Hi Fit Approach readers!
Photo: Sara Dawson
My name is Casey. I’m the author of The Hippie Health Nut and I’m honored to say I’m one of the newest contributors to the Fit Approach blog. I’m excited about contributing to this amazing community and I figured I’d kick things off with a little post to introduce myself and my fitness philosophy.
I can only remember one year in my entire life that I wasn’t involved in some sort of sport, exercise activity, etc. Growing up, I was a competitive gymnast who dabbled in softball, soccer and swimming as time allowed. I quit gymnastics when I entered high school, but I still have the heart of a gymnast- corny, but true. I get excited when I see a balance beam! Gymnastics helped me to develop a healthy confidence in my body and what it is capable of. It also helped me to develop certain expectations.
After my competition career ended, I slowly started to lose my flexibility and strength. By the time I was 18, I was completely unhappy with myself- not just the way I looked, but the way I felt. I couldn’t do any of the things that came so easy in the past. I decided to set myself up on a workout schedule and I haven’t looked back since!
Over the years, my fitness philosophy has changed multiple times. I started out doing the same three workout DVD’s Monday through Friday. My diet was low calorie and low fat. As I started to read more about how the body works, I started to lift weights and focused on building muscle through a clean diet. I fell in love with strength training and started lifting as heavy as I could. Every workout was devoted to watching those numbers go up. I think I went an entire year without doing so much as five minutes of cardio. Eventually, I added in high intensity interval training and plyometrics to keep my body guessing. Amidst all those changes, I earned my personal training certification, which is when I really fell in love with functional fitness. Again, my fitness philosophy changed. I began to focus more on what was going to preserve my body for the long haul.
The long haul became even more important in 2010 when I fell very ill. I had a virus that lasted roughly five months. I was unable to work full time and I couldn’t work out at all for the first few months. I lost a good amount of that muscle I worked so hard for; and to make things even better, I learned I have celiac disease. Again, my fitness philosophy changed, along with everything I thought I knew about food. My body took a real beating throughout those five months and I couldn’t just fix things with a gluten-free diet. It was up to me to help my body heal by educating myself and respecting my body’s needs.
Today, my fitness philosophy involves doing something active every day. Sometimes that means an hour long walk at the park. Sometimes it means throwing around as much weight as I can. Sometimes it means sprinting at the local track, and sometimes it means hanging out with my favorite yogis. I no longer view fitness as a means to achieve a tight rear end or a six pack (although I certainly wouldn’t mind either of those things!). I look at it as a way to preserve muscle, an opportunity relax, a chance to make new friends and to challenge myself. I’m terrified to try Zumba, but you can bet it’s on my bucket list! I used to be able to take a week off of doing any kind of exercise, and now I enjoy myself so much more that I start to crave movement after two days without it! I’ve come to realize that exercise isn’t just about the physical for me. It really is a mental thing, too. I’m a perfectionist by nature, and exercise provides me with a way to let all that go- to leave behind a bad day and do something good for myself that will last a lifetime.
A good sweat is rewarding!
The combination of all of these experiences has lead me back to the classroom. I’m currently pursuing a master’s degree in health studies, and I hope to be an amazing health coach someday soon. I want to inspire people to find their own fitness philosophy. For that reason, you’ll find that my posts cover everything from workout ideas and recipes to tips on squeezing in exercise on a busy day- with or without a gym. I believe exercise and a healthy diet should be something to look forward to, not something to dread. There’s something for everyone. You just have to find YOUR fit and allow it to evolve with YOU!