My eighth grade elementary school PE class consisted of drinking soda and playing music. High school PE class was probably one of my least favorite classes and we all dreaded running that freakin’ mile for fitness testing. I could not do a push up and could barely do crunches. To take up a new hobby, I joined my high school Track and Field team and was so deconditioned compared to other students because I wasn’t used to all that physical activity, that I was put in distance running instead of sprinting.
Why? I have no clue because clearly I don’t have the frame to be a distance runner. I didn’t enjoy it anyways and I sucked so bad that I would come dead last in the 800m. Next year they upgraded me to the sprints team and I was really good at the 200m.
My childhood didn’t have tons of physical activity in comparison to other students, because if your parents couldn’t afford to put you in club basketball or volleyball you had to wait until your CYO season to start playing again. My parents were very young parents. Often times my dad would take me to the park when I was younger to play volleyball or do basketball drills but looking back, it just wasn’t enough activity.
Granted I did live in the city, so I did a fair amount of walking and running after Muni busses, but when I entered high school I was just not up to par. Participating in track and field and enrolling in a weight lifting class helped, but it wasn’t something that I kept up with outside of school. Many summers were spent binge watching Gilmore Girls, doing community service and in my Summer Reading Program. Occasionally I would try and do runs to the beach on my own, but I lacked the personal motivation since I was used to going running with my teammates while getting the latest GOSS.
Things worsened when I entered college.
I didn’t workout at all. When I did go to the gym I mostly did lazy girl cardio and the few weight lifting movements that I could remember from my class in high school. I had bad sleeping patterns, a stressful personal life, ate really bad cafeteria food at the DC (Dining Commons), drank a lot and I gained tons of weight.
By the end of freshman year I gained probably 15 lbs. of fat. Entering college, I weighed 110lbs., which was a moderate weight for my height. There are girls my height who weighed less than I. I remember people telling my mom that I no longer looked the way I used to or telling me that I was getting fat, which made me sad. I also found it ironic since those that were commenting were fat themselves. People are so quick to judge other peoples situation without looking at their own. I remember trying to do crunches in my room hoping for that to make my belly go away but that obviously didn’t work.
My childhood consisted of Pasta Roni, Frosted Flakes, frozen DiGiorno pizza, juice, donuts, In and Out Burgers, Capri Sun, chips, sandwiches and eating dessert after dinner. It wasn’t until high school that I was introduced to eating better and my family started consuming healthier food options from Trader Joe’s.
Much of eating healthy comes from education, awareness and the willingness to change your eating patterns. Not everyone in my household was willing to change their diet. It’s hard to change especially when you are used to doing and having things a certain way. The introduction to healthy eating in high school was a bit late, which led to my adulthood struggles with finding a healthy balance.
I joined Bally’s Total Fitness in the summer of 2009, and ever since then I have been working out. It started of with lots of cardio and weight training with incorrect form. I met some helpful gym members along the way. I ended up getting my own personal training cert and learned even more from other trainers, by taking workout classes and hiring my own personal trainer.
I watched YouTube videos, subscribed to other fitness trainers’ websites, did at-home workouts, followed workout programs from magazines. It took years to get where I am now. It was HARD. There were times where I was working out, but inefficiently. I thought that working out in general was enough. It’s not.
Working out hard isn’t always efficient. Just because you are breaking a sweat, doesn’t mean the workout was efficient and the best for achieving the results you need. For example: lots of people are obsessed with indoor cycling, like Soul Cycle or Flywheel (I love both) but you will not see me doing solely that everyday. Why? Because it’s not good for you. Your body needs change, and also static exercise isn’t helpful to your lumbo pelvic hip complex or your results.
The biggest thing I struggled with was my diet. I tried eating like a fitness competitor, doing Paleo, counting macros and micros, and what I found was eating a well rounded diet of everything in moderation works the best and is manageable, and that’s what I’m currently doing. I do try to follow the guidelines of the Whole 30 as much as I can, but that’s not in an effort to lose weight, but to regulate my digestive health.
Over the past year and a half I joined ClassPass, which allowed me to explore different types of workouts such as Pilates, hot yoga, I worked at a yoga studio, and participated in Barry’s Bootcamp. The variety really helped change my body into what it is today. Lately, I have been doing body weight intervals to keep my physique lean. Due to injury recovery I have not been weight lifting as much.
Fast forward to 2016, I’m probably in the best shape physically that I’ve ever been in and I weigh well over 130 lbs.! But it’s lean muscle. What was my secret? Patience, hard work, planning, researching, and most of all… Seeking the help and advice of others.
Lots of people like to do research online and follow generic plans that they end up doing incorrectly or following a diet that isn’t conducive to them individually because they just don’t want to seek the advice of a professional. Some of the best money I have spent has been on various Personal Trainers. It was not only great for my personal results but for my business development as well.
Fitness has played an integral role in my life, most importantly with my mental health.
As someone who suffered from bouts of depression as a young adult, due to environmental factors and most likely lifestyle, I have been able to overcome all of my obstacles because of fitness.
Not only from putting in hard work, but the community I have been able to be part of, the people that I have been able to inspire and those that I continue to inspire. My story may not be so transformational in comparison to those that you see on the Biggest Loser but it was seven years (not including high school) of trial and error, frustration, sadness, starting over and injuries.
Throughout that time I have trained almost 100 clients, taught hundreds of group fitness classes, finished a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon and finished 15th in my age group at San Francisco’s Spartan Race.
I come from a background of obesity and high blood pressure.
Those who surrounded me were unmotivated and full of excuses to change their health. Not everyone is capable of changing things the way that I did. It takes a lot of mental strength.
Like I have mentioned before I am NOT naturally skinny. The way that I look now is from hard work and finding the right BALANCE. I don’t take supplements (hemp protein powder occasionally though), don’t take Fit Tea, wear a waist trainer or follow a crazy diet.
Lately I don’t even go to the gym at all. Find something that you can follow long term is my best advice to those who are still waiting to achieve the results that they want. If you hate your diet, you will not follow it for more than a few weeks.
Hang in there, keep working hard and be patient.