Growing up I saw the benefits of exercise through my father. He was a runner, weightlifter, road biker; the list goes on and on. Dad also knew the benefits of healthy eating, and would cringe at the thought of ever eating in a McDonalds. He added fitness to his daily routine and it was just part of life in our household. As a child I learned exercise was part of life by watching him and taking on his habit of weekly exercise.
I was always an active child. I was a gymnast for about seven years, this sport taught me about strength, body alignment, balance, and perfect form. At nine I was a VA state baton-twirling champion (my claim to fame), from this I learned the benefits of hard work, and focus. I was a cheerleader elementary age through college. I know Cheerleaders get a bad wrap and people don’t consider it a sport. However, I challenge any athlete to hold another person over their head with one arm, balancing, and then throwing them into the air and catching them. I was once on top of a three-story tower of women. The bases (bottom) were holding flyers (gals in the air) above their heads, they then threw me up and I stood on top of those flyers above their heads. The school staff almost had a heart attack, and could not believe we were able to do this! Cheerleading, taught me the discipline of form, and doing cardio for four hours during a game. I challenge any “athlete” to jump up and down, throw people in your weight class up into the air, and kick your legs above your head for four hours during a game. I started running when I was twelve, and have continued running as my favorite form of cardio, I love to run sprints and distance, challenging myself to go faster and harder.
In high school, I began to lift weights and learned about calories, fats and protein. I ate well, and was very active. I loved the feeling of being strong, and enjoyed challenging myself to build muscle.
At seventeen I ran the Camp Pendleton Mud Run with my father and fell in love with competitive running. My Dad helped push me beyond my limits, and helped me train for the race, pushing me to move out of my comfort zone.
When I went to college I discovered alcohol and began to lag on my fitness regimen. I still had to stay in some type of shape because I had to wear a super short skirt for the SDSU cheer team. However, my eating became a challenge and when I would drink I would eat terribly unhealthy food, late at night.
I was accepted to the 54th Police Academy and challenged myself to get in the best shape possible before the start date. Of all the things I would have to stress about, I felt the exercise portion should not be one of them. I started running 4 miles a day, exceeding my push-up limits. I would set a push-up goal, and everyday I would beat that number by one. I practiced climbing walls, and am blessed to have great upper body strength, most likely from all the gymnastics as a kid. All the hard work paid off and I sailed through the fitness portion, able to do more push-ups than 80% of the men. I was able to do the runs with ease, and had the stamina to take on any man in the self-defense room.
As an adult I have met some very wonderful women, such as K &M, that push me to be a better athlete than they know. I ran my first and only, let me say that again, ONLY marathon with K, and plan on doing my third Tri in October with M. I am currently working on my swimming because I suck at it, and I know this is my weak link. My goal now is to diligently swim three times a week to increase my efficiency, speed, and stamina.
I have competed in two bodybuilding competitions, and through them I learned the true power of nutrition. I am not planning on competing in any more competitions, but learning the extreme to which you can push your body was life changing. The competition was the most challenging fitness regiment I have done yet. Pushing your body to an extreme physically and mentally was amazing.
I earned my personal training, and sports nutrition certification so I can help others achieve their health and fitness goals. This has been an incredible part of my fitness journey, I am able to motivate others to set and achieve their own goals!
I feel like this blog writing is just a list of the things I have just kind of just done through out my 34 years. Fitness is life-long for me, it is not a four week love affair with the treadmill, or a six-week crash diet. I am following my Dad’s footsteps, and it was just part of the routine of daily life. Finding time to fit in fitness, should be the motto. I look at him and see how healthy he is at 65 years old; he continues to ride his bike 70 miles 3-4x a week. lifts weights, and continues to do the Mud Run, He is a great role model and I hope I can influence my children in the same way. I hope they look to me and see how fitness is just part of the daily schedule!!