There is a struggle going on in my mind at the moment while I am working out. My mind is telling me,
“Lifting a barbell over my head is so much fun! Let’s see how heavy I can make it today and what I can accomplish!”
Now…in the back of my mind I am also wondering,
“what is that new girl over there in the pink shirt thinking of as she is watching me?”
There is so much fear in this new girls’ eyes and pain that I can’t even imagine what her story is that got her to make that first step in the gym. If I had the guts I would go up and ask her what her story is and what got her to this point where she realized that she needed to start exercising.
Reality is: I’m too shy to go up to her and she is too scared to come up to me. She might even have this horrible thought that I am better than her because I am lifting weights on “that side of the gym” and she isn’t.
I felt like I needed to make it very clear to everyone who the REAL Jessica Williams is…just in case there is some perception that I am better than you….cause let me just say first “I am not”.
One thing that is true…I have lost a lot of weight. If you’ve read the blog post or the story from The Huffington Post you already know that. (You can see the before pics at both of the links) One thing you don’t know though is how hard I have worked for this. I get up early…about 4:30am and I work out usually 60 to 120 minutes a day, 6 times a week.
Now here are some things about me that maybe you were wondering or have made up in your mind about me already. I want you to know the facts so you know the REAL me. (These are actual questions that I’ve gotten too or comments…so I know some people are asking them out loud so others are probably thinking it too.)
1) You must really watch your calories. How many do you eat a day? No idea. Counting calories is frustrating to me and I don’t need to be frustrated while I am trying to get healthier. I eat when I’m hungry (and a few times when I just want to eat) and I eat a lot. When I lift weights I feel like I could eat all day long. I almost always eat tons of food throughout the day, eat supper and then I’ll be hungry 30 minutes after I just ate. (That really happens, almost every day).
2) You must do a lot of cardio. How long are you on the treadmill? (I may give you a dirty look with this one…so just be prepared if you ask me this in person.) For me, treadmills are not fun and I have actually fallen off of them. (Yes, while at the gym and in front of people.) I do go on them to warm up, do some intervals sometimes at the end of my workout and have even used them for an exercise called inverted rows (hint…you don’t walk on the treadmill with this). My main cardio is spinning, which is an indoor cycling classes. I also do a few other things for cardio but that pretty much sums up the big stuff. Most days, I don’t do more than a mile on a treadmill and that is usually broken up between warming up and cooling down before and after I lift weights. I saw a quote recently too that was pretty funny but also was pretty cool. It said, “What do you do at the gym? I lift weights. What do you do for cardio? I lift weights faster.” 🙂
3) She is a great runner doing all those races. No, I’m not. I am a slow runner. I have also never completely ran an entire 5k. Running is not fun for me. The last time I ran one of the 5k’s I was about 25 pounds heavier than I am now. I had pain and a hard time with my asthma at that point. 25 pounds later running is better but I still don’t wake up wanting to go hit the trails.
4) She has no fear in the gym. HA! For about 2 years I wondered what all those shiny things were on the side of the gym that all the guys seem to huddle around and monopolize. What were they doing? I did realize slowly over time that when I stayed in the women’s area of my gym or when I stayed home and did a workout I really wasn’t working as hard as I could. I had major baby steps with this part of my journey…MAJOR! I felt stupid, I felt like everyone was watching me, I knew I would do things wrong and I knew that I couldn’t do as much as what everyone else was doing out there. I was a gym baby. Literally. As I researched and learned how to do certain exercises with the free weights and cable machines I got a little bit more confident with each pull and push of the weights. My real confidence didn’t start though until I was pushed a little bit more by a personal trainer that I was working with via online. The trainer introduced me to a group called Girls Gone Strong. At this point they were a pretty small group of some powerful woman…by powerful, I mean…they lift heavy stuff. They once had a post that asked who was in the 225 group? (Yes, lifting 225 lbs.). This was on an exercise that I was currently working on, the barbell hip thrust, and thought that I was doing good at already…until I saw that number. 225 lbs? I knew that I had the potential to push myself harder and I knew that I could. I reached my goal and then knew that the potential was there to go even farther with everything that I was lifting. I learned a few other moves and fell in love with a few exercises called push presses, squats and deadlifts. My butt started actually looking like a butt again, my legs got really strong and a lot more toned and my upper body was changing. Most importantly…my confidence grew even more on that side of the gym. Today…I still have days where I am wondering what people are thinking of me and I am still learning how to do certain exercises. I have a personal trainer now though that I use once in awhile when I am ready to push myself more or when I have questions about an exercise. I am one of about 3 woman that use the free weights by the guys at my gym while I am there. I thought it was scary but now…it is SO much fun! p.s. and when you walk by a guy that isn’t squatting right and you know you can squat 50 more pounds than what he is doing…it kindof makes you feel good 😉
5) Nothing embarrassing has ever happened. Wanna bet? Read this. Can we say…treadmill face plant? I’ve done a lot of other stuff too…I just can’t find that old blog post at the moment…but trust me, if you can do something to embarras yourself at a gym I have done it.
6) Jessica must eat perfect all the time. Get that out of your mind right now. I don’t. I am a self diagnosed food addict. I will eat any food that I have around that is in front of me and I can eat a large amount of very unhealthy food. An example, today I ate 2 Cadbury eggs because I so love them. I was at the store getting lots of healthy groceries and bought two of them on the way out. I ate them both within about 20 minutes of each other. Yum. Yum. Honestly though…I could have and would have easily ate 8 to 10 of them without a second thought and could have done that in minutes.
7) She must always want to go to the gym. In the beginning I had to bargain with myself on getting to the gym. I will have to write about that part another day. To sum it up though I had lots and lots…and lots…of little goals to get me to the point where I am now. I rewarded myself with new exercise clothes, new workout shoes, a pedicure, a new shirt that I saw at the store or new jeans. I also had some friends that went with me in the beginning and that was great motivation…knowing that they would be there too. The majority of this journey though has been on my own and that requires some real motivation and goal setting and some major determination to keep moving forward, even if everyone else is wondering what the heck you are doing and why. Today, it is almost like I have a little family that I see from 5:00am until about 7am each morning. I was gone for a few days while we were on vacation and after I came back one of my locker buddies said, “I was worried about you!” Most days, I do want to go the gym. Some days though…my bed looks nice and comfy.
So, that’s me. Plain and simple…and I have more REAL stuff coming to The Journey…soon…very soon.
I want you to feel comfortable coming up to me via e-mail, through posts on Facebook and comments on The Journey’s page. I read every single one and I want you to know that I will write you back.
So, I ask you to step forward, tell us your story! We want to know the REAL you…the REAL reasons why you want to change…the REAL person that you are and the choices that have brought you to where you are now. This is your challenge for the week.
This may be something that you need to find the inner courage to talk about. Maybe you have been ready to share this and were just waiting for the opportunity. Whatever your reason…we are ready to listen. (Side note…we are looking for stories to share. If you are willing to share some or all of your journey please comment with a way for us to get in touch with you or send us a message on Facebook!)
Thanks for joining us at The Journey!