The struggle is REAL Y’ALL! I struggle to stay in shape. I struggle to get motivated to get outside and run. I struggle to finish a whole workout video, and I struggle to eat what some call the “appropriate” amounts of food. But why??? Since the time I was in preschool I remember being obsessed with being active, I was easily bored and very competitive. I never wanted to be behind “the others” no matter what we were doing.
When I was five years old, I remember waking up and going outside to ride my bike (you remember the type, the one with the big banana seat!). The only problem was I didn’t know how to ride a bike. I tried and tried but kept falling off. My parents were busy at the time so as I saw a man jogging down the road, I was so motivated to ride this bike I jumped at the chance to get some help. I asked him if he would help me and he happily obliged (Obviously I had no idea about stranger danger back then, small town and all).
He got me on the bike and gave me a good running start and push. It was just enough momentum to get me going and I pedaled off into the sunset, or until the road ended and I had to turn around. Point is, back then, I was never short on motivation to be good at something . Whether it be riding bikes, playing soccer, taking swimming lessons or playing baseball with the boys– I was always in shape and never lacked motivation. So what has changed?!
As I went through my teenage years, I played almost every sport you could think of, but I decided to focus on basketball and soccer all year round. The hard work paid off and I ended up getting a scholarship to college for both soccer and basketball. The things that were required of us back then as student athletes would rival today’s cross fit programs and all us girls took it in stride. Between the weight lifting programs and the intense 3-a-day practice preseasons, I was in the best shape of my life.
And the best part…I ate like nobody’s business. I have no idea the amount of calories I took in but I ate a lot and didn’t gain weight, my metabolism was through the roof. I loved game days, I even loved the grueling practices! I thought I would always be that person, no matter my age, I always pictured myself staying active. But then life happened. Marriage, career and children.
Once I became a mom, I wondered why it was so hard for me to get motivated and get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and body. I knew it was possible, I knew so many moms with kick-butt bodies and motivation to sign up for marathons each year. But that just wasn’t me. I tried the gym, I tried the diets and I tried doing the long races but I was miserable doing it all.
Then I finally realized what type of person I am. I am an ATHLETE. I love sports. I love competition. I love winning and I hate to lose. So what helped me get back in shape was to find the inner athlete I left behind when I became a mom. Staying in shape as a student athlete was easy because it was mandatory. I had someone telling me exactly what to do and how long to do it. I had motivation to keep my spot on the team and the drive to become an All-American athlete. I had a coach who would chew me out if I lagged behind. I had amazing teammates who made it fun to be at practice and would also push me to be my best.
If you are like me, an athlete that happens to be a busy Momma, you need to find the time to fit sports back into your life. For me, it started with getting on an indoor soccer league here in the city. Then, I joined a city league volleyball team with my friends (also former student athletes). My husband and I played together on a coed YMCA basketball league and now I am also trying out softball.
I felt very defeated trying to get back in shape in ways that I saw around me, but when I realized that I thrive off of competition and being around friends, going back to my sports loving self was the key for me! Now, of course, metabolism has slowed significantly so the eating part isn’t what it once was but hey, I am a work in progress.