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I am so beyond excited to start rolling out this feature on my blog to introduce you to some badass ladies who have inspired and motivated me during my fitness journey. I couldn't be more proud of the woman I'm about to introduce you to. She is as real as they come, she works hard, she leads a balanced life, and her huge heart is evident in everything she does.
Kaitlyn is a 24 year-old badass woman born and raised in West Virginia. She is in a committed relationship, works in banking, and believes that living a healthy lifestyle should always start from the inside.
Kaitlyn began going to the rec center at her university because it was a nice facility included in her school’s tuition. She worked out regularly, graduated, then got a membership at Anytime Fitness. Though she still went to the gym regularly and maintained a fairly healthy diet, she didn’t feel healthy. She drank too much. She would look in the mirror, see her bloated reflection, and cry. No matter how skinny or muscular she was, she hated herself.
A breakup with the boyfriend Kaitlyn thought was “the one” left her devastated and she could barely get out of bed. She became very thin and threw herself into working out. As she grew stronger and started making mental changes, she stopped focusing so much on going to the gym or eating healthy foods. This went on until she realized she’d reached the heaviest weight of her life, at which point Kaitlyn felt lazy, unmotivated, and unsure of herself.
This time when she chose to start working out and getting healthy, she took a balanced approach, which bled into all areas of her life. As Kaitlyn puts it, “I don’t work out for hours on end and I still eat a lot of cheese, but I make myself a priority in all aspects.” Today Kaitlyn is brimming with confidence, strength, and self-respect.
KAITLYN’S FITNESS PHILOSOPHY:
“HAVE FUN. DON’T BE SO RIGID IN YOUR SET WORKOUTS THAT YOU LOSE THE FUN. CHANGE IT UP AS MUCH AS YOU NEED TO BE BALANCED.”
Kaitlyn describes herself as being highly motivated by incentive. She’ll have conversations with herself to get motivated for a workout. She’ll say, “Kaitlyn, just do this workout and once it’s done, you can read your book and watch Netflix. But you don’t get to do those things if you don’t get this workout out of the way.”
Another source of motivation for Kaitlyn? She looks back on how far she’s come. “I know people will always say ‘Never look back’ or ‘Smash that rearview’ but, I mean, you can look back if you want,” says Kaitlyn. “That motivates me, honestly. I like to remember where I came from. I don’t hold onto her or punish myself by looking back, but I just want to make sure that I never get so comfortable that I become that girl again. It takes work, but it is work I am willing to put in and that really motivates me.”
Kaitlyn admits she’s not the type of person who loves to work out. Eating clean comes easily for her, but working out is not her favorite thing. So she pushes herself to get through her workouts. Her natural aversion to working out is an obstacle she overcomes daily.
One way Kaitlyn stays focused is by setting goals. “I have always been goal-oriented and driven,” she says. “I tend to set goals that I KNOW I will achieve, and then at least one goal that is a challenge that I might not make happen. That way I have a mix of both.” Kaitlyn doesn’t confine herself to fitness when it comes to setting goals, either. She’ll often set a financial goal, a self-growth goal (right now she’s working on being more genuine) and a few fitness goals at the same time. Her fitness goals might be anything from reaching a certain number to drinking more water to trying new techniques.
KAITLYN’S FAVORITE THING SHE’S LEARNED ABOUT HERSELF THROUGH THE PROCESS OF GETTING FIT:
If you’re looking to start a fitness journey but are afraid to get started, Kaitlyn recommends starting from the inside and asking yourself why you want to get fit. “Most people would tell you that any reason is a good reason,” says Kaitlyn. “But my opinion is: if your reason is something to do with ‘being prettier’ or ‘being skinnier’ and is not in line with ‘being healthy’ then you need to start with the inside. Start reading books about self-love and worthiness. Start there.”
If you’ve done your homework, know that you are worth it, and are ready to rock your fitness journey but still feel either scared to fail or afraid you won’t be able to keep up, Kaitlyn suggests reaching out to her on social media. She can be found on Instagram under the screen name @fit_girl_k8, where she hangs out with about 10,000 other women ready to cheer you on, too.
When it comes to the women who empower and motivate Kaitlyn, she looks for people who are real and genuine. “I am all about being your authentic self,” says Kaitlyn. “When you are true to who you are at your core, you will be all about empowering other women to be their own awesome selves. When you know and love who you are (rather than what your environment is telling you to be) you don’t feel the need to tear down other women to build yourself up. You would actually rather build them up, too. When I see these women being happy and smart and fun and loving in their own unique ways, it motivates me to find my own path and ‘werk’ it out every damn day.”
Kaitlyn is a collector of inspirational quotes and one idea that always keeps her going is something she learned from fitness guru Shawn T: every professional started as a beginner. “I’m really hard on myself and sometimes I give up before I even really get started because I’m not instantly good at it. I like to be good at things. So I remind myself of those words when I get discouraged. No one tried a set of 50 burpees and was amazing at it the first time, you know? You just have to do your best and eventually you’ll realize you’re pretty good at this fitness thing.”
Kaitlyn learned the value of self-love after watching her mother always putting others above herself. Kaitlyn observes that her mother’s reasons for not prioritizing herself are twofold. On the one hand she does it because she’s a loving, caring person. On the other hand, by putting the needs of others above her own, she doesn’t have to focus on herself and make hard changes.
In her own life, Kaitlyn wants to take a different path. “For me,” she says, “self-love is making yourself a priority. It might make your family members upset, it might make your friends so mad they choose to turn their backs, and it could cause you to change career paths. That seems scary, right? But what’s scarier is you choosing everyone else over yourself so that you are nothing but a nearly empty shell of who you know you are. You HAVE to put yourself first or you aren’t doing anyone any favors … Please understand that for your own health, your lover, and your kids, you need to choose to love YOU and take care of you.”