I’m in my final week of “Body Beast” program from Beachbody; and I have to say that this program was amaze-balls!!! I haven’t been this happy with my training and nutrition in awhile.
I feel like sharing about the importance of training within your body’s natural “style”; or in other words, working with what you’ve got! 😉
I have always had HIPS and lots of muscle tone; aka, “big boned”. This bothered me tremendously as a teenager and young adult; so much that I was constantly striving to become “waif-like” as the models and actresses whom I looked up to and attained to become.
I ended up “starving” myself until I would binge-eat like a truck driver (do truck drivers binge eat? lol) and then start all over again. I thought that too much cardio was never enough and that weights was a bad word. It was a never ending and unhealthy cycle; as my body would never look like I imagined because of how my body carried weight. It made me feel out of control; which then prompted me to try harder in this neverending battle.
Yes, I was completely like the American culture that now drives me crazy.
I first started to exercise at the gym and only learned about the importance (and help) of weight training from my mentor, Syliva. She was a personal trainer and group exercise instructor whom I looked up to with stars in my eyes.
“I want to be just like her!” I found myself thinking. She wasn’t the waif-like woman, either. She was tall and muscular; but in an amazing and sexy way. I knew then that my body type was almost exactly like her’s. (minus the “super” tall reference because I’m really just average height)
The next two decades found me also training and leading group classes; alongside with training heavy and intense for no other reason than the reason that I could. I remember training with my friend, Joann, and people in the gym would always approach us and ask “what are you two training for?”
Our response? Life!
I went on to have three children; and taught classes and trained throughout the pregnancies and after the births. My goal was to never utter the words; “I’m a mom now; so this weight is a byproduct.” “I’m old now; my metabolism can’t keep up.” Or any of the popular sayings you’ve all heard before.
Not me!! I vowed to be completely in control of my habits and health.
It was fun to run 5ks and half-marathons and mud runs, etc…but my ultimate goal was to eventually enter a fitness competition.
I knew I had to do it at that moment; or it would pass me by. Regret is something I hope to never realize.
I signed up with a WBFF Pro coach and entered my very first NPC Bikini Competition. I wanted to prove to myself that with the proper training and nutrition; I could literally change my body.
I think a bit of the old-school, “waif-like” desires came back into effect. In any case, it took me 6 months of grueling and intense training, eating and mindset to reach my goals.
Was it worth it in the end? Yes! I knew that I had achieved the goals that I set out for myself and for that reason, I was proud. I had placed 2nd in my division of 35 years old and up; as well as 3rd place in my height and all-ages categories. What a high!
Then the downside hit.
I had been warned about the dangers following a competition and how your body tries to acclimate after the intense workouts and calorie restrictions. My coach followed a very healthy and realistic food plan but nonetheless; it was restrictive and much different than I usually eat.
I gained back 10+ pounds immediately and then more. It was a bit scary and I feared issues with my internal organs and metabolism. Honestly, you hear so many negative and scary stories that you start to imagine they might be happening to you. In actuality, my body was just trying to adapt to the changes again.
I’ll be honest, it took me awhile to recover; both mentally and physically and it didn’t help that I had people judging the fact that I had entered such a competition. I think I did okay getting back into the swing of life again.
Then, I signed up to run a marathon. I know, I’m just crazy! But it taught me a new eating style (more carbs!) and longer workouts that didn’t include any weights. While this was intense; I saw my muscle tone decrease and knew that this wasn’t how my body was supposed to be, naturally.
I ran the marathon in just over 4 hours and 30 minutes and was so proud of my accomplishment.
It was at that point that I knew I tended to feel my best when I was lifting weights and doing regular cardio intervals throughout my week. So, I decided to dive into “Body Beast” and do nothing else. I followed the nutrition as closely as possible; as I had learned in my bikini competition days how important this was to any training style.
It has been 86 days of the Beast; and I’m feeling amazing. My husband even commented how he likes my body best this way. Yes, I have more weight on me; but most of it is in muscle mass and looks healthy on me since I only eat clean and supplement healthily. No steroids or strange concoctions. I’ve never been someone to even be humored in these practices.
If you are wondering what style of exercise would fit you best; make sure to take into account your natural body type. If you are naturally thinner and leaner; you could easily choose to go the bikini competitors route; or marathoners route…
But for me and my body; we’ll stick with strength training, cardio and flexibility. It makes me happiest. It makes me “ME” again!