With the world trying to live up to dangerous body image standards, our Fitspo interviews introduce us to those who remind us of the importance of a healthy body – and of a healthy lifestyle.
From the South Indian state of Karala introducing a “fat tax”, to the distressing “A4 waist challenge” trending earlier this year across the Internet, the policing of body image gets stranger and stranger – and progressively more unhealthy. In the age of Instagram, Facebook and the broader, visually oriented, social media outlets, the renewed and advanced fight against healthy body image has never been more unrealistic or placed more unreasonable expectations upon us.
In the new TBS health series, Fitspo, we will introduce readers to those who are bucking this trend: whether young or old, whether pros or amateurs, whether social media sensations or quiet achievers, Fitspo aims to unearth those who inspire us to take better considerations for our own health, as well as those who’ve made remarkable changes to their own.
Following a history of weight and physical health issues, Alicia resolved to change her body through healthy eating, weight training and a rigorous fitness routine. Inspired to avoid dangerous fads and trendy diets, she not only has made an incredible change to her body – she finds herself happier, more confident, and physically healthier than she’s ever known herself – and she did it all, naturally!
What inspired you to start weight training?
I have always admired bodybuilders and dabbled in weight lifting but had never trained with serious intent or intensity. I was taking my health for granted somewhat, had gotten complacent and had let a little of the initial 30 kilos I lost when I was diagnosed as clinically obese, creep back on over the years. I was also eight months into sobriety, feeling lost and lacking motivation in almost every aspect of my life.
That all changed one day when I walked into a supplement store and saw a poster for a challenge run by a well known sports supplement brand. I gazed in awe at the happy, fit, healthy “after” photos of past entrants and thought “I want that! That could be me!” So I signed up for the most intense but rewarding three months of my life which changed my eating and training habits forever. I came out the other side 7 kgs lighter, with a lowered body fat percentage, lean sculpted muscle and happier than I had been in years.
How has weight training changed your life?
In every way possible! My mental and physical health have never been better. I feel strong, sexy and confident. It is so rewarding to watch your nutrition, training and focus all come together to give you results to be proud of. I also love that my friends, colleagues and family now see me as synonymous with fitness and health instead of the messy unpredictable party girl. Hitting the iron gives me a sense of drive and purpose as you are constantly moving the goal posts and perpetually challenging yourself.
What is a normal day eating like?
Typically, I focus on eating as clean as I can with the emphasis on lean protein for muscle growth and repair. I also eat an array of fresh fruit and vegetables and carb sources such as rice, oats and sweet potato for energy. I tend to eat six smaller spaced out meals during my day to continually nourish my body. Of course I’m human and allow myself treats now and then, but in moderation.
What advice would you give any Fitspo readers who are looking to start training, or aiming for a healthy change in diet and fitness?
Don’t dream it, be it! Weight training is for everybody and nothing to be intimidated by. Start off with a solid program that you can build on, and focus in the early stages on getting your lifting technique right so you can begin your journey on the right foot and safely reach your goals.
Your best three tips to succeed?
Learn to embrace the grind, remember to breathe and if you fall off the horse, it is not the end of the world. Shake the mud off, jump straight back on, dig your heels in and ride that beast into Hades!