Sheri Elchesyn shares how she learned to listen to her body and put herself first.
I’m a brand manager for an organic and natural food broker. I worked in this industry when I was younger and very much enjoyed it. I left for many years and tried a few other professions—I even went back to school—but just recently came back to the natural food industry. It interests me and I continue to learn new things daily.
A First Love
I have loved sports and fitness since I was a teenager. I began working out as soon as I entered high school. I remember taking four classes a semester and at least two were different gym courses. I spent my lunch hours in the gym and was always on a sports team.
I’ve always enjoyed volleyball; it was a sport that I picked up quickly and did well in. But when I was 22, I found boxing. I loved the cardiovascular workout, the burn in my shoulders and abs, and the great sweat I worked up. I feel as if I have accomplished so much after just an hour of boxing. Now, at 40, I still very much enjoy hitting the bags—but doing pad work is the most fun of all!
I still participate in sports as well as weight training, and I do these things more intensely and consistently as I’ve been getting older. I find it helps me feel and look younger than I am.
My diet has changed drastically over the years. Nutrition is always changing and so are we, so I’m always up to try different things. I’m always looking to learn about nutrition and what can help me age gracefully and give my body what it needs to keep up.
I try my best to follow a plan all the time. Even when I travel for work, I bring my food with me to ensure I have good choices at my side. But when the holidays roll around, I will indulge in some foods that I don’t eat on the regular. Then I’ll get myself back on track the next day!
I have fallen off the wagon in the past for sure—life gets in the way sometimes. I’m the first person to put someone in front of me, even if that means missing my workout to help out a friend or family member. But I always find my way back to the gym—it’s where I’m happiest. Sometimes you just need to put yourself first and be happy with that decision.
There have been a few times when I have had some big goals and really had to dig deep. The biggest was when I competed in my very first bikini competition at age 39. For five months, I followed a very specific eating plan and spent six days a week at the gym.
Knowing your Limits
Leading up to my bikini competition, I had quite a few health conditions that could have shut down my prep. Even my coach took the comp dates away and said we should focus on my health. All I wanted to do was keep training, but I physically couldn’t. Even so, I never thought for a second that I would give up. I kept my head in the game, I said I was going to compete, and I did.
I was thankful that my coach knew when I needed a break and when I was ready to move forward. She reassured me that it was all going to work out and that we all move at different paces. I had a couple of other fitness friends that really believed in me and pushed me to stay on track and keep up a positive headspace.
When I’m not at the gym, I really don’t sit down very much to relax. I’m always on the go, but I do enjoy watching the Toronto Maple Leafs or taking my Bernese mountain dog on long walks to clear my mind. After reaching my fitness goals I always seem to end up on vacation, on the beach, to relax and recharge my batteries in a nice hot climate. It’s a great feeling to know that I gave it my all and that I’m happy with the results..
Photos By CHRIS V. LINTON Follow (@CHRISVLINTON)