Before I get into posts on this “I’m doing INSANITY, Yay!” topic, I think it might help for readers to understand my fitness journey.
Whenever I tell people that I’ve got to get to the gym, or I shouldn’t eat these french fries, a lot of people are like, “You’re so tiny…You do not…What is your prooooblem?” And true, I’ve always been very tiny, 5′ 1″ and never more than 110 lbs.
But it’s not even about weight to me. I don’t need to lose weight, but I do need to focus on wellness and strength. What you might not know is that I was obese in my Freshmen year of high school. At 107 lbs., I was obese because I had more fat than muscle. Completely mind blowing! How could this be possible? I was probably the smallest girl in my class, wore a size 1/2, but I was obese. Appearances can be deceiving.
So this, along with a family health scare a few years before, was a huge wake up call. Everything started in middle school when my dad had a couple of heart issues. Not a full blown heart attack, but high blood pressure and a blockage that he had to spend some time in the hospital for and could have been way worse if not caught. We joke that it was caused by working late nights at the office and stopping by McDonald’s on the way home for dinner at 11 pm. Well, this was partially true, and did happen. We, as a family, ate a lot of fast food (probably 1-3 times a week), went to the buffet places a lot, and didn’t buy the healthiest products.
After this happened, my parents joined a gym and fast food became non-existant in our house. My parents became healthier, but the real results were seen in my mom’s drastic weight loss. It was weird, because the weight seemed to come off and nobody noticed until she dropped from a size 14/16 to a size 3/4. She lost all her weight by working out and portion control. AND she did this all while teaching 7th grade English. My mom was in insane shape and I’m really proud of her accomplishment!
While my parents were getting fit, I still hated the idea of exercise. I was a huge theatre kid and never did any sports growing up so I didn’t see the need to be sweating when it wasn’t necessary. In high school I would go to the gym every now and then, would get on the elliptical, and sometimes do a few crunches, but that was it. I was just like “meh” and didn’t push myself. When we had to complete the mile run in Phys Ed class, I always tried to miss class for some reason or another, and when I did run it, I completed it in 12 minutes, feeling like I was going to throw up at the end. I was so out of shape. So I graduated in 2007 from high school a “skinny fat girl” who didn’t like exercise and wasn’t going to push herself because when she looked in the mirror, she didn’t “see” a reason too.
When I got to college, everything changed. Part of the change involved an ex-boyfriend of mine who was a college athlete. He wasn’t in the best shape, but definitely better than me. And so I started going to the gym, getting on the elliptical, doing the machines I could figure out, and jogging a little on the treadmill.
So, slowly, but surely, I started logging hours in the gym. I started challenging myself with, “Okay, just jog 5 minutes on the treadmill without stopping.” And I started to build on that. And it was really, really hard. Like, “I want to throw up now” hard. Some days I wanted to quit because my endurance levels were horrible. And some weeks I didn’t make it to the gym at all because classes and assignments took up a lot of my time. It wasn’t easy balancing a healthy, active lifestyle in college, but I did my best.
And then, in 2008, I did something life-changing and crazy. I signed up for the rec center biathlon. I went from not being about to run a mile to signing up for a mile swim, followed by a 5k. At this point, I knew I could complete the swim, as I had been a lifeguard in high school, but I wasn’t sure I could run the entire 3.15 miles, however, I was going to see how far I could go. This was the start of my personal challenge. Putting myself out there for others to gauge my athletic abilities. And I was scared. I mean, aren’t we all when we do something for the first time?
The biathlon went really well and I surprised myself by running the entire way. I wasn’t the fastest runner, but I completed it, and, yes, dying at the end, was so incredibly proud of myself. I did something I never thought I could or would do in a million years. And thus became my love affair with fitness, running, pushing myself and seeing just how far I could go. And I have come a very long way. Throughout college I have run multiple 5k and 10k races, logged many hours in the gym, started spinning and Les Mills classes, and, even though I also have a love affair with food, have tried to eat healthier meals that will give me the energy to keep going in my workouts.
In the past four years, I’ve become so much stronger and faster! I went from that 12 minute mile to being able to run a sub-nine minute mile. In 2012, I was able to run a 10k (6.2 miles) in 58:10, which is a pretty good measurement of how far I have come.
Though my weight hasn’t changed much, there is a visible difference in my body composition, endurance levels and mindset. And I’m ready to take it to the next level by training for a half-marathon, completing the INSANITY workouts, and making fitness a bigger part of my personal and professional life.
The amazing part about fitness is that you have complete control over what happens. There are so many things in life we don’t have control over, but each of us has the opportunity to change our bodies and health. Sure, you might have setbacks. For example, I injured my knee during a run and had to take running out of my workouts for a while. And it isn’t easy. There are weeks where I dread going to the gym, or days where I’d like to come home and nap instead of doing INSANITY. There are nights where I’ve been out late with friends, had too many drinks and ordered a jumbo slice of pizza at 2 am. It happens – no “body” is perfect. We all have setbacks, but it’s about getting “back in the saddle” to keep going and putting healthy practices into our lives.
So there’s my fitness story. And it is far from over.