Once upon a time, I was obsessed with the number “50” on the weighing scale. I would run, sometimes starve, and run some more (run 5km extra if I ate junk) all to stay strong at 50kgs. I lost around 10kgs in 6 months, and was super happy with the transformation because OMG I HAVE ABS! This is also when the #bcpaseena selfies started, and next thing you know, I was obsessed with “abs”
My boyfriend introduced me to the gym in April 2017, and it’s the best thing he could have ever done.
I remember struggling to bench press a total of 5kgs, always wondering “why is it that I can’t find the strength to do this?” I was scared to eat carbs, scared to fuel my body because food meant “weight” 2 months, and I continued struggling. We then headed to Europe for 2 weeks where I had no option but to eat to stay active all day. We walked/cycled/ran a total of 250km in 11 days (We cycled 30km in Rome one day, walked 20km in Amsterdam on another day, you get the point) and stuffed ourselves with carbs (breads, pastries, cakes, etc) Guilt was forgotten because #vacaymodeon
Seeing super fit people around me (locals and tourists alike) eating food, enjoying workouts and letting loose at parties later at night changed a lot of things for me. I realised life didn’t have to be so black and white- if you had the discipline, you could enjoy everything that life had to offer. This also played a major role in shaping me mentally- I now believed that I could do so much more, that one could exercise AND party, one could eat and stay fit, you know what I mean?
I got back rejuvenated mentally, physically and emotionally. I also noticed that I had got back with a better tone in my legs and abdomen. “How? All you did was eat carbs!” I had the same question, and my curiosity drove me towards nutrition books and white papers. I started understanding food like never before, and realized “I’ll eat what I want, as long as I burn it out” wasn’t what fitness was all about. I understood the relationship between nutrition, strength and body building.
It was then that I realised that it was my love affair with junk, and not food, that had to end if I wanted to see results.
I started making healthy food choices, eliminated junk from my diet, stopped drinking for a couple of months, and saw all the improvement that I had been dreaming of. I made all these changes to my body in August 2017. I was still complaining about tummy fat, but suddenly there was so much more to explore. “Triceps! I can get triceps! OMG what are those……QUADS? WOWIE. OMG I can totally get an ass too!” The gym was my playground, and I was just about getting started! Focus shifted from abs to strength, and I slowly progressed to lifting heavy. Weight training literally became the only thing I’d look forward to every day. I was eating well (I made a conscious decision to increase the calorie intake for the gains), planning my cheat meals strategically, partying without feeling guilty, hustling at work and having a blast!
I also went through a bad phase thanks to injury and stress, you can read all about it here. Fast forward to March 2018 when I noticed something new- my tummy fat was slowly disappearing, my core was building, and my strength had increased tremendously (I still remember doing 3 diamond push ups and stopping only because I was so surprised that I could do it. I also managed to do pulls ups!) I was eating well, working out, working, partying and managing all of this effortlessly. This is where I am at today, and it’s only going to get better :)
I am super embarrassed to see my pictures from last year when I thought having abs was all that I could aim at. Here’s the thing guys- once you lose weight, the ab lines show. THAT is just the start! Do not let that take you off track. Don’t let that give you false hopes of your strength. I am saying this from personal experience- I was weak, obsessed and SO WRONG. There is a major difference between abs and core and I want you to know that.
Everyone has abdominal muscles (what we call abs) It’s the core strength that is a game changer. When you’re weight training, you’re engaging your core for almost all the exercises, which means you’re training your abdominal muscles to grow stronger.
I focus on abs once a week, a basic routine that I will upload on my Instagram soon. I don’t care if my abs show or not, and I think that changed a lot for me. I realised I was concentrating on building overall strength and not just focusing on starving to keep my abs showing. I can now do a plank for more than 150sec, something I couldn’t do when my “abs” showed. I can lift heavy, I can balance well, all that jazz. I don’t feel WEAK anymore. I cheat when I feel like it, I eat burgers, biryani and cake once in a while without feeling too guilty about it, my body has stopped asking for junk food, and I am overall happier than what I have ever been in terms of health and fitness.
Point being, stop focusing so much on how your core looks, see how it FEELS! At the end of the workout, you need to be able to feel happy about it, mentally satisfied and emotionally fulfilled. Don’t punish yourself, your body will show you results, it will repay you for all the care you’ve been taking of it.
Core and abs are two different things, make sure you focus on the right one.
Photos- Simone Liane Noronha
Location- Evolve Fitness and Wellness Club