Facebook reminded me where I was one year ago today. No surprise I was in the gym but this was before, well before I dreamed of body building or power lifting. As a matter of fact, I was completely unfocused in my personal fitness journey at the point I posted this photo and looking at it now makes me both sad, yet also incredibly proud.
Part of the caption reads:
Recently, I’ve found myself gravitating back towards weight lifting. Man, there is NOTHING like the pump you get from lifting. No amount of cardio or cycling can duplicate the feeling one gets when pushing, pulling, and pressing weights. I’m eager to redefine my love with lifting heavy things. Who knows? Maybe in the New Year I’ll find myself back at #Crossfit?
Almost prophetic, it was like I was laying the ground work for the coming months when I would indeed fully gravitate back to weight lifting taking me down the path of body building, competing (September 5, 2016), then power lifting, and soon my first meet (January 22, 2017). Looking at this photo I see hints of the woman I’d later grow into but unbeknownst to me; it’d take almost 3-4 months after I posted this photo to fully commit to myself and my own unfiltered excellence.
At the point this photo was taken I was exactly 1-year post-op from my 4th knee surgery. In so many respects I allowed myself to be defined by what I thought I could and couldn’t do. I’m not quite sure how and why that happened really. I guess at the point when this photo was taken, I can attribute my lack of success fitness-wise to making excuses for myself. I hid behind the fact that I was a school teacher, serving children all day; then teaching fitness in the evenings—after serving others, motivating, and empowering others, I couldn’t possibly have anything left in me to then pump myself up to lift in the gym.
That’s where the sadness comes from—that’s where I look at this photo and see a woman who could be so great, if only she saw herself the same way others saw her. It breaks my heart to know it took years to arrive at the point in which I am today.
It would be nearly a year where I’d make new friends and reside in a completely new community that I would find the self-confidence to revel in my power and strength. Weight lifting allowed me to restore myself confidence, even when I failed, was tired, or didn’t feel like lifting. Weight lifting has given me purpose and a true sense of self-worth. And honestly, I hate to say this [especially as a yogi and yoga instructor] but yoga never ever made me feel this way. As a matter of fact, the yoga community is the exact opposite of the weight lifting world. Ironically, the yoga world is consumed by ego, aesthetics, and contortionism. Most times, it’s even exclusive and the warm and welcoming community it presents or shall I say, sells to the world, is just that—a sales pitch. And not to knock it, since I too live in, teach, and practice in the yoga world; the weight lifting community is one of authentic friends who could care less about what you’re wearing, what you can do with your body, and what your body looks like. It’s damn refreshing to hang out with women who walk up to you, ask your name, then hug you, smile, and help you lift. Better yet, it’s friggen awesome to go out with a group of girls who don’t talk about how fat they are, what they should and shouldn’t eat, and genuinely like their bodies. Hell, these women LOVE their bodies—HALLELUJAH!
So I look at this woman one year ago and I while I feel a tinge of sadness for her, I also smile knowing that the year she had ahead was one of the best years of her life. The hours spent in the gym with my husband coaching me, meeting new people, building myself up, and sculpting my body, have been some of the best experiences in my life. I am so proud of the work that girl put in and the me of today has committed to putting in massive work as 2017 rounds the corner. The journey will only get harder as my power lifting meet looms on the horizon; and now with the help of a new body building coach, the work I am about to take on will be grueling. But I am ready now, so so so ready.
A year ago I tried to avoid committing to myself because I was scared and filled with self-doubt. Today, I bound into the gym rain or shine, on holidays, sometimes twice a day, and when it calls for it—7 days a week. There truly isn’t anything that I cannot do, and same applies to you too.
A lot can and will change in a year if you allow yourself the space to grow. Give yourself permission to thrive and dare to make impactful changes in your life because you are so worth it. I know looking back has allowed me to look ahead to the future with hope—even more hope than I could ever imagine because I know my potential is boundless.