My Fitness Journey

Yesterday/today I walked away from the best thing that happened to me in 2016. Before you get too sad and judgey, I walked away because I was ready. I finally found the confidence hidden inside myself to to carry on on my own. So what was this thing? My virtual fitness group.

In Fall 2013 I busted my knee up real well, but I didn’t really let it stop me. However, even though I was still smiling and going to football games and wearing dresses, I still couldn’t do as much as I did before. Walking was a struggle; running was impossible. Mentally I pushed through but physically I felt very behind where I should have been.

Heinz Field, Fall 2014. Right after I was sentenced to about a week in the immobilizer.

In Fall 2014, I left Pittsburgh and moved to Iowa City. I wanted to turn over a new leaf. I planned to exercise daily, eat better, and live my life for me. Then grad school *really* happened. Also, a month in my mother got really sick and was in and out of the hospital for a month. I got D’s on my first two exams in graduate school because I could not focus on studying. I also ate, a lot. I gained ten pounds in two months…yeahhhh.

In 2015 I said I was going to turn it around. I didn’t. I ate a little better but gave in to every. single. craving. imaginable. I also didn’t exercise. Needless to say I gained a few more pounds.

Later, in 2015, I decided enough was enough! I was done hiding from my scale and myself. I started avoiding the mirror. I am too full of myself to go around avoiding mirrors. So, I started running again. And I ran even when it was a little chilly outside. When it got too cold for that, I went to the gym. I ran on the treadmill and I did some lower leg weight training. No arm days, I could only convince myself to do so much back then. I also made myself a promise: when I lost those first ten pounds that I gained in such a dark time I could get a new tattoo.

December 17, 2015; Pre-run photo


When I weighed myself Saturday at the end of my 21-day accountability group for July, I found that I had lost those ten pounds and more! So now I feel all super and empowered and all that jazz because I DID IT. But, I could not have done it without the help of that group. I stuck with my workout plan because I saw others sticking with it. I modified exercises so I didn’t blow out my knee and I gained so much strength I stopped even thinking about my knees. I even got some upper arm strength (remember, no arm days)!

So now I am “on my own,” but what does that mean? It means that yesterday I started a 90-day program to build muscle and lose fat. And I don’t need to feed off other people for energy because I love the muscle I have gained. I can run so much faster now, without extra effort (I have tiny legs and I’ve been running a 12-minute mile as long as I’ve been running). I feel healthy, I can so many things I was afraid to do before.

My second 4.5 mile run, averaging under 12 minutes per mile!

So let me say this: I might be “alone” but I feel far from alone. I have so much support from my family and friends that I was blind to before. I have built skills in my fitness life that I have extended to other parts of my life. I have made time to clean up my mind, my body, and my spirit. I feel good about the choices I made. I feel confident in myself and I am excited to continue on!

Jump squats!

Published by She Got The PhD

A web-based soapbox of an Assistant Professor of color in Chemical Engineering; sharing my feelings on books, academia, and current events. I hope you enjoy reading :)

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