Why I chose the ‘fitness’ road less traveled
There is always that one point in our lives where someone or something get’s us going on our fitness journey. Often we don’t always know better and just go with it, learning along the way. I started my fitness journey many years ago in a quiet little “aerobics” studio where I had little influence from the outside world. Looking back, it was the best influence and advice I learnt in my entire 18 years of experience in this industry. This was nearly 2 decades before I chose the ‘fitness’ road less traveled.
HOWEVER, this all changed when I started competing in 2011 when I was asked by someone to support a small town fitness and body building competition. For an entire year I prepared myself. I researched the diet I needed to eat and the training I needed to do to get on stage in “peak condition”.
The motivation was insane, something I had never experience before. I was driven every day to push as hard as I could. I would wake up at 04h30 for an hour of fasted cardio and then finish off the day with an intense weight training session which was normally up to 2 hours long.
My diet I could narrow down to dry tuna, steamed chicken, boiled rice, oats in water, egg whites and any veg that had the minimal amount of carbs possible. One day a week I could eat whatever I wanted or as many refer to it as a ‘cheat’ day! Whey was my go to meal replacer and I would have a concoction of about 16 different vitamin pills and fat-burners I would take a day. For some athletes it would also include cycles of steroids and growth hormones.
I would live for my cheat days over the weekend but come Sunday I was full of regret and disappointment. Powered by the mentality “I will never do it again”, Monday would be the only “high” and a steady downhill slope of exhaustion and fatigue until the next rest and cheat day.
Basically this is how 90% of people train and prepare for stage. There are variations, but it’s kind of what I would call the industry “norm”. In the collage about, from 2011 to the end of 2013, this was how I lived.
Here’s the thing, after the first year I began to HATE IT! I loved competing and being on stage, but I hated what I had to do to get where I needed to be. It didn’t make sense to me. What was suppose to be people representing the perfect body of health….in reality it is the most messed up and unhealthy mental & physical relationship one can have with your body and life.
I get it, we all have the right to choose how we want to live, but for me, it was a false representation and downright lie of what health should be. PLUS as an entrepreneur and business woman, my time, energy and happiness was on 0% which is disastrous if you are working on your career and business!
So in 2013, after 3 grueling years of prep, I decided to take a different approach. Little did I know it would lead me to this point where my life is a complete 180 flip of what is was back then.
This was the point when I decided to take the ‘fitness’ road less traveled. I gently transitioned into a plant-based way of eating with loads of variety, flavour & more carbs. Dumping that “carbophobic” mentality was the best thing I could have done for myself. I also slowly moved away from those hours of cardio & machine based training to a more functional, body-weight way of exercising. I went back to keeping things simple and basic and that basically came down to just using my BODY! Not only has it been more fun but more effective as well! And I save about 2-3 hours in my day!!!
It didn’t come without some challenges. Embracing a complete plant-based way of eating was pretty unheard of 5 years ago in South Africa, especially in the competing arena. Along with an unconventional method of training, I was exposed to some judgement. I would often be bombarded with sarcasm, offensive jokes and pessimistic attitudes towards my journey.
Like many things, when you take the road less traveled it can be HARD, really HARD.However, once you get through those challenging obstacles the reward are incredible. For me, the best reward was feeling a sense of freedom. Freedom from restrictive diets, draining workouts and narrow minded mentality.
Before I made this transition, I had come to believe that the way I would prep for a fitness show was the way everyone should be training and eating in order to be fit, healthy & look good. Unfortunately many women believe this as well. They think they need to kill themselves in the gym & starve themselves in the kitchen in order to achieve a healthy, fit & sexy body.
Maybe it works for some women, which in that case, I encourage you to continue doing what works for you and what you love. However, for many other women, it doesn’t. It really doesn’t. Having a family, career and/or business can be challenging in itself & to try keep up an “athletes” way of training and eating is nearly impossible. I am here it to tell you there are many other INCREDIBLE WAYS to achieve optimal health and a rocking hot body.
It’s not about achieving a ripped square mid section and it’s not about bench pressing and leg pressing crazy weight to get results.
It’s about radiating incredible health & confidence from the inside out. And when you do your body will become the best version of itself, fit, firm and fabulous!!!!
So if you are someone who feels the pressure from the social media & the fitness industry to take a specific path to achieve amazing body and health, I am here to tell you that there is another option. That option is the road less traveled! This road can get a little bumpy sometimes, but what you will get in return is 100x the benefits of any other!!!
My life is completely different to what is was & both roads I have traveled are neither “wrong” or “right”. The moral of my story is to share with you, that you DON’T have to conform to the crazy methods and expectations of the fitness industry and media. You DON’T have to dump carbs and live off an inflammatory diet of whey and meat. And you DEFINITELY don’t have to be working out 2 hours a day, 6 days a week to achieve amazing health & vitality.
Like many other women, I don’t have time for that. My life requires more from me and I want more from it!
I want the energy, vitality and confidence to go for my dreams and work on my goals. And I want this for ALL areas of my life, not just my body.
I don’t want my career and family to suffer because I am trying to achieve the impossible that brings more heartache than happiness.
Women are more pressurized than ever to achieve so much in their lives that often the important things suffer. Their health, their career or their family suffer and sadly sometimes all 3. I can reassure you that you can have and enjoy all 3 when you take a fresh perspective & a different approach.