In my early 20s, I was a careless college student. I partied, ate out and drank. My lifestyle has taken a toll on my mental and physical health. My daily habits have caused about 40-50 lbs of weight gain, poor mood, and stagnant energy.
I was still mildly active, playing in a coed volleyball league and lifting here and there, but I wasn’t reaching my potential.
I was inspired to change my grueling lifestyle and commit to an exercise routine because I knew I could do more and be more.
My strength journey started in 2017, around the age of 21 (I am now 27). I realized that I was entirely in charge of my life. I was showing up for others instead of myself for way too long. I needed to make a change for my general well being.
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I was borderline depressed, medically overweight, and frustrated with myself. My confidence was shattered and I was insecure about everything. I couldn’t believe I let my health get so bad.
So, I made it a goal to commit to myself First and lose the weight I had gained. (Later I would shift my focus to building muscle and strength.) I committed to improving 1% every single day.
I credit these three changes with my strength transformation and success.
1. I recognized and made a commitment to change my bad habits and kept myself accountable with journaling.
I reached the peak of my frustrations and started asking myself for a change. I dove into reading, journaling, and obsessing over my daily agenda.
The book, You’re Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living a Great Life, helped me shift my energy and accomplish what I deserved and was capable of. It gave me the courage to make the changes I knew were needed for my personal growth.
I kept myself accountable for my goals by journaling. My journaling style varied according to my mood. Sometimes I expressed my innermost thoughts and feelings that I couldn’t share with anyone else. Other times, I would write my master plan in bullet form, like this:
This week I will:
Get three new customers
PR in my leg press
Network with three new people
This form of journaling helped me state where I wanted to go. I journaled about all the ups and downs of my world and always journaled about the major buckets in life, like relationships, careers, finances, and entertainment!
2. I connected with a new community of people who supported my healthy lifestyle choices.
A couple years into my healthier routine, I returned to Los Angeles for the birth of my grandson. Back home, I re-established connections which gave me much more confidence. Making this drastic change allowed me to literally leave toxic people and habits behind. I shifted my focus to 100% myself becoming my highest, best self.
Not everyone has the ability to uproot and physically move, so I always advise women to put on blinders and focus on what really matters, wherever you are. I realized I had to make some sacrifices to maintain my healthier lifestyle, and one was changing my friend group.
I created a small group chat of girls (five to seven people) where we focused on working out, yoga and days at the beach. I had to surround myself with women who were vulnerable and open to growing together.
3. I have found new ways to move my body through injuries and unexpected obstacles.
I had to overcome a major setback in fitness in 2022. I had an accident and had to stop lifting and exercising completely.
After the car crash, I wasn’t sure what the workout was going to be like. I could have given up on that setback, but I didn’t and I’m so proud that I made it through. I took it slow and started with mobility and yoga. Thanks to that gentle movement, I am now able to lift and press more heavily than before with my legs.
Here’s what my fitness routine includes nowadays.
- Monday it’s about lifting heavy loads and training your legs. I start strong to set the tone for the week.
- TuesdayI train my back muscles.
- Wednesday I do cardio. I keep it moving with indoor volleyball or a stair workout at Culver City Stairs.
- Thursdaydepending on how my body feels from volleyball, I rest or do a chest workout.
- Friday, I finish strong with a full body routine. Friday’s focus is on mobility, core and hip strengthening.
- Weekend they are usually off days for me. A couple times a month, I’ll teach HIIT workouts.
Last year I focused on building the glutes. The moves that have worked for me are hinges, isometric holds, single leg workouts, and increasing leg workouts to three days a week.
For glute training, I like to start by prioritizing all areas of my hip flexors (front, side, and back). I do 100 kicks in all directions before each leg day. For some of my clients this is quite challenging and all the training they need.
Next, I dive into the meat of the glute workout. I used my knowledge of muscle engagement to create effective glute routines with the equipment I had. I do four sets of each move at least twice a week. My results in just a few months have been insane!
My body is so strong and capable of so much more than I imagined when I set my initial goal six years ago.
I can’t believe I host workouts filled with incline sprints and stair jumps, or that I’m still playing top-level volleyball 20 years later. Not long ago, I was struggling on the treadmill, scared to let go of the rails.
I’m so proud that I stuck to my plan and stuck to healthier habits like I said I would. Being committed to fitness and becoming my best, most vital self has taken me to places I never knew were imaginable.
I have found value in myself and in my career by being who I naturally am: a fitness junkie, a competitor, and a hard worker. I am proud of myself for not comparing myself to others. I understand that everyone is unique and it is not helpful to compare my journey to someone else’s.
Recently, I’ve been focusing my training on muscular endurance, so I’ve included a high-rep volume workout to see how far I can really push myself. I feel stronger than ever.
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