August 27, 2012
I felt so unprepared for my scheduled photo shoot on Saturday.
While I trained nearly every day, ate fairly clean and ran almost 10 miles weekly, I still felt like my body lacked the leanness I was accustomed to seeing when I prepared for competitions. In the past, my abdominal muscles and veins were visible, I weighed 5-10 pounds less and the small pockets of fat found around my bra strap and waist band were not apparent.
In addition to some of my physical insecurities, I lacked a lot of energy and focus weeks leading up to the shoot. My 8-month old son was teething, which prevented quality sleep. My 3-year old started preschool, which took a lot of physical and logistical effort with the other kids in tow. I’ve been working more, sleeping less and trying not to gobble the rest of my son’s PB sandwich out of frustration, stress and hunger.
In the past, all I had to worry about was me – I would wake with energy, workout with intensity, eat with discipline and sleep with no disruption. Fitness and living a clean lifestyle was one of the few priorities I had in my early twenties, a far cry from the chaotic and tiring existence I deal with daily.
Earlier in the week I emailed my photographer, Mike Byerly, my proposed swimsuits and noted that I wanted to be in better shape, but knew that I was limited by time and kids. In a kind response, Mike emailed me back with encouraging words and within his sentences he said, ‘you are a true role model for fitness.’
Up until that point, I felt discouraged by my seemingly lack of attention given to my fitness goals. Of course, I could sit back and say, “well, I look great for have three kids in three years” or “not too shabby for a stay-at-home-working-mom” or “my last baby is only 8 months old!” But I didn’t. I didn’t give myself excuses, not once, throughout my preparation process. I always pushed myself to train harder, eat cleaner and live more passionately because I was limited by the things that made my life challenging.
The ability to work towards and complete a goal is an accomplishment. The power to will yourself to train when you’re tired, stay focused when you’re stressed and make yourself a priority when you have three other cute yet laborious priorities waiting for you to wake up each day is an achievement.
I admire the fitness representatives I see in media who have amazing bodies – but I know that 95% of the people admire have never had kids or are paid to be in incredible shape because it is part of their career. Understanding the truth behind fitness and the models that represent them is key to accepting your personal fitness.
As I stood in front of Mike’s lens, cold but warm from anticipation in my green bikini, I felt confident. This is my body – It’s different from my body ten years ago and ten years from now it will evolve again. As I get older, as my body ages, as my work changes and priorities shift, I will always challenge my body, fuel it with healthy foods and treat it like a temple that stores an unwavering spirit.
That is what fitness does. It protects the home of your spirit.
Protect yourself. Accept yourself. Challenge yourself. BE yourself.