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How Fitness and Healthy Living Changed My Life For the Better

Growing up I was always a very active kid. I played two sports until I graduated high school. Once I got to college I wasn’t playing sports and was busier than ever. I let the fitness aspect of my life slip and truthfully wasn’t eating a balanced diet. It wasn’t until last March that I decided it was time to change all that. Not a temporary diet, not a month-long commitment to the gym, but a true lifestyle change forever. 

Quarantine was the most unexpected scenario that nobody in the world could’ve anticipated. I do have to say if it weren’t for the isolation this lifestyle change may have never happened for me. The quarantine allowed me to have time to focus on myself and figure out what diet and workouts were the best for me. Prior to this, I struggled with being consistent. But with the world being shut down, I didn’t have any excuse to not show up for myself. So, I committed to healthy eating and daily workouts. 

I have to admit, if you don’t eat a proper diet it’s going to be extremely hard to lose weight. When it comes to losing weight and getting in shape, diet is 75% of the process. I quickly realized that for me eating whole carbs (sweet potatoes, quinoa, whole grains, vegetables), lean proteins (chicken, turkey, eggs) and healthy fats (avocado, nuts, oils) was what worked best for my body. A balance of 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat was the ratio I went by. In addition, I cut out almost all forms of dairy (this isn’t required at all)! I just found cutting a lot of it out helped me with bloating and stomach pain. In terms of fitness, I always thought lifting weights was going to make me too muscular. Boy was I wrong! I still do cardio for 30-45 minutes a day, but it’s simple like walking or a quick jog. Then I do a weight training session to keep my muscles lean and toned. I set specific days for upper body, lower body, full body and abs. I also don’t really go above the 15 lbs. with free weights. I try to keep the weights low to do higher reps because my body does tend to bulk easily if I lift too much. 

Now that you know my diet and fitness routine, let me tell you how this has positively changed my life. First off, it has put me on such an organized daily routine. I feel like I get so much accomplished and have such an increase in energy. This leads me to my next point, after each workout, I feel such a mood boost. Exercise has been proven to increase the endorphins in our bodies. Which are the “happy hormones” and promote positive feelings, which is why after a workout you experience such a good feeling.  Most of my workouts I try to get done at the beginning of my day. This way it sends me off into the rest of the day on a cheerful note. The most beneficial part about eating right and taking care of my body physically is I genuinely feel my very best. I feel healthy and confident in my body which I struggled with for years before now, it’s even helped me mentally. Exercise is a great opportunity to clear my head of any stress and anxiety. As Maria Sharapova said, “If you look good you feel good and if you feel good you will always perform your best without worrying about anything.” This quote is really true, and I don’t take it in a way where physical appearance means everything, because that isn’t true! I just like that it emphasizes how when you physically take care of yourself, overall you’re going to feel better than you ever have before; mentally and physically! 

After now being a full year of being dedicated to this healthy lifestyle, I know I won’t ever go back. I’ve also started a fitness Instagram account so I can share my progress/routine with others! It’s also a great way to keep myself accountable and not slip back to old habits. Now I’m glad I was able to share my journey with you guys too!  

Me into my fitness journey.
Original photo by Kayla Francione

Kayla Francione is a senior at Montclair State University. She is majoring in Television and Digital Media with a concentration in Sports Media and Journalism. She is hoping to land a job as a sports broadcaster for a professional team, league, or network. Beyond her passion for sports, she has a bunch of other hobbies. She really enjoys fitness, living a healthy lifestyle, fashion, traveling and spending time with friends and family.
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