[LQ] You made a conscious decision to improve an area of your life, what was this decision and how old were you when you made it?
[MR] My conscious decision to improve my mental and physical well being was to consistently incorporate fitness into my life. The goal was to go to the gym 3-4 days a week. I was 26 years old.
[LQ] Growing up did you do anything to stay active?
[MR] Yes, however, competition isn’t my strong suit. When I was 6 years old, I got a trophy for being the “best time keeper” of my brother’s soccer team; this pretty much sums up my athletic “talents.” (Picture shown is the 'Best Time Keeper' trophy)
I’ve always enjoyed sports, but prefered them from the sidelines. I did ballet from the age of 5 to 12, but more or less dreaded going to the classes as I grew up. I started snowboarding at the age of 12, which has always been the only sport I have done well with. I played soccer in middle school and field hockey in high school, but I never took either seriously.Towards the end of high school, I started going to the gym and doing yoga, but never consistently; same habits carried into college.
[LQ] What made you decide to make fitness a priority in your life and go to the gym regularly?
[MR] I think I was just sick of feeling “blah.” My boyfriend had started going to the gym about 6 months earlier and really inspired me given the changes he was making to improve his physical and mental health. I also work in a very stressful environment and needed an outlet.
[LQ] Did you find it difficult at first? Do you find it difficult today?
[MR] The beginning of any project or new venture is easy for me, but sticking with it is a totally different challenge. It’s certainly not easy. What helped me stick with it, was working it into my work schedule. I tried playing around with the timing of my exercises such asbefore or after work, or on days on/off.
I start work between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and end work anywhere from 5:30 p.m. to who knows when. After work just doesn’t work for me because my end time varies so much. Thus, my alarm rings at 4:05 a.m. or 5:05 a.m. Is it easy to do deadlifts at 4:45 a.m...absolutely not. However, I have found that on the days I workout, I have so much energy than days I do not. I’m lucky that my hospital has a gym so it’s just become a part of my work day routine. Never easy, but worth it every single time.
[LQ] Is there anything extraordinary about you that would allow you to go to the gym and lift weights that would prevent others from doing so?
[MR] I don’t think so at all. I am extremely unathletic, require constant repetition to understand how to do a simple exercise, do not have a strong platform/baseline to go off of as far as strength goes, and have a crazy work schedule, consisting of long and stressful days. When we have family reunions and are playing a game, my little cousins (9-12 years old), will literally be picked to be on a team before I am. If I can do it, anyone can!
[LQ] What has been some of the biggest benefits you have seen from this journey?
[MR] Some of the biggest benefits include, increased energy and mental clarity, improved stress management, increased mood and self-love, and improved understanding and appreciation of how the body works.
[LQ} Was there anything that surprised you along the way?
[MR] Prior to my two year fitness journey, I’ve always fallen back to yoga and running as my source of exercise. Could add p90x in there too. Unfortunately, all three of these forms of exercise weren’t sustainable for me. I was very naive in understanding weight lifting and how it could target weight loss and toning, without causing a “bulky” look. Weight lifting has been my main source of exercise that I find to be the most sustainable and beneficial for my body.
[LQ] Do you have any favorite tools, apps, workouts, machines, etc. that you would recommend to others?
[LQ] What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a fitness journey, but has been hesitant to do so?
[MR] Start small with little expectations. Just focus on getting to the gym. My motto is and always will be “Being at the gym is better than not being at the gym.” The rest will follow, but you have to get there first.
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