My personal journey in fitness started when my ex-boyfriend called me fat.

In truth, my personal journey in fitness started when a college boyfriend (now an ex) called me fat. For most people, I was far from it.  Out of high school, I was 110 lbs and 5 feet 6 inches tall. I was the opposite of overweight. My diet consisted of anything I craved for. Friends would often ask me where I would hide or store the food.

Focusing on my college work, I became sedentary; hence, my health took a back seat. My metabolism started to slow down, but my appetite grew. Without a healthy diet and proper exercise, I put on some pounds. Still, my ruler type of body was still considered skinny. Soon enough, I had a hard time focusing as my energy levels were always down.

The running joke during my internship: "Jam is eating again."
The running joke during my internship: “Jam is eating again.”

Having been called fat for the first time after being “that skinny girl” my whole life really hit a nerve. Looking back, I was not fat by any standard. I think he meant that I lacked muscle or I was not lean.

Having been called fat for the first time after being “that skinny girl” my whole life really hit a nerve.

I am the only girl. I have three brothers, and even my first cousins in my father’s side are all boys. That’s one rose among seven thorns, or maybe the opposite. Growing up with a heavy male influence actually encouraged me to start weightlifting.

I grew up liking what they liked. I did not see how my body was different from theirs. I thought I could eat as much as they did, and I would tag along in their fitness escapades.

I joined my younger brother one night when he just started lifting weights. Just like many women, I had my own personal reservations on weight lifting. First, I thought I would become bulky. I was scared that I would come out looking like a man. Second, I did not see the importance of building muscle, as media always portrayed skinny girls as sexy. Lastly, I felt cardio would be enough to maintain my metabolism and figure.

My solid commitment to fitness started in 2008, when I decided to join a beauty pageant. This gave me a clearer picture of what I wanted my fitness goals to be. Given that it is a beauty pageant, the initial hurdle is to look good physically.

Circa 2013.
Circa 2013.

Having been assessed by a licensed physical therapist and trainer, he encouraged me to build muscle and to work on my body’s proportion. This included lifting weights every other day, and taking core strengthening classes on the rest. Apart from this, I had to strictly follow a clean diet.

Even after joining that beauty pageant, I continued to go to the gym. I had noticed that I not only felt stronger, I felt happier as well. My energy levels during the day were steady, making me more productive and focused.

Keep calm, and go to the gym.
Keep calm, and go to the gym.

My friends not only noticed a physical change, but also in my aura. They started asking me for fitness tips. I started encouraging my friends to get healthy, and did joint workouts with them.

The decision to start this blog roots from that. This blog will not be about hardcore fitness and nutrition. Research journals can provide solid content. Instead, it will include fitness trends, diet tips and other fun ways to work out. If I can get you out of your seat and make you start moving, then I have done something right. If I can make you feel better about yourself, even better. This blog aims to make you start moving physically so you can be motivated in other aspects of your life.

So hello, I am Gym Girl Jam.