Looking back on some of the reasons why exercise has become such a huge part of my life, I can see how important it has been. I was never very physically active as a kid, aside from the odd power walk or fitness class I took with my mom. I participated in dance for one year and basketball another, but I was far from athletic and felt like I was struggling to understand it all.
Real, regular exercise didn’t become a routine for me until I was 20 years old. I'd had Monika and was really struggling to lose the 50 pounds I gained. At one point, I started regaining weight despite going for a long daily walk with the dog and baby. I did a Jane Fonda videotape that I had from living with my parents; my mom and I used to do her workouts together sometimes in our pastel gym suits in the early ’90s. Looking back now, I can also see how wrong I was about my food choices. A few nights per week I would have a quarter of an apple pie, because apples are healthy, along with a big tall glass of milk with chocolate syrup stirred in because milk has calcium and protein, totally healthy! I also had ice cream on top of my warm pie, and that was healthy too because it’s derived from milk and I already explained why that was so nutritious. At that time, I had no clue what it meant to eat a healthy, balanced diet and would soon embark on a journey that would last a lifetime and become a true passion.
When Monika was 3 months old her father was sent to prison for 6 years. He completed 2 years of that sentence and then later returned for a few months after a parole violation. During his time in prison, he started lifting weights every day and eating a diet that promoted muscle growth. He looked like a different person when he came out and I thought if he can do it, so can I. At that time, I had an intense feeling that I did not want to get left behind or traded-in.
We soon moved to Markham ON into a bungalow where we also grew 100’s of marijuana plants in the basement, but that’s for another story. I decided to join a women’s gym that was down the street and opted in for a package of Personal Training sessions because I had no clue what I was doing. This is where I met Angie, a beautiful soul that I really looked up to. She had a beautiful body to match the most beautiful smile. I breathed in every word she spoke as though it were gospel, and it wasn’t long before my body transformed into the one I had been dreaming of. I fell in love with squats and lunges, planks and push-ups. I started running to and from the gym to add to my cardio. I ate a high protein diet and eliminated most carbs. I started taking aggressive fat burners like ephedrine mixed with caffeine that boosts fat burning. If you’ve never tried this, DON’T. My anxiety kicked into high gear using products like this. They are very dangerous and can even cause heart attack and death. It is illegal now, though not until the early 2000s. I learned a lot of positive fitness lessons that would stay in my heart forever, and eventually take up as a career when push came to shove and I had to support myself and my daughter as a single parent.
I also learned the dark side of the fitness industry right off the bat and it took me many years to pass through those mistakes and leave them far behind. The one thing that remains true is that consistency is the key. That is the magic of it. If you commit to doing it every day and eating clean food (I have now adopted a plant-based diet that is balanced with carbs, protein, and healthy fats), you can have a body that is a healthy weight and moves with ease. I haven’t seen Angie in many years now, but I did reach out to her when I got into Personal Training to let her know how big of an impact she had on my life and that I considered her a pivotal
person in the direction I took. I have a few people like this that I’ve met in the fitness industry. I will introduce you to the next one in the next blog.
Do you have a person that has inspired your fitness journey? I would love to hear about it in the comments.