How I Got the Body of My Dreams…Then Threw it Away
We would like to introduce you to an amazing woman with a very inspiring story. Elizabeth Burgos reveals her fitness journey and how she went from having the body of her dreams to choosing a path that nearly destroyed everything she worked for.
We are very touched by her vulnerability and willingness to share her experience. We believe her story can help other women and give them guidance in their fitness journey and making their health and body a priority.
A few months after giving birth to my daughter in the summer of 2009, I stood looking at myself in the mirror, unhappy with how I looked. My hips were wider, my tummy was looser, and things were just much different compared to the body I once had. I had always worked out, and always eaten a fairly healthy diet, so I assumed my body would bounce right back. But it didn’t.
I later decided to get some help, and so my fitness journey began. A friend of mine who competed in physique competitions (and looked amazing year-round) recommended Savage Fitness to me. This is a competition prep company that coaches athletes from all over the world through online coaching. It was new to me, but I was determined to get fit. Hiring a coach not only helped me get my body back, but I went on to do a physique competition myself only a year after my daughter’s birth. I had finally gotten that “perfect body” I’d always wanted!
Competition prep was a breeze for me! My metabolism was on fire, and getting lean came really easy. There was even one point when my coach told me, “don’t do any more cardio, or you’re going to be TOO skinny!” What I wouldn’t give to hear that now! I placed 4th in my first competition, and felt SO prepared compared to a lot of other contenders. Many people didn’t even believe that it was my first show. I gained only 6lbs post-show, which is a very healthy amount to gain!
Despite how great it was though, I second-guessed everything. During my competition prep, I compared myself a lot to what other girls were doing. There were girls who were doing cardio twice a day, not eating any carbs on some days, counting macros, and wearing sweat suits while they did cardio. Why was their prep so much more “hardcore” than mine? One time, during my prep, I remember thinking, “I feel like this should be harder! Where is the struggle that everyone talks about? This is too easy!” So after my first show, I decided to train with a different coach. A coach who was also popular. A coach who also had winners. But this coach was “hardcore”. I was put on an IIFYM diet and was told that my “clean-eating, cookie-cutter program” I was doing before was garbage.
At first this new meal plan seemed ok. I could eat pretty much whatever I wanted, as long as it fit in my macros. I could even eat junk…so long as it fit those magical numbers! But then, as the competition got closer, the macros decreased. I was allowed less and less. And the cardio I was doing increased. I was doing more and more. I was finally doing those “hardcore” two-a-day cardio sessions I had heard about. The last month of my show prep, I was eating 950 calories. I am 5’9”. And I was doing 90+ minutes of cardio six days per week. I cried daily because I was too exhausted to play with my daughter, and I was hungry. On the day of the show, I was lean, but I looked bloated on stage. I didn’t place in that show. And the following three days?? I gained 13 lbs. Most of this was water retention, but 13 lbs. is an insane amount. I went on to gain 25 lbs. total over the next 3 months. I haven’t competed since then.
For the next 3 years, I tried and failed to lose the extra weight. My metabolism was severely damaged. And each failed attempt to re-diet only damaged my metabolism further. It was a vicious cycle. It took a toll on me emotionally, as well. Here I was, this “fitness professional” who was published in a national magazine for my “amazing transformation”, but was now unable to lose even a single pound. I was a personal trainer at the time and felt like a complete failure. I ended up quitting my job as a trainer and gave up my future in fitness. I did go on to finish my degree, so not all was lost, but my point is this: I gave up something really good and special to me, because I thought I needed to be more “hardcore”. All because of a stupid decision.
I wasn’t able to repair my body for a long time. Finally, after taking a year completely off from dieting and cardio, I was able to let my metabolism heal. At the end of 2014 I began the journey of getting my old body back. I was 30lbs heavier than the day I joined Savage in 2010. Since then, with the help of Isagenix, I’ve lost 15 lbs. the healthy way (that alone deserves it’s own blog post), and now have the rest to go, with the help of my Savage coach.
Now one thing I am not going to do is sit here and blame this other coach for all of this. I was 26 at the time. I am a big girl, and I should have put the brakes on that business the minute it didn’t feel right. I’m sure if I’d spoken up about my concerns, they would have been addressed. It’s my body. It’s my responsibility. And it’s my own fault. But I will say this: When you are competing, or getting into shape, or whatever, people are going to tell you how “wrong” your plan is, and how their coach and their way is better, and how their prep is way better because they’re so hardcore. Forget about them. Let them ruin their metabolism. Stay focused on you and your health. What I have found within my team is GOLD in the fitness world. My training is sane, my workouts are tough, but I’m not a slave to the gym, I’m eating foods that actually provide nutritional value to my body, and I have a team of coaches who genuinely care about my HEALTH, more so than a plastic trophy. My health is valued over a 20-second prance on a stage. That is special.
So I leave you with this: Find a coach who VALUES your health. Do your research. Ask the tough questions. BE PICKY! This is not
something to compromise. Find the coach that works for YOU, but don’t compromise your health. And when you do find that coach, TRUST them, trust the process. Don’t compare what you’re doing with someone else. You’re not them. If you’re not doing a lot of cardio and you’re getting results, girl, pat yourself on the back! Don’t go start doing two-a-days because that “fit chick” at the gym is. Value your health, and that perfect body will follow. Because what is left after that perfect body is achieved, and that prance across the stage is over?? What’s left is your health – but only if you took the time to honor it throughout the whole process. Don’t take it for granted.
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