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  • Writer's picturekmbleekman

My Fitness Story

I made a reel yesterday for my social channels about all the things I did wrong when I first started my fitness journey & trust me there were many! I wanted to share it on this week's blog as well as I thought it's probably going to be most relevant to any of you reading this right now who are in the early stages of your fitness journey or struggling.

You don't know what you don't know right?

And there are so many things you could be doing out there in the fitness space it's a nightmare knowing where the heck to start! So often we get it wrong-that's life! We learn from our mistakes but you have to put yourself out there to do so.

First of all my WHY behind what I was eating, how I was exercising & training was completely wrong. I was eating as little as I possibly could in fear of gaining any weight or getting fat. I never once thought about how much I should or needed to be eating to have enough energy to ride, the right fuel in my body to exercise or what energy to give my muscles it was simply about eating as little as I possibly could & restricting my calories as much as possible.

It was almost like a competition with myself to eat as little as possible. I was exercising to release anger, I was a very angry person, and it worked. I always felt better after exercising but all I did was run. I'd run from our farm the mile to the gym, get on the treadmill & run as hard as I possibly could for as long as I could & then run another mile home.

I now look back & think what the hell was I doing & how could I have been so stupid?

It was all about punishing my body & I wanted to be the skinniest person in the room. I never wanted to be strong & the thought of feeling good in myself never honestly crossed my mind. Bad I know! I now look back at the photo on the left & see a very unhealthy, young & uneducated person but at the time I thought I looked great.

But growing up in the late 90's/early noughties all we constantly saw were these thin models, popstars & celebrities who were all endorsed & idolised for how they looked. I remember seeing Kate Moss as an idol & she wasn't exactly the picture of health back then!

People often ask me how I changed that for myself? How did I start exercising & eating for the right reasons?

The approach I started with was fuelled by an eating disorder, whether the eating issue came from the exercise or the other way around I don't know but they all went hand in hand. I honestly can't pinpoint the time when I thought I've had enough of doing this or this is ridiculous. I don't think I ever had the realisation of crap this is seriously unhealthy sadly but somehow I started to know that what I was doing wasn't right at all.

I wanted to feel good & I don't remember back then exactly how I felt in myself daily but I know I didn't feel good. Looking back at photos I think how awful I look, too thin & so unhealthy but I do clearly remember thinking god I'm so fat. Always looking at my stomach which just goes to show alot of our beliefs about our bodies are stuck in our heads because I think we can all agree there's not much stomach fat on the left photo!

I didn't have any energy, I wouldn't have been able to do near the amount of exercise & activity I do these days & I think as I discovered different ways of exercising like strength work, doing group circuit classes & bootcamps I realised that running wasn't the only way to exercise & it wasn't the kind of exercise that made me feel really pumped & energised & also good in myself.

As I got more & more into enjoying these sessions I got more confident. I went from Saturday morning bootcamps in the gym to doing bodypump & bodyblast sessions but didn't love them so moved into doing my own thing in the gym. Like most people I spent alot of time on the cardio kit until I felt confident enough to move to the cable area then towards the dumbbell rack then into the big area with all the boys in the barbells & squat racks. I can confirm once you've done it a few times it's not that scary!!!!

I noticed that I was getting better at the movements. I was becoming more experienced with movements like squats & deadlifts so I felt more confident to push myself. Looking back at videos of myself doing those now I think god, how awful is my form but part of learning is self taught & you do learn from what you're not doing right!! I noticed that I could lift heavier weights, do more reps & my running times got faster too.

I looked better in my body as well. I'd gained a bit of weight after struggling with my eating issues & I'd gone from being too thin & unhappy with how I looked to carrying too much fat & being even more unhappy. But as I'd naturally began enjoying exercising & what I was doing in my training more my body shape began to change. I dropped body fat & I can see now that without realising it I made a conscious effort to improve my eating habits.

I had to get to the gym either early morning or at lunchtime & I knew that if I wanted to do a good session or work hard in a class I needed to have enough energy on board to do that. So I became much more deliberate with what I was doing around those meal times. I tried to make sure I was having something small but good to eat in the mornings like a smoothie & banana or yogurt & granola then post session I'd always find I came home starving so would go for eggs or if it was lunchtime a rice bowl with some tuna or chicken. I suppose as I was enjoying what I was achieving & how I was feeling physically I just became inclined to eat better but it did happen without thought initially.

As I enjoyed feeling better too I wanted to understand & learn more about exactly what I should be eating. The right things to be putting into my body & stomach & with all the knowledge out there I became really interested in learning as much as possible & finding out more about nutrition! That's continued to evolve & evolve over the past few years & I would say I've been seriously into training consistently now for around 6 years & exercise & eating well has autonomously become part of my lifestyle.

Like I said I always get asked the question, how did I change this? How did this change overnight for me? When did it become like this?

But I cannot stress enough how it didn't just happen overnight. One came with the other 100% in terms of exercising better & eating better. I felt rubbish in myself physically, emotionally & personally & I wanted to change. I started to do physical things that made me feel good around other people who enjoyed doing the same things & as I got more into that I wanted to support & fuel my training with my food & recovery so I could do my best & from there it's just been a growing cycle.

It's not a one stop shop & this is not a short term fix. When I'm talking about where I started I'm referring to when I was 15 so 15+ years ago now. But this thing takes time & patience & resilience is required 100%. Reconnecting with your why & reason for doing exercise & fitness in the first place is so important. I can easily say now I wasn't clear on my why back then & I that was a massive part of the problem as I was exercising but was totally lost.

I didn't have a deep down genuine emotional connection to why I was exercising or eating well & that lead me down a very negative path of exercising for all the wrong reasons & severely restricting food. I now train to push myself competitively. I always want to see what my body & mind can achieve & do my best. I exercise because I know it supports my mental health & I suppose my ultimate reason for training is because I want to be fit to do all the things I love in my life from running to riding to going on huge walks with the dogs. It's got very little to do with how I look these days.

It takes time but girls, it's worth it. I've heard the saying before & I love this now;

"I came to get skinny. I stayed to get strong."

So true. When you're fit & strong the feeling of empowerment & confidence you have is huge & it's available to everyone. You just have to trust the process, remember your why & be patient with time. If you're struggling right now or can relate to my journey please please feel free to reach out if you want to chat or need any help. I'm always happy to talk & sometimes that's the best thing you can do.


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