The time before “Before”
I wasn’t what you would call athletic. As a preteen I was still tiny – under 5′ and only 98 lbs. But that didn’t stop me from playing basketball after school every day with my friends & our boyfriends. That didn’t stop me from joining in the open volleyball tournaments at school (even though I loathe volleyball…who knows what I was thinking?). That didn’t stop me from trying out for the basketball team every year (I always made it to the final cut! …but all the tall girls usually made up the team in the end). I even volunteered to be the gym closet organizer, just so I could have extra time playing with the gym equipment before school. I never thought about my body, my weight, or what I ate.
Unexpected Life Changes
My world turned upside-down when I was 12. Over the course of that year, my grandfather passed away (we were very close & I’d also never experienced death before), my half-sister came to live with me (going from being the only child to having new rules was difficult, to say the least), my best friend moved away, my half-sister moved away again, and my father left my mom (who now had a kid, a dog, a mortgage…but was a stay-at-home mom with no income). With all the stress, something in me “snapped” and I developed Hyperphagia (aka Binge Eating Disorder). Over the summer before Grade 8, I gained 55 lbs – quite a lot in such a short time and on such a tiny frame. I just couldn’t stop eating. I constantly felt like I was STARVING. And as a young teen, I didn’t make healthy choices. I would go to the freezer & choose a fudge-pop AND an ice cream sandwich, eat them, and then go back for another round. I had at least one or two ice cream floats every day. Several cheese strings. Plus all my regular meals and dessert after those meals.
Intro to the Workout World
My new round, bloated body also brought on insomnia…which surprisingly, led me to find my love of fitness. I would stay up all night, sitting quietly in bed so as not to wake my mom. She would get up at 5 a.m. to leave for work & I would then get up to watch TV. I found a fun low-impact workout program at 6 a.m. that would count the reps in different languages – exercise and learning! It aired 2 episodes back-to-back & I would do both. Then at 7 a.m. I would do a half-hour 1970s yoga program on PBS. The instructor wore a leaves-nothing-to-the-imagination leotard that matched the stage & background…it was equal parts exercise and comedy. After that 1.5-hour workout, I would actually feel tired and would sleep…until 10 a.m. when I got up to do the Reebok Caribbean Workout, my fave. This was led by a hot guy with 2 ladies backing him up, bantering like siblings, and they did their workout on the beach in various locations. Each commercial break, they would teach you something about the village they were in. (I think this also sparked my wanderlust!). A while later I also found a kickboxing workout in the afternoons & realized my LOVE for kickboxing.
Beachbody and Beyond
I continued working out off & on throughout high school and into my 20s, but never consistently and never making much progress. In fact, I had gained MORE weight & found myself over 200 lbs. – and of course, still only 5′ tall. In my mid-20s I gave in to an infomercial I found myself watching over and over – Turbo Jam. I fell in love. This was my soulmate workout. I went on to the more advanced version, Turbo Fire. It was at that point I realized there was an entire community behind these programs. There were coaches & live instructors, and online forums full of others doing the same programs. I was super excited to find that I wasn’t alone in this! After lots of research, I decided to challenge myself – I was going to get certified as a Turbo Kick (the in-gym version of Turbo) Instructor. The training was long and hard (I could barely walk on my way home for my birthday party 8 hours later…but I passed!), but I met my future coach there (his wife was one of my trainers). We chatted online afterwards and it wasn’t long before I was an Independent Team Beachbody Coach. I started when Beachbody was only really in the U.S., so I was technically one of the first Beachbody Canada coaches when the company came north. It’s been several years and I’m still here, absolutely loving what I do, loving the different programs I’ve tried, and loving the fitness community I’m surrounded with. I started coaching to help others like me: flailing about, inconsistent, eating whatever I wanted, and still frustrated that I wasn’t losing weight. Now I have the tools & want nothing more than to pay to forward.