I wasn’t always a fitness enthusiast. In fact, I used to use exercise as “punishment” for eating what I deemed “bad”.
I don’t categorize food as good and bad anymore–food is fuel…but that is a topic of discussion we will save for a later time. Today, I want to share my fitness journey.
I can remember being a young girl, maybe 8 or 9, and my mom encouraging me to walk down the road and back with her. At the time, I did not know why she wanted me to walk with her so badly. It wasn’t fun. It was a battle. Nothing good came from it (or so I thought)–so why did she keep trying?
I’d fight and beg her not to make me…and usually she would give up and go walk by herself. Now, as an adult, I know that she was trying to instill the importance of activity to me at a young age so hopefully when I am older, I will see activity as a part of my normal-everyday routine.
It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I became obsessed with my body image that I started actually exercising…my brother and I would go running together, and he would literally have to push me so I’d keep going. Was it enjoyable? No…but the post-run high was completely worth it. That is when I started noticing how exercise made my mind feel good.
It never lasted…we would run every day together for a week, then go a month or two without consciously doing anything physically active. Forcing myself to do certain exercises was not enjoyable for me.
As a freshman in high school, my mom got us a family YMCA membership so we could all work out together. She heard they were teaching Zumba Fitness classes and dragged me to one. After the first class, I said I was never going back.
I absolutely hated it. Crowds of people watching you dance, mirrors in front of you, no privacy…I was convinced it wasn’t for me.
However, my mom kept taking me and encouraging me to go with her. After attending for a few weeks, I loved it! I never wanted to miss a class. It was my “gateway” to other forms of group fitness classes like spin, weight lifting, and aerobics.
After a few years of attending Zumba Fitness classes, I was given the opportunity to start teaching my own dance fitness classes as a 16 year old and loved it. Not only did it help my fitness journey grow but my personality grew as well. It became a social outlet for me and is still to this day!
By the time I was 17 I was working out in the gym regularly and running on days I didn’t teach dance fitness. When I moved away to college, I started training for run-races and completed several during my time in Tennessee and California. At 19, I obtained my Zumba Fitness license and continued teaching group fitness classes. I even completed 2 half marathons and my first triathlon last year.
Since then, I’ve taught at several gyms and even had my own studio going for a while.
At one point last year, I got stuck in a rut with my workouts and it became so frustrating that I forgot why I loved exercising in the first place. I was running on treadmills and riding stationary bikes because I didn’t know what else to do…I was burnt out from being the gym-rat I used to be…what was I supposed to do?
I then joined a group fitness challenge group where I was taught how to build HIIT workouts using only body weight–no gym or equipment required, and I saw great results. Since then, I dedicate 1-2 workouts per week solely for HIIT workouts, and try to strength train 1-2 days per week in addition to my cardio sessions. These workouts are fun for me! For access to a FREE fitness HIIT workout demo with full workout instructions, click here.
You see, I was not always a fitness fanatic. It took me 10 years to get where I am today, and I plan on growing even more on my fitness journey in the years to come.
What inspired you on your fitness journey? It’s important to know where you started for motivation to keep growing…