My Approach to Fitness

  • Fitness
  • Rachel Walker
  • May 11, 2016

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I’ve always been a girl full of energy. Running, swimming, bouncing off the walls, you name it. As a kid, I always had a reserve source of energy. Even to this day I can call upon a serious supply of energy even if I am exhausted. It could be my DNA, it could be my diet, or it can be my overactive imagination that keeps me going. Either way, fitness has become a very important tool in channeling my energy.

Aside from having all this energy, I didn’t play many sports growing up. I remember taking some ballet classes and a karate class or two, but I just wasn’t all that interested in fitness as a child. I focused my energy in other activities such as playing with my dolls, reading (I have always been a bookworm) or painting (I always told my parents “I am going to be a doctor and an artist” – neither of which I am today) and sports just weren’t really my thing.

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The conversation of fitness always seemed to come up when I would go to my doctor’s office. The pediatrician would always ask my mother “Is your daughter involved with sports?” and she would say no, and we didn’t think much of it. As the years went by and I approached high school, my doctor kept pressing for me to go into sports. I wasn’t overweight or unhealthy but the pressure was there (I suppose due to the increase in diabetes and obesity rates in the United States). So I decided that I would either become a cheerleader or play lacrosse. Simple as that. Cheerleading wasn’t really my thing (I made the JV team. . . which just so happened to be compromised of myself and only one other girl) and lacrosse turned out to being more of a clique-sport than a team sport (although I was very good and still try to play when I get the chance to) and I eventually found that I really enjoyed the cross country team (read more on my running article here) but, at that age, fitness didn’t really play an important role in my mind.

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Now, as much as I dislike talking about past relationships, I do have to thank my first boyfriend for getting me passionate about fitness. At the age of 15, nobody knows who they are or what they want from life (although we all believe we do at that age – am I right?) and my boyfriend at the time was convinced that he was meant to be a bodybuilder. He was obsessed. So obsessed that I felt left out of the picture. Now, looking back I should have just left the relationship right then and there but hey, I was 15 and didn’t know any better. I thought to myself “well, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!” We started touring gyms with a serious focus on weightlifting. I had to wait until I was 16 before I could join a gym with a parental co-sign, and finally, I decided on Gold’s Gym. At first, I felt very out of place. Everybody appeared very serious about why they were into fitness, and I always felt a little intimidated being one of the only girls (and a young teenager at that) working out in the weight room. Eventually, though, I started to get excited about the fact that I knew how to curl dumbbells, pick up heavy weights properly and even do deadlifts (I’m still excited about my deadlifting skills actually). Long after the relationship ended, my passion for fitness continued on. Once I conquered the weight room alone, I felt very comfortable attending different fitness classes and going to the gym became a regular part of my life.

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My focus was always on crafting a better body. Looking better. Getting abs. Having sexy legs and a toned backside. I would get excited and motivated to look hotter. I started making fitness too much about my appearance and not enough about my health. Now, the reason why I mention this isn’t to discourage anybody from using those thoughts and images as a way to motivate themselves towards a healthier lifestyle. What I am saying is that eventually, the image-based desires to workout faded, and when they did, my motivation went along with it. I let my focus be on how I looked instead of how I felt.

When I stopped going to the gym for a long stretch in the past year (I would say from about last April to late November 2015) I started to notice that my energy was not as abundant as it had normally been. I also started to notice that I was more easily agitated and frustrated. My sleeping habits were not as solid and I began an awful pattern of sleeping in late (for an entrepreneurial-minded woman with multiple side-jobs, sleeping in became a very bad habit that distracted me from accomplishing necessary goals). I realized that fitness was a very important component of me being me. So, I got back on my feet and got moving once again. I’m happy to have the new focus be on how well I operate instead of how good I may or may not look, and I would encourage you to do the same just to keep yourself motivated in the event that the ‘hot body’ motivation fades.

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Also, with the launch of the Rachel Review, I have started to look at fitness as a way to bond with others and connect in a new and fun way. My boyfriend Marc and I started playing tennis this year and I had no idea how much fun it was to get back into sports. I also got into golf and now I feel like a sports fanatic! My hope is that in this year, I can experience many new sports and fun fitness opportunities and share them with you here! Fitness doesn’t have to be a monotonous daily routine. Consistency in staying active is key but so is having fun and that is the great thing about it! The possibilities are endless and the activities are abundant.

So going forward, I’m going to be talking about all sorts of fitness opportunities on the Rachel Review and I just wanted to paint a little picture behind the ‘why’ for you to understand. Let me know your thoughts on fitness, new activities I should try out and more fitness related topics in the comments section below!

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