SHESTRONG: A Year In Review
Twelve months ago – with both elation and anxiety stirring in my stomach – I took a leap and created SHESTRONG. Why? It all started when I made a major life change…
Although I’ve always been athletic and healthy, I found myself hungry, frustrated and stuck on a treadmill (literally!). I just wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. So, with the help of my trainer, Nicole, I started lifting heavy, using food as fuel, and maintained discipline. The results took care of themselves. Not only did I feel better about myself and develop a new level of confidence, but also people started noticing! They were asking the age-old question: “How did you do that?!” As the Facebook messages and phone calls came pouring in, I felt that I should document experiences, lessons learned, and help facilitate a conversation that isn’t being had today. I decided to create a public forum for sharing all of the juicy morsels of knowledge I’d picked up along the way. And thus, SHESTRONG was born!
OK, so there’s a million blogs out there that talk about fitness & nutrition; what makes SHESTRONG different? Simple. SHESTRONG brings about balance, realism. The world is full of noise, advertisements, and false expectations of what a woman should be. In my view, however, there are three key principles that can help motivate, energize, and focus on what’s important:
1. I respect women who encourage other women. How many times have I felt negative energy by comparing myself to another woman or envying her success in fitness, her career, or life in general? I can’t tell you an exact number: I can’t count that high. Pop culture can be a dark hole of superficiality and I know from experience how easy it is to be sucked into the “am I thin enough?” game. I can also tell you from experience how over-the-moon incredible it feels to encourage and be encouraged by other women no matter what size, shape or color we come in.
2. Women should celebrate STRENGTH! Yes, at first glance, this site is full of fitness tips & tricks but underneath the “gym selfies” and recipes is a spirit of empowerment, motivation and unbreakable confidence. Never in my life have I felt more capable and confidant – and it extends far, FAR beyond the gym.
3. Celebrate the success of others because it generates positivity for all of us. Right? Right!
Since starting SHESTRONG last April, the overflowing support from followers around the world has been nothing shy of inspirational. We’ve been on this ride and grown together. As a (huge!) thank you for your thoughts, ideas, questions, and encouragement, I thought I’d put together my top 5 things I’ve learned this year to help each of you on your journey!
TOP 5 THINGS I’VE LEARNED THIS YEAR:
1. Nutrition is key. The number one question I get is how to get lean and I can’t stress enough how much changing my relationship with food has impacted my outcome. Too much attention is placed on calories – whether you’re eating too many or too little. Calories alone aren’t the only thing to pay attention to: clean food sources, proper balance of macronutrients, and for some people like me, eating several small meals each day can make all the difference. You can have abs of steel but if you don’t eat for your goals, you’ll never see them.
2. Weight-lifting does not make you bulky. Yea, you’ve heard it time and time again from me but it really is true. Even a year later, on days when I’m holding a lot of water or if I just got back from a delicious vacation (mmmm!), I have to remind myself that the “bulkiness” I’m feeling is not from my muscles, its from the water/fat in and around them. A combination of building muscle to give you the shape you want and then reducing body fat to expose your hard-earned curves is the magic formula!
3. Be realistic about your goals and timeline. Plateaus happen all the time so you have to be prepared to face them when they come so you don’t get discouraged. Keep things fresh by taking your workout outside, increasing intensity or trying a new class with a friend!
4. Consistency! I know it’s a no-brainer but making a conscious decision to change your lifestyle is the only way to really see the results that you want. Sure, you still get to enjoy treats here and there but if you throw away your Mon – Fri hard work every single weekend that’s 1/4 of each month that you’re not making the choices you committed to.
5. Patience is the hard part. Nothing changes overnight (even though we feel like it should!). This is one of my biggest arguments for taking photos (whether you choose to share them is up to you!). The camera will show you the real truth of how hard (or not hard enough!) you are working to commit to your training and nutrition. Let me tell you, seeing the manifestation of your hard work on your own body is the most motivating way to stay focused and keep after it!
Train hard, eat well and cheers to year #2!