Throughout Maddy’s entire life she had always been involved in competition dance. In this competitive dance environment, she was required to be very physically active. She would dance 20+ hours a week in addition to of all her other responsibilities growing up. Although she was physically active for an average of about 3 hours per day, she never felt “healthy.”
For dancers, the physical focus is usually on being very small and lean to fit an aesthetic preference, and there is a lot of pressure that comes from this desired aesthetic. After a while, naturally, this started taking a toll on her mental wellbeing, as well as her relationship with food. She would restrict her caloric intake heavily while putting in over 20 hours of high intensity dance work! It became a constant cycle of restriction which eventually led to binging. This left her completely unhappy, and she felt as if she had no control over her body. She felt weak both mentally and physically.
After saying that enough is enough, she finally made the decision to quit dance because of the toll it was taking on her body and mind. Shortly after this cessation of dance, she quickly developed a healthier relationship with food and exercise. She found relief in a consistent exercise routine that was not overbearing. Specifically, she fell in love with weight training and focusing on becoming as strong and healthy as possible. In addition to the consistent exercise routine, her perspective of food had changed, and she was able to see food as fuel instead of an enemy. Now that she had made these healthy changes, Maddy began noticing substantial improvements in her mental and physical health.
Today, the gym is like an oasis or a safe haven for Maddy. It is a place that she goes to have some time alone with herself and her thoughts, to work on herself, and to constantly build a better and stronger version of herself for the future. Maddy says that “working on myself consistently makes me feel independent and motivated in all other aspects of my life as well! Proving to myself that I could show up for myself every single day helped me to better set goals for my academic life and made me a more confident person overall!” She truly believes that it is not the physical changes in her body that have made her more confident, but the learning to stick to a routine, showing up for herself, and proving to herself that she can do whatever she sets her mind to is what have made her more happy, confident, and healthy.
In the future, her physical health is one of her top priorities. She wants to grow old in a healthy and active body. She wants her future children to have a positive role model when it comes to fitness and their relationship with food. For now, she is primarily trying to lift heavy and build up her muscle. She says that lifting “makes me feel empowered! Being a woman in the weight room is not always easy, and sometimes I feel judged, but I am fueled by the need to show up for myself and prove everyone wrong who doubts me.”
I would like to thank Maddy for sharing her personal fitness journey with us! If you would like to follow her fitness journey, you can find her on Instagram here.
If you would like to share your fitness journey and inspire others within this community, you can send me an email at email@example.com. The goal is to inspire as many people to be physically active as possible!
If you feel inspired to begin your own fitness journey I encourage you to visit our fitness library, where you can find free and affordable resources that can help you begin your fitness journey. You can also sign up for a free personal training consultation to talk about your goals with a personal trainer, and explore potential one-on-one training plans!