Everyone starts somewhere. My real journey began after my senior year of high school when I was no longer playing sports. I cut back on calories, began running everyday, working out for hours on end, and hating what I saw in the mirror. All I could think about was how far I had to go, to reach how small I wanted to be.
It took me almost a year to find the right balance between working out, eating healthy, and still living a genuinely happy life. If I could go back and give my 18-year-old-self 5 pieces of advice, here’s what they’d be:
- People genuinely want to help you: You just have to ask. There are thousands of knowledgeable people out there just waiting for you to tap into their insights. Never be afraid to ask for help or advice – everyone starts somewhere.
- Magazines and Instagram aren’t your only (or best) options: Sure, there’s a lot of info out there telling you what to eat, what not to eat, what teas to drink before bed, what exercises to do if you want a bigger butt, and how to land a gym boyfriend. I’m not saying they’re all wrong, I’m just saying you have more (and better) options.
- You have to eat in order to improve: In the beginning I didn’t make the connection between how I fueled my body and how I performed. I thought less carbs and fewer calories were the way to go. I ate grilled chicken and spinach for lunch, and a smoothie with a salad for dinner. Oh, and did I mention I was working out for 3 hours at a time? HELLO!!!! Not healthy. Food is fuel – treat it as such.
- Rest is just as important as training: Your body needs sleep in order to grow, and your mind needs rest in order to perform optimally. It’s OK to take a day off. In fact, we all need days off to get the most out of our training. Plus, life consists of way more than the weight room – go explore.
- Balance is key: Dabble in a little bit of everything. Keep trying new exercises and diets until you find one you love. Take care of your mind and remember to love yourself. If all you do is spend time in the gym, you’re not really getting anywhere. Health is a balancing act.
What do you wish you’d known when you started?