Taking My Fitness Into My Own Hands

I have always loved working out. Ever since I started learning more about fitness in college I have loved the feeling a good work out gives you and how it helps shape a healthy lifestyle.

Even though I love to work out I’ve noticed that over the years I tend to go through an ebb and flow of work out routines. I’ll be super into whatever I’m doing…and then one day I’ll start becoming bored with it or feel like I need to switch things up. Or sometime life gets in the way and weeks will go by without me lacing up my sneakers. 

My most recent ebb and flow happened when I decided to leave CrossFit a year ago. I wasn’t achieving the results I wanted anymore and felt that I needed to try something new. Around this time was when I changed jobs. I went from a 9-5 desk job to a job that had me out and about quite a lot. 

I had heard a lot of great things about OrangeTheory and decided to give that a go. I enjoyed the classes…coaches were great, workouts were great…but because of my schedule I just couldn’t get myself into the studio more than twice a week (when I was used to working out 5 times a week). 

Fast forward a year later and I started noticing something I was not so thrilled about. I looked at photos of myself on Facebook…I looked in the mirror…my body looked different. My clothes were getting snugger. I wasn’t feeling like myself. I felt sluggish and bloated. 

My lack of exercise wasn’t the only thing to blame. I started thinking about how my eating habits had changed since my new job. At my desk job my go to lunch was a salad I brought from home, a healthy sandwich or leftovers from the night before. And I always had a stockpile of healthy snacks within reach (almonds, yogurt, dried fruit, etc.) Since my new job entailed me to be in my car a lot I didn’t have the ability to bring my lunch along with me. Luckily, I am not a fan of fast food…but even so, meals at places like Panera and Jersey Mike’s still add up. I realized that I had become more carb dependent in my meals and didn’t have as much focus on lean meats and vegetables. 

So, as much as I love trying new fitness venues, I realized that I needed to take a different approach this time around. Take my health back to basics. Luckily, Jon was in need for a change as well. An Anytime Fitness had just opened around the corner from us, so one day we decided to sign up for memberships together. 

For about a month and a half now I have been consistently going to the gym 5 days a week (give or take a few busy weeks along the way, but hey, we’re all human!). I started off by taking advantage of a free personal training session that Anytime offered when we signed up. After my first session I signed up for a few more training sessions. My trainer shared my healthy lifestyle philosophy and was great at pushing me when I needed it. She also gave me the tools I needed to create my own workout plan.

After my last training session one of my fav bloggers, Fitnessista, was starting up her yearly Summer Shape Up. I decided to give it a whirl and loved it! It was 4 weeks of fun (and sometimes intense) total body work outs mixed with cardio, barre and yoga.

After Summer Shape Up I decided to turn to BodyBuilding.com. Jon has been doing their Big Man on Campus program and enjoying it so I decided to see what programs they had for women. The website is great…it gives a handful of free workout plans based on your skill level and what your fitness goal is. I’m currently doing this plan plus 20-30 minutes of cardio each day after my strength training. 

It’s very different to be working out on my own. I’m used to not thinking and having a coach tell me what to do. Relying on a coach to push me. But what I’ve realized is that I can be my OWN coach. Being able to walk myself through exercises has helped me focus more. Not only on my form, but also on my body. And I’ve found that I can push myself when I need to, which I never thought I could do!

Aside from my fitness makeover I’ve been making over my eats as well. I’ve been focusing on centering my meals around lean proteins and vegetables again. I’ve been limiting my carb and sugar intake. And also just practicing mindful eating…really paying attention to my body and letting it tell me when I am hungry and when I have had enough. Results? I feel fantastic. I feel lighter and have more energy. And just this week I’ve started to notice some changes physically.

Most importantly? I feel healthier and more like ME. It always amazes me how much what we see in the mirror can play with our emotions. A few months ago I was feeling very down about how I looked and very self conscious…feelings I hadn’t had in years. And I have always been one of those people who believe that self esteem comes from within and that how you look shouldn’t define you. But I realized that what I was feeling was associated with me not taking care of myself properly like I have always prided myself on. Now that I’m back to working out regularly and eating healthier I feel more like my old self and therefore more confident. There has been no drastic change in my appearance, but just the fact that I’m taking care of myself, that my body is working hard and that I’m fueling it correctly…makes me feel GOOD.

Have you recently undergone a “fitness makeover”? What do you do when feel you need a change regarding your fitness?

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