Focused on Fitness | Khrystle Rea
Health and fitness can be a great means of channeling unfocused energy. Khrystle Rea’s journey to keeping fit started just that way. She found herself in need of something to do to spend some of her free time and a new fitness regimen provided just that. “My current journey was jump started about 3 years ago when I realized I needed something meaningful to focus on. I had always been athletic in high school, but I wasn’t as consistent anymore. I decided to get a one month nutrition and workout program from a trainer. It was my first time going to the gym consistently and I realized how good I felt! Exercise made a huge difference in my emotional health as well as the physical benefits I was seeing,” Khrystle explains.
Speaking with Khrystle, I found out that one of the channels she used to productively focus her energy was competing. “I competed in two fitness competitions – First a pole fitness competition and then NPC Bikini competition. Training for both was pretty intense,” Khrystle says. Intrigued, especially by the pole fitness competition, I wanted to find out more. Pole fitness is something that is not often brought up when I interview people, and I’m not quite sure why more people aren’t into it. Not only is it great for fitness, but also as a creative outlet. I was happy Khrystle continued to share. “For the pole fitness competition I had about 3 months to create a routine and master it. At the time I was still pretty new to pole and had only been training consistently for a few months. When I say I was new, I mean my hands hadn’t stopped sweating when training. Sweaty hands while spinning, holding on only by your hands is not a good combo in pole. I was scared I would slip straight off. Towards the end of competition I was practicing my routine at minimum three times a week. Getting on competition stage was a gigantic fear conquered. I never really danced before let alone been on a stage. I was always the athlete, never the performer. During pole competition training I noticed my body was able to put on muscle,” Khrystle continued.
Her next competition was the NPC Bikini competition and of course, Khrystle had to switch gears a little as far as her training. “A week after the pole fitness competition was over I found a trainer and began training for NPC Bikini. My first trainer had me eating way too much protein (so much I basically woke up sick every morning and would feel nauseous during the day – I didn’t always hit my protein macro). After buying pants that were a size bigger due to fat gain, I realized I needed a new trainer. My body wasn’t feeling great with the diet I was on and after 6 months I welcomed the change. I started with my new trainer 17 weeks out from NPC Bikini Competition. I had a few refeed days and a couple cheat days (not enough) during the 17 weeks. I was training 6 days a week while also working a full time job and going to school for my health coaching certification. Each week I would meal prep for my boyfriend and me (we competed together) and made everything work. The NPC stage wasn’t nearly as scary as the pole fitness stage. What kept me going was the fact other girls were also training and doing everything they needed to and in order for me to compete against them than I had to make sure I ate all my macros, completed all my workouts, and consistently practiced my posing. I enjoyed the discipline of it all in a way. It was nice knowing what workout to do and what to eat and have someone hold you accountable. It was another challenge where results showed and I learned how strong I was physically and mentally,” Khrystle explains.
As Khrystle and I continued our convo, I learned that she struggled with anxiety. Turns out that her health and fitness regimen helped her through this. “I have been dealing with anxiety for years and I see a direct correlation with diet and anxiety in particular. Foods high in sugar increase my anxiety. Gluten puts me on an emotional rollercoaster resulting in the moodiest of moods. Foods that make my heart race tend to make me feel like I am experiencing anxiety, but it is really just the feeling from eating food. Diet makes all the difference with anxiety. There are also foods that calm me down. Chamomile tea has been my savior. I am the person who starts the morning off with Chamomile tea to calm my nerves. I also find that I need protein to help my blood sugars remain even. When it comes to fitness, it is the BEST stress reliever. Working out releases endorphins and is a mood booster. Anytime I have had a rough day, the gym helps me let out my excess energy. Working out consistently is the secret to overcoming those feelings of depression or anxiety. It takes more than just going to the gym when I have reached that point where I need to let go of my excess energy. Going everyday helps keep the buildup from happening. Also, I feel stronger and more confident. Diet and fitness are so crucial when it comes to overcoming anxiety,” Khrystle shares.
“The Anti Anxiety Food Solution by Trudy Scott is an amazing book that talks about how food contributes to anxiety. It also talks about how there are different supplements you can talk to help combat anxiety.” -Khrystle Rea
All in all fitness has provided many great benefits for Khrystle. However it’s some of the newly found strength that really has made Khrystle feel accomplished. “The most rewarding part has been learning my limits. Learning what I am capable of doing and also realizing life is about being in balance. Now I make it a point to really listen to my body and workout when I know I can handle it. I also listen to my body when it comes to figuring out what to eat. I am learning the less stress the better and that includes not stressing about working out everyday or eating perfectly,” Khrystle says.
Think about the 80/20 rule: If you get 80% of your impact from 20% of what you do, what is that 20% for someone just starting?
20% for someone just starting would be focusing on what’s happening on their plate; ie. what kinds of foods they are eating, how much water they are drinking, recognizing how they are feeling when they eat certain foods, paying attention to cravings and what is causing them, reducing junk foods
Why do you think a person’s mindset is so integral to their success?
Mindset and support are crucial! Results do not happen overnight and you have to constantly remind yourself why you are doing this. You need to be ready for days where you don’t feel like eating healthier food or going to the gym. You need to have self control to deny junk food when someone is insisting you have some because they do not want to eat that food alone. You need the why to help fuel you to keep going. Once you learn how good it feels to feel good, that becomes your new why. Everyday you do these new habits because you want to continue to feel good.
What’s your beliefs on performance diet like? Do you prescribe to a particular philosophy on diet (example: Paleo, Gluten free, etc…)?
I believe in eating for your body, figuring out what foods do and don’t work for you and rotating foods (too much of any one thing isn’t good); I personally had a ton of food sensitivities so my diet can be rather limited – I continuously experiment to see if certain foods still bother me