The Past and the Future

January 16, 2017

The first blog post-- how intimidating. There are so many different directions I could go right now, but I don't want to get too ahead of myself;  so, let's start by just gaining some insight as to who I am and where I'm going...

 

As noted in my "About Me", I am an ex-athlete. Strangers seem to sense this and love to play the guessing game with me all the time-- "What sport did you play?" "You look like a soccer player. "Are you a volleyball player?" "Do you do crossfit?", etc, etc. My favorite part of these conversations is watching their faces when I respond with, "I was a competitive cheerleader."

 

 

Now, I know, I know there are many people out there that do not believe cheerleading is a sport. I've gotten into that argument one too many times and don't have the energy to prove otherwise right now. All I have to say is that cheerleading and competitive cheerleading for 11 years gave me the physique I have today-- between the conditioning to be able to flip, throw, catch, jump, and dance all at the same time, and not to mention the strength aspect  lifting of humans overhead, cheerleading has pushed my body to get stronger and stronger. 

 

So, where are we now?

 

Well, since graduating college 3 years ago, I've officially hung up the cheer bow and sparkly uniform. Instead, I moved towards another passion-- training and conditioning others. I typically took on this role in college with my teammates and friends. I was happy to lead them through "bootcamp" style workouts and was strongly considering picking up a kinesiology major to allow me to teach fitness classes at the campus gyms. Unfortunately, my course-load in education was too heavy and didn't allow room for the requirements of the kines. major. So, I stuck to training my friends for fun.

 

Once I graduated, I started studying and got my group fitness certification. I got my toes wet by first teaching group workout classes after school to my fellow teachers. From there, I started Muscle by Maria-- online training and outdoor bootcamp classes that traveled to different locations every week. In addition to that, I got a job at Gold's Gym teaching sports conditioning classes, and at another gym teaching outdoor conditioning classes and personal training.

 

I dove heavier/more seriously into weight lifting and my nutrition. I started following more of the standard "chicken, brown rice, sweet potato, and broccoli" bro-science diet until I got my intuitive eating more clean and gained more knowledge of eating in terms of muscle building.  Then, I moved to IIFYM and haven't looked back since!

 

I've tested out multiple styles on my body (carb cycling, low carb/high fat, intermittent fasting...) and have come up with dozens and dozens of HEALTHY renditions of recipes for every style and occasion. I mainly eat healthy foods and cook healthy recipes everyday because that is now what I crave and what I know. Over the last 3.5 years, I've adopted a healthy lifestyle which I truly enjoy and can fulfill NATURALLY-- it doesn't feel like I'm TRYING to follow a healthy diet, or an active lifestyle, it is just what comes inherently to me now.

(...but, don't get me wrong, your girl still devours pizza, fries, and sweets like a CHAMP every now and again!)

 

 

All of this has been great, but being that I was a competitor for so long, I couldn't help except feel that I needed to be working towards a goal. For the longest time, that goal was undetermined. The obvious answer would be to compete in a bodybuilding competition-- a craze that seems to have swept over everyone that ever decided to lift a weight in their life. Besides, for the past 2-3 years I've had many strangers/friends/family members ask me numerous times if I compete, tell me to compete, tell me what division to compete in, ask my why I don't compete, and so on.

 

To be honest, I was always conflicted. The thought has consistently peaked my interest, but at the same time, I didn't like the idea of having to "prove" I was fit. I didn't want judges telling me what I was worth, and I didn't like how big of a craze bodybuilding had become. It seems like competing is the "cool" thing to do now, and so everyone is doing it. People that have never lifted before are now starting prep for shows, people that are just getting a taste of weight lifting feel compelled to instantly do a show, and it is not that there is anything wrong with this--but it just turns me off.

 

I have a true passion for fitness and sometimes it seems like the people that going into competitions are just doing it for the stage shots and to say they did it/prove how fit they are, like competing is the only way to be into fitness (**disclaimer, I know this is not everyone, I know a good chunk of people competing are doing it because they have a deep enthusiasm for it and calling for the stage and for bodybuilding--unfortunately, it is the minority that stick out to me in this situation**) . I didn't want to be lumped into that. I wanted to just be able to be fit just to be fit. That then turned into my goal: being an example of a healthy, fit, everyday lifestyle. 

 

Until recently, that was enough for me. But, like I said, competing has consistently been a thought in my head, and a few months ago I realized that being fit just to be fit isn't cutting it anymore. I've been doing it, and it's been fun, but I'm ready for a change. It's time to change my goal. 

SO, to completely contradict everything I just said above, I decided to finally give into this thought of competing. I've been repressing it for so long by reminding myself why I shouldn't do it, but the truth is, when I think about the reasons I told myself not to do it (don't need to prove I'm fit, don't need to be judged by others...), I realize that I wouldn't be doing it for those reasons anyway...

 

I'm not doing it for anyone else but me. I'm not doing it to prove myself to anyone but myself. I'm not doing it to give judges what they want. I'm not doing it to be better than the other girls up there. I'm doing it for me. I'm doing it because I know what I'm capable of in terms of an everyday healthy lifestyle, but I want to see what I can do in terms of a competitive lifestyle. I want to see my potential. 

 

To say I've been torn by this decision would be an understatement. I've worried repeatedly that giving into this desire would make me a "sell-out" in a sense. Like I'm just doing what every other person that's into fitness is doing because it's the hip thing right now.

 

This still does bother me from time to time, but I've been trying to remember that I would be doing this whether it were cool or not (actually, I probably would've done it sooner if it wasn't so 'in' right now...). I'm reminding myself of my purpose for taking this step and of my new goal. My excitement is growing with each day as I realize I'm actually, finally, doing it--I'm taking the jump and making this ongoing thought/dream a reality. 

 

It's a new year, I have a new goal, and I'm ready to work. 

 

 

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MARIA'S FITNESS TIPS

#1 

Set goals! Set both long and short-range goals to keep yourself motivated. Be sure that the short-range goals will eventually lead you to your big-picture, long-range ones. Consider them stepping stones on the path towards something bigger.

 

#2

Do what you like to do. Don't just start doing something because everyone else is; find what you truly enjoy and do that. In the end, if you don't have a genuine interest in your workouts and lifestyle, you're going to hinder your progress.

 

#3

Switch things up! I know this may sound kind of funny after just reading #2, but as humans, we can get bored of doing the same thing over and over. As well, our muscles can get "bored" and we can plateau. Do not be afraid to try new things and incorporate change to keep you entertained and your muscles guessing!

© 2017 by Maria Pro of Muscle By Maria