Here I am. A little more than one month away from turning 39, I decided to write another page of the book about my fitness adventures. After doing a lot of thinking, my heart (or should I say my feet) spoke louder. This person here is going to run again!

For most of my life, I have been involved with physical activities. First, it was ballet like most little girls, but it soon took off to all other available dance styles.

Around the age of 18, I started having major back problems. They discovered I had scoliosis and it had reached a point that it was even preventing me from getting out of bed on ‘bad’ days. Along with physical therapy, I was advised to swim. I could not swim back then and I found the lessons very boring. I quit classes after less than 2 months. And it was not until the age of 34 that I went back to the pool to learn it.

Sincerely, I do not remember how lifting weights appeared as a solution. I did not have internet at the time, so I wonder if I read it somewhere or heard it from a friend. The fact is that I was introduced to the iron by the age of 19 and it was love at first “sight”.

Throughout the years, I had many hiatus, with the longest one being from 2001 until 2010. My life had changed drastically: I left Brazil and moved to Belgium where I attended college (my classes were in Dutch and I did not speak one word during the first year). The money I had saved was only enough for my studies, so going to the gym was a luxury I could not afford. And after graduation, I started working right away (awesome!), but then time became an issue.

Last time I participated in a running event in 2011.
Making a long story short, at the age of 34 I decided that I had to do something about my physique. There were a lot of great things going on in my life, but from outside, I looked heavy, carrying extra weight that did not belong to me.

In the meantime, I have run, lifted weights, practiced BJJ and since last year, started participating in fitness competitions. The reasons for me changing so much vary from health issues to lack of time, or simply not being able to combine some of them.

In all three contests that I attended, I participated as a Bikini competitor, but now I am looking forward putting on more muscle and going for Figure (Body fitness outside the US). Because it is a new experience to me, I still do not know how long it will take me to build the necessary amount of lean muscle to hit the stage again. I am not in a rush though. I am enjoying this journey way too much to spoil the fun with useless stress.

And the best part about taking a sabbatic year is to be able to experiment and learn more about my body. Each person is different and what works for one does not necessarily work for another. Trial and error may not be the most efficient method, but it is a process full of rewarding lessons.

At the moment, I am lifting as heavy as I can to build some muscle mass. I am also adding extra lean carbs to my diet because I want all energy I can get. As from April 18th, I will be joining a program from Flex Magazine Netherlands to get ready for the summer. It will last 8 weeks and I am dying to see the results.

Despite all the activity around me, there was something missing. I did not want to give in and I looked for excuses everywhere. But when things are meant to be, they happen. So yesterday, I bought myself a new pair of running shoes. Yes!!! I do not have plans for a marathon or anything of that matter (just yet). I only want to kick-off some beginner start to run plan and see how it goes. I miss the streets. I miss the weather working for me or challenging me. I miss running…

Next Saturday, April 12th, it will be exactly one month before my 39thbirthday. Even though it was not part of the plan, it fits perfectly.

Gym look, new running shoes and flowers to bright the day!

Why did I write all that? It is because I want to share my journey with as many people as possible. I would love to learn from other runners, beginners or pros. I want to share tactics, tips and experiences. Tell me your fun stories and “wow” moments. I will be sharing things from my side as well. I have a feeling that it will play an important role in my journey to the physique of my dreams. I am just getting started.  
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Debbie Rodrigues
Debbie Rodrigues is a Productivity Expert. She helps busy career women create a productive routine that fits their lifestyle. She does this through coaching, online courses and through the blog debbieinshape.com.