In my last post I talked about how I finally changed my lifestyle from binging and over-exercising to one that was healthy and balanced. Today I'm going to discuss how I got into bodybuilding and made fitness my career!
Read Part I Here
FROM INSECURITY TO BODYBUILDING
Within six weeks of tracking my food intake and keeping up with my homemade weight lifting routine my body fat was dropping and I was getting stronger than ever. My waistline was shrinking, my shoulders were getting sculpted and my legs were getting tighter. I started to look into bodybuilding competitions as a way to celebrate my new found confidence and abilities. I chose the bikini division because it seemed to be the best route to compete within my time frame. Bikini competitors aren't just beach bunnies- they train hard and lift heavy for their curves and I wanted to emulate that look! After picking a show I continued with the workouts I designed and I transformed how I viewed food, my health and my body. I saw food as fuel but I still loved to eat, and luckily enough I knew better than to think I had to deprive myself to reach my goals! I ate ice cream almost every day as I leaned out and when I stepped on stage six months later I was ready to rock. I ended up winning first place in the three classes I competed in and almost won my professional bodybuilding card as well! To say that I was surprised would be a huge understatement but it felt great to have all my hard work validated in such a fabulous way.
LEARNING TO LEAD
After my spectacular first bodybuilding experience I started to think about how I could capture this amazing feeling beyond show day. The trophies were one thing, but the connection that I had formed with the people in my life and fellow competitors inspired me and drove me each and every day. Friends and family who had seen my transformation asked me what my "secret" was. Would I help them finally lose that last 15 pounds? Bounce back after baby? Develop a healthy relationship with food and their body? Get started in the weight room to grow sexy curves and muscle? I wanted to help in any way that I could so I started brainstorming and writing down what I had learned. I had struggled for so long with low self-esteem, destructive behaviors and lost time that a fire started to grow within me. I needed to help others who were in the same spot that I was, I wanted to save them the trouble of the crash diets and endless hours of cardio. The abuse we had all suffered at our own hands hadn't resulted in a magical change, it had instead made us weary and near the point of giving up! This is where Le Fit Plan was born. From the honest confessions I heard from women trying but failing, to the extreme measures that were promoted by coaches who followed a one size fits all approach to all their clients. I knew that each and every person I talked to had the ability to reach their goals and Le Fit Plan would be tailored to their bodies, lifestyles and habits.
GET SMART, GET RESULTS
I already held a masters degree from Boston University in Teaching and Curriculum so I knew that I had the expertise to build plans that would nurture my clients and respond to their needs. You don't survive long in the classroom if you don't pay attention to each and every unique student and I was committed to doing everything I could to make sure that Le Fit Plan worked for everyone. I view myself as a lifelong learner ready to change and update my approaches to fit each and every client. The women I work with are my number one priority and they are successful because I'm a hands-on trainer who truly cares about you and your goals. With each I'm proud to celebrate with each client and help push through the challenges with them as a team. I started Le Fit Plan because I want to help other women become happy, healthy and confident! There is nothing more rewarding than that and I'm privileged and humbled to work with so many amazing people.
At 25 I was a former high school athlete who had stayed relatively active in the years that had passed since college. I had successfully lost 15 pounds after trading in my corporate desk job for a career as a teacher and I relied on cardiovascular activities at the gym (hello, hours of elliptical!) to keep the weight off. I tracked how much food I was eating and if my weight started to creep up I cut down to 1200-1400 calories to get slim quick. I employed these tactics to get down to 132 pounds for my wedding day, and at 5'8.5" that was the smallest I'd ever been in my adult life. But I didn't feel great- I was tired, deprived and unhappy. It was exhausting to think that I would have to go through this process for the rest of my life. Despite losing weight my confidence and self-perception was still terrible. I criticized myself on a daily basis and started to binge eat when I was feeling down- a habit that had clung to me since my insecure teenage years.
In my first year of marriage I gained back ten pounds, and it wasn't just because I spent my weekends eating double cheeseburgers washed down by pitchers of beer. I had an all or nothing mentality about fitness and I chose nothing in that year. I was adjusting to life as a full-time graduate student while I was teaching and I was trying my best to enjoy married life. I reasoned that if I had to restrict my calories and trudge along doing cardio I would just be heavier- end of story. The idea that exercise could help lift the fog of depression and anxiety that I was feeling never occurred to me.
MAKING A CHANGE
After completing my master's degree I started teaching at a new school that was closer to my home in Boston. I had more time and I joined my local YMCA hoping to get reconnected with my body and health. I started off small with no big goals or high hopes. In a few months I started to notice that muscles were becoming visible in my arms and legs- and I loved it. This was surprising to me because growing up I had always wanted to be runway model thin, a look that my athletic frame was never meant to achieve. In the spring of 2016 I worked with a coach that taught me about a new way of dieting called "If It Fits Your Macros" or "Flexible Dieting". I hate to even call what I do now a 'diet' because it has truly been a full scale lifestyle change, not just a series of restrictions or "food rules" like other diets I had tried. Instead of eating 1200 calories I was eating close to 1800 and still losing weight- I couldn't believe it! Not to mention I got to enjoy my favorite treats like ice cream, pizza and bagels while still reaching my goals.
Next up...how I got into bodybuilding & changed my lifestyle for good!
My Fitness Journey Part II
About the Author
Lily lives in the Bay Area of California with her husband. She loves to lift heavy, watch vintage movies and cheer on her fellow warrior queens!