Rosalind Mitchell - Fitness Model
I grew up in an active household. My parents were athletes and met on the running track at University. My Mom taught fitness classes when I was a toddler and I watched with the other kids. I started taking ballet and jazz classes when I was 5, and loved dance immediately. It became my passion growing up, and all of my evenings were spent at the dance studio. The other girls developed "dancers bodies" from all the training. Somehow, my genetics did not predispose me to the lean look and sculpted legs the other girls had, despite the hours of plies and relieves and work en pointe.
I so wanted to look more like a dancer should. My mother had a book at home on women's bodybuilding. It was from the 70s, when female bodybuilders were all-natural. I was intrigued by the muscular yet feminine look of the women. If they could create that kind of physique through training and nutrition, I figured I could change my shape by doing the same. So at age 16 I joined a gym and started weight training and taking classes, and changed my diet. Results came very quickly, and I was hooked. By the time I was 18, my body had changed a lot and I got a lot of positive feedback. I am a type-A personality and when I set my mind to something I am very focussed and determined.
Unfortunately, when I was in University I took things too far. My eating habits and fitness routine became an obsession, and it turned into an eating disorder. At my worst I was 87 lbs at 5 ft 6. My doctor insisted that I gain 10 lbs, or I would be hospitalized. I did look terrible, but I was terrified of gaining weight and going back to the body I had worked so hard to change. For years I would gain a few lbs and then lose them again, staying under 100 lbs, just heavy enough to keep the doctor and my family from hospitalizing me. Eventually, I met an amazing co-worker with a history of anorexia, who had recovered and was training for fitness competitions. She saw her former self on me, and knew the right things to say to help. She convinced me it was ok to gain weight and build some muscle and curves. I listened to her, and hired a personal trainer to help. I was successful, and eventually gained enough mass to compete myself. I was still tiny compared to the other competitors, but I did fairly well. My experience with the personal trainer was very positive, and my passion for fitness grew. I was inspired to become a trainer myself. I am now a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. I love sharing my passion with others. I no longer compete. With my tendency to get obsessive, it is healthier for me to avoid the extreme dieting associated with prep. However, I have had the opportunity to do some fitness modelling. Seeing flattering photos of myself has been very good for my body image. I am learning to love myself.
With my history of anorexia, diet and nutrition is a touchy subject. However, although I am still very disciplined with my eating, I've learned to focus on fuelling my body with nutrients. I don't view avoiding foods that will not support my goals as deprivation. Although a certain amount of discomfort and hunger is necessary when working on leaning out, I do enjoy my food very much. There are people in the world who lack the privilege or choice in their diet, and also those who do not have access to enough food. Those of us who can tailor our diets according to our goals and preferences are privileged and should not take this for granted. I track my macros every day, and adjust them according to my goals. I enjoy the process. I follow an intermittent fasting plan, which my body has responded to very well. My digestion, energy, and body composition have improved tremendously. However, I allow myself to increase my portions on days I feel I need it, and remind myself that my health is the number one priority.
I have three jobs and work an average of 70 hours per week, so I have to be very organized and schedule my workouts. Usually this means getting up at 4 am to fit it in, sometimes earlier. I follow a split routine all year, but I change up the order every few months to keep my body guessing. In the summer I do a lot of outdoor cardio. Running outside is very therapeutic for me. I run alone, crank my tunes and clear my head. I like to push myself and make performance-based goals as opposed to focussing purely on esthetics. I sometimes train for 5 or 10 k races. I'm always striving to master new movements and get stronger in the gym. Core training is my specialty as an instructor, and I love researching and trying out new exercises. I truly love working out, although I have my days when I don't feel like it just like anyone else. Those days I know I'll feel better after doing it. I still love to dance, and incorporate it into my routine.
Main Challenges/ Obstacles
Generally speaking, I believe anyone who has the opportunity to live a fitness-oriented lifestyle is very blessed. I have been able to avoid any major injuries. As my family is all into fitness, I have a lot of support. However, social situations with those who do not understand the lifestyle can be a challenge. I often feel out of place and judged for my dedication to training and nutrition. At one of my photo shoots, a female photographer (who wasn't taking my photos) was present. While I was getting changed I overheard her talking about me. She was saying I was obviously in love with my body. I was shocked to hear a woman talking about me like this. My fitness is a result of working to overcome my insecurities and become more healthy. I am still working on my confidence, and my physique is not where I'd like i to be yet. I love how women in the fitness industry support each other, but it is sad when people are negative and judgmental.
My favorite fitness modelling experience was a Fashdance inspired shoot. The photographer was very fun and made me feel very comfortable and relaxed. Growing up, Flashdance was one of my favorite movies. It is an inspirational story about an underprivileged woman working against adversity to pursue her dream. Jennifer Beals' athleticism, dance skills and physique were all something I aspired to. Imitating her look and posing for a shoot was very fun, and I was happy with the result. It was an opportunity to combine dance and fitness for a shoot, and I felt like a wonderful version of myself.
Future Plans/ Goals:
This year I will be submitting photos to the Inside Fitness Hot and Fit top 100 search. The women that are chosen to be featured are always very beautiful and committed to year-round fitness. It would be a huge honor to be one of the women chosen. Even if I am not selected, I am really looking forward to shooting with a top fitness photographer for my submission photos. I would love to motivate and inspire others to become more fit, confident and healthy. If I could help other women the way I have been helped in the past, that would be the best reward possible. It would be amazing to see women striving to be their best selves and embrace their uniqueness.
Facebook: Rosalind Mitchell