Fit to be Fat?
As you all know, I'm super passionate about fitness. But, I'd like to share a time when I was a bit confused as to what I wanted for my life.
You're probably thinking that fitness is fitness, isn't it? And, the answer is YES. Sorta. Kinda. Ok, no, not really.
Depending on who you ask, fitness can be a meathead in the gym. It can be a marathon runner. It might be a dancer. And it is, definitely, most athletes. (I say most because some may argue that bowling, pool, darts, and competitive eating are sports.)
My definition, though, is a little bit less cut-and-dry than any of those. See, I have been a competitive athlete for the majority of my life. I've played sports (not bowling, pool, darts, but, perhaps some competitive eating when there is only one cookie left in the box and my brother thought it was his) since I was 5 years old and I still continue to race in the Civilian Military Combine to feed my competitive desire. But, at the age of 22, I was at a crossroads in my understanding of what fitness meant.
I had just graduated college, leaving the consistent training of being on the crew team, and decided to train for a Bodybuilding Competition. Now, let's backtrack a minute. Before you start getting images of my head on Arnold Schwarzenegger's body, let me explain. In the world of bodybuiling, there are various classes: Bodybuilder, Figure, Fitness, &, as of recent, Bikini. I was training for figure. That meant no steroids or crazy big muscles that would give Popeye nightmares. I trained hard for about 5 months. I had weightlifting workouts for an hour per day, with muscle group splits, and cardio later that day for an hour. In other words, back and bis, chest and tris, shoulders, legs, abs, etc. SHOOT ME! Probably the MOST BORING workout program in the world!
Well, I did two competitions and felt like I looked amazing! I even placed in the top. Sounds great, right? See the previous paragraph, last comment. I had zero desire to keep training this way. And, I had gotten many compliments on my physique, but I truly felt like "It only looks good. I can't do anything with it."
I began to train for a half marathon to change things up a little. I loved it. There's something very liberating about going out and running. You may disagree, but do you run? I guarantee that you don't, if you don't like it. You're probably not good at it, and I don't blame you. I don't like things I'm not good at either. But, I work at them, and I make sure I dominate them. Then, it's a challenge that I enjoy and push to do better at. I know. I know. I'm competitive. Preaching to the choir. But start training for a 5k. I promise you will like, not necessarily love, running by the time race time comes around.
Anyway, I started to put some weight back on. Not a lot, but I wasn't as "fat free" as I had been for my competitions. I wasn't eating the strict diet necessary to stand in a Brazilian bikini on stage, in front of strangers, flexing my glutes. I couldn't. I had to keep my caloric intake up so that I could fuel my runs. Especially the long ones. Look, you can't eat an apple and slice of cheese and expect to run 10 miles. It's just not gonna happen. But, it was here that I began to wonder if I would have to make a decision: do I want to look good and hate training, or did I want to love training and get to enjoy life a bit more but maybe not look as fit as I once had.
It was a daunting decision.
I couldn't motivate myself to go back to the training that I had done for competition. It was boring. It was repetitive. It was blah. I wanted to jump and hop and clean and snatch and move weight because I was strong. Not because I was on a machine.
It's been almost 10 years since that decision. The best thing I ever did was try. And learn from my mistakes. And try again. Now, I'm in THE BEST shape of my life. Literally. I'm leaner, stronger, faster, more powerful, and I still eat chocolate every night.
If you've been thinking about trying to get fit. Leave me a comment. I would love to help you find the best shape of YOUR life and show you that you can look and do things you never thought possible.
Keep sweating and sewing.