But I'll really begin this entry with the idea that you shouldn't let anybody tell you that you can achieve any goal.
Now I know you're reading this and thinking, What the hell, Kaleena?
Here's a personal anecdote:
A couple of years after I achieved my weight loss goal, I was certified as a personal trainer. I worked as a receptionist in a gym for a couple of years to gain observational experience. These were the days before Facebook popularity and when I was all alone, with no one to watch and no tanning package to sell, I looked online for new ways to accelerate my goals and reach new heights of fitness.
I looked at pictures of body builders and read the BodyBuilding.com forums and became absolutely smitten with the idea of becoming a fitness model. I immediately revamped my nutrition program, hit the weights harder than ever before and began research on how to achieve this ultimate goal.
I mean, sure I lost some weight but is it not the fitness models that gain the respect and admiration of clients and other professionals in the industry? I wanted that.
So here I am tanning, (which has never looked good on me and I was always worried about my health) eating protein bars with ingredients that are just as bad as any other processed food and getting yelled at by my trainer because I can't do a 25lb bicep curl. Hey, I know they say blood, sweat and tears on the gym floor but do they really mean sobbing into your gym towel?
As I'm wiping my tears, and eating from a duffel bag containing many small meals, I'm reading about where to have those little custom triangle bras fitted and how to register for workshops to teach me how to do the splits in 6-inch, clear plastic stilettos. After realizing that I've just spent twenty minutes contemplating the injustice of women having to worry about balancing in heels in addition to the hard work, while the guys get the comfort of barefoot-balance on stage I realized, this is not me. This is not what I really want to do.
I ran a 10k. I trained for a half marathon. I ran the half and finished 30 minutes faster than I had expected. I was pumped, man. I wanted to do the full marathon. Then I started thinking, do I really want to wake up early on Sunday morning, strap on a fanny pack and commit to a 40k with a running group while consuming liquid gel? (I'm convinced those things are liquidated gummi bears) Well, not really. I like running for fun. I'm still pleased with myself for being able to jog without throwing up. The half marathon WAS my ultimate goal!
I'm not saying that you shouldn't go for it if you want it bad. I would never tell anyone that but here is what I have realized:
1. Body building and endurance sports are SPORTS. They are competitive and they don't just train hard; training becomes a lifestyle. Look, I'm a cream puff at heart. I feel accomplished if I can avoid jelly beans for a week. I don't need to bust my ass and change my life when all I want is to look good in tight pants.
2. Many athletes are genetically awesome. They come from extensive backgrounds of gymnastics, track and field and other demanding sports. I came from the couch. They have abs that should be considered lethal weapons. I'm just happy that I took my body fat out of the health risk zone.
3. The industry is a pissing contest. Hey, if you want to balance two, four-bedroom homes on the tip of your index finger and strap a fire engine to your body and run across the country with it, all the power to you. If I want to stretch for an hour, run because it makes me feel good and lift weights so that I can change a light bulb without having to take breaks to rest my shoulder (seriously this was a problem for me) then all the power to me! I won't be made to feel inferior because I eat pasta or because I don't have the strength of an ant. (they're the power lifters of the insect community, you know)
The point of this post is to say that we all want to keep achieving goals but keep your body, your happiness and a sense of your true self in prospective. Don't let some meat head in the gym make you feel like you're not really training if you aren't going for a trophy and don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't go from flab to fab in the next fitness competition if that's where your heart truly wants to be.