Recently I was asked how I got started on my fitness journey and how I stay motivated. Those are some big and yet also very simple questions. But as I started my journey, and even now as a fairly newbie to the fitness world, I would have asked those very same questions. When you are first starting out, or even just contemplating beginning your fitness journey, it’s inspiring and helpful to read stories of those you can relate to, and find some commonality with. It puts things on an even playing field, and makes this daunting task feel do-able.
I was never athletic. Not even close. I hated PE, didn’t like playing sports, I actually don’t even like competition! I chose to spend my time in the theatre, on stage acting, with a camera or paintbrush in hand, or shopping. I knew nothing about fitness or nutrition. I ate food because it tasted good and I was hungry. I could care less what nutrition it provided my body! Shopping was my workout ;) I hated sweat. It grossed me out. I wanted nothing to do with that nasty feeling.
Eventually, I gained weight. I tried various quick fixes over the years, between consuming only 1200 calories, trying a diet pill here and there, etc. there was one point where I leaned out quite a bit. I wasn’t fit, but I wasn’t carrying as much fat on my body. Then I really discovered my love for food. Truly, I love food. Combining flavors, textures and creating! Well, I wasn’t being active, and I was eating all the wrong things and the wrong amounts. I had said so many times over the years that I wanted to be fit and be proud of my body. So one day I finally decided to do something about it!
I looked into a gym membership and some classes. I started out at 3x a week with a dance aerobics class, an ab & core class, and doing various cardio. I started to like it. I took progress pictures each week and enjoyed the changes I saw. I ended up going more frequently and meeting with a coach once a month. I began weight training and that was it for me! I have never loved an athletic activity like I love weight lifting. Thinking back, I always loved the days in PE class when we went to the weight room. Now I see it wasn’t just a fluke. I truly enjoyed it.
My body’s composition began to change, and I got a whole lot stronger. However, I still was missing a piece of the puzzle. I didn’t understand the role nutrition played in the way your body works. After my progress of fat loss slowed down a bit, I knew that I needed to take a hard look at what I was feeding my body. So I researched nutritionists in my area. Now, I am someone who loves to grow and learn. I am quick to admit when I am uneducated in an area, and quick to let those who are gifted and knowledgable in those areas teach me. We all have different strengths, and I am not one to pretend I know things I don’t!
My nutritionist never forced things upon me, instead she listened, asked questions and made some suggestions. She is always giving me new recipes to try based on things I like. She worked with me to better understand how my body works, what it needs, and how to listen to it. I can honestly say that giving my body the nutrition it needs has had the greatest impact on my fitness journey. I saw immediate and fast results. My metabolism repaired itself, my body functions extremely well, and my desire for nutrition-less foods has almost disappeared. I have truly learned so much from working with my nutritionist!
I will say that this is a journey. I’m not where I wish I was, but I’m on my way. I’ll never be done. I want to always be pushing myself and moving forward. So that being said, how do I accomplish continually furthering myself in my fitness journey? How do I stay motivated and keep going? Where do I even start to answer that?
I have big dreams. I am a big self-improvement plan implementer! I am always looking towards the next goal. At first my goals were small: be consistent, go every week for the number of times each week I set, do one more rep each set per week, just 5 more minutes, etc. Now they are things like: go a month without a single “cheat”, up the weight this month by 10lbs, do two extra sets, complete a non-assisted pull-up, deep squat 260lbs, cut my body fat by 10%, build lean muscle, lean out so I can see that last set of abs, try new techniques, take active rests, etc. I am always pushing myself to do more.
I also find my weekly progress pictures extremely motivating! On a rough day, where you are disappointed in yourself, we all have them, those pictures remind you of how hard you have worked and how far you have come. Even on a good day they are inspiring because it makes me that much more excited to work towards next week’s progress picture!
I also love to learn. I find myself researching new techniques, nutritional information, creating meal plans and new workouts all the time. I never would have thought that I would spend an evening studying the muscular structure of the body…and yet I do! Learning new information about what I enjoy keeps me inspired!
I also find inspiration and motivation in seeing what others are doing. Part of that is following NPC/IFBB Bikini Competitors on Instagram and their blogs, and the other part is watching people in my life grow in their fitness journeys as well. I enjoy watching someone learn how to push themselves, proper nutrition, how strong they can be when they rise to a challenge, and finding that their hard work pays off. Watching others get inspired motivates me!
I know there are more things that keep my motivated, but those are by far the biggest! I like to celebrate the small wins. So each week I like to find something to celebrate! Whether it’s that I only ate my allotted dark chocolate and no other sweets, or I powered through a tough workout, those wins can keep you going.
What motivates and inspires you to keep going?