I have so much respect for this next success story. She is truly inspiring
When a friend introduced me to her blog littlestruns I didn’t know I was going to start reading such a motivating story. I expected a running blog but what I got was a real, raw and truthful collection of thoughts from a true Superhero. Laura shares how fitness, including running and training with weights, has given her confidence, self love and enthusiasm for life even after experiencing events which I can’t even imagine having to deal with.
After reading her story and getting to know her through her own words I can honestly say that I am motivated to just get out there and tackle those things that scare me. Because when I see how Laura has taken control of her life, I feel empowered. I hope you do too.
First of all, lets start with the most important question of all – what is your fitness story?
I was always fairly active, especially when I was younger. In my second year of university a close friend sexually assaulted me, and this brought up many issues that I hadn’t dealt with as a result of being raped when I was 13. I became incredibly anxious and depressed, and almost killed myself. I gained about 5 kilos (which when you’re about 4ft 9”, is A LOT!) and I lived in my ‘fat day’ clothes. My idea of a meal was often two king size twixes and a packet of crisps. I had terrible insomnia, and I hated the way I looked.
I found being much bigger really hard as I’d always been pretty fit/healthy. I used to hike/gym/play volley and dance as a teenager so suddenly piling on the weight was hard. I used to do some weights back home so when I started lifting again, I remembered how much I loved it.
How and why did you discover fitness?
I really hated the way that I looked- I felt massive. As I fought the depression, I started eating better (actual meals!) and started to exercise again. It wasn’t until I joined twitter that things really started to change. I went on a seminar that was about clean eating (no wheat, no processed foods, single ingredient foods only) I implemented that and my body changed and I started sleeping- actually sleeping, and well! (after having terrible insomnia for about 2 years, this was AMAZING.)
I had always hated running, but started it as part of a challenge at work. I ran a 10km and a half marathon.
After the encouragement of everyone on twitter, I hit the weights area, and I’ve never looked back. The original motivation, other than aesthetics was to help my depression/anxiety and sleeping. I now haven’t had a panic attack in easily 6 months and I get a perfect nights sleep.
I would seriously advise anyone with any issues like that to look at diet and exercise before taking meds.
How has being fit and strong affected your life so far? and how do you see it working in your future?
Being fit and healthy has made the biggest difference. Conquering the weights room with all those men was very scary… Once I knew I could do that, I knew I could do anything. It’s changed the relationship that I have with my body – if I have a fat day, I think about what my body can do – eg I can leg press more than 2.5x my body weight rather than the fact that I feel squidgy. I feel strong physically and mentally, and it’s amazing.
I can’t imagine it not playing a part in my life, if I have kids I want to be known as the really strong mum (though when it occurred to me that I can’t lift weights when pregnant, that made me not want to have them a little!) It is a part of who I am, and I don’t see that changing.
In terms of fitting fitness and healthy living into your everyday life, around all the other activities, what priority does your fitness take?
Fitness is a big priority for me. I normally work out in the morning, then I can’t let the stress of a day or evening plans get in the way. I find the biggest struggle for me is leaving my boyfriend in bed so I can go work out… You can normally find ‘clean’ options in most restaurants, but that I really struggle with. He’s been great at embracing it. His nickname for me is domsy, he loves my muscles and I’m getting him in the squat rack soon.
Thinking back, was there a turning point in your life where you knew that you could never go back to being the person you were before?
There were two points when I realised that I was making a permanent change. The first was when I wrote my suicide note and I couldn’t finish it. In that moment I chose to continue, to fight.
The second was when I started lifting weights. I cannot even explain how much I love it. I was getting stared at in the weights room the other day, not boys checking me out but them being amazed at how much I was lifting. It felt incredible!
What favourite activities or exercises do you have that you would like to share with the readers?
I’ve recently started to powerlift, so I’d encourage everyone to learn how to deadlift and squat (with an Olympic bar, ass to grass) I’m also a huge fan of Bulgarian split squats and weighted glute bridges. I’ve never has an ass in my life, and now I have a baby booty
What would be your no.1 tip for staying motivated?
I think the most important thing to staying motivated is focusing on more than one thing. So many people get fixated on the scales (they are bullshit – ignore them. The only reason I even have a pair is because power lifting is done in weight classes) being healthy and fit is about so much more than your relationship with gravity – take progress photos, measurements, do you feel better? Do you sleep better, have more energy? Are you stronger, can you run further?
If I ever have a bad session I think of two things: That in January 2012 I could only just do push ups with my knees on the ground, and now I can do clap push ups. In November, when I first lifted an Olympic bar (20kg) It felt crazy heavy. Now I think it doesn’t weigh anything! Being fit and healthy is more than aesthetics. It’s about physical and mental well being.
The biggest external thing that’s helped me achieve my goals and make the progress I have has had to be support. It’s so important to have someone that supports you. Making change isn’t easy, so when you’re having bad moments, you need that person. It doesn’t have to be someone you know. My best friend was vital in me overcoming my depression but the people I know on twitter have been equally as vital with fitness etc. ignore (within reason) anyone that doesn’t support your goals!!
What has been the biggest challenge or misconception?
For me the biggest challenge/misconception is other people and their attitudes. Most people are very supportive. When they are not, I found that you need to realise that it says more about them than you. Many people are jealous of, and fear change. Many people do not understand why I lift weights, they often ask how big I want to get etc.. when it’s not about that. I’ve been told that I’ll get huge and that women should only do body weight exercises. The thing to remember is that it is your journey, your body, your fitness, your health. No-one elses.