I love fitness.

I started my fitness journey about 9 years ago. I had always been an active child and my mom was always very fit, even after her three pregnancies.

I don’t remember what really kicked my butt into gear. I have always been thin. My weight has always been around 115-125 pounds and then jumped to 160 during my 10th month of pregnancy (here is where you fellow mothers laugh) December 2014.

I danced at a local studio from 2 years old to 10 years old. At the beginning of each class we would do an exercise routine to keep our bodies strong and stretchy to avoid injuries. I remember at after school care during nap time (I was the only one that wouldn’t nap) I quietly counted 200 crunches to pass the time. I was a strange kid. Looking back I should have just napped. I never appreciated naps till I was in college.

I stopped dancing because it is so damn expensive. Forget the class rates. The costumes are ridiculous and you only wear them once. Hey! Maybe that is why I didn’t have a traditional wedding. I picked out a beautiful $300 dress and was done with it. Please forgive my public display of self revelation there.

After dance I had to do something. In between volunteering at the local animal shelter every day after school I started doing sports. I was the only girl on a basketball team (we go 1st place that year), on an all girls soccer team (we got 2nd place that year), joined Girl Scouts and ended up doing Cheerleading for a short (very short) period. Cheerleading ended up being a joke. Before you Cheerleaders get your bloomers in a bunch, I loved Cheerleading. The problem was that I was the least cool kid in the school and even at well under 100 pounds in 7th grade I always got stuck as the spotter. I also couldn’t afford the competitions let alone any outfit other than the actual skirt and halter. During games I would try to lead cheers and let’s just say I was cheering to myself.

When I was 20 I was exercising every morning and sticking to a strictly healthy diet. Not “diet” like mainstream social assumptions would make of the word. I ate fresh ingredients and was always cooking. I made sure what I ate had a lot of nutrients and shockingly out of character cut out 95% of sweets/sugar.

I did that for a year. I loved DVRing the workouts on Lifetime early in the morning and using those for my routines. I would run a short mile or two at least twice a week.

Then I realized I was only twenty. I had great genes. I was healthy and for heavens sake WHY am I doing this at 20 when I know I won’t gain weight? If I can get away with eating a whole pan of brownies now, why would I stop eating them now? Why not stop eating them when it becomes a problem? And I don’t mean a problem in which my husband judgingly stares at me and then complains he didn’t even get to eat one…

So I stopped the healthy diet. What I couldn’t stop is the exercising.

I love to exercise. I love feeling strong and sore. I love being able to see my hard work reflect in my posture and body shape.

I hate being skinny. By skinny I mean that I hate my body when I don’t exercise. I see the difference. Things are droopy and I remind myself of thick cake batter that is being slowly poured into a pan when creates those ripples? You know? I know you know if you like cake the way I like cake. You can be skinny and still look like that.

Working in the restaurant industry since I was 15 helped, too. Those jobs always keep you active and my arms looked so strong from carrying all those trays and bus tubs. I loved the way my arms looked when I was a bartender/server.

Again, I love to look and feel strong.

Quick note: If you like to look and feel strong, too, try a pole dancing class. The acrobatic kind. Ah-mazing.

When I attended UF for Theatre and Dance I signed up for a stage combat class. The instructor is the fittest person I know and intimidating in all aspects of her life except her personality. Ok, fine, her personality is intimidating, but in the “always an optimist, smiling and making the funniest jokes you have ever heard in your life” way. Not the negative way.

That instructor kicked my ass. I fought to get into 3 of her classes. I was only a BA and that made it difficult for me to maneuver my way into some classes. In every class she starts with yoga. What I would call power yoga, my favorite kind. The type of yoga that you curse under your breath at, that you sweat buckets while doing, that you almost get injured falling over while doing, etc. It was incredible and accelerated my ambition to get fit. Really fit. I felt like a badass in her classes. I felt strong. No, I knew I was strong.

In 2013 I was able to land a job at a local gym. I actually applied for this job because I wanted to join a gym but was too cheap to pay for it. My solution? Get a job at one. I had three other jobs but for someone like me who loves working and who is very active this made sense to me.

This wasn’t your typical gym. This gym was LOADED. On steroids, if you will, like many of their members… I was in love. I had never really belonged to a gym. I have always been a mix of cheap and poor so gyms never appealed to me. I had a short stint of a gym membership 6 years prior but I wouldn’t call going to workout on the treadmill three times a true gym membership and I also wasn’t paying for it.

So my new job was heaven. Not only was it fun, I had a free membership to all three of our locations, all of our group classes and our top of the line equipment. Not to mention I had seemingly unlimited access to personal trainers’ knowledge about all things. That was a blessing when I was pregnant, working 5am to 10am M-F, and my sciatic nerve was making my leg almost give out. Our gym was huge and I would get 15,000 steps in every morning shift so I needed to be mobile.

I got much more out of that gym than a fitness lifestyle. I landed the role of supervisor within three months, gained valuable life and business experience and gained so many great friends.

The only reason I left was because my husband had a job opportunity in a city that would give me the opportunity to pursue my theatrical career goals. I still miss it. Every day.

Moving put a damper on my habitual exercising. More than my pregnancy did.

Exercise is a habit that easy to break and not so easy to restore.

This is my journey towards that restoration.

My Fitness Journey
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