I used to workout because I wanted to look good (read: skinnier). I motivated myself by pasting photos of bikini models on my bedroom wall and computer desktop screen, and I wrote myself little hate notes in my agenda when I scheduled my workouts (they would say thinks like: workout, chubby!).
I mean, when comparing yourself to Victoria’s Secret models, one will always look a little chubby.
Even though at this time of my life I had gotten quite thin (this shrinkage was also due to having a very disordered relationship with food), and I worked out almost every day to burn more calories, I hated the process of working out. I saw it as torture, a dreaded task that had to be done every day but was arduous and anguishing.
My constant goal was to “lose 5 pounds” or “decrease body fat percentage by 1%”.
I can’t pinpoint exactly when my shift in mindset started happening, but it was some time over this past summer when I started falling in love with spinning. The classes gave me so much energy and the enthusiastic vibe of the class made me start looking forward to my daily workouts. As I attended more classes (spinning, kickboxing, body pump, pilates, etc), my goals started to change. Instead of focusing on weight loss, I began to desire to shave time off my mile or increase the amount of weight I could lift on a particular exercise.
I recently joined an eight-week Bridal Bootcamp program at my local gym, and tonight I completed my fitness test, and it was the first time that I have actually felt like an athlete. We had to run 1.5 miles as fast as possible, complete as many rounds as possible of certain exercises, and do other various strength and endurance tests. My results were off the charts, and for the first time I thought: I am so proud of what my body can do!
I joined the bootcamp for the motivation to keep pushing as I strive to reach my best body for my wedding in August, but tonight I realized that I have already accomplished so much when it comes to fitness… I fell in love with the endorphines, I created lifelong habits, and I have grown strong. This outer strength has also led to an inner sense of confidence. Knowing that I am strong, physically, makes me feel stronger, mentally. I know that I have the strength to push through a hard workout, so I can also muster up the strength to push through a bad day. In fact, on my worst days I crave that time at the gym to relieve some of my frustrations through sweat.
Ideally, I’d still like to shave about 1% off of my body fat percentage by my wedding. I’m at 18% right now (per tonight’s caliper test) and I would love to get to 17% because I’m just feeling slightly “softer” than I prefer. But even if nothing changes in my body composition, so long as I keep pushing myself beyond my limits each and every day, I will know that I have accomplished more than I ever thought I could.