Today’s post is of a different kind. It doesn’t include a workout, a tip or piece of gym advice, nor is it a recipe or restaurant review. It is in fact, my own story. It is my journey of where I started, where I’ve been and where I’m at. This incredible fitness journey so far has been filled with so much learning, new challenges, a new career, a hobby, a website, new motivation, rewards, new confidence, led me to meet so many new people- many of which have become my friends and most definitely a new life…and one for the better at that!
I guess my fitness lifestyle began back in high school when I joined my local “women’s only” gym. I was active every day and enjoyed participating in all the group fitness classes- especially spin and step! But I honestly didn’t change my lifestyle until 2014! I left a long term relationship, which unfortunately led me to lose more than half of my friendship group (sad but true), moved out of the first house I bought to live in an apartment on my own (paying my mortgage & rent wasn’t so nice!) and had to find new things to make me happy! Which is where I found my love of lifting and living a healthy lifestyle. I was on my own now and had to fill my time with things that made me happy…I could be selfish for the first time in my life! So I bought a bike and rode almost everywhere that I could. I rode to the gym, to friends houses, dinner dates, the beach, my parents house…anywhere within a 1-2hr frame! I also started walking every day. I found walking along the beach was my sanctuary. I could think, plan, dream and escape reality for an hour every day! I was still working out in the gym every morning with my friend Danni- which looking back, was probably more of a social thing than actual hard work ?
I was still eating a relaxed & balanced diet, eating relatively clean during the week and certainly not counting macros, I don’t think I even knew what they were! Weekends however, were filled with alcohol, packaged goods and meals out at restaurants or friends houses. So I was of course playing that ever popular game of working hard during the week and ruining it all every weekend.
As my love of lifting became more prevalent, I decide to take charge of my body and really challenge to eat better to see if I could combat this feeling of never being satisfied with myself. I cut out most packaged goods, I didn’t consume added sugar and I started counting macros. It was here that my obsession took over. I discovered how genuinely good I felt eating a clean, nutritious diet of whole foods and supplementing my workouts with the right caloric intake. People around me started noticing how happy I was and the changes that took place with my body composition and weight. People started asking for my tips and advice of how I managed to “lose weight” even though to be honest, my weight didn’t change too much until around a year later. I started my journey at 65kgs / 143lbs. I can’t quite remember the actual weight I was each year leading up to my current weight but I know that I have hovered between 52-54kgs / 115-118lbs (13-16% BF) for the past 2 years. Obviously depending on my goals whether I am bulking or cutting, depends on my actual weight and body fat percentage.
So as I started helping others to reach their exercise and fitness goals, I realized that I could actually make something of this! I started a fitness, health & happiness blog called “Sunny Side Up” in which I shared workouts, recipes and tips to finding happiness through health!
As time went on, I became 100% dedicated to my health. I studied to become a certified Personal Trainer, a qualified Nutritionist, a wellness coach & online influencer. I would wake at 4am every morning to get my workout in before teaching Health and Physical Education 5 days a week/6 hours a day. I created simonemckenna.com which has opened so many avenues for me both professionally and socially. People from all over the world would contact me in regards to training and health. It became a side hobby which supplemented my genuine desire to succeed and became an outside factor to help motivate and encourage me to continue to push myself! I was committed to consuming the healthiest of foods and sticking to my exact macros by weighing my food, choosing only whole foods and encouraging others to do the same. I ate out very rarely and only consumed alcohol on special occasions such as weddings and celebrations. I wouldn’t eat cake on my birthday or splurge on a treat for any reason other than if I genuinely wanted it and wouldn’t beat myself up about it! I guess I was a little too obsessed for quite some time, even feeling anxious or upset over food on many occasions.
What changed me to living the balanced lifestyle that I live now? Probably moving to the USA, competing in my first fitness competition and being 100% happy! Once you find that happy medium, where you can still work hard in the gym, have a healthy relationship with food & your body, where you can still be equal parts strict and social without feeling guilty, you find a happiness and self confidence like no other!
If you are stuck in a rut, lacking motivation, don’t know where to start or need any help or guidance… contact me! I would love to help you find your happiness & healthy self! Don’t be afraid to start your journey towards a healthier you. Take my word- you won’t regret it!