'SINGLE' REPS: A Fitness Journey by guest blogger, Nelia Lourenco

‘SINGLE’ REPS: A Fitness Journey

By Nelia Lourenco

I didn’t start my fitness journey until my late 20’s. I grew up in a household where everything was fried and we never ate vegetables. If you don’t think it can be fried, my mom would find a way. 

I never enjoyed being outdoors, exercising, or any physical activity, nor was I good at them. 

When I moved out at age 21, I bought a deep fryer (even my mom didn’t own one). I did what I learned from my mom; I fried everything. When I graduated college and got a full time job, I ate fast food sometimes twice in a day. 

I met my (then) boyfriend at community college. I sat in the bleachers and watched him run laps around the track. I thought to myself “how do people do this for fun?”

Fast forward 3 years, he took me to his gym and I really enjoyed working out. I just didn’t enjoy sharing a space with “intimidating” men. 

I later signed up at a woman’s only gym, “Pretty Woman Fitness.” The owner trained me for a while, then I finally did my own thing. The gym closed 3 years later and I went to a ‘regular’ gym and worked out in the women’s only section. After a period of time, I decided that I was going to work out where women and men share a space. I never looked back.

  Shortly after joining the gym, I started eating healthier, cooking meals at home and cutting my portions. I wasn’t overweight, but I definitely needed to lose some pounds. Over the years I started educating myself with fitness magazines. Then Instagram became my major source of learning about clean eating, workouts, and a healthy lifestyle.

Being a single woman without kids, or kids at home, I don’t always want to cook for one. I used to cook everyday for my current meal and meals to take to work. I got tired of cooking everyday, so 4 years ago I started meal prepping. It was the best decision I’ve ever made!

My process takes a little planning, but it’s worth it. I plan out what I want for the following week and make a grocery list accordingly. At times, I like making fancier dishes, but for the most part, I keep it simple and basic. I usually make a Costco run to get chicken, ground turkey, and sausages. I use sausage a lot because it’s easy to make. I make a one pan sheet meal. I just add a veggie of choice and potatoes (carbs are not the enemy). 

Here’s an example of what I made this week: hard boiled eggs (weekly staple), bacon (cooked in an oven which is less greasy and I eat only 1-2 pieces), sweet potato (breakfast carb). So I made 2 proteins, 2 veggies, and potatoes. 

Meal prep definitely keeps me on track with my goals. If it’s not your thing, try marinating meat, and pre-cut veggies, so when you get home it’s ready to cook. It’s a big time saver!

Fitness is what I enjoy most!

 I started out as a cardio queen. I walked on the treadmill for hours. I attended spin class, group classes, lifted weights, became a runner, utilized a trainer, then tried other options like: yoga, Pilates, barre. 

Don’t be afraid of lifting weights. 

You will never look like a man, but they will give you that “toned” look. Working out in a group class environment helps us stay accountable. I encourage trying different types of workouts even if you think you might not like it.

Gym/studios usually offer deals for new members to try.. Right now, I’m doing Pilates Reformer 3 days a week and add in 2 other fitness classes while lifting weights on my own. 

As a single person, you don’t need to wait on a fitness partner. I use a personal calendar to write what I did at the gym. 

Since we are coming up on the holidays, here are some of my favorite options to help us stay on a healthy track. 

  • It’s ok to indulge, don’t beat yourself up over it. 

In the past, when I celebrated the holidays, I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch so I could overeat. I figured it was okay since I’d be saving my calories for the party. Now, I eat before I go. If it’s a lunch party, I make a full breakfast, then when I get there, I’m not as hungry and eat less. 

  • I eat what I want, but keep it to small portions. 
  • Stock your plate with protein because that will fill you up. 
  • I’m a big dessert person. I take a sliver of what I want instead of a full size portion. 
  • When you receive food-related gifts, such as ‘Sees’ candy, take the chocolate to work, re-gift it, or take it to a party. 
  • Keep fitness a priority. Get a workout in before the party. You are less likely to indulge as much because you don’t want to waste all your prior hard work. 
  • Stay HYDRATED!!! Even if you over eat or drink, water will help flush the excess out of your system. 
  • Repeat my favorite mantra: I am Powerful, I am Strong, I am Beautiful, I am Enough.

I hope these keys help encourage you to live a healthy lifestyle!


*Nelia Lourenco is a fitness and Paleo enthusiast, pilates lover, avid reader, and wine connoisseur who enjoys exploring new places and motivating women to live their healthiest lives. Follow her on social media @nelia.m.l.209

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