My Story

If you have not read my post on my journey into lifting weights, here’s a little re-entry.

Just to share with you about the change in my active regime and what got me started hitting the gym 2 years back.

I grew up playing competitive squash for about 10 years already- with the game itself being an excellent hi-intensity cardio, which I have built a good muscle foundation. Yet,my strength distribution ended up being highly disproportionate, with a relatively weak upper body.

Being pear-shaped, I gain weight easily on my lower body.

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Back in 2011. Don’t ask me why I’m wearing long sleeve to hike up the hills.

Weighing at 70kg!
Weighing at 70kg!

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As you can see on RHS, I pack junk in the trunk like a real pear. Yup, the one in white is me, not Kim Kardashian.

Everyone is born with a different body type.  Some are born with very high metabolism and some are predisposed to a lower fat metabolism rate.

For many years, I attempted yo-yo dieting often, sometimes going for a week with really low calorie and other times having seasonal selection of food to feed on. (Some months are bread and peanut butter while others are like purely fruits). I do see the scale going down fast, without realizing that it is just water weight loss. Sadly, once the inner ‘binge monster’ is unleashed, I lose control.

Having been very ill-informed about nutrition, I would spiral into the same eating cycle – starve, binge, starve, binge, repeat.

I was also doing plentiful cardio, and I never knew how it could be so detrimental to my metabolism when I had not much muscle mass to begin with.

So… what comes off fast comes back on fast – I never knew how to make it stick.

In 2011, I was introduced to weights training.

Like many of you, I had several hesitations. The gym was a place that had always daunted me, especially when the weights area is perpetually dominated by males. Looking like an novice and not knowing what to do is the least ideal position I wanted to be in. Also, I held the common fear that lifting will make me look manly, bulky, etc.

So I wasn’t that interested initially and continued with my usual cardio regime so on and so forth.

After a year, I felt like I was going nowhere.

So, I was convinced to change it up and succumbed to weights training sessions.  Soon, the words ‘squats’, ‘deadlifts’, ‘curls’, ‘legs day’ comprised of my daily dictionary. Alongside, I decided to do some research on the way I should be eating to make up for the increased hunger. I was surprised to realize that all the years of ‘dieting’ had been ill-informed and misguided from my own perceived notions.

With understanding of what my body needed for my goals, I chose healthier options and eliminated processed foods. I ate every 2 to 3 hours with my meals divided into smaller portions.

Just to share, here’s my list of preferred food sources. Note that everyone’s food preferences and lifestyle differs, so ultimately it depends on your liking and beliefs.

Carbohydrate sources: Protein sources: Fat sources:
Brown rice
Quinoa
Whole wheat bread
Whole grain pasta
Oatmeal
Dark green leafy vegetables
Sweet Potatoes
Fruits
Eggs
Chicken breast
Beef flank
White fish
Salmon
Tofu
Cottage cheese
Greek yogurt
Beans
Pork tenderloin
Salmon oil
Olive oil
Peanut butter
Almonds
Walnuts
Coconut oil
Flaxseed
Avocado

Within a year of consistent work, I could observe the obvious changes. I was feeling less bloated daily, more energized and saw differences on my body. Gaining more muscle mass helped me to burn calories at a higher rate during rest. And the best part was, I was doing close to zero cardio.

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1 month into training

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Motivated by the results,I kept going.

However, I ended up restricting my diet even further and increased training 5 to 6 times a week.

Soon I became obsessed with being lean…

After a long period of time , putting myself on such a regime meant a lot of unnecessary compromise.  I found myself refraining from sharing delicacies with my family and friends on some nights out. I got anxious eating chocolate cake on a day that I’m not supposed to. I became grumpy if things get off track. I would panic if I did not go to the gym.

That was when I realized priorities had to be re-evaluated and I began to do a lot of self-questioning. I realised that beneath it all were bundles of insecurities – and I know that a lot of women face the same fears.

A fit body with an unhealthy mind is still not healthy. One needs to enjoy every step of the journey. Ultimately, my goal is to have a balanced lifestyle that will allow me to enjoy life with my loved ones and give back to others.

Eventually, I decided to loosen up on my strict regime, pulled back my training days, and focused on what is important – spending time with my loved ones.

Through that experience, I learnt how to love myself more.
It is because of this journey that I acquired the practise of self-love — a process created through time, it is not a “perfect”.. nor a destination.

Ultimately, if you’re going to love yourself only when you reach a kind of body or a career goal or some form of financial standard, then it’s a journey to mental destruction. Self-acceptance isn’t for those who seem perfect on the outside, or who seem to be able to “do it” in spite of their circumstances, it’s for all of us to accept our authentic selves, our natural gifts and strengths, and how we can pour what we have been given unto others.

It is also the courage to face inwards the fears that we may have been running away from, and honesty with ourselves is the first weapon to growth.

Today, I’m still definitely not where I want to be yet, but certain things will never die. I still love what I do – going to the gym and training.  More importantly, I get to share this love for being active through my classes and my clients.

If you wish to make a change in your life or are interested in Personal Training, feel free to drop me an email at donnasamuel@gmail.com or contact me directly at +65 97397964.

Remember – don’t underestimate the power of fitness in your life.