Fleshing It Out: Squats

Now let’s talk about Squats. Well, fitness.

My history with fitness is long and complicated. It has become more stable over the past 3 years, but I’m still figuring it out.

If you’ve been reading along, I was overweight (okay, obese, I’m just overweight now) my entire life. But I played sports, and for the most part played them very well. I was on several upper level teams, and played varsity basketball and softball almost exclusively in high school. The problem? I was never “in shape”. I couldn’t keep up with the other girls in terms of endurance. So while my abilities put me at the level I was, my physical fitness hindered me. I quit playing soccer because I was a goalie and saw no reason for me to have to do all of the running drills. Soccer practice was something I dreaded and it just wasn’t fun. So that was it. Something that stuck with me from soccer in high school was the coach made us run for 20 minutes every day during pre-season. I remember that 20 minutes seeming like 200, and I never could actually run the whole time. I always ended up walking.

Fast forward to college. I went to a Division 1 school, and while I was good at sports, I wasn’t that good. Besides, I didn’t even WANT to play sports in college. Number 1, I was going for pre-med at the time and wanted to focus on studies. Number 2, I DID NOT WANT TO RUN ANYMORE. Straight up. I was terrified of all of the running I would have to do if I played a sport in college. So I didn’t. And outside of sports, I didn’t know what working out was. I was always told what to do by coaches and trainers. I was clueless on how to do it by myself. So with the exception of a few visits to the gym with friends, I did pretty much nothing unless I was walking around campus. Enter the freshman 15 (and for me, the freshman 40-50) and my weight just got even more out of control.

Then, as I believe I’ve mentioned, I woke up one morning in January 2011 and decided I wanted to give one of my Christmas gifts a try. Mom had given me a Wii, a Wii balance board, and a game – “The Biggest Loser” (subtle, right?). Well, on that fateful morning in January, for whatever reason, I wanted to try to lose weight. I was tired of being fat. I’d been on diets before, sure. I would make efforts at eating healthier and try to work out, but nothing stuck. It had been a life-long battle. I think what was most different about January 2011 was that I literally expected nothing to happen. I didn’t go into it with high hopes. I just thought, “Let’s see what this game is about, and if I’m lucky I’ll lose 10 lbs”.

Guess what? I freakin’ loved that game. I craved it. It was a competitor’s dream. You could literally watch your progress on the screen. 2 months and 20 lbs later (WHAT?! I LOST MORE THAN 10 LBS WITH THE GAME?!) I decided I wanted something different. Spring was approaching and my yearly itch to get outside and do something was strong. The Biggest Loser game was all circuit training in my bedroom. Squats, pushups, lunges, high knees, jogging in place, whatever. I wanted to do something outside the bedroom. So I went to the gym in my apartment complex and got on the treadmill. I ran at a whopping 5.0 mph for 8 minutes before I had to walk. Oddly enough, this didn’t frustrate me. I made treadmill attempts a couple times a week until one day I wanted to run outside. I was so excited I tripped and fell within my first 50 steps. Classy.

The running continued through the spring. I got faster. I went further. I also complemented it with this amazing Boxing class at the gym. I went with my best friend and we put on boxing gloves and pads and punched and kicked each other and it was great. I discovered a path behind my apartment complex that I could run on. Out and back was 3 miles, and I made it my MISSION to run the whole thing. I don’t think I had ever run 3 straight miles until that point. EVER. Even during my sports training days, 2 miles was a big accomplishment. And by the end of April, I had done it. At the end of May I ran my first official 5k in about 35 minutes. Solid. I ran that same 5k in 28 minutes the following year.

I graduated college just above the weight I entered it 4 years prior. I felt alive and fresh and it was unlike anything I had ever done before. I can’t even tell you what other workouts I was doing, but mostly I was running. I had my eye on another prize. In September, when I was pretty sure I could handle it, I signed up for the Disney Princess Half-Marathon. Un-freakin-believable.

Long story short, I had a stomach virus 2 days before the half-marathon, so the only energy sources I really had in terms of food were the hot dog I managed to eat the night before along with a bagel and banana before the race. After throwing up constantly for 24 hours I had no hopes for the race, I just wanted to finish. I had fun trotting along and taking pictures with the characters. I finished in about 2:45. Case in point: I FINISHED. And I did jog most of the route. The girl who hadn’t run more than 3 miles in her life before April 2011, who was 260-something pounds in January 2011, finished a half-marathon in February 2012 at 180-something pounds. Those are two totally different girls.

I’ve now finished 4 half-marathons, my most recent one I finished in under 2 hours. I go to spin class. I dabble with yoga from time to time (I hate it but want to love it). I still run. I hit the elliptical. I go to a step aerobics class here and there. I miss kickboxing but theres nothing good in my area, and nothing has compared to that class I took in college. I’ve done heavy weight lifting and light weight lifting, and there have been periods of time when I’ve done absolutely nothing (yeah, I went paleo for 2 months and could never muster up the energy to work out).

And right now? I call myself a Tone It Up girl. The challenges and consistently changing workout schedules are perfect for my fitness ADD, plus I LOVE the results I’ve gotten, even when I pig out.

I could talk about Squats for hours. And I will. But I think this gives you a pretty good background.

Do any of you have a FAVORITE fitness activity? Or are you fitness ADD like me?

❤ L

Disney Half DC Half AC Half OC Half

Pictured:

1. Disney Princess Half Marathon
2. Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC
3. Atlantic City Boardwalk Half Marathon
4. Island to Island Half Marathon (Assateague to Ocean City) – Under 2 hours!

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