Tuesday’s with Ab… Life & Health
Major disclaimer… I am in no way a health expert. It’s been a lot of trial and error for me over the years but I have finally found a little bit of a groove with over all wellness. I have had a couple of people reach out and ask what I do to “stay in shape” so here is my unprofessional opinion and “journey” with fitness.
Just a little backstory…
I had a burning desire the end of my eight grade year of middle school to be in peak physical shape. I’m not really sure what exactly spurred it on, but it hit me like a ton of bricks and I jumped knee deep into it. I removed all sugar/dairy/gluten and started working out hard seven days a week. It was random, extremely obsessive and eventually turned into a raging eating disorder that left me seventy pounds lighter with am upward climb to actual wellness. I battled that for years. My outlooks on food and exercise were extremely toxic. I was a shell of a person.
Fast forward to college, somewhat “healed”, I stumbled upon CrossFit. My brother asked me if I wanted to go with him one summer that I was home and I was immediately hooked. The push, the intensity, throwing weight around, all of it. Crossfit is SO much fun. If you are reading this and you have been thinking about trying it out DO IT. I know it’s intimidating but you just have to throw all pride and fear out the window and give it a try. There is so much more to the sport than just getting physically fit. I can confidently say that 80% of the time I walked out of the gym feeling so proud of the things I accomplished. Even if it was something so small or simple. Doing hard stuff is good for you.
I did CrossFit for three years and loved just about every second of it. I still feel like it is the ultimate form of exercise. Constantly varied functional fitness. The simple goal of CrossFit is to push off the nursing home. To maintain mobility and the baseline measures of overall health… ie can you drop into a squat and push your body weight back up. Just like anything else, there are levels to how far you can push it IF you want to. Every single work out is scalable to the individual. One person might be repping out squat cleans at 185 while the next is using an empty bar. Both versions are equally substantial for the goals of the individual. If I haven’t convinced you to give it a go then I digress BUT again I say… Just try it. One week. You can do hard things.
When the global pandemic hit last spring and a lot of my workouts transitioned to home workouts my goals shifted a little. I decided to take a little break from the CrossFit box and moved over to the regular gym. I am not going to lie, its not near as much fun, but I figured my body needed a little break and shaking things up keeps life interesting. Workouts now consist of a quick 15 minute cardio session and then hitting specific muscle groups each day. It’s more of the old school approach on fitness with the goals to see my body composition change a little. Eventually I will be back in a Crossfit box but for now I am laser focused on seeing how far I can push my body in this kind of gym setting.
As far a nutrition goes, I am constantly learning what does the best for my body. I will say that eating well is simple. In Defense of Food is one of my absolute favorite books that covers all of the dos and don’ts of eatting well. Processed foods are bad. Just about anything in a shiny package is worth avoiding. Go back to the basics. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Ya know, all of the things you’ve heard before. Unfortunately I don’t have any ground breaking advice when it comes to what to eat. I have seen the biggest results in counting macros and being intentional about it. It is shocking the amount of people that are eating WAY under what they need on accident. My body went through a huge adjustment period when I first started getting my nutrition dialed in. I was not eating near enough protein or carbs to promote muscle growth and weight loss. It seems like a backwards concept but that is just because of all of the misinformation out there. If you’re looking to make changes in your health I highly encourage you to do some research. Removing a bunch of food groups and knocking your caloric intake down is NOT the answer. Our bodies need nourishment to thrive in any capacity. Take it from the girl who tried to do everything BUT the right things for so long. Thankfully our bodies are so resilient and they bounce back but it takes time.
I think one of the biggest things that has been helpful for me is adjusting my mindset when it comes to nutrition. Shifting from “live to eat” to “eat to survive.” It sounds a little extreme, I know, but we have wrapped so many emotions around food. It is helpful to adjust the way we think so that we can disconnect from the thoughts of “I deserve this” or “I’m already too far gone.” Our bodies deserve to be respected and filling them with a bunch of junk is a recipe for disaster. Clarity of the mind, energy to do the things we want, and feeling good are worth the “sacrifice.” The other side of the equation is that you can still enjoy the occasional treat. I ate way too much chocolate cake this past weekend on my birthday BUT I did so knowing that I would wake up the next morning and get back to the basics. Moderation is good. Enjoying the junk sometimes is equally necessary. Think the 80/20 rule.
If you have any specific questions feel free to leave them in the comments here or shoot me an email. Like I said, I am in NO way a professional… just a gal who can share my experiences in hopes that you don’t have to take all of the detours that I did.
Try something new today. Do something that pushes you. And maaaaybe start that free trial at your local CrossFit gym.