I’m not perfect. And neither are you.
My name is Tori Richardson, I am 22 years old and my take on fitness has evolved over many years.
I started dancing when I was four years old. By the time I was 12, I was dancing 15-20 hours a week, and probably even more during my high school years. I’ve always had a passion for moving and dancing, with or without music. Fitness to me, for a long long time, was dance… sweating and pushing through hours of rehearsals and training was what I loved (and absolutely still do love). I danced on a nationally ranked competitive dance team during high school and once I graduated in 2012, I transitioned to being a dance instructor at a local studio. I stopped competing at the age of 19, and began dancing more recreationally…I was still dancing but not nearly to the extent I was previously.
During this time I was attending the Napa Valley College, working on my gen eds and transfer requirements. I slowly felt my fitness level (i.e. endurance, stamina, strength) decrease over time. My mom proposed the idea of joining a gym, and I said “sure, why not?”
Starting out, we went 3-4 times a week, taking all the general exercise classes because we weren’t exactly “experienced” or motivated to lead our own workout routine. Long story short, these classes were just not doing it for me. After a while they got repetitive and I felt that I wanted something more. So, what did I do? My mom and I signed up for an eight week boot camp program. We loved it. It kicked our ass. And then… the eight weeks ended. I felt completely discouraged by the little results I received from the large amount of effort I gave over the past two months (little did I know this would teach me patience later in my fitness journey).
A short time after the bootcamp program ended, I started working out less and fell into bad eating habits, which led me to weigh the most I have ever weighed. These unhealthy habits continued for a year before I realized it wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted to lead. I turned my mindset around, and wanted to go into healthy living this second time with a new outlook on fitness. I didn’t want my second attempt at fitness to be an eight-week short cut to a healthy lifestyle, I wanted it to become my lifestyle. And slowly, it did. I stopped comparing myself to athletes and body builders that had been working out for years and instead, I turned my focus to MYSELF.
From that point on, I’ve learned self-love, self-confidence, dedication, consistency, and most of all, PATIENCE are the key to living a healthy lifestyle! There is no quick way to being fit and healthy. Sure, you could go on a crazy diet, lose 20lbs in six weeks and look great. But is that healthy? What about when you stop the diet? What happens when you stop the hard work in the gym and the attentiveness to what you’re eating? This is exactly what happened to me when I started my fitness journey. I lost weight and saw progress but once I hit my goal, I stopped my workout routine and paying attention to the foods I was eating. Then I was suddenly back to square one. Now, I am in this for THE LONG RUN. I’m in no rush to get a “perfect bod” because fitness has taught me to love the body that I have. My body is the “perfect bod” for me.
When I first started my fitness journey, what I found most difficult was my confidence in the weight room. I obviously didn’t have any strength or experience with weights or machines and this fear of the weight room really hindered me from reaching my full potential. I felt that since I lacked strength, I didn’t deserve to be there. Especially as a woman, lifting just seemed too far fetched. BUT I was so intrigued by it and desired to learn.
After my first fallout in the gym, I came back motivated to grow my confidence, my strength and to become a better version of myself. I got inspired by a popular YouTuber Heidi Somers, AKA BuffBunny. She’s a perfect example of a confident woman who’s proud to lift weights and is an advocate for self-love and girl power. Watching her videos gave me knowledge on how to lift properly and confidently. The most important thing I’ve learned? Don’t compare yourself to others. You can’t, and shouldn’t, compare your first month of weight lifting to another persons third year of weight lifting. I’ve learned to just walk in there, have a plan (most important), and execute it. Narrow your focus on yourself, the weights your lifting, and your progress! Consistency equals progress.
I believe women should be proud of themselves for stepping in the weight room, a place that’s mostly dominated by men. Women can do the same things as men, and I believe we need to change our mindset and embrace the fact that we are beautiful, feminine and we lift. Once I learned to embrace the fact that I was a woman who enjoyed lifting, I didn’t pay attention to what other people might think of my strength. I just did what Tori loved and everything fell into place from there.
If it is your first time in the weight room my advice for you would be:
- Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone, that is the best way to learn and grow!
- Go with a friend. Strength in numbers 😉
- Start with light weights– I know, I know. You’re thinking,”doesn’t that defeat the purpose?” The answer is, NO. You want to learn the exercises with proper technique and once you feel comfortable increase the weight.
- Consider meeting with a Certified Personal Trainer to help you learn the correct technique- This is important to prevent injury.
- Finally… chin up, eyes forward and have fun! Life hack: Most of the time when you think someone is watching you lift, they most likely aren’t. Everyone is there to focus on their own workout and growth!
A photo posted by TORI (@toritoofit) on
My fitness journey continues everyday through my daily workouts, clean eating (with the occasional donut), and overall positive well-being. Trust me, I know I’m nothing close to perfect. Some days I’m productive and on track with my fitness goals, and others I don’t mind staying in bed catching up on Netflix for a few hours. Having a balanced lifestyle is what will keep you sane. What I have learned through my fitness journey, and continue to learn, is that YOU ARE NOT PERFECT – NO ONE IS!
For a long time I thought being “fit” was this magical perfect thing that you could reach. It doesn’t work that way. If you have that mind set, you are setting yourself up for failure. The idea of “fit” is different for everyone, and I encourage you to find what being “fit” means to you. Embrace the fact that you are HUMAN and you will be so amazed the things your body and mind can accomplish and conquer. My next step in my fitness journey is to keep killing it in the gym, grow my YouTube channel and start my new journey as a Fit University Ambassador! 🙂
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