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A College Athlete’s Fitness Journey

Brenna Roberts ‘21

Sports Editor

Winter looms upon us, and so do New Years Resolutions. Around this time, many people begin to set goals for themselves of getting into shape or losing weight. When I tell people that I am one of those people I get dumbfounded looks. People will respond ‘You’re a division one athlete, what do you mean you need to get in shape?’

This is an assumption that most everyone who is not a college athlete makes; that just because you do a sport in college, you’re automatically in great shape. And in some cases this is true, that we may be in better shape to do some things, there are many other aspects for me that need work.

I began my fitness journey during quarantine. The gyms were closed, so I did a lot of cardio, which included running outside and spinning indoors as well as some ab and HIIT exercises to try to keep my endurance up since I would no longer be swimming after we got sent home from school. I created an Instagram account to hold myself accountable and keep track of my progress to make sure I was staying in the best shape I could be, expecting to go back to school next year for my senior swim season. 

Once gyms opened back up, I got in to a schedule each day where I went to the gym. I had always been someone to shy away from the weights and strength equipment because I was intimidated. But the inspiration from my followers and accounts I followed on my fitness account inspired me to give it a try. Once I started, I fell in love. I began focusing a lot on upper body strength; something I had always neglected because of my shoulder injury. 

After a month I began to see results that I never knew were possible. I have always been a swimmer, but I have also always struggled with body issues. I was self-conscious of my broad shoulders, huge things, and not flat stomach, among other things. I went through a period of time in high school when I would come home from a two hour practice or even a day of double practices and would not eat dinner. It astounds me when I look back at the pictures of that girl during that time to see how thin I was when I believed I was fat. 

Unfortunately, many athletes, especially female athletes, share this same struggle. When I would go to the gym, I would focus only on cardio because I was so concerned with losing weight and how I would look in my swimsuit during practice or a meet. Although there are still many days I struggle with my appearance, I have fallen in love with building muscle and being strong instead of losing weight and being ‘skinny.’ I have a lot of the fitness community I have become a part of to thank for that. Although I have a small following, the people I follow and who follow me inspire me everyday to work hard and give it my all while learning to love myself. 

Just because someone is an athlete, especially at the collegiate level, does not always mean they are in amazing shape. I have never been this strong in my entire life and I have been home from school all semester so far, not swimming or lifting like I do when I am at school. I have learned so much about form and eating as well as tips and tricks. I will always be an advocate for loving yourself and doing what is best for you. I am very glad I have found something I love where I can learn everyday.