I used to be an athlete. Like a big time, workout 6 hours a day, travel the world athlete. I went to UC Berkeley on a full ride water polo scholarship, was a starter in the Junior World Championships and a member of the Senior National Team. I worked out harder than anyone I know, swam miles per day, lifted more than men on the Berkeley basketball team (seriously), and was so darn proud of my body and the shape that I was in.
After my water polo days came to a close, I did a complete 180 on my exercise routine and body image. I became a cardio queen! Plus, being in a sorority didn’t help much either. I did spin classes 5-6 times per week, loved hopping on the elliptical or treadmill and then was traipsing through the Berkeley hills to class almost every day. I got so teeny tiny I was almost unrecognizable, but honestly, I felt like crap. I remember feeling like I had to lose a bunch of weight and get really tiny because I didn’t have an excuse to be muscly and athletic looking; I didn’t play a sport! I was still the same athletic, driven girl but instead of working on being in the best physical shape possible, I just wanted to have the teeniest arms of any girl in my sorority and be able to drink all of the alcohol and margaritas I could without gaining weight.
Finally, after I graduated from Berkeley and started working in the real world, I began to understand the need for good nutrition and a healthier lifestyle. Drinking, doing spin classes and not eating wasn’t going to cut it in a fast paced 9-5 world. I needed to think clearly, be strong, vivacious and energetic. Plus, it just wasn’t fun anymore. This was when I finally decided to get back in to the weight room. I’d always felt fantastic and empowered when I lifted back in my water polo days so I decided to try again. Although not to the point of being able to squat like a man; that’s not for me.
With the help of my then boyfriend, now husband, I started lifting heavy weights and focusing on whole foods that really nourished my mind, body and soul. The changes were almost immediate. Although I did gain weight, it was awesome weight! I was getting ripped arms, a more chiseled stomach, I finally had a butt and I was eating so much more!
So now, even though I’m not actually an “athlete” per say, I still consider myself one. I’m an athlete training for whatever life throws my way. Weight lifting, working out hard and eating right makes me feel empowered, like I can do anything. It’s a new form of athleticism I like to call being a professional wannabe athlete!