Alright, total honesty, I was out of shape, convincing myself that I was still in shape!
Growing up I was always running around the neighbourhood with the boys, being the only girl, I had to be able to at least somewhat keep up or I’d be kicked out! I also figure skated for about 15 years on and off, and I tried several team sports (disliking almost all of them, mostly due to lack of self-confidence).
I was never ever a strong runner, and that held me back in a lot of sports, made me embarrassed and uncomfortable in highschool gym class, mostly out of sheer dislike and lack of confidence for running. I always loved hiking but was too scared to go because I was worried I wouldn’t be strong enough or would hold other people back.
In fall of 2014 my friend Kevin, who had probably noticed my weight fluctuation (now at an all time high), asked me to start running with him. He had recently started running and was doing amazing! He was totally in love with it, it was free he could leave from his doorstep, he didn’t have to follow any time frame, it was his soul-mate workout and he thought I could love it as much as he did! Well. Not so much. I give him credit though he sure tried! Every time I said yes to running, he was there. Even though looking back those sessions could not have been considered a run. I couldn’t even go half a block without walking. Everything hurt, my lungs tasted like blood, my joints hurt, I was out of breathe, I got stitches, and most of all (not realizing it at the time), I truly did NOT believe that I could do it. I didn’t even believe that I could run to the corner, so therefore, I couldn’t!
I ended up giving up, clearly running was never going to be for me. I just didn’t have the body type. I am just ‘not a runner’.
Then in March 2015 I started 21 Day Fix in a challenge group with my coach Amber. I started this program with 3lb and 5lb weights, modified almost every move. I remember when I first started I couldn’t even finish all of the moves in the warmup. 60 seconds of jumping jacks?! Sounds easy right.. well it wasn’t for me! This was an eye-opener for sure of how out of shape I had let myself get. Looking back on it now, as I’m typing this, is also a huge eye-opener for how far I’ve come!
Well, it wasn’t long before I was upping my weights, or not modifying so much, or completing the whole set of moves that I had once struggled so much with. The progress came so quickly, each week I could clearly see how much stronger I was getting, and that was it – I was in love with these exercises! Then a few months later after losing about 30 lbs, I thought “hey, I wonder if I can run!”. So I did. I just put my runners on right there, grabbed my dog, and ran out the door! And that day I jogged a whole 25 minutes without stopping! It was slow, it was at times painful, but I did it. And I believed, for the first time ever, that I could! Now, I’m still not a strong runner, it still hurts, I’m still slow, but I can do it, and I know I can. And not only that I actually somewhat enjoy it! I wouldn’t say its my soul-mate workout or anything, but I do look forward to going. And I still have Kevin, pushing me along, watching my progress, and encouraging me to go further! I’ve even signed up for my first 5K in support of mental health in May 2016!
I remember that first time I ran again after starting to lose weight. I remember that I felt like it was a miracle! I was SO EXCITED I wanted to tell EVERYBODY! I was so proud of myself that day, and when I told Kevin that I couldn’t believe that I did it, he said, “well, you’re 30 lbs lighter than you were the last time we went, imagine doing what you just did, with a 30lb backpack on.” And he was totally right. That analogy really put into perspective for me how much extra weight I’ve been carrying around.
Now I don’t hesitate when someone asks me to go hiking, or jogging (though I do warn them of how slow I still am!), or to workout with them. The other day I joined my roommate and her boyfriend for snowshoeing – something I’ve never done before and a year ago would have been too afraid to try. Sometimes my roommate joins me in my home workouts, she’s very fit and strong, and there are still moments when I feel embarrassed or self-conscious that she is stronger than I am. But then I remember that when I started, I couldn’t even do 60 seconds of jumping jacks or lift more than 5 lb weights. Now I’m using 10-20 lb weights, and even need to buy heavier ones! I can do almost all the moves I need to do, still modifying certain ones. And ultimately my strength, cardio, and overall confidence improvement is HUGE.
I no longer hold myself back from doing the things that I want to do out of fear of not being able to keep up. The only person I am competing with is the person I was yesterday. These transformations don’t happen over night. Each day is one step closer to the strength and fitness level that I want to achieve!