When I was growing up, I was very active: Participated in sports, martial arts, and anything else that was competitive. The difference between then and now, was my eating. I mean, I would smother everything in mayo and ketchup. Ate junk food and drank soda all the time. It didn’t matter to me because I was skinny (at that time). Not everyone in my family was like that, in fact, I was pretty much the only one not being affected by that “diet”. I wasn’t strong though. I was just “skinny fat”. That went on all the way through high school which is where I thought I was good enough to join the military.
Initially my dream was to become a forensic scientist, then a police officer when I went through the high school police academy course in my junior year. It was there that I was told to actually going the Marine Corps in order to be chosen above all other military branches. It was there in bootcamp that I had a total and complete lifestyle change. For the first time in my life, I was told what I was going to eat (healthy), drink what seemed like 10 gallons of water a day, and going through a physical challenge for 13 weeks all day everyday. I don’t know if they still do this, but when I was in bootcamp, us women couldn’t consume sugar, salt, mayo, bread, juice, soda and everything was proportioned into small meals. Combine that with Intense Physical Training everyday, I was definitely struggling in the beginning weeks. But after the first month, I realized that I was getting stronger, and felt healthier. At that point, I still didn’t make the connection that it had to do with the combination of the exercise AND Nutrition. By graduation day, I received a certificate of excellence for being in top percentage of women that scored the highest at the final PFT (Personal Fitness Test). The Marine Corps has then since a huge part of my journey and an experience that I hold very close to my heart. It is a reminder that I can overcome and persevere through any obstacles, no matter how long it takes.
After bootcamp, I completed my 3 week course in MCT (Marine Combat Training) and then onto an 8 week course in my specific job training, I was back home training the same, but went back to my old eating habits. I figured I knew how to workout properly now and eat kind of healthy, but started drinking soda again, and eating fast food mixed with healthier cooked meals. 6 months later, I was pregnant. Again, I didn’t change my eating habits. I actually started eating more, you know, for “two”. The weight gain was uncontrollable. I was then monitored every two weeks because my body was rejecting the pregnancy. I was ordered to be on bed rest at 4 months pregnant. The weight just kept adding up. By the time Siren was born, I gained over 60 additional pounds and had to have and emergency C-section (which I’m still dealing with the scar tissue left behind). At that point, I was overweight. Not just gaining a few pounds of “baby weight”, I was in size 12 jeans, and Large shirts. I felt so sluggish and weak from being on bed rest for 6 months. I couldn’t do a push up. I couldn’t do a bodyweight squat…. I felt the worst I had ever felt in my life at that time. On top of all that, I knew in weeks I was going to have to go back to the Marine Corps after my maternity leave, and complete a PFT for the year. That’s when I started my true fitness journey that I continue to this day.
At first, I knew I just had to make weight, and complete 3 challenges (Arm hang, crunches, and 3 mile run for time). So I got my first gym membership and finally started researching healthy diets. I remember being so self conscious and not knowing what to do in the gym. But I was so determined, and after months of staying consistent with training and diet, I not only made weight, but I was athletic and strong, and completed my PFT so easily. After that, I was hooked! I just wanted to get stronger, faster, and started looking into other things to keep me active. I started rock climbing (not just indoors, but also actual rock climbing on mountains), hiking, Jiu Jitsu, Kick Boxing, and Trail Runs. I started sharing my journey with my friends and then I became a personal trainer at Gold’s Gym near my home. I LOVED it! I loved sharing my passion with others and it was even better that I can relate to people that had weight to lose, had to get fit for a specific fitness test (sheriffs, EMT, Police Academy, Military), or physical limitations. Which is why I continue to want to help others and connect to as many people as possible. I know it’s possible for everyone to take control and become stronger and healthier too, despite what obstacles you think are in your way. Let’s drop all the excuses and start NOW!