Blonde streaks. Red. Dark brown. Bleach blonde all over. Curly. Straight. Short and long.
I have done a lot of things to my hair over the years.
A few weeks ago my sisters and I were looking at pictures from our teenage years. The one constant was not our good fashion sense, but our ever-changing hairstyles.
When you’re young you search for your identity. You try on different styles. Am I an athlete? A preppie? An artsy type?
It isn’t until you’re older you find yourself and hopefully get comfortable in your skin.
When I was an adult I cut my hair into a short pixie (something I always wanted to do but didn’t have the courage) and now I will never go back. It’s truly me.
What in the heck does this have to do with health and fitness?? Everything.
Just like a teenager trying on different hairstyles and clothing styles, we try on different workouts and ways of eating to see what fits.
In the beginning I was a cardio queen – partly because I didn’t know what to do to get in shape and running on a treadmill did not require any knowledge. But also because I knew I liked to move and sweat. This accomplished both those things but it was boring. Long distance running was never going to be my thing.
After a while I found group exercise classes and fell in love. The energy of the instructor and the camaraderie of the group made me look forward to workouts.
Cardio kickboxing became my obsession. So much so it led me to become an instructor and eventually a personal trainer and the rest is history.
For years I wanted to do cardio kickboxing everyday. At that time in my life that workout was who I was.
But things (and people) change. Over time I started getting interested in lifting weights. The more I explored strength training and saw the way it shaped my body the more I loved it.
This led me to bodybuilding and eventually competing.
A few years later as I continue to evolve and look for new challenges I’ve added Powerlifting to the mix.
Right now lifting heavy and gaining strength and muscle is who I am and what I love. I can’t wait to get into the gym each day and challenge myself.
There have been times I’ve dabbled in yoga, which I do love but could never be my main workout activity, running (meh) and even boxing.
Exercise is a hobby for me and I like trying new things but I have to be true to me and I always come back to lifting. Because it’s what I enjoy and what makes me want to workout.
What is that form of activity for you?
We often think we have to follow the standard “go to the gym and workout” model to be healthy and get in shape. In fact there are a million ways to move your body all of which will get you more healthy and fit.
If you dread a treadmill but love playing team sports, join a local volleyball or soccer league.
If you prefer a more slow and relaxing workout why not do Barre or Pilates?
There is no right way to workout except the one you enjoy that will keep you coming back. If you hate Boot Camp class you’re not going to stay at it. And why would you? Exercise should be a stress relief, a fun way of doing something good for yourself. It is not and should not feel like torture.
This same philosophy applies to food. If you don’t like meat and it doesn’t make your body feel good there is nothing wrong with being vegetarian.
I personally eat gluten free because it makes my body feel its best, not because I think it is healthier. And I don’t recommend it for clients unless they have an intolerance, allergy or personally feel better avoiding it.
Whether it’s Paleo, Vegan, Clean Eating or Intermittent Fasting, none of these diets works better than any other unless you can stick to them. And you will only stick to something that you like, makes you feel good and fits with your lifestyle. If it’s too hard you won’t do it long term. That means that diet or way of eating doesn’t work for you.
Take some time to experiment and find what does.
The key to lasting weight loss success and a healthy lifestyle is being true to yourself and making exercise and diet something you enjoy.
There are so many ways to get healthy and fit. The one that works for your best friend may not work for you. But something will.
Over time just like my hair, you may change and your preference may evolve. That’s ok too. Life is about experiences. Just because this year you love Zumba doesn’t mean you can’t get into CrossFit next year. As long as you’re being true to yourself and not trying to fit anyone else’s mold you can do anything.
Ten years ago I was a red head with wild curls who lived and breathed cardio kickboxing and tried to eat healthy.
Today I’m an amateur bodybuilder/power lifter with a pixie cut who eats a limited diet tailored to my body and health.
In both scenarios I was happy, healthy and fit. And 100% me.
Who are you? Never stop asking that question and discovering yourself. The journey is half the fun.