My Weight Has Fluctuated for Years. Here’s What I Changed to Find a Healthy Balance.
Personal trainer Gina Rose has been called "too skinny" and carried around extra weight. Here's how she found a balance amidst the weight fluctuation.
Who: Gina Rose (@ginarosecpt), 30, a certified personal trainer from York, Pennsylvania
Why I wanted to make a change: “In 2012, I was laid off from my job of two years. It was the first time I experienced a major shift in my career. Naturally, panic and worry set it in, but I immediately began taking steps to get back on my feet — literally as well. I decided to fill the void by running back and forth to the gym. I experienced the rush of endorphins firsthand and how exercising made me feel better in a time of adversity. In fact, I loved the way it made me feel so much, that I decided to go looking for my next career in sports or at a gym. I found an opportunity to try out for the Baltimore Ravens appearance team. I somehow made the team, and it was that part of my journey, truthfully, in which I became most mindful of my weight. I became the smallest size and lowest number on the scale. I didn’t do this because I had to, but simply because I became more conscious of my weight. I began exercising without much knowledge of what I should be doing (cue tons of cardio and ignorant eating habits). I was underweight and unhealthy.
“I continued looking for a full time job in the fitness industry. I accepted a full-time job selling gym memberships. I grew in my role and studied to become a personal trainer. During that same time I was going through a rocky personal relationship, and I began making poor food choices and creating unhealthy, emotional habits. My weight gain snuck up on me, quickly putting on 15 pounds. After my CPT studies were completed, I applied my newfound knowledge to my own training routine. For the first time, I was developing muscle that I had never seen before. My body fat percentage was dropping and I became leaner and stronger. A balance of hypertrophy, strength, and endurance training took me to a place where I had never been before, and I felt awesome! The only missing component was my diet (cue studying to become a fitness nutrition specialist). Fast forward to today, where I’ve made a career out of the industry, and I’m able to apply what I’ve learned from my personal journey to help others achieve their own goals.”
Starting weight: At my lowest, 127 (no muscle and underweight). At my highest, 150 (high body fat percentage).
Current weight: 135 (healthy and happy)
What changed: “My overall outlook on life has changed. I look forward to being active in the gym and having a community of people to learn from, who share similar health values. I view food as fuel, but I don’t deprive myself of the foods I enjoy. I can still eat my favorite Italian foods and have some wine, and it’s okay. It’s simply about a balanced routine including conscious food choices (swapping items and portion control) and an active lifestyle. I’ve become a healthier, happier, and more mindful human, and I can genuinely credit a great deal of that to the fitness industry, the experiences it’s given me, and the people who I’ve met along the way.”
How I changed my diet: “I learned about macronutrients and giving my body the energy it needs through natural foods, as well as balanced protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. I do stay away from sugar, butter, and most processed foods. Some of my main, daily food choices include eggs; yogurt; granola; almond milk; lean meats like chicken, turkey, and tuna; avocados; almonds; lots of green veggies like spinach, beans, and broccoli; fresh fruit; natural peanut butter; protein shakes; sweet potatoes; and chocolate, to name a few.
How I changed my exercise plan: “I became informed about proper exercise and the differences in training techniques and how to apply them depending on the individual goal, and how food pairs with exercise programs and daily life habits. I workout three to five times per week depending on my schedule. My workouts include functional, circuit, interval, and weight training, often super-setting body weight exercises to increase-decrease my heart rate. For steady-state cardio, my favorite piece of equipment is the Jacobs Ladder (beware). Honestly, the routine simply depends on the goal.”
“Always know your worth and surround yourself with people you can learn from, who will support you and who will lift you higher.”
The hardest part: “The hardest part was getting my mind to catch up with what I was doing for my body. How you view yourself really does play a role in your progress. Additionally, the people you surround yourself with makes a difference. Always know your worth and surround yourself with people you can learn from, who will support you and who will lift you higher.”
What I’m most proud of: “I’m proud of the steps I took become aware and informed, not only for my own wellbeing, but because it gives me a purpose to help inform and coach others.”
What’s next: “I’m in the maintenance stage, meaning I make conscious decisions to maintain my current weight. I’m not currently looking to lose weight or put on much muscle. Those options are always available depending on my training goals or professional endeavors. I do believe this process is always a work in progress. I like to find new ways to challenge my body and set new goals.”
What I want everyone to know: “Take time to be mindful of how you’re treating your body and what you’re putting into it. Secondly, a transformation is defined by whatever it means to you. It doesn’t have to be weight loss, muscle gain, or dropping body fat percentage. A wellness transformation can include mind, body and soul. No step in a healthy and positive direction is too small of a step, so take the ones that make you happy and you’ll discover a path toward a lifestyle transformation. Wellness truly is a way of life.”