For as long as I can remember, I have been extremely competitive. Whether that was trying to steal the basketball from the other third graders on Mighty Mights or attempting to outrun the boys at flag football, I always wanted to be the best.
My dad used to get me up on Saturday mornings to go to the gym with him and my brother when I was just a pre-teen (I secretly believe this is because they were afraid of my ever-increasing love for Cookie Crisps cereal), but I really enjoyed being in the gym and the athletic environment.
I was also a competitive gymnast until middle school, when I started playing softball and basketball. I continued being involved with athletics throughout high school, but was never really passionate about any of the sports I was playing. What I enjoyed most was going to the gym with my mom on the weekends, where I took a BodyPump class. I started it at age 14 and remember, even then, trying to be the best (although the youngest) in the class.
In tenth grade I joined Gold's Gym and started working out on my own and eventually with a personal trainer. I enjoyed it, but I was really more focused on my social life in high school. Throughout this time, I always struggled with overeating. It was kind of a joke around school; if Lauren was invited you better be sure there's enough food! Nobody was concerned about it though, as I was still in good shape from athletics and my few times a week at the gym. However, I hit a speed bump after my freshman year in college when I wound up in the hospital with anxiety attacks. I spent four days there and got really down on life; I'd had to drop my semester of school and quit my job teaching gymnastics because of the anxiety I was having.
When I got out of the hospital, I ended up meeting some friends who also binge ate on weekends and together, we started gaining large amounts of weight. I went from 135 pounds to 152 pounds in a matter of three months, feeling super lousy about myself, but struggling to overcome my addiction to food. Finally, during Christmas of 2011, something clicked. What was I doing? I am a leader, and I realized I was living a very less-than-inspiring lifestyle.
I decided to ditch junk food completely and return to my formerly healthy self. While my family sat eating the typical Christmas delicacies, I went outside and ran three miles. I'm happy to say I've never stopped since. I got home and started the fall semester at school, totally focused on healthy eating and losing the weight I'd put on. I worked and worked, getting up and running four miles (sometimes in the rain), too determined to quit.
I started with a trainer again, but after about three weeks I realized my independence was growing and I started getting on bodybuilding.com to research my own nutrition and workout plans. My passion grew incredibly; my determination to get back in shape led to a complete conquering of the bad food habits. I was never going to let myself return to eating garbage again and abusing my body. After only 2-3 months, I'd lost all the weight. I then started and completed Jamie Eason's 12-Week LiveFit Trainer and have gotten in the best shape of my life.
I'm extremely passionate about Jamie Eason's LiveFit trainer, as that's the workout regime that I followed while transforming my body. It has three phases, focusing not just on losing pounds but building lean muscle. I trained heavy on all the sets and worked out 5-6 days every week. Currently, I switch up my routines a lot. I always train legs twice per week because I'm trying to build up my glutes and quads.
I typically do glutes and hamstrings on the first day of the week, followed by back and abs, biceps and calves, triceps and abs, shoulders, then legs again. I vary my repetitions and weight and incorporate lots of supersets and active rests. I love lifting heavy especially on parts of my body I want to improve. I have seen more results from heavy lifting than any amount of cardio! When leaning out, I do cardio five days a week, but now I keep it to 2-3 sessions of HIIT.
My cardio varies as I listen to my body. I'll add in HIIT after some workouts if I don't feel like I would be overtraining. I keep my workouts high intensity so I don't need to do as much. I do try to do a steady state cardio session at least once a week for 30 minutes, but otherwise I like sprints and intervals.
I love everything about fitness/bodybuilding. I love the fact that fitness isn't just a hobby or an interest, it's a lifestyle. To live it requires research, trial and error, dedication, discipline and motivation. I can't think of a more productive passion and interest to have than one that promotes health and well-being. I love the sport of bodybuilding because it produces qualities that are essential to everyday life! In order to have success in the gym, I must be motivated, hardworking, driven, and able to push through even when it hurts. Through bodybuilding, I was able to recreate the person I'd always been, but had lost sight of. Each time I step in the gym, I prove to myself what I'm capable of, which has boosted my confidence in every other area of life as well.
I also love that fitness and bodybuilding are so inspirational. I have always been a leader and through my passion for fitness, I have been able to help so many people incorporate it into their lives and become healthier, happier individuals. People take notice of someone who cares about being fit, because so many people want it, but few actually do what it takes. I've never wanted to be like everybody else and my dedication to fitness starts up plenty of conversations and enables me to help other people with their goals.
Initially, I was motivated by other people. The constant comments on how good I was looking or hard I was working spurred me on. However, as time went by my motivation has become entirely intrinsic. I love the way healthy living and working hard makes me feel. It shows self-respect and discipline to live healthy and it has become my passion. I have never wanted to be part of the crowd and living a fit lifestyle enables me to inspire others to do the same.
Realizing that I had the potential to do anything I set my mind to made me want to achieve my goals. I doubted myself initially and I was able to prove, day by day, that I could stick with it and accomplish the physique and clean eating habits that I wanted. I was determined that I would not quit and would become someone who was driven and disciplined. Health and fitness helped me accomplish this, which has transferred to all other areas of my life as well.
I have so many! At first, I just worked out as a hobby because I love it. But I soon realized that I am too goal-oriented to not have something to constantly work towards. I'm also competitive, so I have been looking into which competitions to get involved in and I plan on doing one as soon as I can. I have hopes of this leading toward a national qualifier and eventually a pro card. I also want to become a sponsored athlete.
I love everything about the fitness scene and feel that I would be able to help so many other people with that platform. I intend on getting involved in fitness modeling as well and possibly working on staff of a magazine after I get my nutrition degree. I believe that if you have talent in something, you should fully pursue it.
Continue to motivate yourself. There are definitely days where it will be hard, but each time you push through you get stronger. There are days at the gym that are going to be tougher than others. At my gym, Internet signals are down at least once per week and I'm forced to workout without any music from my Pandora radio and sometimes at late hours where there's no energy in the gym. It's times like this you have to create your own energy! Challenges make you stronger; look for them! Never let yourself get bored. Always look for new workouts and ways to push yourself harder. I look forward to each gym session as a competition with myself and I recommend that any fitness competitor do the same. Strive to always improve and be better than you were the day before.
I love getting on Bodybuilding.com whenever I have a free moment! I constantly look up training information and find new exercises to keep my body guessing. I also love the nutrition section and all the information Bodybuilding.com provides. Any time people ask what I eat I send them to the site for recipes! I look up women who inspire me and am always motivated when I see the hard work others are putting in as well. Each time I get on and see the Bodybuilding.com spokesmodels I want to work harder because I want to be there one day! I use BodySpace as well to share with others and update progress photos. I love finding other young women who are pursuing the same fitness goals as I am. It's a great way to connect with others in the fitness world.