Hi guys! Here we go with my first post! I could simply tell you I wanted to get certified because I have always loved lifting and I wanted to learn more about nutrition, which is true, but I really want to dive right into the history and reasons behind it for me. So here we go, a little hisTORY lesson for you that brought me to where we are now working towards my certification!
The moment I realized my passion for weightlifting, was my sophomore year of high school in my strength and conditioning class which is really surprising considering how much I hated PE class in junior high. You were expected from ages 12-14 to do these “health checks” which included how fast you could run a mile, how many pull ups you could do, how many push ups and how many sit ups. I always got discouraged after the inability to do a push up or pull up, more than about 4 sit ups or run about a 19 minute mile with more walking than running.
As you might have guessed, I was not the fittest kid in those years… but when I found out that there was a class that you could go into a gym and lift weights daily and did max rep tests instead of these health checks or dodge ball I said sign me up! My desire to only have to run the mile every other week was strong, but so was my desire to get stronger. I started setting class records for how much I could squat and deadlift, and then when the track season came around I was lifting twice a day five days a week, running at practice daily, which I didn’t mind because I loved track, and wanted to excel.
As I continued setting records in this class, and upped my intensity in track and field, I stopped drinking soda, stopped eating as many hostess snacks out of my dad’s freezer stash, I actually lost about 70 pounds between my junior and senior year. By my senior year, I was squatting a max of 200 lbs, deadlifting 225 lbs, cleaning 115, and bench pressing 95. I also at this point was captain of the throwers on the track team, but for some reason had no energy, and by no energy I mean NO ENERGY! I could not walk up a flight of stairs without my legs feeling like I had just run a marathon, I could sleep 12 hours on the weekend, wake up for 4 hours and go right back to bed, and while I always had a big bottle of water with me, my thirst was never quite quenched. After a trip to the doctor when the leg cramps started keeping me up at night and knowing that track was starting in 2 weeks, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
I handled this new change like a champ, balancing my new found carb counting skills, with track practices, Key Club events, getting ready to go out of state to college, and finishing high school. The farther I got into living this new life, the more I learned that like many things, there are so many different opinions on what we should be eating, drinking, and doing and that it was really just going to be a trial and error learning curve for me.
While I know that this is an important topic to dive into, I will cover more about living an active lifestyle while balancing type 1 diabetes in a later post – stay tuned… Let’s stay on topic and fast forward to grad school in San Francisco, 8 years into my new T1D life.
If you take a look around in San Francisco, you are likely to see some really fit people, go for a walk near the Bay Bridge and everyone is jogging and super fit. I decided that it was time to get back on track after a LONG time away from the gym. I joined one, and they offered the free personal training session which I decided I would take them up on since the past few years I had paid for gym memberships that I had not walked back into the gym since the day I signed up. That was the day I fell back in love with fitness.
For the next three years, I would start walking 7 miles a daily, (occasionally jogging even) working out with my trainer 3 days a week, and going to spin class 3 days a week. I got into the best shape I had ever been in, and I got my blood sugar in the best control I had ever had it. When I moved to Ireland, I struggled I am not going to sugar coat it – I pretty much gave up for a bit. I stopped working out, I stopped walking, I started eating muffins, I stopped checking my blood sugar, I stayed in bed for as long as possible.. you get the idea, and I gained back the 40 pounds I had literally worked my ass off to lose in San Francisco. Then I found a program through freaky Facebook targeting that was a transformation group that met 4 days a week in the gym for the summer that had 2 days of weightlifting and 2 days of cardio and I went for it! I got back on track with my food, even more so this time because I started cooking even more and experimenting with new healthy recipes and I built back up my strength, made some friends in my workout group and really found a place that made me feel like I belonged again.
A year into this new found love of brutal Sunday morning workouts, and clean eating, I decided with a bit of encouragement that it was time that I take this long time passion seriously and get my certification. Also now with 12 years of type 1 diabetes behind me, I have learned that so many nutritionists, dieticians, and websites tell you misinformation that can actually hurt your health, so if I can get certified and help at least one other struggling diabetic person, I will feel like I have made a difference.
So here we are, into the second week of my certification, and I am absolutely loving it! I am learning so much already, and have really upped my workouts as well! I cannot wait to share my new found knowledge with you in the future. Thanks for reading my first story! Have a fantastic day!