Though it feels like it has been decades since I have written in Faith Food & Fitness, who would have known that college would fly by quicker than high school? Senior year is coming up on the half way mark, and I am about to sign up for my final semester of classes. Crazy. Since I last wrote in this blog, however many ages ago that was, A LOT has changed in my life- and for the better. If you know me well, you may have a general idea as to what events have taken place in my life. In order to stay organized on the up coming topic of this post, I want to focus on fitness aspects and talk directly from my own opinion and point of view. This topic has been weighing heavily on my mind and on my heart, and I think it's time to let my thoughts run free!
As most of you may know, last year I competed in a bikini body building competition. I am not going to get into the details of that here. If you would like to read a shorter post from my Instagram on that ordeal, you can click on this link below.
Coming out of that experience, I thought fitness had one meaning. I obtained this meaning through the various "fitspso" social media accounts that I had accumulated into a mass following during my prep for the competition. Fitness, and at that point in time, health, meant LEAN. Abs, shredded thighs, peaking shoulders, and diet faces. Fitness meant going to the gym every single day. Fitness meant that lifting weights was the only option. Fitness meant each lifting day was organized into a bodybuilding style muscle group split. Fitness meant early morning fasted cardio. I was still suffering from the mental (and physical) trauma that I had put my body through in the weeks before. I was running myself into the ground daily in order to keep up with the standards that I had accepted from the self-proclaimed fitness "experts" on social media, and obviously it was not sustainable.
In this mindset, I thought the ONLY exercise that would yield results was lifting weights in this fashion, and I began to loathe going to the gym. I started to think that I needed something else, something else that would provide the results of "fitness" and "happiness" that I was desperately searching for.
To make a long story 12x shorter (trust me, I typed it out and deleted most of it so that I can summarize what I want to say here), I am going to list the other types of exercises that I tried in order to get the results above.
To conclude my findings after trying workout after workout, fueled only by hopes of achieving aesthetic results, was that fitness does not have to be a "one size fits all". I found that what I genuinely LOVE doing is Oranegtheory Fitness- high intensity interval, heart rate based training- spinning / cycling, hiking, running, and lifting weights- WHEN I FEEL LIKE IT.
What I have learned over the past year is priceless- Fitness is there to sculpt the physical body, yes. There are numerous health benefits to gaining more lean muscle mass and lowering fat mass, yes. But fitness, and HEALTH is not solely based off of aesthetics, how big your biceps are, how perky your glutes are, or how toned your abs are. Fitness is there to ELEVATE THE MIND. Fitness is supposed to IMPROVE mental health, not diminish it. Being fit and healthy in my mind is doing what challenges you. It is doing what you LOVE, doing what you ENJOY, and it is doing what makes YOU HAPPY. Fitness can literally be anything that gets you out of bed in the morning, what gets you moving on your lunch hour, or what gets you through to the end of a long day. It can be anything that gets your heart rate up, and it can be anything that gets you motivated. Fitness is NOT something that should stress you out. Being healthy and fit encompasses balance, but it does NOT mean you deprive yourself of nutrients if you are unable to make it to a workout one day. Exercise is NOT a punishment, exercise is a REWARD. If what you are doing is causing you stress, harm, or unhappiness, there is NO reason to continue doing it. Take a step back and ask yourself what your goals are, but most importantly, what will make you happy and enhance your day to day life.
If you like running- DO IT.
If you like swimming laps- DO IT.
If you like Crossfit- DO IT.
If you like TRX training- DO IT.
If you like weight lifting- DO IT.
If you like hiking- DO IT.
That being said, just because some fitness fad is over-advertised on social media or in the fitness industry, it does NOT mean that it is the only or even the best form of exercise to get the results that you are looking for. Honestly, the best form of exercise is any exercise that you can and are willing to do.
I want to close with a few words: Do what challenges you. Do what you enjoy. The physical results will come with time, but the quality of your life will improve immediately.
Fitness is your freedom.
Thank you for reading,
It's truly amazing to be so blessed to come to a place like Hawaii once a year. This year, it was just my parents and I who traveled over seas to paradise. I love where I live, don't get me wrong, but there is just something truly magnificent about getting out and going somewhere completely different. This trip, my family and I went to the big island of Hawaii, specifically to Kona. We usually go to Maui, and last year we went to Kauai. Both of those islands are beautiful, but they're both a little more tourist-y. The big island has it's areas that have more people, buts it's pretty serene and peaceful. Today we went two hours south from where we were staying and found ourselves at the top of one of Hawaii's active volcanos. We hiked around and were able to see the crater that was spewing with steam and sulfur. Then we drove down a ways and were stopped when the road was blocked off. We got out and walked along an abandoned road lined with cliffs that were made out of lava, which dropped off into the rough ocean. About a mile or so up the road, we were met with cooled lava that looked like it had been poured over the land and road. It was amazing. As we've been exploring new places here throughout the week, I can't help but feel as if I've been given a breath of fresh air. All of this is here because of God's creation, and I am so thankful that I have the chance to explore the wonders of this tremendous earth that He created. Being here has humbled me so much to the fact that I am so small compared to Him. John 3:30-31 says "He must become greater, I must become less. The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all".
Sometimes it takes surrounding yourself in nature and placing yourself in front of something so much bigger to realize how small we really are, and to remember what we stand for, what our values are, and who we truly are. This trip has been so great in allowing me to get a sense of clarity in my mind, and become humble before myself and before God.
Thank you for reading!
Now go find a volcano or something ;)
Hello! Thank you for checking in on my very first blog post! So here it goes. I'm not going to explain what this blog will be about right here (you can find that on the "about" link!), but I would like to share some of my motivation for doing this. If you know me, you know my "story". Who I am, what I do, etc! So for those of you who don't know, I just finished my freshman year of college at the University of Nevada, Reno. I have had say, a more or less typical experience than many people would have in their first year of college. My first year consisted of a lot of events, some big and some small, but nonetheless impactful on my life. I have grown and am continuing to build my relationship with God and Jesus Christ, more than I would have ever imagined in the past, which is a huge and ongoing event. I lost some really good friends, but I gained some even better ones. I changed my major. I ran two half marathons! (that counts as a full.. right?) I have done so many things and so much stuff has happened in the past year, I can't even begin to list it all. Anyways, back to my blog. A lot of the reason why I created this was to start talking about and publishing something that has been greatly affecting me throughout this past year, and that is positive thoughts, self worth, and especially positive body image. As many of you my age or older know, and many of you who are younger will find out, FRESHMAN 15 IS A REAL THING! It happens to the best of us. Before I moved to Reno, I was convinced that I would exercise everyday, eat 100% healthy, and that I would actually lose weight my freshman year of college! Man, was I wrong. Reality set in when I wasn't getting enough sleep due to the newly freed college students running down the halls out to party, and screaming with excitement at 3:00 AM. Reality was that the cafeteria had more desert options than dinner options. It was the fact that I had classes and homework. Reality was that alcohol molecules are shaped, processed, and stored in the body just like sugar molecules (I only drank a few times, I swear). It was that we couldn't even get fresh drinking water in our dorm room, or anywhere in our hall. Even though I was training for my races and going to the gym a few times a week, my body was not well rested, nor was it being nourished properly. The result was that I did gain some weight. This started to really affect me when Adam, my boyfriend of over a year, left for the military. I was sad, lonely, and didn't really know what to do with myself now that he was gone! It took some major adjustments to get through my second semester, but I did it! Anyways, my roommates (love you guys if you're reading), in my mind, were literally perfect! They were so tiny and thin and gorgeous. They didn't have a single ounce of fat on them! They could eat nachos, french fries, gummy worms, and chocolate cake for every single meal and not gain a single pound. OBVIOUSLY, I was, and am, still a little jealous! At this time, I was so down on myself, and I was thinking things like "why doesn't my body function that way", or "why don't I look like them" or any of the other skinny girls I'd see walking through campus. I would also catch myself thinking horrible, negative comments about my body, and I would even avoid looking into the mirror when I would dress or undress. It wasn't until a few days ago, when I realized that I was actually considering taking a high risk, brain-damaging-side-effect, laxative "detoxifying" tea remedy, that figured I really needed to stop. I was actually thinking about doing something that I could risk hospitalizing myself, over nothing! (SkinnyMe Tea- DONT DO IT. The fluids your body can lose from the laxative effect can cause neurological damage). I was making myself so unhappy with all of the negativity that I kept shoving into my brain. I kept telling myself that I hated the way I looked, but why? I shouldn't!! And that is the problem. Our society today has created such a negative atmosphere when it comes to our bodies. The media puts out professionally edited pictures of models so that they look a certain way that is realistically unachievable for most people. They show us that beauty, sexy, and pretty only comes in one size, shape, or form. It has made an atmosphere where it is more acceptable to talk about the things you hate about your body than the features that you love. The more that I think about all of this, the more it pisses me off! Why should I be beating myself up over something that is photoshopped anyway? No one should feel that they aren't worthy of being pretty because they aren't a size zero, or that they don't have an ideal, hourglass-shape figure. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being skinny, thin, fit, big boned, heavy, overweight, short, or tall. You are your own person. I AM MY OWN PERSON. And because of this, we are all beautiful in our own way. Anyway, the point of this blog and this post is that I don't care what is out there on television or in magazines, I need to appreciate my body and all that it can do. I need to realize that I am strong, that I am fit, and that the little numbers on the scale don't portray my abilities in life. I want to promote a positive lifestyle that includes good, healthy, and nourishing food. I want to be as active as I possibly can. And I want to help YOU do that, too! This blog won't have much for a while, but I hope to have it develop along with my personal development, towards maximum health. I can't do any of this without my faith, good food, fitness, and most important, POSITIVITY! I really hope you all will support me through this transformation, and I will support you too. Thank you so much for reading!