Most women struggle with body issues. I’m always amazed at the insecurities woman have. My 21-year-old cousin was recently complaining to me about being too small. The most ironic thing about that is I know that feeling well. When I was younger I was very athletic and naturally small. It was so hard for me to push over the hump of 110 pounds. Honestly, that didn’t happen until I was about 27. People would always comment that it was a great problem to have, but for me, it really wasn’t. I tried everything to gain weight. Most of which included eating my heart’s content of every “no, no” item I could get my hands on, and to that people would comment “must be nice!” .... It wasn’t. Now at the dawn of my 34th birthday, and now having been in and around the fitness industry for some time, there’s so much I would tell my younger self. The biggest thing is: there is a science to size.
Don’t get me wrong there are some factors that are out of our control, but for most of us, what we seek is attainable. Diet and exercise are the 2 biggest controllable variables to gaining or losing weight and shaping your body. But we all know that. What we don't know is that there is a scientific formula to what you eat, when you eat, when you work out and how you workout that controls gaining or losing weight. When I started working out I didn’t know where to start. So like most people I started with cardio: 45 minutes a day 1st thing in the morning. BIG mistake. That took me from 115 to 107 pounds even though I was eating everything I could find. Needless to say, that was not my goal. I was skinny, 18% body fat, size 0, sometimes even a 00, and unbelievably unhealthy. Then I started CrossFit!
Now, let me start by saying that I do not endorse CrossFit. As with your diet, exercise routines are a personal choice and I encourage people to do what works for their body and helps them reach their goals. That said, CrossFit did not work for me. However, it did teach me about how the body works. How the body heals itself. How muscles are made and the importance of proper nutrition. I did CrossFit for 6 months. When I finished I was 15% body fat and 117 pounds. The weight was coming, and the lean mass was staying. That was my lightbulb moment. That was when I decided to get into the fitness industry. From that moment forward, I took what I learned from CrossFit and applied it to my regular strength training routine. In a nutshell, nutrient-dense foods in the morning, substantial protein-dominant foods post-workout, only 1 cardio day per week. That’s what worked for me. The results were impressive. I went from 107 pounds 18% body fat to 132 pounds 26% body fat and finally wearing a size 2, in a year and a half! Most importantly I feel great! At 107 pounds, eating “whatever I wanted”, I was extremely under-nourished. My body wasn’t getting what it needed to regenerate itself and adapt properly. Sugar burned instantly, hardly any complex carbs, poor protein intake. I was doing more harm than good. My muscles were wasting away. Skinny does not equal healthy, and the same is true of the reverse.
Now my plan may not work for everyone, but there is a plan that will work for your fitness goals. I think my biggest take away from this journey is that we, humans beings, are a delicate system. We can adapt to change and it will show on the outside. But just like anything else, we need regular maintenance and the proper fuel to get the best results! How long will an unleaded engine run on diesel fuel? Just because you put fuel in it, doesn’t mean it’s the right kind for that engine. So I ask, what kind of engine do you have? What’s your fuel?
For More: Read The Other Side Of This Conversation On Size