What makes you feel empowered and pushes you to new limits? This may seem crazy, but working out does this for me. To all my lovely readers that don’t like exercise I understand you, don’t worry! Growing up, I never did sports or athletics because it was something I never considered as a lifestyle choice.  It never came to mind, that exercise and movement were important ways of leading a happy and healthy lifestyle.  Exercise and physical fitness are not the solutions for everyone, but from my own experience it has made a big impact on my life.  It was not until high school, when I tried playing volleyball and running track and field. As I began to take on a routine for keeping fit and active, my eating habits changed and I felt more focused in class.  When I first started doing sports, I felt defeated and exhausted because I had never done high intensity cardio or weighted workouts before. I could not keep in time with my team and I would always compare my scores or times with teammates.  I was beginning to think “why am I doing to myself?”, but looking back to this moment I am so grateful for continuing.  I didn’t feel like there was a positive effect in the moment because of where I began, but as I continued to work more and more on form and endurance, it got better.  Having friends around me to motivate and challenge me to new levels was why I continue to do what I do today.  The sweat, burn, and tears that I experienced have become something that I remember the most from my fitness journey, because these are the souvenirs of the battle and strength that you develop.  Without the countless hours of support that sports teams, friends, family and coaches put into cheering you, on are priceless.

As a child, I was not a healthy eater and always had a huge love for chocolate, chips, ice cream, and cheese! I still eat these things today, but I eat it in moderation while balancing a fitness routine every week.  I used to guilt myself after eating these items and wonder why my body was the way it was.  One of the most important lessons I have learnt through exercise and sports, is that you must learn to love your body for what it naturally is.  Just because you may have ‘larger thighs’ or ‘bigger arms’, does not make you any ‘less worthy’ or important than someone else.  I always felt insecure about the size of my thighs because they were ‘bigger’ in comparison to others.  Most of the jeans I tried on were too tight or would not fit my waist, making it discouraging to shop. Over the years, I have realized that I can only control how I look through my personal self-love that I express to myself.  Having ‘larger thighs’ has actually made me work harder in sports and be proud of what I have.

The reason for this week’s blog post, is to bring light to self-love and body positivity.  Social media is such a powerful tool and it can skew the perception of what a ‘perfect’ body is like.  There is no perfect body, because perfect is loving yourself no matter what.  This year I had a goal of challenging myself to do something new and channel my energy towards an activity that pushes me to new limits.  I began Ride Cycle Club in January of this year, and immediately became obsessed.  The intensity of the program, community bond, and instruction were the things I needed to challenge myself.  After doing Ride on the weekends for a few weeks, I decided to join a friend in an unlimited monthly pass to the 3 local studios.  Every day for 30 days, we would attend at least one Ride class as a way to become more fit.  Throughout the whole process, we would take note of our journey and the changes we notice along the way.  We are almost half way done this challenge, and it has been an incredible journey!  I have learnt a lot more about my own strength and how that can power me through even the toughest of times.  When you take on a challenge with people that care about you, nothing can break your perseverance and positive attitude. Doing Ride Cycle with friends have pushed me to new levels and contributed to a healthier mental, physical, and emotional state. It may seem easier said than done, but I challenge YOU to remind yourself each day why you love yourself and continue to push yourself to new levels.

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