I’ve been MIA for the last few weeks, and I’ve been in an undeniable creative and workout rut. Right now I’m trying to get back into the swing of things and find a good workout plan for me for the next few months. As I’ve been working to find what is motivating for me to get to the gym and keep eating healthy during the holiday time, I’ve truly been questioning why I lift. Why I like to lift and what it does for me in the greater scope of things. Along with that is also figuring out what fitness means to me.
I’ve been lifting for four years now and I’m so glad that I decided to try it. I’ve never been an athletic person and I struggled with having a good body image for years. Lifting changed all of that. It’s taken me a long time, but I’ve learned that I’m good at lifting and it makes me confident in myself. It’s the first sport that I’ve been able to work on and excel at, and because of that I’ve stuck with it. On top of just loving to lift, it’s good for me and contributed to a better body image. I started learning how to lift with the basic three power lifts, moved on to experimenting with different bodybuilding exercises, reps and sets, and now I’m somewhere in between powerlifting and bodybulding – powerbuilding if you will, but I’m certainly not an expert.
This past year has been focused on nutrition, learning the ins and outs of flexible dieting, and focusing on my overall long term fitness goals. This past year I discovered flexible dieting and it was a game changer. I had spent three years at the gym, but never really found a nutrition plan to follow or took the time to understand what I was eating. I had been a vegetarian for years and while it was working for me, when I learned about macros I changed my nutrition almost the very next day. I absolutely believe that you can meet your fitness goals while following flexible dieting and being a vegetarian, but for me it was not a reality. I’m a very small person and while cutting and even on maintenance, it’s difficult to stick to a vegetarian diet while meeting my protein macros and staying under my carb macros. I’ve been eating fish on and off for a while, but now I’m also eating chicken and I’m happy I made that decision. I don’t eat fish or meat every day and still incorporate meat-free meals into my diet, but I don’t see myself going back to a vegetarian diet in the foreseeable future.
The changing of seasons this past fall brought some challenges – I was busy the entire month of September making nutrition and getting to the gym difficult, fall brings many sweet treats, and I ended up in workout rut. At the beginning of October I was overly stressed about what I was eating, my weight, and workout routine. Coincidentally, I was spending a lot of time on social media immersing myself with others in the fitness industry and comparing myself to them. For some reason I jumped into an cut and completely changed my workout routine. It was too much. There’s nothing wrong with having goals and working towards them, but completely changing my workout routine because I wanted to be like those on social media is not the way to go about reaching those goals. Along with a workout routine I didn’t want to follow I was stressing over my calories and macros. I ended loosing 1.5 pounds in a week of my cut, but even that wasn’t enough to drive me.
This was the point when I started thinking hard about what fitness truly means to me. It’s different for everyone. We all have different reasons why we lift and why we chose a specific nutrition plan, but these two things are not the only components of fitness. For me, fitness also takes into account your goals and overall well-being in life. It is just as important to me to be happy as it is for me to be fit, therefore I had to stop using others’ definition of being “fit” and start focusing on what defined me as fit. To me, I want to be happy when I walk into the gym and driven to complete my workout, not feel miserable or feel like I have to get through another workout. The same goes for nutrition – I want to be happy when I’m eating, not feel like I’m struggling to get through a boring meal or get through another day while on a cut.
Right now I’m focusing on lifting because I love it and working on my gains. I recently receive a powerlifting belt (an early birthday present) that I’m hoping with help with my form on dead lifts and even help my back during squats. I’m enjoying foods that around me while the holidays are here – or at least close enough. This is the one time of year when I should be enjoying food and it’ll also benefit my gains – it’s bulking season everyone. Being able to enjoy my time at the gym is rewarding and I feel refreshed when I leave. I want this to be the driving force behind my workout routine through at least the New Year. When spring comes along I’ll likely re-evaluate my routine and nutrition, but for now it’s about being happy and being the best person I can be.
Do what makes you happy. This is why I lift.