What Fitness Has Taught Me

The 3 Most Important Lessons I have Learned on my Fitness Journey

In some sense, working out and getting fitter has done a lot more for me than just improving my body and my mood. It has taught me a lot about myself and some valuable life lessons.

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Over the past few years, health and fitness have become a huge part of my life. Although I was never overweight, I am now at a size where I am more confident in my own skin. Exercise for me is more than just an active way to keep my body looking good but it is also a way for me to keep my mind in the right place too. Endorphins are a part of my daily chemical routine and I can't live without them. They keep me happy and relieve my stress when I am at my absolute worst emotionally. I could crave worse things. My day could be going wrong in every other part of my life but if I had a good sweaty hard workout then I achieved something that day.

In some sense, working out and getting fitter has done a lot more for me than just improving my body and my mood. It has taught me a lot about myself and some valuable life lessons.

Lesson #1: If you truly want something, you will put in the hard work and stop at nothing until you are successful.

I needed to see physical change in my body. I needed to see my thighs get more toned and my stomach get a little flatter. I needed to see this so I could comfortably wear a bikini around friends or go online and not get jealous of every girl on Instagram. I put in the hard work to make this change. I only had one piece of chocolate instead of two and worked out everyday even when all I wanted to do was stay in bed. This hard-working attitude is something that has carried over into other parts of my life.

Lesson #2: "Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up."

This has never been more true. Determination is a necessary component of a strong character. There have been so many times when I have wanted to quit on a run or put the weights down and walk away. But a workout is most successful right at that moment when you push past that barrier and do something you have never done before. Often you find you are more capable than you think and your body can do more than your mind usually allows it to. When I don't feel like working out, usually all I have to do is make a start like putting on workout clothes or getting in the car in order to motivate my body and mind into exercising. As long as I don't throw the towel in and give up, I will be successful.

Lesson #3: Focusing on the little things does not make you too controlling, being committed to something does not make you obsessive, and being motivated by something you dislike doesn't make you weak or vain.

When I first started working out, I focused on the workout as a whole. I had to spend time on the treadmill and then I would move to strength training. Slowly I have learned to focus on the little things; each component of my workout, each rep, or each step. I find if I do that I am more in tune with what my body is doing and how I am feeling. Often I am able to push harder. Some people might say I am obsessed with going to the gym or eating healthy. Maybe I am. I am obsessed with that post-exercise high and committed to getting that feeling everyday. I know that working out and eating right makes me feel my best so that's the way I am committed to living. Third, yes I started exercising because I didn't like the way my body looked. But now as I have made changes aesthetically I can shift my focus to other goals like increasing my maximum deadlift weight or running faster miles. Motivation is what gets you started but passion is what makes you continue.

I watched a YouTube video today about body image. The speaker talked about "how horrible it feels to be insecure." Honestly, I had never thought about it that way until now but she is completely right. Two years ago, I never took my shorts off at a pool party and never wanted to be photographed from certain angles. I couldn't love my body. Being insecure is so disheartening and makes you feel almost worthless. But it was my biggest motivation to change and I am so glad I did. I can proudly say now I have never felt better. I am excited about the progress I am making in my fitness at the gym. I'm happier, more confident, and I'm starting to love the skin I am in just a little bit more. I'm not perfect and I haven't got the whole self-love, health, and fitness thing 100% down yet. But I am on my way and I'm happier than I've ever been.

Cover Image Credit:

Grace Bellman

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A list Of 15 Inspiring Words That Mean So Much

A single word can mean a lot.
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Positivity is so important in life. A lot of times we always go to quotes for empowerment but I have realized that just one word can be just as powerful. Here is a list of inspiring words.

1. Worthy

Realizing your self-worth is important. Self-worth can really make or break a persons personality. Always know that you are worthy of respect. And also, never compare yourself to others.

2. Courage

Be courageous in life. Life has so many opportunities so do not be scared to grasp any opportunity that comes your way. You have the ability to do anything you have your heart and mind set to do, even the things that frighten you.

3. Enough

When you are feeling down and feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough, know that you are more than enough. And yes there is always room for improvement but when it comes to my self-worth I always have to remind myself that I am enough.

4. Blessed

Be thankful. A lot of times we forget how blessed we are. We focus so much on stress and the bad things that are going on in our lives that we tend to forget all of the beautiful things we have in life.

5. Focus

Focus on your goals, focus on positive things, and focus on the ones you love. Do not focus on things that will keep you from not reaching your goals and people that do not have good intentions for your life.

6. Laugh

Laughing is one of the best forms of medicine. Life is truly better with laughter.

7. Warrior

Through the good and the bad you are a warrior. Be strong, soldier.

8. Seek

Seek new things. Allow yourself to grow in life. Do not just be stuck.

9. Faith

During the bad times, no matter the circumstances, have faith that everything will be all right.

10. Live

Start living because life is honestly way too short. Live life the way you want to live. Do not let anyone try to control you.

11. Enjoy

Enjoy everything that life has to offer. Enjoy even the littlest of things because, as I said before, life is short. And plus, there is no time to live life with regrets.

12. Believe

Believe in yourself and never stop. Believing in yourself brings so many blessings and opportunities in your life.

13. Serendipity

A lot of times we look for things to fill an empty void that we have. Usually what we are looking for comes when we are not looking at all. Your serendipity will come.

14. Create

Share your ideas with the world. Creativity brings change to your life. However you chose to use your creativity do not be scared to show your intelligence, talent, and passion.

15. Love

The world is already full of so much hate, so love unconditionally with all your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Tanveer Naseer

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I Struggle With Cystic Acne, But I Am No Longer Letting It Define How I Live My Life

Acne is a common struggle for a lot of people, but don't let it be how you define yourself.

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You only get one face and that's it. Your face is how others identify you, recognize you, and ultimately know you. Faces can bring back memories, good and bad. Faces have the power to inspire millions, express some of life's most difficult emotions, and show the joy that is so contagious it influences others.

What do you do when that canvas has been tainted? When the one thing that most people know you by, is the last thing you want them to know you by? Struggling with acne feels like a never-ending battle and it's so easy to want to give up and let it take over your thoughts and emotions. I have been wrestling with this sense of defeat for a few years and I don't think I'm the only one feeling this way.

Cystic acne is defined by Medical News Today as, "a severe type of acne in which the pores in the skin become blocked, leading to infection and inflammation."

I have determined that my cystic acne is caused by an imbalance in my hormones. Which makes it extra prominent during "that time of the month." It wasn't always this way; back in high school, I had small breakouts here and there. Unlike today it was nothing that made me want to skip class. Gradually my acne got worse and I didn't know why.

As I went through my college career I would have weeks where I would break out and then my skin would start looking better; only for it to break out again a week later. I am sure we all know the feeling of finally seeing a good skin day, then waking up to a huge zit forming on your chin. Nothing humbles you more than acne can. Wearing a cute outfit? Having a good hair day? That's nice, I bet it'll match well with a huge pimple as an accessory. *dramatic sobs*

Then I met my boyfriend, and if you are in a relationship and struggle with acne I am sure you know where I'm going. No matter how many times he says, "babe, you look gorgeous even without makeup" I still won't believe him. See here sweetie, either you're blind (which he's not he has impeccable vision, damn him) or you're lying because you can clearly see all the scars and pimples ALL OVER MY FACE. But thanks honey for trying to make me feel better! :)

I've come to realize this post is mainly a long list of me complaining about the struggles of having acne. But I know there is someone reading this that is hopefully saying to themselves, "Oh thank God I am not alone!" I have gotten to a point where I still don't know the best way to deal with my breakouts, but why should I let it steal my joy? Why should I let my acne cause me shame and discomfort when I know myself I am working to improve it.

In this season of my life, I want to learn to not hold myself back from being who I truly am just because I have acne. Yes, some days are REALLY hard and I can't even leave my room because I don't want people to see my face. But who knows how long it will take me to find a reliable cure. Months? Years? So why should I put my life and happiness on hold?

I want to encourage you to make peace with your appearance. Sometimes you can't control how you look and that's okay. This is all apart of the grand scheme of learning to love yourself, just as you are. Because I promise there is someone out there who sees you for who you truly are. And guess what? They absolutely adore you.

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