You know how I started doing "Makeup Monday" posts? I chose that name with the full intention of adding other themed days into my repertoire, but gradually, because jumping into blogging multiple days per week is... a lot. I had to work up to it.
So thus, we begin Fitness Fridays. This will just be a weekly check-in about my health and fitness--a little progress report of what I've done for the week.
To begin with, both of the gyms that I called home closed this year.
Now, full disclosure: I hadn't been lifting much at all this past year due to being pregnant, and then when gyms had to close due to the pandemic, I definitely was trying to get some workouts in at home. And then both gyms (not at the same time) have permanently closed. I was already in the process of putting together a garage gym anyway, because I was too apprehensive about working out at a gym, but my long-term plan was to train in person when the time came for me to start competing again.
So now I am both coachless and gymless. I have been following a program I downloaded from Female Strength Academy, whose podcast I am a huge fan of, and so far, it's enough. I'm working on earning back some gains.
Speaking of Female Strength Academy, I signed up for nutrition coaching with Mary Morton, who is one of the co-hosts of the podcast, and an Oly lifter. Her specialty is intuitive eating. I had been considering signing up for a while (the other co-host, Dr. Kristin Lander, coaches a macros approach), and the thing that finally convinced me is the episode that they did recently about disordered eating in athletes.
For those who don't know, disordered eating is not the same as an eating disorder, but it's related. I'm not going to do it justice by trying to define it here, but let me just say that all my past instances of cutting out food groups, yo-yo dieting, being obsessive and preoccupied about meals and mealtimes and all that stuff? They all fall into that category.
I mean, I was even recently trying to figure out how I could "get my body back," because I am nowhere near back to my pre-pregnancy body, and the only methods I could think of were the things I'd already done before in diets: cutting out food groups, or intermittent fasting, or severely limiting my calorie intake. For me, there has never been any balance in my approach to food--it's always been feast or famine, all or nothing, and what I really need more than anything is a happy medium.
I don't want to spend all my time counting or measuring food portions. I don't want to feel left out at family gatherings because I'm not allowing myself to eat what they're eating. I don't want to always ask for exceptions or accommodations when I'm ordering out. I don't want to NOT order out. Maybe other people can handle all that, but for me it was all very joyless, and not sustainable in the long-term. It's not the life I want.
So, intuitive eating. Or, you know, EATING. Paying attention to your body's cues and learning what it needs. And there are a lot of people who think this is bogus, or a lot of people who will joke, "What if I intuitively want to eat an entire pizza?" But you know what? I believe my body wants to course-correct. I've had days where I've eaten nothing but heavy, rich food, and then all of a sudden, I will just CRAVE SALADS. I think my body can tell me, at least sometimes, and I think I need to learn how to listen.
And this is what I've been trying. I had my first meeting with Mary just before the new year, and so far, I'm liking this. My goal is not to lose weight, but to unlearn disordered eating behaviors, and to learn how to pay attention to my body, and then also to learn how I SHOULD be feeding it, as a strength athlete.
Mary is positive and supportive, and she has tons of expertise (she has a PhD!), and she is also a strength athlete, so she understands where I'm coming from. She provides a gentle accountability, where I feel motivated to try but not afraid to fail.
All this to say, these meetings have gotten me back to lifting, where other things were not working before. Last week, I completed my first full (three session) week of lifting in OVER a year, maybe even two years! And I'm excited in a way I haven't been in a long time, and I'm rediscovering my love for this sport, and even though I'm nowhere near back to my full ability, for once, I am not feeling afraid or intimidated by the weight of my own expectations. I am just ENJOYING lifting again, the way I used to before "records" and "Instagram" and "accolades" started getting to me.
And now here we are, Fitness Fridays <3
This post was not intended to be a plug for Female Strength Academy and Kristin and Mary, but I'm shouting them out anyway, because they have brought me back to something that I LOVE. And specifically the training plan I'm following is called "Reignite: Falling Back in Love with Lifting," and I gotta say... it's working.