Words By Babalwa
I define this notable part of my journey as being health-conscious which I term as the growing awareness of how I function physically, mentally, and spiritually. These three spheres harmoniously blend together and convey what I regard as being healthy.
I am driven by purpose. I know that I am here to fulfill a God-given purpose and this motivates me in everything that I do. I embarked on this journey with the intention of unlocking a certain part of me that I believed remained untapped. Having spent most of my teen years completely dedicated to sport, I found myself absolutely clueless as to what my next step would be when my sporting career ended.
Healthy eating and training has always played an integral part of my life (well sort of) as my training was specifically suited to the type of sports I focused on. Gym was always an additional requirement that I hated. I was never too strict on my diet because I knew that the amount of calories I burnt daily outweighed the amount of calories I consumed. Subsequent to my sporting career ending, I grew closer to understanding how my body responded to my careless eating habits and inactive state at the time. During this period, I felt lost. I was self-conscious about my body which led me into a cycle of continuous comparison of myself and others (individuals that I believed had ‘body goals’). My cellulite was visible, I was demotivated and generally not happy with my body. This significant phase in my journey set in motion the turning point of my life which led to the emergence of my health conscious self.
Through the three years of learning and becoming aware of my body, I can confidently say that my most effective workout routine is functional strength training and endurance. With a background of chronic asthma, I ensure that I am constantly improving my breathing by training at a high intensity over extended periods. I also incorporate cardio every time I do weight training to ensure that I am keeping my heart rate up and challenging myself at all times. Ideally my perfect training week consists of 5 cardio sessions and 3 weight training sessions.
Over the years I have become obsessed with training my legs. This is my main motivation leaving my arm and ab training sessions secondary. My legs store majority of my stubborn body fat so I tend to completely exhaust myself on leg days. My diet still remains a struggle with my persistent sweet tooth for chocolate. I have found that the best way to tackle this is to identify healthy food items you enjoy. Right now, I am obsessed with kale. I incorporate it into every meal and sometimes I’ll have something different like asparagus or broccoli, maintaining a more vegetarian based diet. I’ve recently added some psyllium husks and chia seeds to my daily diet with the intention of increasing my fiber and omega 3 intake. They also help with digestion and keeping you fuller for longer.
I truly recommend trying out different workout classes and training styles to keep you motivated on your personal fitness journey. You don’t have to be confined to a gym to get the results that you want. Switch up your training routine by training with a friend or outside on the track and most importantly, document your progress. Introduce yourself to the different ways in which you can improve your eating and discover different options to preparing your meals. Also, drink your water. I’m not a fan of juice, so majority of the time I have water and green tea.
What keeps me going is the fact that I am always willing to learn and improve myself at all times. I’m not always motivated but what has propelled me over the years is working towards a bigger goal that I’ve set for myself as well as achieving my short term goals in between. I entered a swimsuit competition in 2014 having had no experience in the industry and in the worst shape of my life. I had committed myself to achieving something and this kept me motivated and disciplined to work and train harder. And I’ve never looked back ever since.
This growing awareness for my health intrigues me. It allows me to be creative and most importantly it enables me to personalize my health and fitness journey. I highly encourage you to find your ‘fit’ and stick to it.