I’m Selena, the voice behind Vine Styles’ social media and blog. I’ve been training and competing as a powerlifter for about 4 years. In that time I have spent a lot of time figuring out what ‘balance’ looked like in my life while I pursue two rather contradictory passions.
What does this have to do with wine? Well, once a month at my gym (The Strength Edge) there is an evening called ‘Women of Steel’. The event was designed to create community among women in strength sports (powerlifting, strongwoman and Olympic lifting) and women wanting to get involved but have no idea where to begin. Our September event marked the big, welcome-back-post-summer hurrah, so we did a wine tasting to celebrate. It got me to thinking a lot about two of my great loves: weights and wine, and all the challenges trying to pursue both has presented to me.
I’m sharing here, because at the end of the day it’s a really relevant struggle, it doesn’t matter if you do spin, yoga, Zumba or powerlift, balancing your fitness endeavors and your indulgences isn’t easy!
At first, it was fun. It was a challenge I embraced, but as my love for wine grew and my skill at powerlifting excelled, suddenly I was scrambling to manage both.
Working in wine retail means lots of long days, strange hours and the temptation to eat and drink is almost everywhere. A wine tasting here, a dinner there – don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing perk. But life can’t be all about indulging. Powerlifting on the other hand is an intense sport, if you’re even moderately serious about it you have to be dedicated to your diet and you need to follow your program otherwise you’re not going progress.
As someone who is intensely competitive, not progressing was never an option.
As many women do, I decided to really focus on fitness and ultimately, looking a certain way. I tried meticulously counting macros, which became an obsession. Every bite and every sip of wine had to be tracked and accounted for. I felt like I needed to “earn” my wine. Wine tastings and wine dinners became a nightmare as I’d fret for a week trying to shuffle around my training schedule and my “cheat meal” to fit exactly where and how I needed it to.
You know what doesn’t pair well? Wine and protein shakes.
Finally one day, after about a year of meticulous macro counting, I hopped on the scale nearing the end of a long weight cut. I was just shy of my goal weight. I was weaker as an athlete, I was grumpy all the time: I wasn’t enjoying lifting, and could hardly let myself enjoy wine. After all that work, my “ideal weight” didn’t look anything like the “dream body” I had worked so hard to achieve. So, in retaliation, I swung to the other end of the spectrum and stopped counting macros, started eating whatever I felt like and skipping the gym all too often and opting for wine instead. Neither extreme was viable for me.
It’s taken almost a year to find what I like to think is a fairly reasonable balance between the two. I wish I could say there was an easy formula to follow but at the end of the day I had to try a few different approaches to find what made sense to me.
Do things because they add value to your life.
These days I drink a fair amount of wine. But, I make sure my diet is well balanced. I prep my meals for the week every Sunday (usually sipping wine while I do so), I haven’t counted macros in over a year, though I’m pretty conscious about what I eat. Some days I eat a bag of chips for dinner and other days I snack on veggies all day. I make sure to take a day or two a week and not drink. I’m at the gym 4 days a week. I might not be the strongest or look like a fitness model – but, I do have my sanity!
While powerlifting and loving wine may not be conventionally complimentary, it’s their inherent differences that make them work so well together. So, I encourage you to find some kind of workout that you love, but never let it get in the way of enjoying your life!
Making mistakes like eating a bag of chips for dinner or missing a workout every now and then doesn’t make me a failure, it just makes me human.
If you’d like to learn more about powerlifting, my gym (The Strength Edge) or if you’re curious to see what my day to day life is like, find me on Instagram: @selenagaudet or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org