Over the last four years, I have embarked on a journey. One that has led me to find myself. One that has taught me more about myself and my body and how it all works. Here are a few things I’ve learned:
1. Love Your Body … It’s AMAZING
This may be the most important one. Cliche, yes, but important. I don’t spend hours in the gym because I hate my body, I spend hours in the gym because I love it. I want it to be stronger. I want it to be better. I want it to be more defined.
My body is AMAZING. I never thought it could do the things it does. I’ve discovered I can jump over fire, jump into ice water, run miles, climb walls, lift heavy weights, and become something that I am proud of.
Your body is your home. Your temple. You have to treat it as such. You want to nurture it and teach it how amazing it can be (remember, it did create a human life). It is a powerful element. Allow it to show you what it can do. Who knew I’d be able to pull myself upside down on a rope. And yes … I ran, mommy belly and all, in just a sports bra. Why? Because it was HOT outside.
2. The Kids are ALWAYS Watching
Don’t believe me? Try going to the bathroom alone or eat a piece of chocolate. They know. They quickly pick up on our both our good and bad habits.
When I first started getting into fitness, I would work out at home. My then 2-year-old would sometimes wake up in the morning and see me working out. It didn’t take her long to pick up a set of weights.
At the time, my oldest was 4, and she wanted to get into fitness with us. We signed her up at a local gym that had a CrossFit kids class. Needless to say, she loved it. She even did a Spartan Kids race with us that year. If they see you doing it, they’re going to become interested – especially if they’re young.
3. There’s a HUGE Community of Fit Moms
I’ve always been the girl who loved lifting weights. It seems to be a trend that men are in the weight room and women are on the cardio machines (with the exception of the few female body builders). Gradually, I’m noticing a shift with more women hitting the weights. YAY! And a lot of women lifting weights are moms. Squeee!!! Fit Mom Friends!?! Yes, please!
There’s a massive fit mom community out there – even here in Columbia. Ashley Kates, a nutritionist and former body builder, runs a local group called Mommy Strong filled with woman who are supportive and willing to give advice. Being a mom, you learn how important community is … and finding the right group of likeminded individuals is essential on your fitness journey. It’s easy to derail or get busy. Having a community supporting you, helps to bring you back.
4. Nutrition is KEY
I’m not talking about the latest fad diet or what your best friend did to lose 20 pounds in one week. I’m talking about real nutrition. How food works with the body. Getting proper nutrients.
We’ve all been taught that to lose weight, we need to eat less. That’s not necessarily true. I eat more calories now than I did at my thinnest. Why? Because I’m eating properly. I’m filling my belly up with good for me foods. So after I eat a proper meal, my body is sustained and ready to go. Ever notice after eating cheap fast food, you’re hungry again not long after? Your body is craving the nutrients it needs.
Talk to a nutritionist or a personal trainer about how to make your diet work for you. Go to the PROFESSIONALS. You’ll be surprised how many myths are out there.
5. Be Selfish and Focus on Yourself
Okay. This one is hard. Raise your hand if you’ve put off taking care of yourself for the betterment of your children, significant other, or friend who needs you at that exact moment?
We drop everything for everyone else, leaving little time for ourselves. But how are we able to care for someone else if we are unable to care for ourselves??
I won’t lie. This is the hardest lesson I’ve learned.
Working out is a nice, peaceful break for me, as I get to focus on myself and do something that makes me feel great. In exchange, I put my kids in the gym child care or let them watch an extra movie or put them to bed a few minutes early. All of this is okay. We all need a break sometimes. Having that half hour, hour, or hour and a half to focus on yourself will do amazing things for your mental health. I cherish those times.
As a parent, it’s always a constant battle balancing your needs with others. Keep in mind, it’s okay to NOT work out because the little wants to spend time with you, or because something came up. Don’t beat yourself up for it. But make sure you’re scheduling time for yourself at least a few days a week. You’ll thank yourself later.
6. Failure is TOTALLY Acceptable
Yep. I’m the queen of failure. I’ve failed at everything from careers to OCRs to being a mom to fitness and nutrition. I have learned to embrace it. Failure sucks. It does. But, you learn from it. You can’t learn if you haven’t failed. You don’t know what doesn’t work if you haven’t tried. When I first started, it took me a long time to find my groove. But I made a huge transformation over the course of two years after finding what worked for me.
And then, in August 2015 we decided to move from PA to SC. My fitness got pushed aside and I lost all of my progress. Life took over and I needed to get control of everything … so this happened:
For most people, there’s not much of a difference between 2015 and when the photo in gray was taken (May 2016 I believe). For me? After working my little tush off for two years, the difference was immense. It still is. I’m currently relearning everything because my body changed and what worked before isn’t working now. But hey, I still look in the mirror every morning and say “killed it” (okay … maybe not), but I’m still proud of the progress I’ve made over the last few months since getting serious again.
Oh … and then this happened:
I was pulled off an obstacle course because I fell and landed on my knee. I found out I tore my ACL. Sucks. But hey, I’ll get back at it. My body means too much to me to allow myself to repeat my previous mistakes.
Remember, it’s okay to fail. Let it be what drives you.
On to number 7…
Okay. So I lied. I’m only giving you 6. Opps. But, here – check out some awesome photos of my kids kicking tush!