MARIA SHANKLIN'S FITNESS JOURNEY
Hey guys! My name is Maria Shanklin and I have been an ambassador for IMFIT Apparel for about two years now. If you personally know me, you know how much I love the gym… It’s honestly my favorite place to be, and yes, as cliché as this may sound, it’s my therapy. You may be wondering where my passion for fitness, and later nutrition, began? Well, it is not the most spectacular story, but I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for this incident.
From playing tennis, to cheerleading, to gymnastics, to being a dancer, athleticism has always been a component in my life. Out of all the athletic activities I partook in throughout my childhood and adolescence years, dance was the one thing that clicked. Now, lets get to the “story”. It all goes back to about six years ago when my dance professor told me that I had “gained too much weight”. Being told those words as a sixteen-year-old dancer cut to the quick. The young-spirited, self-confident side of me quickly diminished. Believe it or not, it was those words that kindled my interest and passion for fitness and nutrition.Like most people new to fitness and nutrition, my immediate thought was to “diet”, cut down calories, and lose as much weight possible. I tried every diet you can think of, from low-carb, low-fat, RAW Fit, the list goes on and on. It was not long before my array of diets got to the obsessive point, leaving me in a dark place in life. However, around that time, I began college as a Dietetics major, allowing things to change for the better. Being exposed to the science behind nutrition and taking rigorous college courses such as Metabolism and Biochemistry, I became more aware of the importance of providing the body with nutritious food. As I progressed within the field of Dietetics, I became intrigued with the metabolism of macro- and micronutrients with the body, allowing me to look at food through a positive lens, rather than something that is detrimental. With the information I learned throughout my undergraduate degree, as well as additional research done on my own, I have been able to alter my body composition and optimize my strength in the gym by making changes within my diet. The evolution I have seen within my relationship with food, body composition, and performance in my workouts, has lured me into pursuing a master’s degree in Nutrition/Dietetics and becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, as well as Certified Personal Trainer.
Everyone’s fitness journey is different. We all go through good moments and bad moments, but I PROMISE you that those hard times will make you a stronger individual, both physically and mentally. Fitness has been one true blessing in my life. I can go on and on about how it has impacted me, but I will leave it at three key points:
- Consistency is key. You will be faced with many hardships and obstacles in life, possibly making you consider giving up. Do not let that devil on your shoulder get to your head. Stay consistent and be patient. The results will come.
- Here is another cliché statement but I like to keep it real here…FOOD IS FUEL. Restricting and depriving yourself of food will do more harm than good. There is no better feeling than listening to your body and giving it what it needs. The best analogy I can give you: gassing up a car. Without gas, a car cannot function. The same goes for our bodies. Without food and proper nutrition, your body as a whole will not be able to function optimally.
- Don’t compare your fitness journey to that of others. Teddy Roosevelt once said, “comparison is the thief of joy”. There are many factors that play a role in one’s physique – body composition, training history, nutritional intake, hormones, genetics, etc. What works for that ‘fitness influencer’ you so much love, most likely will not work for you. Constantly comparing yourself to others will distort your mentality and hamper your progress. Focus on the reflection in the mirror and put in the work.
My Instagram is @mariaaafit . Please reach out if you have any questions regarding fitness, nutrition, being dietetics major, or life in general. This is not my full story, just a snippet. I am more than happy to share more details and discuss anything that crosses your mind. Thank you for taking a moment to read this blog post! Stay safe, healthy, and fit 😊