Growing up I’ve always been athletic. I played Tennis, Volleyball, and then spent over a decade, spanning my high school years, as a competitive swimmer. To me, I’ve always been an athlete.
But the older I got, the less focused on training I became. I traded goggles for cameras, and ultimately left the world of competitive sports to go to college and get a degree in communications.
I would work out in sprints, sometimes lasting months, sometimes only lasting weeks. Fitness was something that I struggled with maintaining because of how unmotivated I had become. I liked group classes but when that wasn’t an option and I was left to my own devices, I had a hard time coaching myself through routines in the gym. The year I graduated college, I got a job at a growing tech company where I began a career full of lots of travel and events.
I was traveling all the time, sometimes I wouldn’t even have time to unpack my bag before another trip would be around the corner. It was through all that travel that I developed a passion for finding the best food in whatever city I was visiting. That was actually the inspiration behind starting this blog. I’m so grateful for those experiences, but at the end of the day, keeping habits on the road is hard. And something I can’t say I’ve mastered yet.
Fast forward to 2015, I hadn’t really been working out all that much consistently, and I had recently started Dine With Shayda. I was eating whatever I wanted, and at the rate I was going, if I didn’t change my habits, it was going to be pretty unpleasant. And then in November of that year, I was in a car accident.
I was hit as a pedestrian by a moving vehicle and fractured my pelvis and my sacrum. I couldn’t walk on my own for over a month and have spent the last two years still dealing with residual pain. I’m so lucky to be alive and to not be paralyzed, but in a way, the accident still set me back. I became even more unmotivated and literally packed on weight. That went on for about 8 months as my body healed. I was struggling with how to overcome that, and trying to figure out at what point I would take back my life and get back in shape.
I think it took me hitting my absolute worst before I could take control of my life. Part of me was frustrated because I had become so lazy, but part of me relied on the accident as a crutch. My body had broken bones after all. And doing anything hard impact gave me pain.
But I challenged myself, and I changed my mindset. Literally, I woke up one day and decided today is the first day of the rest of my life. And honestly, that’s what it boils down to sometimes, is just taking it day by day, and choosing to live the best, healthiest day you can. Building positive habits takes time.
I joined a fitness app that let me experience a bunch of different studios, and I pushed myself to try as many new things as I could to get myself back on track. Eventually, the app changed their model which made it ineffective for me to use. And as my blog grew, my influence with local businesses also grew. I have the pleasure of working with some really great studios that I absolutely love supporting like Barre Code and Crush Fitness. I was learning how to love fitness and routine.
I would say 2016 was the year I got myself back on track. I started working out 4-5 times a week, I was running, spinning, doing yoga, going to barre, kickboxing, and doing group weight training classes. I was making new friends and finding success in pushing my body to do new movements.
However, out of all the activities that I had started getting into, something was still missing, I was getting stronger, feeling more confident, learning to love myself and my body. But I wasn’t dropping weight like I wanted, I had plateaued. And the reality to why wasn’t something I really wanted to acknowledge.
I was working out a ton, but I hadn’t changed my eating habits. Surely I could eat a quarter pounder covered in cheese, egg, bacon, etc. And still, achieve the body that I wanted by going to the gym, right? Maybe for you, you’re reading this, and you think, hey I do that, or I can do that. Maybe you can, for me, I can’t. I had to start to dig into what my body needs when it comes to fitness and nutrition, and I think it goes back to the athlete that I painted myself as in the first paragraph.
Once an athlete, always an athlete. That’s where Athletic Outcomes comes in. It’s run by Pat and Brittaney Cook, and they own and operate a beautiful, strong, family of a gym on Riverside. I was connected to them through my sister, fitness blogger Spin Syddy.It started with a few classes, but immediately I was hooked. Every day there is a challenge where I know I’m going to be pushing my body to do something new. But it’s also a challenge that I love to take on every day, something that I look forward to achieving and pushing myself to accomplish.
When it comes to fitness I love two things, group classes and weights. I don’t mean in the powerlifting body building type of way, but I love being able to lift something heavy and feel how my body feels after a workout. I like the muscle pain, to me, it signifies that I worked hard, and pushed myself.
I’m really big on state of mind, of setting your intention. I believe you can achieve anything that you set out to do. That’s how it clicked for me, one day I woke up and I decided I wanted to start working out, and then every day after there I have a choice, to get out of bed or to fall back asleep. It’s not easy, sometimes I do fall back asleep, but generally, the more times you say yes, the easier it is to continue making those decisions.
It’s been about three months of me going to Athletic Outcomes 5x a week. My body is physically stronger, and I like that feeling. I like knowing I can hold a plank longer, or lift a heavier set. It shows I’m making progress, and I like experiencing that physical gratification of making improvements.
But we all should know by now that abs are also primarily made in the kitchen. What you eat is so important and something as a food blogger I struggle with that because of all the yummy dishes I’m exposed to.
And so I turned to Brittaney who is a Doctor of Nutrition. I’m not going to lie, I was reluctant to cut myself off of certain foods. How would I avoid dairy, or grains, or sugar? The great thing about Brittaney and her program is that she adjusts it to what makes the most sense for you. She’s alongside you throughout the whole thing and I think of her less as keeping me accountable and shaming me when I indulge, and more of her coaching me to be more mindful of what I’m putting in my body.
She sends me programs to read every few days, and we stay in touch on chat where I share with her what I’m feeling and what my intake is. And after doing it for a month, I’ve signed up for more. Why you might be asking, because when I eat clean, I feel better. I’ve never had an association with the food that I put in my body and how it makes my body feel. I think that’s what happens when you just keep eating crap on top of crap, your body gets used to it, and you become numb to it.
Now, when I indulge, I feel the heaviness, the fatigue, etc, and I don’t say that to steer you away from trying a nutrition program. But to show that what you put in your body actually matters. I love feeling my best, I love that my body no longer needs sugar to survive. And I love the results that I’ve seen just by making some of these smarter nutritional choices. Remember, it’s not to give anything up necessarily, just to know that what you put in your body totally matters.
Also, shoutout to my friends at Snap Kitchen for making delicious and easy to heat meals prepped in an array of options. Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, you name it and they cater to it. They also are super speedy at delivering, so I literally will order my food for a few days in the morning, and by lunch, it’s there and I can stay on track while eating something nutritious! (Use code “stor-668” for $10 off your first order!)
I now feel like I’m training on another level, fitness is no longer about just showing up at the gym every day, it is a way of life. I don’t see this as a 3-month commitment, or a year commitment. My intention was and is to change my life habits so I can lead a healthier more fulfilled life. And that’s just what I’ve been able to achieve by being intentional with what I do day in and day out.
I know this was long, so if you made it to the end, thanks for bearing with me. If you’re interested in talking fitness or nutrition I would LOVE to talk to you, and can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also hope you reach out directly to my friends at Athletic Outcomes because they would love to help you kick start your fitness journey or help take you to the next level PLUS your first class is always free. Additionally, I wanted to invite you to follow along on my journey, I generally post my workout shenanegains to my insta story over at @dinewithshayda. And now I leave you with a few videos and photos of some of the fun I get into at Athletic Outcomes!