I am writing this in a cabin in the middle of nowhere in Maine, after spending the afternoon on bike riding down rural roads that wrapped through the woods into the unknown. With hills that hid their steepness and left me to question whether or not my old road bike could handle back country roads meant for ATVs. I am surrounded by dense rows of trees, mosquitoes the size of my thumb and lakes that act as their breeding grounds on both sides. This is our last day here at the lake after spending a week here, and I’ve taken the opportunity to turn this work “vacation” into a work “retreat.” When I return from Maine, I’ll be starting a new adventure. One I’ve daydreamed about for what seems like years, but didn’t decide to make a reality until one late afternoon in a bar in Atlanta, sitting across from one of my dearest friends, promising each other that we would stop doing what didn’t make us happy any longer in the next year.

And here I am, less than a year later and NASM certified.

Many people are often shocked when they here I play roller derby. “But you’re so little. And quiet!” Then they immediately make elbow-throwing motions and ask if I’m good at punching people in the face. It’s common to look at a roller derby player and immediately dismiss them as athletes. But that is what we are. Athletes who train hard and play through pain, risk it all for that glorious win and live to skate another day. Their curiosity always lies in how I started. It’s nothing fancy. A few years back for a girl’s night out, I bought us tickets to see a Windy City Roller bout. I leaned over to my friend and said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we did that too?” We joked about it for a full year before I talked her into trying out with me. Next thing you know, we became part of the roller derby world.

I wasn’t always an athlete. I played a short stint of basketball in junior high and was the smallest girl on the team. I spent most of that time sitting on the end of the bench and playing the last 2 minutes of every game. In high school the only extra-curricular activity I participated in was marching band as a flag girl. In college the closest I got to an activity of any kind was Filipino cultural dancing. After college, on a boring summer night a few friends and I got the crazy idea to start a dodgeball league. A few years after, the summer before I tried out for derby was the first time I actually committed to working out on a regular basis. It wasn’t until I got my ass handed to me during tryouts that I realized I needed to be the best athlete I could be. And now, I can’t see myself as anything else but an athlete. It’s amazing how a simple thought can turn into a standard you live the rest of your life by.

After these past few years of obsessing over form and function, constantly rebuilding training plans to find the right balance, researching all the exercises and debunking all the myths, I am so excited to share what I’ve learned and help you become the athlete you want to be.


AuthorLizelle Din