A Free Spirit’s Guide to Making it in Fitness
By Lou-anne Stefankiw
Does this gas station story sound familiar? (This is what goes on for me.)
It’s honestly an argument in my head:
- Inner me: “Grab a bag of chips.”
- Me: “No, the chips won’t get you to your goal.”
- IM: “But the chips taste so good.”
- Me: “Don’t eat the chips and get back to your vehicle.”
- IM: “You don’t have to add it to your macros.”
- Me: “But if you don’t add it, it will be lying (and you don’t want to be a liar).”
Fuck. Seriously. This is what goes on in my head. If I manage to make it out of there without the chips, I’m fucking cheering.
I used to wish that I could be super dedicated to my nutrition so I could reap the benefits. I wanted a strong and solid body – and amazing performance in the gym. But I have the most random personality. I’m driven by the need to have fun and be free. Every time I’d try a nutrition plan, I’d only last a few days. I’d rather not think about eating and instead live for the moment. So, I just stayed overweight for years.
The regular ideals about fitness seem to conflict with my free spirit:
- “Just work hard”
- “Be determined”
- “Make sacrifices”
It’s all so annoying! All I want to do is make a difference and have one hell of an experience in my life.
Radical Nutrition Success
Ah, but, that is it! The solution to my radical spirit’s struggle lies in remembering my deeper why. That is why I chose to be on a nutrition plan in the first place.
If I choose to honour my body by hitting my macros:
- I get to compete and be super strong in a weight class
- Movements are easier
- I feel better
If I choose to not have the chips, I honour the journey I’m on to become the person I really want to be.
Ten years later (and loads of intense personal growth) I would love to tell you I found the magical solution, but I’m still the same person with the same challenges. However, I’ve plugged away at the nutrition game and I’ve had some success.
I follow macronutrient guidelines which are supposed to be flexible. Yes, they still feel like rules (and every time someone gives me rules, I want to rebel). Luckily, however, I have a nutrition coach who’s smart and doesn’t buy in to my all-over-the-placeness. He gives me the next set of the numbers (grams of protein, carbs, and fat) for the week without trying to rescue me or scold me for bad behaviour.
So, in summary, here are…
Two Tips to Getting Fit as a Free Spirit:
1. Find Some Way to Be Wild and Free (While Still Following a Nutrition Protocol)
Here’s what makes me feel free:
- Training with awesome people
- Being able to totally crush challenging events
- Taking little adventures beyond the gym (getting out of the city to explore and connect)
I’ve learned to see my nutrition as a tool that allows me to express my rebellious spirit in the gym. What are the ways you allow yourself to feel free? Focus on these while reigning in your nutrition habits.
2. Find That Thing That is Greater (Know Your Why) and Have Faith
Your why has to hit you in the heart so deeply. We all want to look good naked – that’s why most people start the gym. Over time, the why shifts to the deeper reason. THAT is where the magic happens.
It’s also important to have faith – in yourself or in something greater than yourself. I have THE most challenging personality to follow a nutrition program. But I started to ask myself the question, what IF I can really do it? The truth is, I give my faith to something greater than myself. This helps me to always feel supported in this journey. Plus, focusing on something greater also takes what the pressure off of you.
What is your deeper WHY?
Right now, I know that I want to be committed. If I keep committed to this, it can also transfer to other parts of my life I’m having trouble being committed to. No matter how out-of-control my life, training, relationships, etc. feel, I can always be in control of and remain committed to my nutrition.
And you know what? If I can do it, so can you.
Lou-anne Stefankiw is a public speaker, CrossFit coach, strongwoman athlete, and business owner living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
If you live in Saskatoon, want to discover your deeper why, and are curious as to how you can learn more about yourself through your fitness journey to get to where you want to be, check out the Mental Muscle Program, beginning April 3.