Here is a look into how I became a healthier, stronger, and more confident me.
I’ve always been pretty active, but working out went in phases for me. Treadmills, ellipticals, and workout videos would always get boring for me. I didn’t hate my body. I have a high metabolism and was considered “thin”, but I didn’t feel like I was as healthy and fit as I could be. I knew I had potential to be more fit if I would eat better and find exercises that I actually enjoyed. I really lacked motivation because I didn’t know how to get to my “goal” body. I was scared to weight lift. I didn’t want to get “bulky”, plus lifting was intimidating. I didn’t know what I was doing and there were always a ton of guys in the weight room. I wish I would have known sooner that I would fall in love with weight lifting and that it’s not all that hard!
The whole #girlswholift movement started and I was always seeing crazy fit girls that looked healthy, strong, and sexy on my Instagram. I started following their accounts and I was like “Wow… I want to look like that..” It took me about a year of following these girls and a breakup to finally get the drive to take my butt to the gym and try out this whole lifting thing. I started lifting with a friend and I wasn’t seeing a whole lot of difference in my body, so when summer came around I decided to start eating healthy too.
I knew eating healthy would last only a week unless I had a strict meal regimen to follow, but I didn’t want to count calories, I wanted an actual plan and meal ideas to follow. That’s when I decided to drop $90 on meal plan custom made just for me by one of my favorite Instagram Fitness Gurus, Sarah Bowmar.
Once I started following it, I decided to sign up for Miss Illinois USA, which is a modeling pageant system that usually prefers a muscular, lean titleholder. I knew I had to take this meal plan and working out serious if I wanted to be lean and toned for the competition. I only had three months.
I started incorporating 10 to 20 min of fasted HIIT Cardio. This means before I ate anything in the morning, I would either do a 10 to 20 min video of exercises like burpees, squat jumps, high knees etc, or do 10 to 20 min of running sprints up hills, which I actually found fun. I would take my Ipod and portable speaker out to the park and pretty much kill myself for ten min listening to my favorite rap music, aka Drake, Nicki Minaj, Fetty Wap, and The Weekend.
I’m not going to lie HIIT Cardio is not easy, but you just have to remind yourself that it’s only 10 to 20 min and then you’re done! Plus doing fasted HIIT cardio in the morning really wakes you up and makes you hungry. I’m never hungry when I first wake up, so trying stomach egg whites is not fun. After fasted HIIT, I’m super hungry and I can’t wait to eat my healthy breakfast! I recommend Fitness Blender videos on Youtube, they are free and really good! I did HITT about five days a week.
I lifted about five to six days a week. I made up my own workouts by getting ideas from Instagram and bodybuilder.com. The more you go to the gym, watch people, and ask people questions, the more comfortable you get. I feel like a pro working out now.
I lost 20 lbs. and gained serious muscle in three months. I was super lean for Miss Illinois USA. Afterwards, I decided to take a break from the meal plan and be flexible with it. I’m not near as lean, but I still feel really healthy and I love my body.
Why do I advocate for people to lift?
1. You can work a different muscle group everyday and switch up your exercises, so it never gets boring. You don’t have to lift super heavy, start out with five pound dumbbells! Trust me no one is judging you. Everyone is worried about other people judging them, no one really cares how much you lift and if they do then why would you want to impress someone like that? I still only use 10 to 15 lbs. dumbbells.
2. Many girls say I don’t want to lift, I just want to get “lean” and “toned”, they think lifting will make them bulky and that’s not true. Unless you are already bulky or you try really hard and long to get bulky then you won’t be. Plus usually people that appear super ripped are only ripped when they flex, so a super ripped girl can still look delicate and feminine in a dress. (Shoulder muscles are so sexy in a sleeveless dress.)
3. I personally wanted to build curves. I’ve never had an “hourglass” figure and always wanted a muscular “booty”. You can’t build up muscular curves without lifting, unless you were blessed and born that way!
4. You really do feel better when you’re stronger and healthier. I used to have troubles opening a water bottle and now I feel like I could battle out Ronda Rousey. 😉
No matter your body type or your “body goal” preference, you are beautiful the way you are, but it is important for you to feel your best and live a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly. You should always consult your doctor before lifting and don’t start with heavy weight. I hope you fall in love with weight lifting if you haven’t yet! More info on my workouts and what I eat to come!