How I Overcame Body Image Issues Through Strength Training

Updated: Nov 14, 2019

When it comes to training types and nutrition... you name it... there's a high possibility I've committed to it and tried it... and it's taken me a lot of trial and error to find my happy place in amongst it all.

Over the years my relationship with training and nutrition has been closely related with my body image and it took me a long time to realise this and also what approach seemed to be the healthiest for me.

What I am going to cover in this blog is a bit about my personal journey and opinion on these three things:

1. Training

2. Nutrition

3. Body Image

1. Training

Let's kick this off with training, this is something I've always had a passion for, whether it be: dancing and playing sports as a kid, group fitness classes and cross country running as a young adult through to other things such as: fasted cardio and body building then onto cross fit, HIIT and finally ZUU & strength training.

My relationship with training has had healthy aspects and also not so healthy ones. Training is my 'zen zone' it's something I've done my whole life, I've made time for it and never batting an eye lid at the cost involved.

Not knowing any better, my approach use to be overtraining coupled with under eating, in an attempt to out train poor nutrition choices, creating over use injuries, adrenal and chronic fatigue or central nervous system failure.

A lot of which came down to me believing that it was ok to cut carbs, eat 1200 calories a day and train 6 - 7 days a week sometimes twice a day without a rest day, all to keep the weight off.

The problem with this method is that I generally over did the cardio aspect and under did the weights aspect, meaning that I held low muscle mass than I should have (however I'm fortunate genetically to hold a decent amount of muscle mass naturally which I now realise and embrace), that I had a slower metabolism and making it extremely challenging to manage my weight.

I didn't realise how much stress I was putting on my body or what a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) was in terms of eating, over time I was really causing some damage to my body and not respecting it how I should.

When I started with a personal trainer for the first time, he said to me that my training approach needed to change if I wanted to achieve my body goals of 'toning up'. I had lost a decent amount of weight (10kg on my small frame) through under eating and over doing the cardio, I was skinny but I had hit what I thought was my 'ideal body weight' on the scales and thought I was doing the right thing (what I lost in the process was most likely a bit of body fat and more muscle mass than anything).