Fitness, for me, is a lifestyle. It wasn’t always that way though. It took me a while to get there. I wasn’t athletic as a child or as a young person. I was in my mid-40’s when I decided to get a gym membership. After years of being sedentary and being called “skinny” and being told I had a high metabolism I no longer felt good about what I saw in the mirror. I knew that I needed to do something different.
As with many who begin this journey it started with a breakup. Typical, I know but I had to do something to get out of my own head and off my couch. The pity party was over and it was time to do something. I started out going to the gym and walking on the treadmill. I didn’t know what else to do and the machines looked too complicated and the free weight area was filled with beefy dudes. Thanks to a blogging buddy I learned about Black Girls Run (BGR) and eventually sought out my local chapter.
Running outside was a totally different experience from the treadmill and it felt good to really challenge myself. Soon, I signed up for my first race: the Susan G. Komen 5K in Washington, DC. Yes, I signed up to drive to Washington, DC to run a 3.1-mile race and it was the best thing ever. I remember training for this race at the track next door to my house. I used the Couch-to-5k program and the first time I actually ran the entire 3 miles without stopping, I sat on the ground and cried. I followed up that 5k with a few more that year. Then in 2011 I only signed up for 8k races and in the meantime, I volunteered as a Run Coordinator with BGR. I loved everything about my running lifestyle. I developed some really strong relationships through running not to mention that I felt better and I knew that I was doing something positive for my health.
There was still something missing, though. I wasn’t really noticing any differences in my body composition. I looked at myself and I just felt … blah. I ran the local Susan G. Komen race in September 2012 and I remember seeing this muscle-bound dude wearing a pink bra (supporting the cause) and leading a team in the race. He left quite an impression and would later become my personal trainer. I called him the next month and made an appointment for a consultation. He taught me how to eat and how to train and how to properly add supplements to my diet.
I committed to 3, 1-hour sessions every week for 10 months. The sessions were all designed to build strength. My trainer is a bodybuilder and he trained me like a bodybuilder. The heavier the weights, the better. He pushed me and he allowed me to cuss him out on occasion. After a few short months, I started to see the changes and it motivated me to keep going. I was getting stronger! I’m not gonna lie, it was expensive, time-consuming and I was sore every single day for months and I do not regret one single second of my time with him.
In 2013, I competed in my first two figure competitions and in 2015 I competed in my last two competitions.
Now in 2017, 5 years later, I am still training. Not for the stage but for life. I’m going to be 53 in about a month and I refuse to be a frail old lady. I’m stronger today than I was thirty years ago. I’m healthier, prettier, and sexier and I feel younger now than I ever have.
I don’t have to convince myself to eat clean or go to the gym. Just like you don’t have to convince yourself to brush your teeth or wash your hands after you use the restroom. You just do it. I’m not perfect, obviously … I love wine, ice cream, fried chicken and pizza. I indulge every now and then because I’m human but I know what my goals are and my actions will always reflect those goals. Remember: if you live a healthy lifestyle one cheat meal isn’t going to make much of a difference. Conversely, if you live an unhealthy lifestyle one clean meal isn’t going to make much of a difference either. It’s all about consistency.