My fitness journey started at a relatively young age. I never realized how active my family was growing up. I just thought it was the norm. We went camping, biking, hiking, swimming. We played all kinds of sports and generally speaking spent the majority of our time outside. Growing up poor probably contributed to my love for the outdoors. At one point my brother and sister and I all slept in the same room (with some creativity from my mom). With the lack of privacy we had indoors we could always find peace on the paths of our country land or walking through the swamps in our backyard. Also, hiking through the woods was a free way to entertain us and teach us about nature.

I remember my father having a lot of unhealthy habits growing up. He was very much a “live in the moment” sort of man. He struggled with addictions to many things but most notably to me were cigarettes and alcohol. He also firmly believed that if something was deemed healthy, it must not taste good. This ideology was lost on my mom and I. Cue lots of attempts to hide any indication of healthy foods from my father. I think watching my dad’s downward health spiral was the main reason I wanted to go into the health and fitness field in the first place. I lost him to intestinal cancer when I was 14 years old.

I became an athlete in my teens- eventually becoming an avid competitive runner and mastering the art of the 5k. I ran in college before suffering a relentless injury that put me on crutches for a semester and ruined my motivation. This caused several years of total self doubt and a slew of random job experiences completely out of my field including a wedding photography business with my husband that did quite well and several nannying jobs for some truly amazing kids, along with graduating from VCU with a Bachelors in Exercise Science.

It may be surprising to some but all the while I was in school learning about the inner workings of the body and it’s response to exercise and nutrition I was struggling with my weight for the first time. When I was no longer running competitively I couldn’t eat everything I wanted to eat (What? I can’t have 3 bagels for breakfast anymore?) but I still did. I was roughly 20lbs overweight and unhappy, oh and I was drinking a lot too. This was a very low point in my life but it allowed me (reluctantly) to experience the pain of actually trying to lose weight. I mean, it really is hard! I’m a better person because of it.

A big bright spot, and one of the happiest days of my life, was marrying my best friend in 2012. Within a year we were pregnant and I gave birth to Charlotte “Charlie” Betty Boswell in late September 2013. I’m not sure if everyone has this experience but I rediscovered myself. I saw myself as the person I wanted my daughter to see and know and I made every attempt to be that person. Everyday is another chance to be better and she is a walking (and now talking) mirror of the things I say and do. The most important thing I can teach her is how to be kind. Of course I am teaching her to be kind to others, but I also want her to learn to be kind to herself. The absolute best way to love your body is to take care of it. So I make sure I am eating healthy, exercising daily and taking time for myself because she watches and emulates everything I do.

I feel an overreaching moral responsibility to teach my child that eating is an ethical experience as well. We have a responsibility to the environment and to all living beings to breed plants and animals for consumption without adulterating them with chemicals. Even at the most basic level of consumption it is our responsibility to create a demand for ethically sourced and grown food. The kicker of it all is this food tastes amazing and once you know where to find it, it isn’t such a scary endeavor.

Welcome to the accumulation of everything I’ve learned and am continuing to learn. I hope you like it here.

-Marshie Boswell