My fitness journey began at seventeen, when I could drive myself there everyday, after school.
There, I observed that cardio and weights equaled weight loss and protein shakes equaled health
More recently, my wellness has been under a bit of a re-evaluation. The result has been longer, leaner muscles, a decrease in inflammation, and a gracefulness to my curves that I havn’t seen since my pageant days.
It is so important to remain cognizant of the fact that everyone’s body and metabolism is made differently. This took a bit of trial and error (approximately ten years of it, in fact), but in an effort to debunk some myths that I, myself, have fallen for time and time again, I’m here to share what has really worked for me and what I’ve noticed in my own body.
I’m not a licensed nutritionist or physician and you should absolutely consult one or both of those avenues before adding anything new into your fitness and wellness routines.
I used to swear by forty five minutes spent on the treadmill. At one time, it was reflective for me, but after a while, I noticed my tireless, thankless hours at that machine each day resulted in bloating and inflammation - the opposite of what I was striving for. So in addition to being bored, I was also frustrated and wasn’t achieving the changes in my body that I was looking for.
I made the unintentional choice to cut back on the cardio in my routine when completing the Last 90 Days Challenge via Rachel Hollis, this past fall. In an effort to move my body seven days a week as a part of the challenge, I unintentionally ended up increasing the amount of Pure Barre classes I was taking each week and discovered my adoration for the flow of pilates through Obe Fitness - an online streaming platform which allows me to feel the burn from my kitchen.
The result was a meditative practice that found me.
Simply put, I was adding varied movement each day that was centered on core strength, mind-body connection, and flexibility, with cardio intervals built-in. I know people who adore their long distance runs and find them to be so incredible for mental clarity. I wish I could find that balance in running, but it really does nothing for me.
Once I discovered that it was just as simple to increase my heart rate in sculpting intervals which allowed my cortisol levels to rise to the appropriate level for weight loss without the ability to shift into auto-pilot, my mind was blown and my workout game was changed.
Now, I look forward to moving my body (even for thirty minutes in an OBE Fitness class).
ditching protein powder
(If you have a protein powder that you swear by that you’ve seen results using, it may be because hormonally we’re in different places, and that’s amazing! This is just what works for me…)
One day, I got to thinking about protein powder. Logically, if I don’t have a protein deficiency and I prioritize protein in my routine diet through eggs and lean meats, why would I add more? Furthermore, if I’m not trying to add muscle, rather tone what I have and build it to be stronger, why am I adding something into my diet that would result in adding inches to my muscles? I’m not a certified personal trainer, but logically I couldn’t rationalize it.
As I cut down on my cardio, I decided to only supply my smoothies with greens, antioxidant-rich berries, unsweetened nut milk, minerals like maca root and raw cacao, and healthy fats like avocados or almond butter. I love a post-workout smoothie instead of a lunch because I find lunches to be the most difficult meal for me to resist grains (which I’m most recently, and inconveniently, allergic to).
morning face wash
I read recently that the oils produced by your skin while you sleep are actually beneficial. In fact, over-washing can lead to irritation and dryness. If you have excessively oily skin, this step might not be for you. I don’t have oily skin, so a splash of water, an essence, and a moisturizer cuts down my morning skin routine from five steps to three and I’m ready that much sooner.
The truth is that at one time all of these things worked perfectly for me. I lost thirty pounds speed-walking on a treadmill in order to rock a swimsuit on the Miss New Jersey USA stage. I didn’t always have dry skin in the morning. Our bodies change as we change, and that’s okay. It just requires us to step outside of ourselves and do the homework to find out what we need at this moment to feel our best - which is what we all want, in the end, isn’t?