggle and I am even more thankful that my eyes were open to just how unhealthy I was.