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Howdy, I’m Liv!
My relationship with the gym and fitness hasn’t always been a good one.
Living with eating disorders of varying forms over the years, I spent a long time hating both the gym and myself. I figured that if I could just spend enough time on the treadmill, I’d be small enough to accept the bit of space that I took up in the world. A few years, medication changes and extra kilos later, I eventually started training with a pt who taught me the basics of following a structured workout but I was still stuck in the same mindset – I was living off fat burners and willing to try anything to lose weight – anything except eating properly to fuel my body and lift weights.
I don’t know what changed for me, and it certainly didn’t happen overnight but at some point I became a lot more interested in what my body could do, rather that what it looked like. Walking beyond the “safety” of the cardio area at the gym didn’t make me as anxious as it had for so many years and I stopped worrying about people judging me for not lifting as much as they could. Beating my first personal best was one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced and that became my new focus. I trained for a good year or so without much direction, picking heavy things up, putting them down and picking them up again, but plateaued because of injury and stress and eventually ended up back in the confines of the cardio machines.
I’d never considered competing for anything other than a record number of mental health hospital admissions, let alone getting up on stage in a couple of pieces of sparkly fabric and an orange tan, so the first time someone mentioned it, I burst out laughing. I don’t really believe that everything in life happens for a reason, because there are some bloody bad things in this world, but my decision to start competing just seemed to be one of those right place/right time things. I’d booked a free body assessment at my gym, and the evening before my appointment, my long term relationship unexpectedly ended.
I wasn’t expecting anything positive to come from the assessment (that little voice of self loathing and doubt is always there in the background), but the pt who did my measurements surprised me and told me to seriously consider competing. I guess people go for a rebound relationship after a breakup and this was my version of it – except that it ended up being a long term relationship with my body.
I thought that I knew myself pretty well, but my first prep taught me so much more than I could have imagined. It wasn’t the best prep by any means and I really struggled after my competition, but I am damn proud of myself, which isn’t something that i’m used to feeling. I got up on a stage, shared my scars with the world and had a great bloody time, so I’m doing it again. Every day, I learn more about my body and my mind, what my weaknesses and my strengths are, how small decisions make a big impact.
Outside of my legend of a coach, Brendan Wang, my partner, family and friends, ATP Science has had the biggest impact on my life. Knowledge is absolutely everything in life and their podcasts (and products, obviously!) have helped me inside and out of the gym – a few small changes here and there and I can now manage PTSD completely medication free and feel well, which is a really cool thing. I train, eat and make decisions for my mental health over anything, and everything else, like being able to compete is a bonus.
The pt who did my measurements surprised me and told me to seriously consider competing.