Fitness Advocate Lita Lewis On How Getting Fit Helped Her Beat Depression And Her Beef With Waist Trainers

May 1, 2015  |  

 

 

At the insistence of one of my friends, I checked out the Body Blast Bootcamp of fitness advocate Lita Lewis. The Los Angeles-born, Australia-raised fitness juggernaut, who currently resides in Brooklyn but travels across the country to share her camps with hundreds of people, instructed everyone to meet at Fort Greene Park. After seeing her kick-a** body on her popular Instagram page, I knew I had to go and get my fitness on and be taught by Lewis and her killer thighs. But it wasn’t just your ordinary ol’ boot camp. I spent an hour doing froggy star jumps, jumping lunges, sprinting up and down stairs, doing high knees and squatting for my life. It was an excruciating 60 minutes, but damn if I didn’t feel amazing afterward!

Feeling motivated and uber impressed with my workout, I was interested in getting to know more about the woman who puts strength and muscles over simple bikini bodies with a side of a perched booty. I had the honor of chatting with Lewis, otherwise known as Follow the Lita and the woman behind the popular Body Blast Bootcamp, the Legs & Glutes Blaster training program, and the Abs Chiseler training program, about her fitness journey, her previous battle with depression, and how she became the sensation she is. And of course, she gave her two cents on everything from waist trainers to dealing with water weight and the right way to get some strong glutes. Find out what it means to be #ThickFit and get inspired to get it right and tight for the summer!

How Her Fitness Journey Started

After a relationship ended, it was a very unhealthy time. Now, in hindsight, I can look back and say that I did suffer from a deep depression. Life kind of felt not worth living. I found myself acting more like a robot. I would wake up, I would go to work, I would come home, and I would go to sleep. I would barely eat, and I would barely exist. I dropped a whole lot of weight in a short amount of time. Over three to four months I dropped close to 30 pounds, which is crazy right? It’s hard to shake five pounds off when I’m actively trying. So 30 pounds on somebody can have them looking drastically different. There’s a lot of people who would ask me if I was okay, and I found myself putting on this brave face, smiling and telling them everything was fine when I was truly suffering from depression.

One morning I woke up and I was getting up to get ready for work. I went to my bathroom and when I caught a glimpse of my reflection, I remember being terrified because I could barely recognize that person. I slumped to the ground and started weeping and crying. I thought to myself, “It’s time to move back to Australia.” At the time I had been living out here by myself and loving life, but when everything went bad I felt like I needed to go home and be around people who could support me and help me get healthy if I didn’t have the strength to do it on my own. But I also didn’t want to do that because my pride and my ego said no. I equated that to failure, and I don’t like to fail at anything. So I remember calling in sick and telling my boss I needed some time, which he was happy to give me because he too was recognizing my spiral down from being depressed. The one thing I could think of was going back to my track and field days. I thought, “I should go to the gym. I know a good workout would make me feel better.” I remember giving that workout everything I had. I was in the gym for three to four hours going HAM, looking stupid. But it was after that workout, I remember showering and going, “Oh my gosh, I’m hungry.” I hadn’t been hungry and had an appetite for months so I remember going out and eating like I was feasting for five men and eating really good food. That kind of stopped everything: Going to the gym and refueling my body became an addiction. And so I started doing this consistently and feeling a need to share it on social media. During that time, I just started on social media. I was just sharing the food I was eating, little workout things I was doing. During that time, I also took some time off from my job in the corporate world to travel. I was traveling by myself to different parts of the world. There were humbling things that really put everything into perspective. So here I was crying about heartbreak when I’m witnessing things like women who can’t afford to feed their children. I thought, “Oh wow, there’s actually real sh*t going on in the world.” It also sparked my interest in reading more. So not only was I working out consistently and feeding my physical health, but traveling, reading, meditation, prayer, these were feeding my mental and spiritual health, which was just as important. My mind was still dealing with the depression, dealing with all this other stuff. I wanted to start feeding my mind so I could get healthy mentally and spiritually. This all became something I shared on social media. That’s how it became what it is and evolved.

Why She’s For Strength Over Skinny

I posted a before and after picture and the before picture was me at maybe 135, the lightest I’ve ever been in my adult life. This was when I was unhealthy and depressed. I lacked strength and any sort of confidence. Then there was the picture of me today at 165 and 5’5″. I can sprint faster and squat 255 for reps, and people bashed me! They were like, “Well sh*t, I’m trying to get to your before picture. I can’t relate to this.” I said, that’s a misconception. I was unhealthy. It doesn’t matter what I looked like, my strength wasn’t there, nor was my mindset there. This is something I have to bring to the forefront because I think people are so caught up on what they see visually rather than what is really going on inside.

I don’t shame anybody’s personal goals. But I don’t care to be skinny. That’s not something esthetically I care for. And genetically, I’ll never be very skinny. I won’t ever be that. So instead of trying to fight my own genetics and molding my body into something that pleases everybody else, what does Lita want? that’s when I was like, “Oh, I want to be strong!” I want to be fast, I want to be powerful, and I want to give women another definition of what it means to be fit and beautiful. A good percentage of many women in the United States, especially women of color, will never be able to identify with the 5’11” very skinny white woman who graces the cover of your favorite fitness magazine talking about five-minute abs. I think it’s really unfair that media portrays these ideals, but instead of getting mad, I thought I’d take Ghandi’s lead and be the change I wanted to see in the world. I really move in a space of leading by example. I tell women to be the best versions of themselves. We’re all built and created very uniquely and perfectly, but perhaps, we are carrying 20 or 30 pounds more than we should or that makes us feel comfortable. So whatever it is for you, just aspire to be the best version of yourself. I’m a work in progress just as much as everyone else is.

What Does It Mean To Be Thick Fit?

Thick Fit really isn’t about a physical form. I’m using the word thick. It’s what I identify myself with, but it really speaks to not just a physical thing, but a mentality that says I totally and proudly accept who I am. I’m a thick girl, I’m always going to be thick. I train in a certain way and style to maintain my thickness. But just because I’m thick, that does not mean that I can’t be fit. So I combined the two, which is funny because I just randomly started doing it. It wasn’t like, “I want to start hashtagging Thick Fit on everything.” People just started seeing that in my hashtags and it became its own brand, which I was super proud to support and be the engine behind. People ask me, “What about the skinny fit?” and I’m like, Skinny Fits are part of this too. It’s just about the mentality of being proud of your curves and the body type that you carry.

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