#Fitspo of the month @youmustlovelife
Meet Rachel Joyce @youmustlovelife
What made you start your journey & what were your starting tools?
Body confidence is one of those things I thought was a myth, but over the years, I’ve found it. That doesn’t mean I sometimes don’t have a self-conscious moment, but today I’m proud of me and my body.
I grew up as a heavy kid, and when I moved to NYC in my early twenties, I felt out of place in a city that seemed to be brimming with chic, lithe, cigarette-smoking women. So I cut out breakfast. Sometimes lunch. Opting for coffee to get me through the day. And as by body dwindled, so did my energy and understanding of myself. I was a size 0, and defined myself by that, and pretty much only that.
At a certain point, when I started getting intense mood swings from being hangry, I realized that the struggle for this thing my body didn’t want to be was not worth it. Not to say that the women I was striving to look like weren’t awesome. They just weren’t who I was. That’s when I started to take a look into myself for answers about confidence, to understand what really made me feel comfortable in my own skin.
The gym was really where I found a lot of inner strength. I decided to work with a trainer once a month so I’d have the basics down. I started strength training rather than sticking to the cardio machines and built so much confidence from learning new things about my body and achieving goals I never thought I could. I also gained weight doing all of this, but with that I gained discipline and the feeling that I am unstoppable.
What have you found most challenging about staying active?
Last year I injured my knee while hiking with my husband. Turned out it was a pretty nasty bone bruise on the very top of my tibia, a place that gets a lot of impact from daily activity. Bone bruises sound harmless, but they’re actually small fractures in the bone at the spot of impact. Being someone who works out and runs regularly, not being able to do what I wanted physically really got to me. I had found such a sense of inner strength and peace from being able to run and do intense HIIT workouts, so modified workouts weren’t as fun during that time, which made me want to quit. But I stuck with it, and patiently waited for the injury to heal. It took nearly 9 months.
Another challenge I’ve run into this past year is a serious bout of depression brought on by some pretty stressful life events and situations. I lacked any motivation to do anything, let alone work out, and in turn, I gained weight and lost strength I had worked so hard to build. It was intimidating for me to go back into the gym having “let myself go.” But I reminded myself that I’ve been through a lot, and that if I had reached goals once, I could do it again.
What are your three workout essentials?
1) Music, for sure. Especially when I run.
2) A foam roller for breaking up fasciae and knots—I’m 32, and recovery is really important to me as I age. I also foam roll before workouts, and try to do it on recovery days.
3) A sturdy pair of leggings that don’t roll down in the waist when I’m training.
What songs/ music is on your fitness playlist?
Solara by The Smashing Pumpkins
Tears by Clean Bandit
How Many F***s? by Erika Jayne (I know, I know…LOL)
You Make My Dreams by Hall & Oates
How have you dealt with haters & critics?
I posted this video to Instagram several months ago when I started getting back to the gym after struggling with depression. It was of me doing barbell cleans for the first time since being away from the gym (and making light of a guy off camera who was grunting ridiculously loud). A negative comment from a man rolled in that said, “Then maybe you should join planet fitness. I wouldn't be talking tho. You look like shit. Like a potatoe round butter ball. And I've seen strong as fking girls grunt. Girls who actually lift, not fat hoes who clean and jerk with 5-lbs bumper plate.”
I’d like to say the comment didn’t affect me, but I’m not going to lie, it hurt like hell. But you know what? It became a rallying cry to all of the other women who follow me, and they bombarded him with so many messages that he ended up deleting his account. It made me realize that for every hater out there, you have tons more people who love and support you, whether that’s friends, family, or people you’re inspiring, even when you don’t realize it.
What do you consider workout Heaven?
An empty TRX and HIIT area at my gym. Living in NYC, space is always an issue, so when I have room to move around and do whatever workouts I want, I love it! That’s why I always end up at the gym on a Friday evening.
And workout Hell?
Running without music. When I can hear myself breathing heavily, it somehow becomes a million times harder.
Do you have any tips to stay motivated?
It’s funny because I actually wrote a blog post about this. I’d say my main tips are to put workout clothes on, even if you’re not planning to work out. And to actually dig deep and ask myself why you don’t want to work out when you’re not feeling it. When I actually take some time to meditate on this, I’ve unearthed some pretty rough things. But being able to acknowledge those feelings, rather than burying them is the first step to pushing past them. Usually it boils down to the fact that I don’t feel like I deserve good things or to better myself…the question to ask is WHY do I/you feel that way? I encourage you to explore those uncomfortable thoughts, and to tell yourself that you are worth it.
How do you think society ‘ideal’ body type has changed?
I think we’re moving into a beautiful time in the world where we’re realizing healthy and fit and beautiful come in many different packages. I remember reading Seventeen Magazine as a teen, a time when we’re all crazy insecure of our changing bodies, and feeling terrible that I didn’t look like the women on those pages. I’m glad that companies and media are starting to feature all types of women. That being said, there’s still lots of work to do to make society accept women of all shapes, sizes, and colors. It’s a message I try to send to my followers—is my body the traditional “perfect”? No. But am I proud of it? Hell yes!
Which of the Two Three Active Collection would you wear and why?
'ENERGY' High Waist Leggings – I lovvve a high-waisted legging. And because I love fashion, I like to bring style into the gym. These have such cute mesh panel cut outs!
'LIFT' Racerback Sports Bra – I’m obsessed with high-neck racerback sports bras right now. I also like that this has a thicker band in the back for plenty of support.
Any tips or advice you could give other women on their fitness journeys?
Be gentle on yourself. Yes, it’s great to push for that next goal, but there’s no sense in guilt tripping yourself for something. As long as you’re trying, you’re succeeding! Much love to you!