Sunday, June 14, 2015

Loud Lady :: How Vanessa Lived Loudly!

When I first started this post I did it on, yet again, a small/creative business bend.

It's something I adore writing about! I'm proud of the business I've created through the ups-and-downs, I love that embarked on a marketing career without college degree and taught myself how to code and design websites. Blah, blah, blah, you get it. I wrote a biz post here before and write them often on my blog. Quitting the day job to pursue self-employment would be considered "living loudly" to some, but I think you #liveloudest when you break out of your comfort zone. I'm a nerd and proud and like most nerds sitting too long at the computer, you know what I've never been? Fit. I was the kid that finished last, or close to it, in races. I'm clumsy, ungraceful and uncoordinated. I can type 95 words per minute. I cannot (and never could) do a handstand, cartwheel, or even swim with good form.

Are you extremely good at one thing but very deficient in another? Most people tend to be that way; excel at English, horrible at math. I initially wrote this #beingloud post about the businesses I've created: starting by teaching myself to make websites and design code in middle school, getting a marketing job with no college degree and turning those skill into full time self employment. But I write about that often. And besides, that's all too easy and natural for me. Writing, creativity, and computer business is second-nature for me, but being FIT never has been. I've never hula hooped or won a race. This is how I #gotloud by finally addressing fitness for the first time in my life.

I used to stay "slimmer" (the lowest in my adult life was 134, I was a bean pole until 8th grade when I started getting jiggly, haha) with my strict raw vegan diet and calorie counting. That was enough for me. Despite well-meaning advice from friends that I should work-out to complete the picture of health, I had my mind set that I would never go to the gym. Gyms were ugly, why go there when I could ride my bike or walk to be "fit"?

Then I met my current boyfriend, AJ. Football player, super left-brained, guy's guy..."gym bro". We agreed to switch services early on: I'd train him on veganism, he'd train me in the gym. I set foot in the gym for the first time July, 2014.

Some memories from my first days:

- I squeezed my water bottle with a near treadmill fall. Water erupted on people in my radius.
- Being laughed at by trainers for shaking so hard while trying different moves.
- Anger/frustration at not being able to get my form right for nearly everything.
- Feeling like I'd never see progress.
- Wanting to Quit
- Fear that I'd actually "bulk up" lifting weights (no!)- not a problem, women won't unless you're calculated about it and eating the right amount of macro calories

I didn't quit, I kept going, it got easier. I bought my own gym membership August 2014, I've never looked back. Just three months in I saw progress. It became addictive. My form improved. I got stronger and faster. I gained weight, but lost fat (proof that the scale, is indeed, not your basis for health). I've been weak and slow my entire life. There was a time in my teens where a cast iron skillet was heavy to me! Now I can deadlift! I fly on my bike, arriving at destinations much faster and effortlessly because I've trained my legs with squats and spin classes. I can actually run! I have literally never been able to run in my life! Even when I was a thin child, it was more of a struggling jog. And it wouldn't have happened if I didn't let AJ throw me to the proverbial wolves and start me on the treadmill at level 7 (when I almost fell and spray water on all around me).

Performing in front of people is one of the top universal fears, and going to the gym or fitness classes can initially dredge something like a performance anxiety. The more you go, the more you realize it's like going to the library; everyone's in their own zone. I said two people laughed at me; only because they were trainers helping me with my form upon request. Otherwise, everyone leaves you alone. Even the people I accidentally sprayed merely glanced at me while running on their treadmills, they didn't even crack a smile. Don't let self-consciousness stop you from doing anything you want to do- including working out. You'll do a lot of moves wrong at first, that's okay. Get embarrassed, mess up. You'll learn and grow from it. I want to try yoga, Pilates and dance classes next! This from a person who's still never done a cartwheel and can't keep a hula hoop going to save her life.

Live loudly and do the things you thought you'd -never- do. Keep going when you're failing or think it won't work. It will get easier, I promise. This was an important part of my health that I willfully neglected, I'm happy to keep pushing through and improving with it for the rest of my life.

Vanessa Alvarado is a Loud Ladies member who shares inspiration for living a happy, healthy life at her blog Thrift Core. She's an expat copywriter + marketer from the gray world of cubicles turned full-time freelancer/bohemian lifestyle writer. Join us and other fierce females for 30 Days to Bolder Blogging, a month-long community challenge featuring daily homework and weekly videos!
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