|My first fitness Instagram post!|
Because I'm tall, my body had more room to hide the extra pounds I was packing on and I didn't notice that my body had changed until I had gained almost 25 pounds. I became unhappy with the way I looked so I started hiding my body with layers of dark clothing. Summer came around and I was determined to do something about my weight. I had started seeing ads for the Tone It Up program, a nutrition and exercise plan created by women for women. It was quite a financial investment at the time so I started doing their free workout videos on Youtube to see if I even liked their method. I fell in love with it. Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott, the team behind TIU, had such beautiful and accepting energy. I decided to purchase the plan and become a member. For almost three years I religiously followed the plan. I never felt restricted or pressured to eat less. I was actually eating more than ever before: five small meals a day with healthy snacks between meals. The nutrition portion of the TIU plan (created by a registered dietician) focused on eating "Lean, Clean, and Green" which meant lots of green vegetables and lean protein.
|Fitness blogger in action|
I continued to follow the Tone It Up plan until I moved to New York City in January 2016. When I was adjusting to my new home I was very unhappy and felt so alone. I would reward myself with food for making it through the day. Chips and cookies became my closest friends when I had no one else. Again I packed on the pounds. When I was pressured to lose weight by a program I was participating in, I gained even more. All of my progress and confidence was lost.
|At IMAXShift, my home|
Working in fitness keeps me in all of New York's hottest studios and learning from the best trainers in the world. In addition to my spinning addiction, I have added weekly bootcamp classes (Akin's Army) with Bree which have completely challenged me outside of where I thought my comfort zone was. Bootcamp is the hardest class I have ever taken, without a doubt. The first time I went to bootcamp, I laughed at the idea of ever returning. I was grateful to have survived one class and I was never going back. But I went back. And I went back again. I set a goal of attending 10 classes and before I knew it, I had gone to 15. Now it has become my happy place. I know I am capable of making it through class so I am trying to set my standards higher. It is (and always will be) incredibly difficult, but I love pushing limits and I love the amazing community.
|GIRL GANG after Akin's Army|
Exercise and the fitness world have changed my life. It is my passion and my constant. Fitness taught me that I can show up for myself and be my own support. Right now I am working toward my personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, which I am expecting to complete in September. My goal is to be a group fitness instructor, specifically spinning. I want to help others discover how much a bike can add to their life, like it has to mine.
"A bicycle ride is a flight from sadness."
- James E. Starss