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Week 10 Recap… and the Gift Fitness Has Given Me

I’ve been asked countless times why I entered a fitness competition and what prompted me to take a plunge into the fitness world. The answer is a long one, so let’s get to my week 10 recap first!

I’m still lifting heavy and pushing for PRs each and every workout. It’s fun seeing my delts really take shape – probably because I’ve been grunting and groaning my way through shoulder day (no secret I’m not the biggest fan of training upper body). But, I can’t complain because I’m seeing changes take shape and it’s pretty damn amazing. Excited and terrified to hit tris/back/abs/calves with Coach Steve this week!

Thankfully there were no sneaky Twizzler cravings this past week! I’ve had a great handle on my cravings and I think it’s due in part to Muscle Egg. That stuff is the BOMB. If you’re looking for a super tasty way to get in extra protein and squash your sweet tooth, buy it!! The smallest order you can place is two gallon jugs, but they arrive par-frozen and you can keep one in the freezer while you refrigerate (and drink) the other. Chocolate caramel is so damn tasty and has allowed me to cut protein powder pretty much completely out. Probably why I’m seeing more ab definition this week over last. Amazing what the tiny tweaks in our diets will do!

Mental State
Aside from a fun trip to the farmer’s market trolling for some new veggies to cook with, I stayed happy (and busy!) this weekend seeing girlfriends, checking out that new movie Train Wreck, hang with my Team House of Payne for posing, practiced my golf swing (which needs some MAJOR help, FYI) and hanging by the pool. It was a great weekend that went by way too fast. Next Saturday is a cheat – and my tummy is ready for pizza and a cookie 🙂 Ah, the little things in life! 

On to My Fitness Journey
This journey has been about so much more than the size of my jeans or the dimensions of my waist. I’ve never been a skinny girl. I was never the tall girl with awkwardly thin legs that went on for days. I didn’t excel at track and I struggled with body image from the ripe ol age of 10. As I transitioned into my teenage years, as some girls do, I began developing feelings of hatred towards my body. Why aren’t I skinny enough? Why won’t my boobs grow like my friends? My hips are too big. My pants aren’t small enough. It was around the age of 12 that I embarked on a decade-long battle with a dangerous eating disorder that had a vice-like hold on me until I finally sought help in my early 20s. If I began to tell that story, this post would go on for days – so I’ll fast forward to my 27th year of life, when I finally overcame my eating disorder and faced life as a newly-single woman. 

The very day my ex-husband moved out of home, I laced up an old, dusty pair of running shoes that took up residence in the back of my closet and “headed out for for a run.” Honestly, I didn’t even know what that meant. You always hear people say “I’m so stressed, I’m going for a run!” I didn’t even make it 1/4 mile before I had to stop and turn around. But I didn’t let it discourage me. Every single day that week, I laced up my sneakers and walked out the door. I mixed walking with jogging until I finally made it 1 whole mile without stopping. And so my fitness journey began.

It’s been nearly 5 years since that hot, sunny day when I set out on my first run and since I have completed countless road races of varying distances from 5-15k, endless trail runs with variously intense elevations, 18 months of CrossFit including a few competitions, one triathlon, and a barre/Pilates certification. 

I’d say the greatest gift fitness has afforded me is the ability to wake up feeling proud of the skin I’m in. I strive to be a great woman all around (after all, my jean size does NOT equate to the size of my heart) – but fitness has granted me the ability to step into my closet everyday and put on any article of clothing I want, and feel proud. It hasn’t given me my life “back,” mainly because I don’t think I really knew who I was before it. My early 20s were spent fighting so hard to stay in a marriage with someone who was never happy with himself, let alone being married to me. Our daily battles shaped me to be a woman who acquiesced on everything, putting my goals and desires on a shelf simply to please someone else. And now, fitness has afforded me the opportunity to be selfish (in a positive way) and focus on myself. I no longer feel guilty about spending 2 hours in the gym, 4 hours hiking outside on the weekends, or spending my hard earned money on gym clothes/a coach/gym membership. I can finally make investments in myself, free of guilt! 

It is my genuine hope that all my readers – men and women alike – read my story and see themselves in it. Whether you’re married and feeling guilty for taking time away from your family to work out, newly divorced and scared to start over, or single and just looking to get in better shape… just know that you’re not alone. I cannot sugar coat it and say it’ll be easy. It won’t. But the great (and terrible) news is, your mind will quit 1,000,000 times before your body ever will. We are resilient and strong creatures. Set your mind to a goal – however big or small – and stay determined. Remain squarely focused on the fire residing within you and don’t stop until you’re proud.


2 thoughts on “Week 10 Recap… and the Gift Fitness Has Given Me

  1. Jen, so proud of you and your accomplishments. To have known you during your twenties and have lived with you and your struggles to now is just amazing. You have grown so much as a person and your physical accomplishments have been such an inspiration.

    I love you and I'm so proud of you (even then with your 'jewish bagel') 🙂


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