As I write this blog my heart is to share with you why I am so passionate about fitness. In my fitness journey there were many dark moments. I was motivated by how I felt I looked. I was motivated by my insecurities. I was motivated by the lies I told myself every day. There were days I hated my body and because of that, there were days I hated who I was. I was defined by how I felt I looked. I would worry about eating out and eating off my normal plan for the day. I would worry about when I could get to the gym every day because of my busy schedule. I became stressed, anxious and way too skinny. My obsession with “health and fitness” was extremely unhealthy and not a picture of “health and fitness” I would want to share with anyone. But that was then. Now my fitness journey is fueled by the love I have for my body. It is full of energy and motivated by my sheer joy of training hard. It is filled with a healthier relationship with food, fueling my body correctly and personal bests in the gym. It has been a long journey but I would not take any of it back. Now, because of my experience, I am more qualified to help those who are struggling in their fitness journey. Here is a small part of my story.
If you would have asked me two years ago about competing in the sport of bodybuilding here is what I would have told you, “There is no way I could compete in that sport and follow the Lord.” That’s right. I said it. Looking back it was one of those “open mouth, insert foot” moments, but at that time it was what I truthfully thought. And truthfully, I was completely wrong. I was wrong because I was not ready. He had not made me ready. Ever since I gave my life to the Lord I always had a desire to compete, but He always stopped me. After surviving my first season of competition prep I now know why….
My senior year of high school was when I fell in love with weight training. I fell in love with everything about it. The way it made me feel, the improvement in my strength and the improvement in my physique. I began eating healthier and man did the weight fall off. As my workouts became more intense and my eating became stricter I became obsessed. I was obsessed with the high of training, the compliments and attention I received. It was all or nothing. I was absolutely defined by my physique. I was never satisfied. I was never happy. I always felt I could work harder and look better. It was a vicious cycle and it was only going to get worse.
My first year of college I became even leaner. I was lifting, doing cardio, taking a PE class and playing Club Volleyball at the University of Georgia. Not to mention I walked to every class. Riding the bus meant I was lazy. I ate “healthy” but I didn’t eat enough. I guess you could say I developed a “disordered eating” habit. As my energy expenditure increased and my input remained the same I fell into binge eating. My body was starving! Late weekend nights and entire boxes of cereal and spoonfuls of peanut butter later my body began to shut down. My metabolism began to tank and my body began to hold onto everything I ingested. Depression. Anxiety. Stress. All of these followed the cloud of insecurity that hung over me. I had lost everything I thought defined me. I didn’t know who I was anymore.
In the middle of this mess was when the Lord mightily saved my life! (I will go into this later, but it IS important to this post to know that He is the reason I have been delivered from all this.) When He found me some desires he took away immediately, but my insecurity about who I was and what I looked like was not one of those “immediate deliverance” things. No. This was going to be a process. He began to chip away, brick by brick and piece by piece. There were days I laid on my face and begged Him to take everything from me because I couldn’t go another day feeling so insecure. But He didn’t. He took things from me slowly as He showed me who He was and who I was in Him and to Him! What an AWESOME Father. He showed me that I was HIS and that my identity was in Him alone. He showed me that nothing else mattered and that I was beautiful. I realized, just as we should speak and declare life over ourselves we MUST declare life over our physical bodies. My constant criticism of my body was only hurting me. I was literally killing my physical body. Every time I looked in the mirror and chose to hate some other feature on my physique I was killing myself. And to a dying physical body NOTHING can be changed. So nothing did. But God! When he showed me how to love and appreciate every aspect of who He had made me to be I began to notice changes.
This may sound silly, but I began thanking the Lord for all of my features that I hated so badly. And soon enough, I actually began finding good in those features. I began to actually feel FREE. I actually found that I wasn’t comfortable in my insecurity and wanted security in Him more than anything. And then, I WAS free! One day I realized that I actually loved who I was, I loved what I looked like and best of all, I had peace. That was when He released me to compete.
Now my desire is to glorify Him in doing what He created me to love! I am free to do what He created me to do! This is my ministry. This is my passion. So, Arise Fitness was born.