I was 16 years old when I began my journey towards and healthier body. Unfortunately, the approach I initially took was the opposite of healthy; excessive cardio, extreme caloric restriction, lack of carbohydrates, and the dependence on pre-workouts. I shake my head in shame when looking back at my initial approach. I did lose weight (some fat, a lot of muscle), but I was weak, tired, irritable, and definitely did not look healthy.
Like many others, especially women, I thought the best strategy was to restrict myself in one area, while excessively pushing myself in another. Eventually I spiraled down to a measly 98 pounds, experienced horrible stomach pains, couldn’t sleep, and I looked like I could snap like a twig at any moment. I went too far in the opposite direction, feeling just as unsatisfied as I was with a higher body fat percentage.
It reached the point where everything felt hard, even easy workouts. I lost motivation and couldn’t get a good night’s sleep due to soreness, and the pre-workouts. I wasn’t recovering. I felt like shit.
Luckily I got into lifting weights, and my desire to be strong started to outweigh my desire to be thin. This is where things starting coming together.
Fast forward 18 years and I’m still learning, but I do not restrict myself when it comes to food (that’s not to say I eat carelessly/ poorly) and my days of endless bouts of cardio are far behind me. I now know and respect carbohydrates as an extremely important fuel source for overall health and athletic performance.
I of course still perform aerobic exercise, but I keep it within an hour and make to sure refuel afterwards. Inline skating will forever be my favourite! However, I more often perform conditioning workouts that involves strength training, like circuits including the row machine, loaded carries, sled pulls and pushes.
I am not an endurance athlete, and if you aren’t either, don’t spend all your time performing excessive cardio. Instead, prioritize good sources of protein, lift heavy weights, walk often, reduce or eliminate alcohol, and learn as much as you can about the human body – your body. Respect yourself and things will come together.