Why I don’t lift anymore

As a part of the post “This is what happened when I stopped working out” I published a before/after photo, and as a result, I got a lot of how’s and why’s from people. I also received some questions about it in the Q&A. Therefore, I’ll try to explain things a little.

So why did I stop “bodybuilding” when I’d put so much work into it?

Well, I did put in a tremendous amount of work, but I wasn’t happy — at all. I didn’t know where I was going in life, and I felt pretty lost, to honest. My future as a track athlete was going down the drain because of a nasty leg injury, and I thought training was the only thing I was good at.

Being fit and working hard had been my life for as long as I could remember, so going to the gym became my way of dealing with things. But you all know I like to go “all in,” when I start something, so before I knew it, I was on my way to the stage as a fitness athlete. In this case “going all in” meant hitting the gym nine times a week, eating clean and weighing every single meal for a year. I want to clearify that I NEVER used steroids — people tend to assume the weirdest things, so I just want to make sure you don’t get any ideas.

This is what lifting 9 times a week and eating clean does to you.

However, I knew I wanted to move to the US, and at some point I realized that having big muscles and no body fat wouldn’t get me anywhere — it was all emptiness. So I set my eyes on a sports scholarship and gave track one last try. I started lifting less and running/jumping more, and a year later I got recruited to Augustana University’s track team. Then, after another year, I felt it was time to let go of track as well. It was scary leaving behind the one thing I’d always mastered, but where one door closes, God opens another. And I knew it was the right thing to do.

Once I stepped outside the cage I’d built for myself as a fitness-freak, I became more and more confident that God put me on this earth to do other things than to pump iron inside a gym. I was tired of letting workouts, diets, calorie-counting and grams of protein control my life, and I wanted to let God use me for the things that actually mattered.

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 15.08.38
2013 / 2016

In the picture to the left, I spent all my time chasing a body I didn’t actually want. I loved working out, but I never truly felt comfortable with myself. The fact that my efforts inside the gym didn’t make a single difference to anyone but myself, also started to bother me. And even if I looked “big,” my body fat percentage was so low it messed up my hormones — something I’ve struggled with until recently.

Fit isn’t necessarily healthy.

I’ve realized I’d rather be a little less ripped and happy, instead of walking around in a superfit body that keeps me from enjoying life.

I know the whole fitness lifestyle can seem alluring, but at what cost?

Please understand that I’m not condemning it altogether, I’m just trying to explain why I let go of it.

Bless you,
Maria Lavelle

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