Growing up, I have always been the girly girl type. I stayed at home most of the time, playing with Barbie dolls. Then as I grew older, I spent a lot of my time sitting in front of the TV or laying in bed, reading books for days at a time. My parents didn’t really push me to go outside, or to engage in more physical activities, so I grew up to be one of the most uncoordinated kids out there ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I grew up not knowing how to ride a bike, and to this day, I still don’t know how to, though I’ve tried multiple times to learn as an adult. I also grew up scared of balls flying at me, so that eliminates quite a few careers for me. I’m sad to say that I will never be a pro basketball player, or a baseball player for that matter 😛
My couch potato days carried through high school and university. I never had any weight problems before, so I was content to just keep living the way I’ve been living. Then about a year ago, I went back to the Philippines for 4 months – a long overdue visit if you ask me (I hadn’t been back in the 9 years since my family moved to Canada). Anyway, while I was in there, I literally didn’t have to do anything. I was waited on hand and foot. Everything that I needed (e.g., food, clean clothes, etc.) was handed to me. In the first 3 months of my visit, the most strenuous activity that I engaged in was probably walking from my room to the kitchen whenever I wanted food. I would love to say that I’m only exaggerating for comedic purposes, but sadly, it isn’t so. I am quite serious…and embarrassed to I say that I did nothing productive during that period
At around the 3-month mark of my visit, I started noticing more pronounced changes in my body. My waist started thickening, and my thighs would rub ever so slightly when I walked to and from the kitchen 😛 I don’t know about other people, but for me, that whole thigh-rubbing thing was not comfortable at all. I’ve always been used to having a small gap between my thighs, so when I gained a bit of weight during that trip, I suddenly had to adjust to this new feeling of my thighs rubbing together as I moved. It’s like I had to relearn how to walk, because walking normally didn’t feel so normal anymore.
That was when I decided to make a lifestyle change. I started joining my brother in his workouts. At the time, he was doing P90X3, which was really nice, because it was only 30 minutes each day. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants get into working out.
Prior to my trip, I was about 110 lbs, then within 3 months of doing nothing but eat, I weighed in at 125 lbs! That was the biggest that I have ever been in my life. I’m only 5’3″ with a very slim build, so that 15-lb weight gain made a huge difference in what my body looked like. While I wasn’t actually overweight, I had quite a bit of excess fat that I could stand to lose.
To be perfectly honest, my motivation for exercising at the time was mostly based on aesthetics. I had a beach vacation planned in April 2014 (about a month before I started working out), and so I just wanted to look good in a bikini. Let me just say that I didn’t do anything crazy to lose weight. I didn’t cut back on food. I merely added more physical activity into my daily routine.
About 3 weeks into the P90X3 program, I discovered that I could finally do a full push-up! Before P90X3, I pretty much thought that push-ups were out of the question for me. I thought they were too difficult as I could only do knee push-ups before, so when I finally got that first real push-up down, I was ecstatic beyond imagination. That triggered a change in my motivation. While I do still want to look good in a bikini, building strength has also become a big part of what I want to now accomplish. It’s empowering to feel like you can do things that you previously thought were impossible, and honestly, I’ve gotten a little bit competitive in the knowledge that some of the stuff that I can do now are things that other females (or even a few males) can’t even do.
After getting my push-ups down, I challenged myself to be able to do a chin-up, and when I finally achieved that after about 3 months of P90X3, I challenged myself again to be able to do a pull-up. Now, I can comfortably do 20 or so push-ups, and maybe 10 chin-ups (I haven’t done push-ups and chin-ups to exhaustion in a while, so I’m not sure about my numbers here). I am still working on my pull-ups though. I can do quite a few of them, but I’m really working on perfecting my form (chest out, no kipping, fully extended arms, etc.). Strictly speaking, if I count how many wide pull-ups I can do without kipping and before I start hunching my shoulders, I will probably only get up to 4 reps. There’s definitely a lot of room for improvement there, but that’s how it is. You just have to keep working at it, and setting new goals for yourself.
My advice to females out there is to not be scared of lifting weights. I know a lot of women are scared of bulking up and looking like a man, but if you don’t specifically train for that, you’re not going to gain that much muscle. Lifting weights will just do wonders to toning your body up and making you stronger.