I’ve asked myself the same question for the last month since I decided to sign up for the Naturally Fit Super Show in July. As you may know my friend Austin is a bodybuilder and I’ve been to two of his shows in the last few months. He never pushed it, but often remarked that I could be up there on stage. I completely blew it off, saying that I did NOT want to parade around in a bikini or get a fake tan and that I could never have the motivation or dedication it would take to get fit enough to be comfortable on stage. The first two things I’m still not so keen on but the motivation came and I’ve been plowing away in the gym ever since.
Let’s start from the beginning. Growing up I was not into sports. My father raised me and never put me in dance, gymnastics, or any organized sports. I was more of a math and science geek. I never cared for sports or competition. In middle school we were forced to choose from basketball, track and field, soccer, or softball. I tried basketball but got cut from the team. They made me do cross-country and it was the most horrible experience of my school years. I didn’t learn how to ride a bike till I was 10 years old and I never learned to swim until I was 16.
You are starting to get the picture now. My best friends joined the swim team our junior year of high school and persuaded me to join. I remember the horror of the first day where we had to jump in and swim one lap. I choked and flailed and nearly drowned. Throughout the semester my stroke improved and during competitions I would win the last (slowest) heat. I was the best of the worst. Needless to say my brush with sports was nothing short of horrifying and soul-crushing.
I never had a weight problem. My father fed me well. Though we weren’t even close to vegan, my plate was balanced with a starch, protein and vegetable. I could eat broccoli by the pound-full. We never had candy, sodas, or junk food in the house. Eating out was an occasional treat. I feel very blessed that I was given a good start in life when it comes to health. I rarely got sick and we never went to the doctor. But I was never comfortable with my body. I didn’t have many friends and boys (or the popular kids) didn’t hangout with me.
It’s interesting looking back. Why did I become so body dysmorphic? Is it because I didn’t have a stable mother figure in my life? If I had been put in sports or dance would I have become more comfortable with my body?
I moved to Austin for college and signed up for a yoga class. That changed my life forever! I had an amazing teacher and learned all the proper alignment for yoga. My best guy friends were into racquetball so I started playing with them a few times a week. A met a boy who worked at a rock climbing gym and started doing that. All of these things combined with walking around a huge college campus kept me fit and the freshman 15 at bay. My diet was complete crap though.
Overall I was in pretty good shape, but once I left college being active was not a priority. I only did yoga a few times a year and didn’t join a gym until I moved to Los Angeles 4 years later. Near my house was a YMCA and it was the least creepy gym in Hollywood so I joined. I got back into yoga and started doing spinning classes. It was scary at first but then became addictive. It wasn’t until a few years later that I finally started trying out the circuit machines and lifting weights. But it was not my priority; I was a cardio girl. Fast forward a few more years to 2011 and I entered my first triathlon after being inspired by Brendan Brazier. Now I’m signed up for my 2nd triathlon, first Olympic distance, in September this year.
So that’s my history with fitness. It has been a bumpy one no doubt. Now I’m ready to see how fit I can be. I need a goal to work toward or I won’t stay motivated. That’s why I signed up for this bikini competition. And it’s not as cheesy as it sounds! These ladies work really hard in the gym and are fitness models. It’s not about being skinny but about being fit and toned. So I want to push myself for the next 10 weeks and see what happens.
And I’m doing it for the animals! This journey has given me a new form of activism that I’m quite enjoying!
Thanks for joining me on the journey. It’s the journey not the destination that matters.