Journey Back To Strength 4

The Greatest Reward

Journey Back To Strength 4 - The Greatest Reward
Before I begin with this week’s update, I would like to take a moment to thank you for following my blog so far. It’s been moving and inspiring. There is no way it couldn’t be after reading the comments on my Face Book Page or in the Fitness RX For Women comment section.

I remember after the first blog came out, I sat on my bed late into the night reading, replying and feeling amazed by the love and kindness I received from many of you. I wanted to reply to every single person. I really did, because all of those comments meant so much to me. Hearing your stories, personal struggles and realizing just how tied together and similar we all really are is astounding. I mean sure I know intellectually that, “everyone has problems.” But hearing that doesn’t resonate with me on a gut level. These past three weeks, however, I have unquestionably seen and felt what has resulted by sharing my vulnerability. It is that disclosure, along with yours as well, that is making our story collectively so compelling. I no longer feel like this is MY BLOG or MY JOURNEY, because I know for a fact many of you are joining along with me on #TheRoadBack.

Why This Blog Is So Important In My Life

Journey Back To Strength 4 - The Greatest RewardIt is important, because of all the magazine covers, commercial ads, written articles and all other notoriety I have received publicly for in the fitness industry, nothing compares to what I am experiencing with you right here and now. Appearing on a magazine cover doesn’t make my life worth living. I am appreciative, so please don’t get me wrong. It is symbolic of reaching a certain pinnacle. I view it as a wonderful reward for the years of hard work and sacrifice involved in getting into shape and competing. And, of course, it’s nice to show your family and friends, the people who care about you, something pretty rare and cool.

And make no mistake; I would love to be on a magazine cover again at some point. My point is that the feeling of those rewards is fleeting. Receiving emails from men and women who are going down destructive paths, one’s I have personally seen many times, and somehow from reading these blogs, have felt compelled to write to me. That connection with others trumps everything I have received so far. A new path has been opened and something in them that was inspired to share and minimally acknowledge their own current situation. Acknowledging your own truth and perhaps a new found awareness can be life changing. Is that what is happening? I am not sure, but something powerful is going on. Because of you freely sharing your strength, it is now becoming my strength. On days that don’t feel so great, I draw upon this whole experience and move forward. So for that gift, thank you!

A Picture May Not Tell 1,000 Words…

I was initially brought front and center into the fitness industry marketed worldwide as a very shredded, hardcore woman with an edge. The response was huge, but different and inspiring for other reasons and is now a part of my history, past accomplishments and professional portfolio. Those were some exciting times without question! That woman with an edge is still inside me, but she has taken a back seat to new struggles, a new path and perhaps a more fulfilling future. And until I get to my goal weight of 122-ish pounds, I am going to navigate this situation the best way I know how to mentally, physically and emotionally to get there again. And this time around, instead of you seeing only the end result, I promise to be as open and honest about what it’s really like for me. One great aspect about this journal is that you are seeing more than just the “after” pictures, which may be a bit tough to relate to.

Keeping a certain “look” is very important to branding and image. My contracts (my living) depended primarily on my physical appearance (and dazzling personality lol) and really my sense of self did too. I am also fully aware that moving forward, the new contracts will require me at my physical best. I expect that and that’s OK, because I am heading there and each day I inch closer to my goals. I hope you are too! I think watching “the whole movie” is much more interesting, and I hope you do too.

What Is The Difference Between You and I? Nothing

Journey Back To Strength 4 - The Greatest RewardIf I can lose 35 lbs, then so can you. I have zero magic tricks, but you better believe I am ordering online and trying the newest sports supplements too! I am always looking for the supplements for recovery and muscle growth in the world, so when I stumble upon some good finds, I will let you know about them.

Let’s Review

I will do my best to share all aspects of this transformation with the hope that you can make changes right along with me. That thought alone moves my heart in ways nothing else I have accomplished in my fitness career thus far has. To live a life with purpose is all I have ever wanted, and now I get that opportunity. Funny, I thought winning the Figure Olympia or the Ms. Figure International was the highest reward as an athlete. I will always keep trying to compete and bring my best to those competitions next year, but THIS is the pinnacle. At least for me it is.

There have been many uncertain times in my life, and in truth, I have had to face and walk through many uncertain times. But in the deepest part of me, I have known my whole life that no matter what I have been through, all of it has been to prepare me for this path that is leading me to the next phase in my life. I don’t know exactly what that will entail, but I can tell you, I am never looking back.

Getting Honest

I want to lose the weight, because I turned my back on myself when I got hurt. I could have tried harder and made better food choices instead of looking for anything outside of myself to ease the emotional pain. But I didn’t, I chose donuts and I chose them often. So for me, I am paying the consequences of my actions. Yes, I was hurt, but not “gain 35 lbs of body fat” hurt. That’s just getting honest with myself and in doing so, it does change the dynamic for me emotionally. No time left to feel sorry for myself. The good news is that is the past, and it’s over and done with. It happened, and so what? I have no regrets. The donuts did taste good, and now I’ll just have to work harder to get them off.

You Know What Time it Is…

10/2/2013 152.3
10/9/2013 150.4
Journey Back To Strength 4 - The Greatest Reward

OK, so something is happening. I will tell you, the HIIT I started doing I know helped with the drop and gave me the fat burning edge. I added two more intervals this week, so it was 8 total intervals using a different piece of cardio equipment each time.

Fat Burning Tip

I avoid going on the same cardio equipment on consecutive days to avoid adaptation to the imposed physical demand. The body is very efficient, and the workload becomes easier and easier. To avoid stalling progress, I increase the intensity, duration or frequency of my cardio, or I change up the equipment. Also, I changed styles of cardio from moderately intense cardio to HIIT. Now, I am spending less time doing cardio, but kicking up the intensity. Moving in that direction is what I believe gave me the push I needed. Result: A lower number on the scale. HIIT…It’s so hard, but it’s worth it!

For more of Ava’s Journey Back To Strength, click here.

Ava Cowan is an IFBB Figure Professional, a CPTS® and full time online coach and consultant for women of all fitness levels.

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