My Health Journey – Kristin Reedposted by Amber Brady on May 11, 2022
Story submitted by Kristin Reed, Management Performance Hub
Why I Invest in My Health
Like many, my health journey has not been a straight line. I have not always been active and have found that exercise and diet advice especially has changed frequently throughout the years. That leaves one wondering what to follow – low fat, Atkins, paleo, keto, Whole 30, Mediterranean?
As a chubby child, I did not excel at sports. I grew up thinking that if you were not good at team sports, exercise wasn’t for you. It seems that most forms of exercise geared for children involve joining a team. Being picked last in gym class only reinforced the notion that I could never be a valued team member. Still, I played field hockey in high school. Although I enjoyed the sport, I spent a great deal of time on the bench.
As I was about to graduate from high school and begin college, I was introduced to weightlifting by a male friend. This was in the mid-1990s when not many females were the weightlifting room. I immediately fell in love with so many aspects of the sport. First, I wasn’t competing against others. I set my own goals and routine. I found I lost weight faster than anything else I ever tried. Also, the exertion required to lift motivated me to find ways to better fuel my body with nutritious food. Once I began gaining muscle and losing body fat, it was easier to incorporate cardio into my workouts. Running, which had always been so uncomfortable, got easier.
I maintained an active lifestyle for quite a while, but as I entered my thirties and life became hectic with grad school, job changes, and having two babies, exercise took a back seat. Along with stress and inactivity came unbearable fatigue and brain fog.
The first action I took after not having success with traditional medicine was to see a holistic practitioner. She helped me improve gut health (look up “gut-brain connection” if you’re not familiar) through supplements and healthy eating. After I found myself more clear-headed and energetic, I turned to exercise.
Back when I started lifting in my late teens, I relied on my friend’s advice and a few books on weightlifting. Now there are scores of knowledgeable experts and facilities. A year before the pandemic, I started going to a small gym close the Indiana government center specializing in Olympic-style lifting and functional fitness. I also attended heated yoga classes at another studio. During the pandemic, I followed their workouts online while also running most days and hiking in state parks every weekend.
More than a year ago, I left state employment for a while and worked on the northside of Indianapolis and changed up my routine. I hired a personal trainer, Bruce Blackwood, owner of Activate Life, who trains out of Studio Fit’nez in Fishers. Although I gained quite a bit of knowledge over the years, I prefer professional guidance to help me reach my goals, keep me motivated and accountable, and avoid injuries. It’s difficult to keep up on the latest studies and recommendations so let an expert do it for you! Bruce takes the time to learn about my past and present health issues and designs fitness programming around my abilities and goals. He also offers a state employee discount and provides a personalized fitness program that I can do on days I can’t meet with him but can go to a gym closer to home.
While my fitness journey has taken twists and turns, weightlifting has been a tremendous gift for my mental and physical health. Lifting helps build strength and is good for bone health, anyone can do it, and it improves your ability to perform everyday tasks.
To end, here are some of my tips:
- Reject diet culture and embrace health and body neutrality. This may mean ditching social media which is a big promoter of the diet culture mentality.
- My favorite podcast that embraces the above-mentioned mindset is “Thick Thighs Save Lives.”
- Weightlifting is for everyone. Make sure you work with an expert who can provide accommodations if you have any injuries or health issues. Don’t believe me? Look up 85-year-old Ernestine Shepherd – a true inspiration!
- Appreciate what your body can do instead of focusing on what it can’t.
What about YOUR health journey? If you’ve picked up tips and tricks or would like to share your story, reach out to us at email@example.com.