We all wish we could go back & shake our former selves sometimes, don’t we? Like MAYBE I didn’t need to go out of state for college & take out a gazillion loans to pay for it… and I REALLY could have done without those embarrassing moments (don’t be all crazy as a teen & take photos — those pictures WILL resurface! relax readers, its nothing too wild.. but I don’t want to relive those years in photos. Yikes.)
But here’s what I wished I had known just ONE year ago, and it has to do with my passion.. fitness. I have been seriously toying with the idea of SOMEday doing a bikini figure competition, & had I began really focusing a year ago, I know my body would be in a much different shape today.
Don’t get my wrong, I am VERY proud of my body and how hard I have worked in the last few months. But do you know what I would say to the July 2013 Ashley? 3 things. Lift heavy, small meals, and stop drinking. Here’s why:
1.) Lift heavy: I do understand now that adding muscle does not make women bulk up– I’m living proof of that. But a year ago, I was still shy about lifting.. and would not lift as heavy as I probably could. Now, I see how freaking important it is to really have the “trifeca” of fitness: cardio, flexibility, and strength. I am pretty committed to the first 2– but strength? I still lack the focus to lift on a regular basis. But I see these women who lift heavy weights & do it consistently (and safely! Rest days, good form, proper technique) and they are BEAUTIFUL! They are strong and lean, with a body that shows off their hard work and incredible shape. So, last year Ash, get some heavy dumbbells & join your fiancé (now husband, woot woot!) in the gym!
2.) Small meals: I have always struggled with eating. I had the mindset that because I was working out, I could eat whatever I wanted. SO not true. My entire well being is made up of only 30% exercise and 70% Nutrition.. and that statistic just wasn’t hitting me. Now, by all means, I am still a work in progress, but lately I have been packing small meals for when I’m out (veggies, apple & peanut butter, KIND granola, Quest bars) so that I never get to the point of being super hungry. Plus, with eating healthy things sporadically throughout the day, my metabolism is always fired up. And when I do my cardio workouts, I burn even more calories, thanks to wake up call #1 (lifting heavy).
3.) Stop drinking: I know it’s fun to be social and go out with friends & have wine or cocktails. I get it. I get it a little too much. I’ve been through some ups & downs this past year with being far away from my family & struggling to adjust, and I definitely turned to alcohol more than was necessary (is any of it necessary? no, probably not.) But all those calories & sugars just for a DRINK? Scary. 3 beers can easily be 600-800 calories — liquor has a large amount of sugar, and wine is right up there on the sugar scale. Is a drink bad for you? No. But if you constantly add in alcohol to your regular nutrition, it can easily sabotage the hard work you’re putting in during the rest of the day. So, 2013 Ashley, lay off the booze and start chugging H20.
We all learn and grow and change and evolve, and we can’t go back in time. But occasionally we can look back and see where our tendencies lie, and decide to change or remain the same. I choose change. It’s scary, tough, and sometimes frustrating, but it beats spinning my wheels any day.
Can’t wait to see wait 2015 Ashley will think of the today me. But I’m pretty okay with myself 🙂