My Fitness Journey

Hey there! My name is Abby Looper, and I am so excited to share my fitness journey with you all! So let’s begin with who I am.

Like I said my name is Abby, and I’m a southern girl to the roots. I am born and raised in the great state of Tennessee, and saved by the grace of Jesus. I have been blessed with parents who have always encouraged me to follow my wildest dreams. As a kid, I attended church, made good grades in school, and played sports… lots of sports. I have had my go at soccer, basketball, dance, gymnastics, cross-country, track, and my greatest love lacrosse. While no I was not the best at all of these, I did give them all a good try. Obviously, since I was young I was active in some way or another.

Let’s fast forward to high school. My freshman year, I took on the task of attempting to play lacrosse and run track, which are both spring sports. I battled with attending practices, and missing meets for games and games for meets. My ultimate love for lacrosse prevailed, and I didn’t run track past freshman year. Lacrosse was essentially an all year sport. We had shorter “fall ball” practices where we worked on skills and conditioning, and when January rolled around we were in full swing. This meant practice, scrimmages, weekend tournaments, week night games and all the comradery to go with it. Lacrosse provided me the opportunity to release my competitive stress and spend time with some of my closest friends. However, lacrosse was an up-and-coming sport in my small town, and as a result was not considered a P.E. credit. In order to gain the P.E. credit I needed to graduate I decided to return to my old running habits, and joined the cross-country team my junior year of high school. I had a lot of old friends on the cross country team because I had ran with the same group of folks for two years in middle school, not to mention I had known the majority of them since elementary school. This is a very important turning point in my journey. You see cross country was a very demanding sport. We ran a minimum of five miles a day, and our speed workout consisted of three miles of 1,600 m, 800m, 400m, and 200 m sprints. During these grueling four to five months of practice I became very thin. When I say very thin I mean I was weighing around 84 lbs., which doesn’t sound too bad for my 5′ stature, but I was sickly. I began feeling tired, and beat down. My concerns became evident when I was getting winded going up one flight of stairs… One flight of stairs shouldn’t be difficult for  a cross country runner! After a trip to the doctor, I was diagnosed with anemia and sports anorexia. The anemia explained my lethargic feeling, and was a simple fix, iron tablets. Now to the sports anorexia. No I was not the classic eating disorder patient. I was not intentionally starving myself to gain a certain image. I was unaware of how poorly I was fueling my body to perform the work I was putting out. After the diagnosis, I was sent for an EKG, and found out that I didn’t have the proper amount of fat around my heart. This meant that I could fall over anytime with a heart attack. I got a firm order from our family doctor that I was to cease all physical activity, and I was referred to a nutritionist. Over the course of three months I met with my nutritionist once a week to discuss my progress in gaining healthy weight. I took the time as a free for all, and ate anything I wanted. I did gain the needed weight, and once medical sports reserve was lifted I was back to running and lacrosse. I was still very thin, but no longer at risk. Looking back now I am shocked with my lack of concern for my body! I had no clue the long-term impact I was making on my metabolism, and my body image. Fast forward to college, I am now incorporating weights in my exercise routine, but I haven’t completely left my cardio roots. Of course I still struggle with focusing on my “problem areas.” I won’t pretend that I woke up one day, and decided that I love how I look. It’s important to remember that we are all created in the image of the almighty God, and He makes no mistakes.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4