I use to be one of your typical “gym-junkies”….. intensive fasted cardio in the mornings followed by a hard-core weight session in the evening.
I worked out 2 hours a day, 6 days a week & believed that it was what was required of me in order to maintain a certain “look” the health & fitness industry wanted. It was what I expected of myself as well in order to feel satisfied & happy in my body.
This is my story of why I dumped the gym in favour of my body. As you may guess (or have experienced yourself) this can become very time consuming & physically exhausting. My body became completely depleted, it plateaued often & I never had enough energy for the important things in life.
My friends, family & the ability to LIVE LIFE suffered! I was just living for my “rest day” so that I could sleep & recuperate to start it all over the next week.
Working out became a chore & I started to dread it. That’s not what I had envisioned when I started my fitness journey. I started out loving what I did but as time passed I started hating it. I was influenced by the wrong people, wrong role models & wrong information.
Before I even continue, I just want to say that I am NOT discrediting the gym environment and the people there who help change lives by getting individuals fit and healthy, NOT AT ALL!
I celebrate & encourage these people and I believe we all have a preferred choice for our fitness journey. However, I want to share my story of extreme behaviour and limiting beliefs that nearly killed my physical & mental health. I want to share this with you to show you that there is another way to achieve amazing confidence, health and freaking gorgeous body and you don’t need to do it by breaking yourself physically or emotionally! So, if you are relating to what I have said above, this story is for you!!!!
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I started at a very young age in fitness, 14 to be exact. I used fitness as escapism and a way to give me strength and courage because I was bullied a lot through my school years. Fitness was what I was good at and this gave me self-confidence and self-belief when others were tearing it down.
As time moved on & I transitioned from a small town studio to a big international gym, I very quickly felt the pressure to look a certain way at all times. There was a lot of competition in the field & I constantly felt scrutinized by eyes from those who felt threatened or superior to me. As a young woman, this was very pressurizing & I quickly got sucked in.
As I got older & gained more experience by working with different women of different age groups, I quickly learned that these struggles were felt by MANY others! It wasn’t just me in my field of work…..it was everywhere!
All the women who were trying to achieve their fitness, body & life goals had experienced some form of pressure, intimidation or scrutiny. It wasn’t just from those working in the fitness industry, it was literally every women who stepped through a gym door!!!
I’ve had MANY women come to train with me in the past & say they would do “ANYTHING” to look like I did…..they didn’t care what it took. The thing was, I knew what it took & I cared about what it would do to them (& those around them).
Don’t get me wrong, having an average of 12% body fat with some serious muscle, felt good (& let me just add I had an insanely strict diet….it wasn’t just the training). The truth was, it was killing my soul inside. Even though it was incredible motivation to my clients, at the same time it was very unrealistic for them to expect the same results for themselves. No working woman, with kids & a husband/partner, can spend 2 hours a day in the gym, & eat the way I did. You can’t, it’s just nuts!!!
I wanted to be able to enjoy life more, take it a little easier without losing my mind that I might be falling 10 steps back from my progress.
In 2010 I started competing and this is where the shift actually started to happen in my mind. I was exposed to very different side of fitness. I learned of many weird, crazy & down right dangerous methods of creating the “ultimate fit body”. Over the next 6 years, I experimented with different training techniques and methods and slowly found something that was working for me. As much as it was a challenge, I enjoyed that time of my life and learned valuable lessons! I started to LISTEN to my body more and respect and appreciate it’s power AND limitations.
In 2015 I chose to go completely plants based for my health & my personal beliefs. It gave me incredible results however, I was still not finding that balance I needed and my body was tired. In all honesty, my soul was tired.
Then in 2016 I experienced my 1st anxiety attack. 1 year later I was completely broken and was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and anxiety disorder. It was the beginning of a long journey to discover I had EBV causing an autoimmune condition in my body.
I was literally forced to stop…..I believe it was the universes way of telling me “it’s time to change Jody, as much as this has served you, it no longer serves you anymore”.
And so I started my journey of change. This is when I quit the gym & the conventional fitness mentality & I went all the way back to my body……just my body.
I stopped fighting & battelling with it & rather allowed it time to heal. I started to BELIEVE in who I was & I began to fall in love with all that I was. It’s not the ego-driven “love” I am talking about……but rather a deep love that knows no boundaries of size, shape or stigma. Every woman should feel that at least once in her life because it will change her life forever!
And that is what I was learning…..our bodies travel through seasons. There is a time & place for everything, but me must be willing to adapt & change with those seasons……Not to try cling & hold onto something that is just not serving you anymore, NO MATTER WHO is telling you differently!!!
This is why I quit the gym in favour of my body. It was no longer serving me & it was not helping me achieve the health & happiness I was yearning.
No, I am definitely not as lean or as defined as I was 10 years ago but I am much stronger & much more confident in a completely different way.
I now do regular yoga & bodyweight exercises called BODY BASE which I incorporate in all of my programs. I also enjoy hiking, beach walks & regular meditation & breathing. All of this helps me manage anxiety as well constantly give me gratitude & love to my body.