Friday, March 21, 2014

Feature Fridays: Rebecca Pytell

Happy Friday!  I hope that you are having a wonderful week, and making the time for health and fitness in your day.  Today's Feature Friday is from Rebecca Pytell, who is the blogger behind Strength and Sunshine, and like myself she found her love of strength training at a young age.  She shares with us how fitness and yoga helped to get her out of a dark time in her life.  Read on to hear more about Rebecca, then make sure to head over and check out her awesome blog.

Rebecca's story
I had been a competitive dancer for 13 years of my life.  The only thing I knew was dance, eat, sleep.  But once I got to high school I finally made the most difficult decision that was facing me and decided to finally stop and end my career.  After years of emotional abuse and treatment plus the extreme financial strain on my family, I knew I could not go on any longer with dance.  I needed to focus on my studies and ease the strain I had put on my parents for all those years.  But ending what was my life as I knew it did not make me feel happy or free.  I fell into a deep depression the summer before high school and rarely left the house, cried all the time and needed control.  I was also plagued by with the question of what I would do to get my fitness in.  I had never done any other sport or exercise besides dance, twirling and Pilates.

I needed something to escape in and allow me to enjoy moving my body like I always had.  I decided to join a gym and start strength training.  I had always wanted to and now this was my chance.  To my surprise, I quickly fell in love.  Lifting weights made me feel so powerful and I started to gain my confidence back and see the light out of the tunnel.  Losing myself with the barbells and dumbbells was perfect for me and I couldn't get enough.  As my love for fitness grew I also became an avid healthy living blog reader.  I loved connecting and reading with all the wonderful, strong, and inspiring bloggers out there.  So eventually, last summer, I decided to finally take the leap and start my own healthy living blog.  I now get to share my passion for fitness, food and healthy living with the community I fell in love with.

But during that time I also discovered the beauty of yoga.  Yoga is the number one thing that has changed my life the most.  After two years of self-practice, I have discovered such a love and confidence in myself.  I use yoga as a way to combat my anxiety and depression that still creeps into my life.  But I also use it as my new favorite form of fitness.  A strong powerful Vinyasa flow gets the heart pumping and the muscles working.  I have never felt bad after a yoga practice.  I only ever felt energized, alive, and at peace once I step off the mat.  Fitness is so important for everyone.  It really is a magical activity.  No matter what you do, make sure you love it and move your body everyday.  You will increase your confidence and self-love ten fold!

About Rebecca
Rebecca is a healthy living/fitness/food blogger at Strength and Sunshine.  She is currently a high school senior who will be going off to college in the fall.  She is looking into getting her 200 hour yoga teacher certification this summer as well so she can share her love of yoga with everyone.  Rebecca is also the social media manager as well as being an ambassador for Plant Fusion.  Through her blog she is also a new FitFluential Ambassdor, IDEA inspired blogger, Sweat Pink, Girls Gone Sporty, and MyYogaPro Ambassador.  She also writes for Pop Sugar Fitness and is a member of Recipe Redux.  Rebecca has Celiac disease and shares her recipes with her readers to show them that having a special diet does not mean restriction or lack of taste! 

Connect with Rebecca

Thanks to Rebecca for sharing her story of how fitness and yoga truly changed her life.  I look forward to reading more from her in the future!  She is a bright young girl with a great future ahead of her!  Wishing you all the best in college Rebecca!

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