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How to Start Your Fitness Journey: My Story

If you’re reading this, you are probably my mom (hi, mom!) OR you are someone who follows me on social media (if you don’t follow me what are ya doing here's my IG @allisonjparker_). Maybe you know me as that one girl from college, or perhaps you are one of my few sworn enemies (take my blog and shove it, enemy!). Regardless of how you ended up here, I’m happy you made it. And hi! I’m a Certified Personal Trainer and Online Fitness Coach living in San Francisco, a singer, actor, amateur crossword puzzler and professional coffee drinker. I’m telling you about myself because I think it’s a good place to start to help YOU reach your goals, feel better than ever, and take physical revenge on your psycho ex. I kid (about the ex), but not about feeling better. As you come along with me, you will gain an absurd amount of tips and tricks to help you start (or restart) your fitness journey for the last time. If you’re ready, read on.


Without boring you with too many details about my days as a “youth”, I will sum it up briefly. I tried my first diet when I was 12 years old. Going into adolescence attempting to alter and change my body led to…you guessed it! Body image issues through my teen years! Gold star! Coupled with some major life events towards the end of high school, around my 19th birthday I was a person I didn’t recognize inside and out. I had gained about 30 pounds in a matter of months. I was drinking HEAVILY and could barely open my eyes without scarfing down a Red Bull and barely had enough stamina to walk up stairs. Woof.


Peep that hair

When I left for college in 2013, I knew I needed to make some changes. I was about to enter a very competitive musical theater program and I knew that I wasn’t going to be competitive for anything in my current state. I was sedentary, weak, and in desperate need of motivation.


The motivation came…and went. Some days I would go to the gym, some days I would go to the build your own waffle bar at the cafeteria thrice daily. It’s called bALaNcE, right? Wrong. I was constantly flipping between “Allison, be HEALTHY” and “ah fuck it WHO CARES?!”. Until, I discovered this thing called “YouTube” and everything began to change. I found girls around my age who were on the journey I wanted to be on, if only a few (or many) stops ahead. They would post almost daily and I was there every day, absorbing what they said, what they did, and how they lived. Suddenly I had accountability, support, and motivation where I once had nothing but an empty Red Bull can. Allison-mission-mode ACTIVATED.

Early gym days

So, I took what I learned from my favorite YouTube gals like Nikki Blacketter, Whitney Simmons, and Marissa Lace, and took myself to the gym in between classes 4-5 times per week. A major convenience of my college campus was a stellar on-campus gym that was *chef's kiss* and an easy stop between classes. Plus, 30 mins on the elliptical so I could catch up on another vlog of my favs who were giving me tons of workout and nutrition advice? That was incentive enough for me to get my ass up and go.

Me on Graduation Day in the gym lobby. Clearly I loved this place!

Cut to a few months before my 21st birthday. I had lost around 10 pounds from endless hours of jazz and tap class, my newfound gym schedule, and a solid meal prep routine, which mainly consisted of packing lunch and batch cooking dinners to save money because, college. I knew I wanted to push myself and show up with my best results for my big day. So, I did two things the summer before my 21st birthday. 1. I got an office job and saved up a ton of money. 2. I set a timely goal to reach in my nutrition and fitness. And guess what happened? I did it. I was the girl who had come to college out of shape and uncomfortable and strutted into my birthday 30 pounds lighter and more confident than I had ever been.


My 21st Birthday!

This is where most people with similar stories might say “and then…I fell off the wagon” or "I gained back those 30 pounds back and then some." Lucky for you (and me), my story doesn’t end there. I didn’t quit the gym and go back to my Red Bull pit of sadness. I kept going. I kept tracking my food not because I was still trying to lose weight, but because I liked learning about what I was eating and how certain foods made me feel, etc. I felt like I was getting an invaluable education about so much that is wrong with our mindset around food and #toxicdietculture. My friends would look at me sideways when I would eat pizza for dinner and then go get my workout in. These two things can’t possibly coexist! Gym GOOD. Pizza BAD. Perhaps that was just the #toxicdietculture talking…


Why did I tell you all of this? Why is it important for you to know my story? Because I’ve been there. I’ve started and stopped. Now, I’m here to help you learn that there does not and should not be an on/off switch for your health and fitness. This life is too short. So, let’s take the first step right now for the last time, together.


First, let’s recap the important takeaways.


Accountability, support, and motivation

This is super important and arguably the most important piece of the puzzle. If you have the means, hiring a fitness coach is an immensely beneficial investment. As a coach, I curate and progress my clients through workout programming sure, but I also offer unwavering support and encouragement to my clients because remember? I’ve been there! There is also tons and tons and TONS of free content on social media and the internet. Like tons. Here’s one. For example. My free at home workout guide I created to get you started. Enjoy! But also, keep reading.


Convenience

Again, a personal thing. But try not to make this harder than it has to be. Even now, I am TEN times more likely to do a workout if I put it in writing. Carve out 30 mins on your lunch break to walk, get up a little earlier, or utilize that hour in the evening normally devoted to scrolling Instagram. Join a gym close to work and pack your gym bag before you leave home because you know and I know if it's home first, it ain’t happening. Walk to that coffee shop a mile away instead of driving…You get the idea.


Incentive

Here’s the fun part. Pick a show, podcast or audiobook that you love to binge and make that your “treadmill show”. Now you only watch or listen when you are walking on the treadmill at the gym. Or on the bike, elliptical, again you get the idea. Give yourself a reason to want to be there. I also recommend investing in some yummy pre and post workout supplements. Nothing crazy, but if I know I’m going to have a fizzy energy drink or an iced coffee before I workout, I’m pumped. Find what makes you pumped.


Timely goal

I’m going to rock your world right now. You should not be trying to lose weight year round. WHAT? I’ll say it again. You should not be trying to lose weight year round. Thanks again, #toxicdietculture. So, if weight loss is your goal, set a target and an end date. It’s usually best to give yourself at least 12 weeks for any major changes. Then, you monitor progress and adjust as needed from there. After you reach the target or end date, you can reassess the situation. Often times, it's time to take a break and live in "maintenance mode." This is how you break the endless cycle of trying to “lose the last few pounds."


Education

Okay, perhaps this is the most important part. If you’re still reading, congrats because you just arrived at the main course of this long yet passionate meal I’ve cooked for you. Once you learn even a little bit about the caloric makeup of food (i.e. tracking calories or “macros”), you set yourself free to make choices based on your life and not on #toxicdietculture. You stop labeling food “good” or “bad” and gain you the freedom to reach your goals while enjoying everything because you know how to balance. It’s realizing you don’t have to start out going to the gym 6 days a week to see results (and that’s not realistic for really anyone so you will end up burning out anyway). Knowledge is power and the more knowledge you have, the quicker you can undo the “rules” about food and exercise that have been ingrained in all of us for so long.


Okay, that was a lot. I hope you will come back here soon and I will continue to provide my super secret amazing methods about how to enrich your life and reach every goal you have without restriction, fear, or shame. Kidding, because they aren’t amazing or secret. They’re pretty simple. But! Just because it is simple doesn’t mean it is easy. This is just the beginning and I have one last piece of wisdom before we depart. It’s a good one too.


You absolutely can do this. Promise.








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