Realising that there are SO MANY fitness related blogs/websites out there, I have obviously decided to add to the pile.
I suppose the first post should cover the whole “this is me! This is my journey!” thing. In a sense, I don’t have a completely dramatic transformation to talk about (unless you call swapping jägerbombs for protein shakes a massive change, I know some will). I am 5 ft 1 (I know) and I have always had that nice little petite figure, assisted by my love of all things sport. Until I hit sixth form, became lazy, and was saved only by my youthful fast metabolism, that is.
So then I went to university. I went in hard. I mean, I don’t regret going out every week, or the amount of alcohol consumed – although I do regret some of (a lot of) the choices made whilst consuming said alcohol. I enjoyed it and I believe that I did the first term of university life justice.
I went home for Christmas with an extra stomach, having gained around a stone after three months of dedication to the fresher cause, and even my dad (yes, my own father) commented on my baby beer belly. So upon returning to university, me and my housemate took our double chins with us and joined a gym.
We did what any girl does when she first gets her gym membership and went full cardio bunny. Treadmill, bike, cross trainer – we got this.
In the summer when I moved back home I wanted to keep the whole regime up. I’d never had a problem with ‘healthy eating’ – I absolutely love fruit and veg and have always favoured home cooked meals over something out the freezer – when your mom is a great cook and your dad has worked in the pub and restaurant trade all his life, you’re winning – but now I was into the gym too, I felt a lot healthier, and I wanted to maintain it.
So I joined the closet gym to me, and you had to have an induction for it where a PT would take you through some exercises and set you up a programme. This was the first time I had ever done any weighted exercises, and I quite liked it. It pushed me further and it was a lot more interesting than cardio.
Fast forward a year and I had an almost flat stomach – something I had craved, like most girls – and I was doing moderate weighted exercises, but still an advocate of cardio. I would spend two hours in the gym – one time I remember being in there for almost three hours.
It was mainly because that summer I was going on holiday. I HAD to get the body – which for me, then, included all the abs. On the week leading up to my holiday I went to the gym every single day, spending two hours+ there each day. Looking back I think ‘what a fucking idiot,’ but at the time I was so consumed by this ideal I had in my head that it felt like the right thing to do.
I remember on about my fifth or sixth day of this week long stint the exhaustion hit: I didn’t know whether I wanted to cry or be sick, but it was the first – and last – time I have ever got up mid workout and left the gym.
I still didn’t learn.
In September I returned to university for my third and final year of study, and all the stress that came with it. By this time I was more into nutrition. I was drinking protein shakes, and I was following Joe Wicks on Instagram and replicating his meals. I had cut out alcohol massively, and I avoided ‘bad’ foods.
It might sound fine, but it wasn’t. I didn’t realise something was wrong until it all came to a head, on New Year’s Day 2015. I had been in Manchester on NYE, and for NYD I didn’t fancy sitting in the rain and watching football, so I said I’d go shopping instead for a couple of hours and meet up with my family afterwards. We were in Wetherspoons to begin with, but my brain didn’t want anything on the menu. “There’s too much fat in that.” “Do you really need carbs after last night?” – so I said I’d find something else when I was out.
On my own, I traipsed around; but everything was too much, there was too much fat, not safe, not what I wanted… to the point that I almost had a panic attack over food (NB I’m not exaggerating, I have suffered panic attacks before, albeit for unrelated reasons.) I sat in Starbucks (with my skinny latte, obviously) and was showing what I know now to be orthorexic tendencies.
Orthorexia is an obsession with eating food that you consider to be healthy, and actively avoiding anything that doesn’t fit into this category.
To be clear, I did not and do not have the above, or any kind of eating disorder – thankfully. What I am trying to make clear is that it is so very easy to fall into the trap of disordered eating/exercising without even realising it.
A day later, I was due to go back to university for work but the trains were all delayed so I had to go later, meaning my planned gym session went out the window. I lay on my bed crying, pulling at my stomach wanting it to go away.
Looking back it’s ridiculous, really. And thankfully I managed to climb out of it. I educated myself, and I realised that I wanted to gain a body I was proud of, not destroy myself whilst trying to achieve it. In June I moved back to Birmingham permanently, joined a new gym, was snapped up by a PT and my love of fitness took on a whole new look. I began a proper weight training programme (no more squats with the 20kg baby barbell) and I even do chest day now (queue no boob comments).
My training got harder. More weights. More challenges. I became – and am becoming – stronger. I eat well to feed my muscles, treat myself accordingly and absolutely love it. Weightlifting has become something I absolutely love doing – my life is planned around my training, and even though I’m not working towards an event of any sort, I absolutely love this lifestyle and how challenging and rewarding it is.
And that’s my story. I am of healthy mind, healthy body and I have never felt stronger – I can even pull my 7 stone 4 ass up 12 times unassisted. My journey is by no means remarkable, but I have faced challenges – privately, in fact this is the first time I’m admitting this to anyone (someone pass the tissues) – and I have overcome them.
I would never tell anyone how to live their life. All I say is as long as you’re happy and healthy, do what you want. And I am definitely both of these.
My blog is really just something to keep me even busier than I already am, and because my little brain is full of knowledge and experience in this area, I thought I might as well write it all down – writing is what I love doing, after all.
I must point out that I am not a qualified personal trainer, nutritionist, dietitian etc. But my knowledge comes from immersing myself in this lifestyle, from things I have learnt, and what I have experienced myself.