Elena Biedert had struggled to gain muscle and felt mocked at her gym until she took charge and learned how to overcome the obstacles to her success.
MAKING A CHANGE
I remember the day I first signed up to the gym like it was yesterday. I hadn’t done any kind of sports before that, except for occasionally swimming. At that time, I was emotionally miserable, lonely and I wanted to change how my body looked. I went to the gym with the primary goal of gaining muscle.
Then, in 2017, after my son’s birth, while I was experienced with training and nutrition, I was left with a body I couldn’t recognize at all and didn’t feel like myself.
As a newcomer to the gym and as a girl with a tiny body frame, I was never taken seriously with my goal of gaining weight and getting stronger. Sadly, I remember how the trainers laughed at me behind my back about my goals.
Fortunately, I just continued to do my work, and gained a lot of knowledge along the way. Being self-critical is hard enough, and it’s even harder if other people judge you regardless of what you do.
Now, nine years later, after gaining different certifications in fitness and nutrition and after starting my own coaching business, I’m still being judged for my looks. And this is very similar to the past time when I was just starting with training. Some people can’t take me or my work seriously, especially in terms of building muscle. The reason is that I look thin, even though now I’m 6-7 kg heavier and much healthier than back then.
Pregnancy and the whole postpartum experience have changed my body a lot.
First, I couldn’t train at all. And now, although I can train again, it’s not always the same as before. A year ago, the most significant limitation for me was my health. I was getting colds non-stop, and I couldn’t understand why and began adjusting the variables such as very light training, more sleep, better nutrition.
I visited doctors, but nothing helped. It was really frustrating as I couldn’t train consistently. And because I couldn’t train, I lost my weight again, and I had excruciating back pain. I have scoliosis and I have to train regularly so that my posture is good and to keep the back pain under control.
Later, I found out that I had very low vitamin D. Supplementing vitamin D and additional support with the Whoop strap helped me tremendously. What’s more, the Whoop strap has also shown me that sleeping a lot doesn’t necessarily mean that I had a good sleep. It also revealed to me – based on real data – what a big influence stress has on my body.
Occasionally I need a slightly longer recovery, and sometimes rather more physical activity throughout the day. It helped me to better listen to my body so that now I can train regularly again, and train smart.
STEPS TO SUCCESS
There is only one way to achieve great results, and it’s to follow a well-programmed training and nutrition plan. However, it’s not about
perfection, it’s about consistency. Sometimes you just have to start and take the first step.
For me, it was to go and sign up for a gym. When I didn’t know or understand something, I’ve always asked a trainer in the gym. As the
saying goes, it doesn’t hurt to ask. So, I’ve just asked and read a lot myself. Back then, I tried to do everything correctly and it felt like a
failure if I missed my training on a particular day. But now I’ve realized that no one’s life is perfect, and we are not robots either.
Sometimes life just happens. You can beat yourself up and feel bad about it or try to stay flexible with your schedule and make the best out of it. This mindset reduced my stress levels a lot and, interestingly, I felt that this was the moment I started to see significant, positive changes in my physique.
ADVICE TO OTHERS
Make yourself a priority and do what’s right for you.
People will always judge, but who cares if you feel great with what you do. Understand that your “mom bod” can be strong, healthy, and functional. You can have a little baby, but still feel good about yourself.
If you think that something doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to ask or speak about it. Many problems that come postpartum, such as lower back pain and leaking while exercising, are common, but aren’t inevitable.
There are so many great resources that can help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And if you want my personal advice, try my coaching business mamafitnesscoaching.com
Elena was the winner of the May 2020 Team TRAIN challenge. She won free personal training certification from the PT Academy alongside this feature article in TRAIN for HER magazine! You can win too by simply showing your support with the Team TRAIN community by clicking here and getting started!