My Fitness Journey

Let me take you through my journey of fitness throughout my life…

I’ll start out briefly by telling you a little bit about my childhood. Growing up, I was always a skinny child. I spent most of my time outdoors and playing sports (softball, basketball, golf, tennis, cheerleading – pretty much anything you can think of). I was a very active kid, luckily, because I ate whatever I wanted and it never seemed to affect my weight…

That is, until I was about 15. This is where I distinctly remember starting to feel self conscious about my weight/size. I remember being in my sophomore year of High School, weighing around 130 and thinking I was starting to get fat. Oh, if I could only go back and slap some sense into my younger self! Somewhere between my sophomore and junior year, I started packing on some pounds. I had always worn extra smalls and smalls. Now, all of a sudden, I was wearing mediums and larges and pants about 6 sizes bigger! It was not a gradual change – I really remember it being this sudden. I was still eating the same foods as always, some variation of:

Breakfast – biscuits, pancakes, muffins, poptarts

Lunch – pizza, chicken fingers, fries

Dinner – homemade meals (while delicious, they were so NOT healthy) or going out to eat with friends (side note: at this point in my life, I thought fried chicken salads covered with ranch were healthy…)

I was still pretty active, playing sports throughout the rest of high school, but still a little overweight.

Once I went to college, I tried to start working out and eating healthier since I wasn’t playing sports anymore. I would run on the treadmill a couple of days a week and my idea of healthy was lean pockets and potato chips. [Writing this now makes me so thankful that I’ve learned so much since then.] I was so off track! It didn’t help that with college came beer and late nights out, and with that came late night runs to Taco Bell, Krystal, Waffle House, etc. I ate so much fast food and fried food during college, it is seriously disgusting.

I knew that in order to get “skinny” I needed to change my diet and have an actual workout routine. Quite frankly, I was just too lazy to put this plan into action. It seemed like all of my friends could eat and drink whatever they wanted and still manage to look great, which I thought was completely unfair. Needless to say, I always felt like the fat friend during college, which did nothing for my self confidence. I would see other girls and wish that one day I could look like them. I constantly felt fat and was always comparing myself to other girls, only to fall short every time. I tried so many fad diets and diet pills, none of which worked. I was still not ready to commit to a healthy lifestyle – I was too busy enjoying college. I wanted to be in shape, I just didn’t want to work hard for it.

In February 2008, I guess I’d had enough of feeling miserable and fat, and decided to make some changes.I stumbled upon this book at the book store, Extreme Fat Smash Diet, and decided to buy it! I can’t remember why I chose this exact book, but at the time, it seemed like a good choice. I started the diet and joined a gym. Looking back, I don’t know how I stuck to this. The diet was VERY strict and I was exercising like crazy. I did tons of cardio and classes at the gym (bodypump, step class, etc.). Some days I would do a class followed by an hour of cardio on the treadmill or go to the gym twice in one day. After about a month, I had lost 10 lbs and was feeling pretty good about myself. I was the smallest I had been in a while and it felt great! *Now that I know a lot more about health and fitness, I would not recommend this diet to anyone. It cut my calorie intake to about 700-900 calories a day, which I now know is not good for your body. Yes, I lost 10 lbs, but I ended up gaining it all back after several months. Not surprising at all, there is no way I could ever stick to something that strict, nor should I! My weight has been such a roller coaster, it’s hard to remember all of the times I lost then gained, lost then gained. I was very inconsistent with my diet, and anytime I lost weight I would quit working out because I was satisfied with the way I looked, and of course I gained it all back plus some. My weight has been 100% a product of things I did/didn’t do, and that’s probably the hardest pill to swallow.

If you read my “Meet Kristi” page, you already know that in August 2011, I got engaged! I had always said that when I got engaged, I was going to get a personal trainer and be in the best shape ever for my wedding. I had learned over the years that having someone tell me what to do at the gym was much more effective than trying to do it on my own. So, in October, my sister and I found a small little gym called Fitness Together where we lived in Auburn, AL, and started doing small group training there. I had never done small group training before, but really enjoyed it. Most of the time it was just me and my sister anyway, so it was basically personal training. We did a lot of circuit training and cardio and I altered my diet a little, but not nearly as much as I could have. I had 6 months to get in shape for my wedding, and I was determined to do it! In the end, I felt pretty good about what I had accomplished. I dropped a pants size,  lost around 13 lbs of fat and gained some muscle as well. I was happy with the way I looked at my wedding, but I always think I could have been in better shape. (sigh)

After watching my body change like it did in those 6 months, I was hooked on working out. We continued the small group training for another month, then I was searching for something new. I went to the gym for about a month, doing free weights and cardio, but that got old fast. For once, I was determined to stick to some sort of workout routine and not waste all of the progess I had made. And the search continued…until I decied to try CrossFit!I absolutely LOVED CrossFit! The workouts were so intense, and I rarely left there without being drenched in sweat. If I’m not sweating, then it wasn’t a good workout! I worked out with CrossFit from July-October, until we moved to NY, but I think I could have been a lifetime CrossFitter. Unfortunately, it is insanely expensive in Manhattan to do so.

Onto my workout routine in NYC. I’ll admit, I hit a bit of a slump when we moved here, starting with the 2 weeks prior to our move. We were moving at lightning speed to get everything together for our move, and there was just no time for working out (ok, ok, I’m sure there was, but I didn’t exactly make the time). Once we were here, I had all of these big ideas of running in Central Park and finding a great gym to join. I was jobless for about a month after we moved here, so I had all the time in the world. Funny how things happen – I never quite made it on that run to Central Park, and I quickly found out that gyms here are SUPER expensive. So that month went by, then I got a job (yay!) and my thought was, “Oh, now I’ll be walking so much to and from work that the pounds will just fall off. I’ll be skinny!” Surprisingly enough, I did notice my clothes starting to fit a little looser around December, but nothing too noticeable. I probably walk 100 times more now that we live here than I did in Alabama, so I guess it’s not actually that surprising. I went about 4 whole months without working out regularly, and that just wasn’t going to continue. I had worked too hard to gain everything back AGAIN! Not to mention, I was also eating bagels, pizza, pasta, takeout (gotta love that almost every place in NYC delivers!) so I just knew the weight was eventually going to pile back on. I had to get back on track – plus I was really missing my regular workout routine. I tried out a few free trials at different gyms, but didn’t find anything worth spending tons of money on. I really wanted to get back into CrossFit, but like I said, outrageously expensive.

So, sometime around February I got serious and was determined to find a place that I could call my gym. I did another month-long trial at a gym near my apartment and found Jamie Eason’s Workout Plan online. I followed that pretty closely for about a month, waking up early before work and going on the weekends as well, but this is a really detailed plan to follow and just wasn’t my thing…THEN my friend Katie introduced me to a kickboxing gym called Eastside Training. Game over, I had always wanted to do kickboxing! She had tried out the gym using an Amazon Local deal (which I decided not to get, like an idiot) and kept telling me all about it and how she was loving the classes and losing weight doing it. That’s all I needed to hear and tried my first class! The class I tried first was actually a TRX and kettlebell class. I thought, “I’ve worked with TRX and kettlebells before – I’ll be fine.” WRONG! I was so sore I could barely walk for like 2 weeks, and I am not exaggerating. It was the most intense class I have ever taken anywhere! Needless to say, that scared me off for about 3 weeks, then I tried their kickboxing class. I was hooked after that – It was the most fun I’ve had working out in a long time and such an AWESOME workout! After just a few weeks, I was noticing changes in my body and feeling great. I also started The Paleo Diet at the same time I started doing kickboxing regularly, but I’ll save that for another post. A month into this routine, I was down a pants size (woohoo!) I couldn’t believe how quickly my body was changing, but I definitely wasn’t complaining! After the second month, I was down another pants size. At this point, I was just utterly amazed. I mean these workout are SO intense, but I have never dropped 2 pants sizes in my life, let alone in two months!

I know it sounds cliche, but Eastside Training, kickboxing and Paleo have changed my life. I cannot put into words how thankful I am that I started doing this when I did. I feel better about myself in so many ways and wouldn’t change it for anything. It probably seems like I’m just rambling on about myself and losing weight, etc., but the whole point of this blog is to hopefully be an inspiration to someone else. I think the best quote that comes to mind here is, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” How could I ever venture into the fitness/nutrition world if I’m not healthy and in shape myself? I want to work as hard as I can to be the person I’m trying to motivate others to be. As someone who has struggled with my weight/appearance for as long as I can remember, it really feels good to make some progress towards a healthier and “fitter” me! It’s about so much more than being “skinny” or seeing a certain number on the scale. For me, now, it’s about getting HEALTHY, getting FIT, getting STRONG and staying that way. No excuses anymore, especially if I’m trying to inspire others to do the same. I am definitely not at the end of this journey to get in shape, but I’m getting closer every day.

**Update (4/24/14)**

After moving apartments in November 2013 and taking another few months off from working out (kicks self), I am FINALLY part of a CrossFit Gym that I absolutely love! I joined EVF CrossFit Columbus Circle in March and have been hooked ever since! Although I do occasionally miss the high intensity cardio workouts that I got from kickboxing, I’m so excited that I’m able to do CrossFit on a regular basis. I never knew how truly addicting it was until now. It’s what I look forward to each day, and now that my goals have changed a bit, it’s the perfect fit for me! I can’t wait to see the progress that I make and continue to reach new goals!

Thanks for reading!

Kristi

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