Many people assume that I have always been into fitness and while I’ve had a deep passion for sport, there were times in my life when I was completely disconnected to a healthy or active lifestyle. At one point, having to start from scratch- 15kg overweight, completely unfit, embarrassingly poor nutrition but an even more embarrassing attitude. As well as a fitness journey, this is also where my self love journey started. You could say I’ve been on a ‘fitness journey’ for 8 years now, so here is a look at my journey in a nutshell.
When I was a little tacker, I loved the outdoors. You would often find me playing in the backyard with some sort of sporting equipment in hand. Tennis against the wall, throwing a footy, shooting hoops, I even took to archery at one stage. I remember my first 50m dash in primary school and how much I loved it. I remember being so excited for every PE (Physical Education) class, cross country day, athletics day, no matter what the sport was, I just loved the outdoors and moving. Even Badminton? Especially badminton, that is a classy sport people! In High School I made district/ state level in Squash, Track and Field, Lacrosse and Cross Country- I have always loved to run. At the time I did not realise how important sport/ exercise was for me, mentally and physically. There was a certain freedom, an escape, sport provided me during a difficult childhood. It was a type of therapy for me, I was always hungry for it, always looking for the next opportunity to put my sport shoes on because in that moment I was just a kid playing and anything that was troubling me at the time went away.
Nutrition wise, I was absolutely woeful. Here’s a fun fact, I had never voluntarily eaten a vegetable before the age of 18 (other than potato of course, because… potato.) But seriously I HATED vegetables. I was the kid at the dinner table protesting until bed time. I mostly ate pasta, bread, chips, KFC, Hungry Jacks, 2 minute noodles (omg mi-goreng is still my favourite thing on this planet but I rarely eat it because it is TERRIBLE for you) MacDonalds, yep… SUCH-A-FITSPO!
I had never really had an issue with my weight, as I was so active during school, I didn’t really have to learn that I couldn’t just eat junk food all of the time because on the outside I looked completely normal. I cringe to this day, to think what was happening to my poor insides- Yuck! Despite being active, I wasn’t exactly your picture of health, in fact if anything I was malnutritioned.
As a school student, you are constantly moving and lugging around a school bag filled with textbooks. You walk to the bus stop, you walk to each class, you have PE classes, you might play sport at lunchtime but when you graduate from high school, a lot of that stops. I stopped playing all sports except one (touch football) once a week and got a desk job as a receptionist. That’s when I gained A LOT of weight and became the most overweight I have ever been.
I was usually a size 8 and had got to a size 14. I had gained 15kg and one day I found myself at the beach, with a bunch of my school friends comparing my body to my friends’ bodies, while attempting everything to cover my body up. I went home and looked in the mirror and knew I was unhealthy. Something in me that day, looking into the mirror just clicked and I didn’t want to live like that anymore. So I went to the gym and I talked to a personal trainer and told him that I wanted to change.
A BAD SELF ESTEEM
I think it’s important to note that, I had always had trouble with self love and respect. Then since I gained the weight, that hate/ self bashing started to include body image. I hated what I saw in the mirror. The cellulite on my butt, the way my arms pressed against my body, the largeness of my belly and the roundness of my face. I was in a difficult place without having to worry about how I looked. As well as a fitness journey, this is also where my self love journey started and I’m so glad it did.
I remember my first few sessions at the gym, I was extremely weak, especially in my upper body, I had next to no fitness. My body screamed unhealthy. I was young but so unable to do simple things. It was embarrassing. That’s when I really noticed how unfit I truly was. I realised that good nutrition was really going to speed up the process for my goals.
When I eventually started to see results, I got completely addicted and yes I went overboard. Measuring every macro, spending 3-4 hours at the gym and not eating anything outside of my very strict ‘meal plan.’I became really short tempered and an unpleasant person to be around.
After 6 months of this, I had lost my excess 15kg (and more.) I looked like a complete bobble head and after all that hard work, the sacrifices, the hours at the gym, the sweat and the tears I was STILL unhappy. I now know that I was doing all of it for all the wrong reasons. I was training to punish myself. I was hating on my body no matter how much it had worked, no matter what it delivered to me in the hour, I still didn’t give it any sort of love back. Yes, I do get sad now thinking how poorly I treated myself, but I hope by sharing this it can help other young girls think about their own fitness journey and their WHY.
Anyway, back to bobble head Rev. It was then, I was approached by multiple personal trainers to do a bikini fitness comp (as I was beginning to the look the part) You know, when you stand on a stage in a tiny bikini and people judge you and decide whether you meet their idea of fit. Something about that concept just didn’t feel right as a young woman discovering self love and body image. It was about this time, I had started to notice a little bit of something I had never really had for myself. Self respect. I stood up for myself and said, ‘no thanks, that’s just not for me.’ By the way, I don’t have anything against fitness competitions, it takes guts, commitment and sacrifice. I just didn’t think it was right for me at that stage in my life to do one.
KNOWING MY WORTH
The point is- that little bit of self respect grew. It had sparked something in me- to know my worth. Every day, I started lifting more, running further, getting stronger and I kept falling a bit more in love with myself from the inside. In love with what I was capable of. I was achieving stuff and I was proud of that. It made me feel good and on some days great. I started eating more healthy portions, thinking of ways to nourish my body instead of starving it. I started going to the gym less and playing outdoors more. I stopped worrying about how fitness made me look and focussed on how it made me feel. I started training for ME.
When I had realised what fitness had done for me, I decided that I wanted to share that bridge with other people. More specifically women. The bridge I’m referring to is the one that connects fitness and self respect. I realised that by showing up to training and giving it my all that I was proving to myself that I was a powerful, driven, strong woman. I was overcoming things physically with personal records but more important I was overcoming self doubt and insecurity.
While studying fitness, I continued at they gym and found a love for (oh my gosh I’m almost embarrassed to say it but don’t knock it until you try it!) BodyStep. I love dancing and I love exercising- How can you blame me really?
Then one day my sister asked me to try CrossFit as she had been doing it with her hubby. I fell in love with the sport straight off the bat, I loved how challenging it was and how much room there was to improve. I loved the group/ community feel it had and that we were all in the ‘suck’ together. If I remember correctly I lasted 2 more Personal Training sessions before I joined CrossFit for good and have never looked back (7 years later.)
It wasn’t long into CrossFit that I noticed how competitive and daunting it can be. I myself, was strongly encouraged to compete by all coaches I came across. In order to please my Coach I started doing the competitive programs and after a few months I realised it was making me unhappy. I was no longer training for me, I was training for someone else and for the wrong reasons. When I tried different CrossFit affiliates, the pressure was still there.
It was at this time, I had a vision, to start a fitness facility that accommodated to the individual’s goals. A space where women can empower each other instead of compete against one another. A space where we celebrated every win, big and small. In 2013, I opened the doors to CrossFit Babes Miami at 22 years old and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
It had become my purpose to share that connection of self love and fitness with people and this seemed like the perfect platform to introduce that to people. I feel so lucky to have discovered my purpose so early in life. I am really proud of how many lives it has impacted in a positive way. How many friendships have started because of it, how many people have called it their second home, the place they’ve come to escape, to overcome, to discover inner strength.
STEPPING OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE
I’ve always encouraged trying new sports. It’s healthy for you to get nervous, to be outside your comfort zone, it keeps you feeling alive. In the past 5 years I have done a handful of half marathons, triathlons, Tough Mudders, played squash, Trail Runs and hell, I even scared the shit out of myself once and did a Half Ironman (You can read about that here! It was really tough but crossing that finish line was un-fu*&ing-believable.) I would LOVE to get back into Touch Football but you know, life, business, baby etc! For now I just get obsessed with the NRL season- haha!
And that brings you up to date if you’ve been following me for the past year. I fell pregnant in July 2015 and that is a whole new blog post as this one is long enough!
I can’t believe it has been seven years since I started CrossFit and I still love this type of strength and conditioning. I am so excited for changes to come in 2017 for our little gym and I can’t wait to tell you about it.
I hope you enjoyed reading my fitness journey and the challenges I’ve overcome throughout it. Fitness is much more than a form of exercise to me, it is a time where I can honor myself and find out how amazing my mind and body truly is. Each of us holds an unlimited amount of potential but it is up to us to discover that.
I hope you train for the right why- For a healthy, happy, you.