Females of Fitness – Ali Gay

Meet Ali: Certified spinning coach, fitness enthusiast, marketing specialist, and all-around rockstar!

Hey guys, I’m Ali and I guess you could say fitness is kinda my thing!

For me, my fitness journey began my senior year of high school. I pulled my hamstring during my final soccer season, and I was unable to play. I stooped so low, mentally, because soccer was a huge part of my identity growing up.

My final season, as a captain, got cut short and I fell into a bout of intense sadness and emotional strain. That mental degradation manifested itself in my nutrition and physical fitness habits, and soon my body composition completely changed.

I was physically and mentally uncomfortable and knew I needed to make a change. I had multiple conversations with my parents about what I could do to get healthy (they are both in the medical field and I thoroughly respect their opinion).

They proposed the idea of me joining them in taking group fitness classes. And this is where it all started! Since then, fitness and nutrition have become such a HUGE part of my life!

I aim to do something every day that makes me sweat. Maybe that’s a 15-minute incline walk. Or maybe that’s an F45 class. Either way, I love to get up and MOVE with intensity for at least 10-15 minutes every single day.

Call me weird, but one thing I LOVE is cardio! I love it for reasons other than purely utilizing it for fat loss/calorie burn. That’s definitely an awesome byproduct of cardio. But the first and foremost reason I love and perform cardio so often is because it truly is a release and form of therapy for me. That’s a main reason why I decided to become a Schwinn Cycling certified indoor cycling instructor, and I absolutely love teaching spinning classes!

That isn’t to say that cardio is the only thing I do though. If you’re trying to reach your optimal level of fitness and build a strong powerful body, you definitely can’t overlook weight training! I wish I would’ve known more about weight training before starting my journey. My idea of fitness was based on cardio and simply burning calories. From the get-go, I wish I would’ve known more about the benefits (physically and mentally) of building muscle and strength.

Right now, I weight train 4-5 days a week. My favorite body parts to train are glutes and shoulders, so I typically train both of those body parts two times a week. I’m not necessarily suggesting that you adopt my plan, but my typical split looks like this:

Monday – Legs (glute-focused)

Tuesday – Back and Shoulders (strength-focused)

Wednesday – Legs (hamstring-focused)

Thursday – Shoulders (hypertrophy-focused)

Friday – Legs (pump/hypertrophy-focused)

A solid workout routine is only part of the process though. What you eat is seriously SO important because, as they say, you can’t outwork bad nutrition!

But developing and practicing healthy eating habits can be easier said than done, especially for young women. So much of the time we look at food as the enemy, as if it’s a mean little trickster that only wants to make us fat. Like so many others, I fell into this trap which eventually led to an eating disorder.

Overcoming this disorder is probably the biggest obstacle I’ve ever had to face. I don’t think one ever truly rids of an eating disorder, but rather, learns how to deal with and endure through it. You have to live and love through it all. You learn to move on with it being present in your mind… you learn how to be better because of it and you walk and run over bridges that were built by your own desire to heal.

The moment I didn’t attach good or bad value to food is the moment I was able to enjoy food and not overthink every meal and snack. Yes, it’s important to eat nutrient-dense, whole foods, but it’s also very important to allow yourself to indulge in foods that bring you a sense of fulfillment outside of clean eating!

And I think it’s important to do this on a daily basis. If I restrict myself from mindfully tending to my cravings, I end up bingeing and completely overdoing a cheat meal. Figure out how you can work a mindful treat into every day and you won’t feel the need to cheat every week.

Setting and reaching goals is a very important part of a fitness journey, but it’s imperative to me to not let the gym entirely dictate my schedule and life like it has in the past. I enjoy focusing on appreciating the process of balancing life and hobbies with working hard in the gym.

I love to enjoy time with friends and family, I have a huge passion for travel and getting to know new cities and people. I am not always (really ever) perfect when it comes to nutrition, and sometimes I say no to the gym simply because I’m not feeling it.

I hope to be able to inspire other women to be able to better themselves through fitness and nutrition, but more importantly, to be able to find the perfect balance that promotes happiness and a positive life!

To see more of Ali’s adventures, you can find her on Instagram.

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