As I established myself in a new country and began to delve into a new way of living, I had hopes that this would break that cycle.
The negative shit storm that was forever constant in my head. The cycle that had destructive self talk ruling my decisions. The cycle that had me punishing my body with exercise. The cycle that had me undernourishing my body in the efforts to become smaller.
Not only did the move not interrupt the patterns of self sabotage, it made it far worse.
I got a job for a bank, worked day to day, trained after work, rinse and repeat. I busied myself looking to progress my career and pursue running events.
I found myself clicking with a guy at my work that ran long distance events. This guy genuinely loved running. He had a ridiculous training routine that we talked about constantly.
I didn’t particularly enjoy running. I latched onto the connection and common interest we had and from here my running pursuits spiralled. I didn’t care about my performance. It was a means to an end. An equation of how little calories I could put into my body and how many calories I could burn off.
He would ask me how my training was going. Encourage me to run further each time and discuss events with me out of genuine passion for running. Little did he know that we were in the ‘race’ for different reasons. He would make comments on how much weight I lost. These little comments were positive reinforcement. They kept me feeling like I was on the right track and the positive reinforcement I needed to stay in that cycle.
As I jumped on the treadmill every night at Goodlife ready to clock my km’s, I would see the signs on the treadmill about becoming a PT. I saw this many times every week over and over.
In my head at the time, my number one objective with training was to skew that equation of calories in and calories out. How could I ultimately burn the most amount of calories. Not knowing too much about training, this course was it! This was what I needed. This is what I needed to do, what I needed to learn to get the upper edge and continue to work this cycle further.
I had found it. This course was going to help me gain the knowledge I needed.
I put everything into my studies, working full time, online modules and weekend classes. I quit my job and threw myself in head first (like I usually do!).
This was my introduction into the fitness industry as a Trainer.
I started my own business as a sole trader and launched in. I loved my new life as trainer from the moment I entered the industry. The people I met, the connections I made, the breakthroughs I helped facilitate, this was where I was meant to be.
On the flip side, my own demons were running wild and I continued to run away from them. Metaphorically and physically.
As I continued to run and run, I decided to enter a half marathon. This only amplified my calorie in calorie out mentality and my training increased. Running every day with little to no rest.
Overtraining, under nourishing and generally being an asshole to my body. My body decided enough was enough and she threw up her hands.
I ran the half marathon and got injured. Nothing serious, but enough to stop me in my tracks.
I was devastated. Not running would ruin me. How would I continue to train and continue to do what I was doing. I felt helpless and couldn’t believe this had happened.
The reality is that this was the only thing that would stop me.
This is what needed to happen for me to stop. I wasn’t listening to my body or acknowledging what was going in my head.
As I sit here writing, reflecting on these thoughts- I wonder what my life would look like today if this hadn’t happened.
With the ability to run pain free pulled out from under my feet, I had no other option but to look at training a different way.
And thats how I delved into strength training.
Not out of interest but simply because I had no other energy output for the cycle I was in.
I squatted and deadlifted and I hated it.
I couldn’t deadlift 40kg without back pain.
I had no choice (in my head) but to persevere and get better. I didn’t want to not train. I couldn’t take time off training. The cycle fuelled me to do anything I could to move and exercise.
Despite the many frustrations, I kept chipping away one day at a time. Before I knew it, the thrill of getting better far out weighed the frustrations of learning a new skill. I would wait for every Saturday where we would test a new weight that we hadn’t lifted before. We called these “Max out Saturdays”. It was fun spending time with my partner, testing ourselves every week. I thought I had found a new happiness in strength training.
Well what I thought was happiness at the time. As training began to unfold and I found myself getting interested in Powerlifting, the cycle that got me here had not been addressed. The real reasons behind my actions were still as dark as ever.
I had simply replaced running with strength training. The outlet was different but the demons were the same.
What would unfold as I entered competitive Powerlifting was a whole other beast.
A beast that was hidden from the strength of my physical state.
Competition to competition, I restricted my food heavily in order to make weight and expected my body to perform at its best on the platform. My body held on strong. I performed really well and was selected to represent the country at an international competition.
The experience that unfolded would rock me to my core and show me just what I had done to my body.
Part 3 will delve into my experiences with weight cutting and the consequences that followed.