Three years ago, I stepped into LA Boxing (now UFC Gym) for the first time to take a free boxing class—I was going to take the class and write a story on it for Dig magazine (read it here).
But in the one-hour class, I realized just how out-of-shape I was. I couldn’t even make it through a one-minute round of jumping rope.
Immediately after class, I signed up for a membership.
My relationship with fitness, and my body image, has been fairly smooth-sailing. I’ve always eaten what sounds good to me; and often, I never paid much attention to what I was putting into my body.
In high school, I was on the dance team, and worked hard to get visible abs because of our midriff-baring tops. Once I got to college, I said goodbye to any form of a flat stomach and gained the inevitable freshman 15 (more like 20). I had to buy all new clothes.
I remember walking the lakes with my friends and sometimes going to workout at the rec center, but I doubt I ever broke a sweat. Until I joined the gym.
Yes, it was a grueling workout. But, I figured that if I was going to give an hour of my time, it had better be the best workout possible.
Since I hadn’t worked out in years before joining the gym, I started off going just two days a week. When I stopped getting results, I added an extra day.
Three years later, I’m at the gym five days a week, putting in double-duty on Saturday mornings (one hour with a trainer, one hour in class), and I’m in the best shape of my life.
Of course, it’s not just about the workout, or the amount of hours I spend at the gym—my eating habits are crucial, too. Once I started working out regularly, I didn’t want to ruin my hard work by eating poorly.
I took an inventory of what I usually ate. They were things I considered to be healthy, until I started reading labels. I was essentially feeding myself frozen crap that was advertised to me, and to the world, as being healthy.
Now, I prepare 95 percent of what I eat, and I cut out those single glasses of wine at dinner.
I can’t tell you how much weight I’ve lost. I was raised to believe that weight is just a number, and it’s more about how I look in the clothes I want to wear, and ultimately how I feel.
I can tell you that in high school, I was tiny—weighing in around 100 pounds. But that was 11 years ago.
I usually weigh myself once-a-month, just to compare how I feel with the number on the scale. My last weigh in was 133, and that usually ranges up to 137, but is rare.
Despite being just 5’3, I can comfortable fit in a size 2—a size I hadn’t seen before I hit the gym. During my last doctor’s visit, my nurse watched as I stepped on the scale.
“Oh, you did good with your weight!” she said—words never uttered from her before.
Size aside, how I feel is the most important. My workouts are great for managing my stress level—and I’ve got a lot of stress in my life! Nothing feels better than punching a bag (or my trainer) after a hard day’s work.
Working out also gets me to sleep at night. Even if I’m still stressed out after my workout, I am usually so exhausted, that I can’t help but gets a solid night’s sleep.
Eating healthy and hitting the gym have become a regular part of my life—so much so that I barely even think about it. I’ve met so many of my friends there, and we all hold each other accountable for getting there and staying active.
My workout, my time at the gym, the people I’ve met, have all changed my life—for the much, much better.
If you feel like hitting something, try a free class at UFC Gym.