Here we are again for our Friday Fitness Feature! We usually like to use these posts to talk about the latest fitness research or a technique to add into your exercise routine, but today we decided our topic could be more fun and personal. You may be wondering what got us interested in health and fitness in the first place. Well, let us tell you!
I started dance classes when I was 2 years old, and was very actively involved with dance and gymnastics until about high school. From a young age I was a very talented dancer, and it is still something I feel truly connected to. Then after a total “dance moms” scene I had to leave my studio and didn’t find another one. My freshman year of high school I went to an all-girls school with a good dance program that I participated in. After leaving that school for the rest of high school though, I was not very into fitness. The only activity I did was marching band (yes, marching band is a sport).
I was also a very picky eater growing up. We’re talking chicken fingers and French fries all the time, and not much else. Clearly I was not the healthiest duckling. Once I got to college though, that all changed for me. I knew that I needed to exercise, so I made changes. In the spring I got really into fitness classes. My school had lots of these to offer, and I tried just about all of them! From Zumba, to cardio kickboxing, to Spinning, it became very easy for me to find a class to add in to my daily schedule. Then I came to a point where I not only knew I should eat healthier, but I was ready to try it. I remember trying pasta (yes, pasta) and salad at an Italian themed dinner at the dining hall in the spring of my freshman year. That meal changed everything. The dining hall became a place where I could experiment with food risk-free. If I didn’t like something, I could always pick up something else. It was exactly the kind of environment I needed to explore new foods. I became so passionate about food that I even decided to specialize my major in Food Industry Management. I continued with my fitness classes throughout the rest of my college career, taking mainly Spinning, Zumba, and yoga classes. I felt very comfortable in the class environment, maybe because I grew up in dance classes and had never really been in a gym. I didn’t know how to use any machines or equipment, and was too intimidated to try.
Fast forward to post-graduation. I moved out to Pittsburgh, PA a week later to start a job. My new apartment had a gym, and I did a lot of walking around places because I did not have a car. Pittsburgh is a surprisingly active city filled with lots of young energy. There are plenty of parks and outdoor yoga classes for the summer, as well your typical studios and fitness facilities. On our second date, Jeff and I went to a rock climbing gym, and indoor bouldering has been one of our favorite activities since then. I have also done Kayla Itsine’s BBG program a couple of times, which helped give me structure when going to the gym. I am not currently following any strict exercising program. I usually just go with how I feel day-to-day. I firmly believe that you should do what you enjoy and makes you feel good. If you try to force yourself to do workouts you don’t enjoy, exercising becomes a chore (and nobody likes chores!).
I have always been very active from a young age, but my fitness origin story began around the time I graduated high school. Sure, like most kids I played all the recreational sports that my parents could handle taking me to on a weekly basis. From a very young age I played baseball, basketball, and I even earned my black belt in Tae Kwon Do by the time I was 11 years old. In high school I was an avid sprinter and high jumper on the track and field team, in which I proudly earned a few medals. It wasn’t until after graduating high school when I had to become serious about my eventual career goals that I started to take my interest in fitness seriously in college.
After graduating high school I kind of became lost because I had nothing to really keep me active anymore. In college I had to rediscover who I wanted to be and what my overall goals were. This is the same inner struggle that most people go through when they are left to their own devices and obtain some level of freedom, but how you react in these instances is what is important. I chose to react by becoming more serious about weight training, which is something I began to have more interest in as I got older. Although weight training was not as fun as track and field, it started to become a passion of mine because it made me feel stronger and more confident in myself. My increased interest in weight training led me to majoring in exercise science and maintaining a consistent training program throughout my entire college career all the way through grad school.
Of course, I had my ups and downs when it came to training because I began to wonder what the heck I was even training for or if I was having any fun doing it. I got to a point where I wasn’t seeing the strength gains I wanted and I was lacking motivation. Then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked!…Wait, that’s not right, although that would be cool. Everything actually changed when my dad told me about a local gym with obstacles from the show American Ninja Warrior. Hearing that news immediately caught my interest, so the next weekend I went to visit the gym and was completely humbled by the obstacles that I thought I could easily do. I walked away that day more motivated than ever having something new, exciting, and most importantly fun to train for. Although I have trained hard and applied for the show the past 3 years, I have not earned my chance to compete on the show. However I have not let that discourage me. I still really enjoy obstacle training and it allowed me to discover indoor rock climbing, which is now a shared interest between Maxine and me. The most important thing in my opinion is to find the fun thing that keeps you motivated to stay active!
Now your fitness origin story might not have begun when you were young like us. You might have only recently started becoming more aware of your health and fitness level. Perhaps you recently visited your doctor and he gave you the same spiel about needing more exercise and eating better, or you decided to make healthier lifestyle changes on your own free will. However you came to this point in your life where you care more about your health and have a greater passion for fitness, we are very proud of you! We hope you enjoyed hearing how we became interested in health and fitness, and we would love to hear what has motivated you to stay or become fit. In the comments below please share with us your fitness origin story, and any struggles you have gone through on your fitness journey!
We look forward to hearing what lead you to us and as always stay Happily Ever Healthy!
– Maxine and Jeff