,

Client Success Story: Progress Is Greater Than Perfection

Client Success Story: Progress Is Greater Than Perfection

Age: 40

I feel lucky to have taken such a gamble in life, leave my teaching profession and be able to do what I do now.  The thing I miss about teaching is the true connections I had with special students along the way.  I’ve come to find that there are certain clients that just connect with you and can be open, honest and are ready to do the deep dirty work to change their life physically and mentally.  This week’s success story is one such client.

I’ve connected with her deeply and her progress has come in so many forms.  Her transformation is impossible to capture in a photo.  Yes, she has lost weight but all of her change has come from really doing work on the inside.  She came from a dark, challenging place and dug deep to regain her confidence, take risk in the gym and get way outside her comfort zone to finally find real happiness.

 

Here Is Her Story:

“Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky in life. I know I am truly blessed. I have a great job, a wonderful husband, healthy children, and supportive friends and family. People might look at me and think she has everything she could ever need to be happy! Well, here’s the problem: I wasn’t happy. I really disliked what I saw every day in the mirror: the reflection of someone who was unhappy, afraid of not meeting expectations, and wondering if my best would ever be “good enough”.

A Period Of Self Reflection

I blame myself for most of my issues. You see, I admittedly am a type A personality, and as a result my whole life I have been goal driven, demanding perfection in all areas of life. I wanted to be the perfect daughter, student, and health care professional. Failure was not an option. I thrived on having many balls in the air, and I felt like I could juggle anything.

I applied this same mindset to other areas of my life. When I felt I needed to lose weight or participate in sports, I figured out a way to do it no matter what the cost. I just wanted to succeed. However, as the years flew by, my responsibilities changed. I became a mother and a wife, my goals became harder to reach, and with each achievement the satisfaction I expected to feel became less momentous. I worked harder to reestablish that feeling, stacking on the challenges and responsibilities, and without knowing I began to set myself up for failure. I was not used to being unsuccessful and I’m not going to lie – it felt horrible.

Where we go stems from where we begin…

Over the years I have come to understand that life is a partnership between external and internal worlds. It’s human nature to find ourselves working to change our outside world in an attempt to achieve “happiness” or the “perfect life”, but as we concentrate on the outside factors we can change, we often forget to work on our inner selves.

So, like most people, I began to search for a “better life”. Two years ago, I moved to Phoenix. Unfortunately, right after I moved I went through a year of challenging medical issues. I was unable to workout, and fell into a deep depression. Weighing in at nearly 175 lbs (on my small frame), I was at my highest weight and in the worst shape of my life. I knew something had to change. I took a big step and decided to take on CrossFit. I have never regretted that decision. Over the last year, I gained a second family and a new lease on life, but most importantly, CrossFit led me to Amanda.

Don’t get me wrong. Amanda is an excellent macros coach. Over the last 10 months, she has helped me gain a healthier relationship with food and taught me how to manipulate my intake safely to meet my goals. She has been supportive, honest, and genuine. However, to me, Amanda has so much more to offer than just her knowledge of food. She is more than just a macros coach. She was and still is a life changer. 

A Change In Mindset

Through regular communication, Amanda helped me realize that although I could manipulate my external world to create my perception of a “perfect life” that I myself was remaining unchanged. She showed me how we all play a part in our own happiness and that nothing ever truly changes until you change yourself. You have to face yourself head on and put a STOP to self-limiting and toxic ways of thinking. She helped me discover that you have to be willing to accept yourself just as you are before you can start working towards transforming into that person you want to be. She helped me realize it’s okay not to be perfect, we are going to fail sometimes, and that in each so-called failure there is an opportunity to grow and try again.

You Are Your Own Compass

Amanda also taught me that you can only reach your goals if you truly believe in your own ability to change. You must have self-determination and can’t just hope for the best. She helped me see that in any transformation process, you are going to get out of it what you put into it. Amanda has always been able to kick me into gear when I needed it most, while still be a gentle listening ear and keeping me in line. She warned me going into this process that there would be times when it would seem to come along seamlessly and others where I might feel I was drowning in quicksand. I experienced all of this and she was right there to help me. She was never more than a phone call or email away. I have had ups and downs throughout this entire process in life and the gym. She reminded me that this was all part of the process of transformation, and as I gained faith and self worth, I would find it easier to implement and maintain change- she was right!

A Bright Future

But most importantly, Amanda has taught me that transformation occurs through daily individual actions. There’s no quick fix – change has to be sustainable. There is no final goal to be reached. Transformation is a LIFELONG process that takes time, dedication, and support from everyone involved. Amanda has helped me change my mindset in life and given me the tools I need to set and meet realistic goals. I am so grateful for her guidance. Because of Amanda, I know I can work every day to get closer to the person I want to be. I am able to comfortably reflect on where I’ve been and how far I have come. I am, for the first time in a long time, truly happy.

 

Are you ready to start somewhere and make a change? Click HERE to learn more about how to make small steps to big progress!

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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Client Success Story: The Warrior

Client: The Warrior

Age: 42

Timeline: 12 Weeks

 

Confidence is one of the most powerful tools in our personal “self toolbox.”  It can push us to do extraordinary things and it can tear us down into a million pieces.  When we lose our sense of self through a major life event it’s extremely difficult to get it back.

Nutrition is more than scale weight and before and after pictures.

It’s about rediscovering the confidence you have inside so that it shines on the outside.  This week’s client success story faced a battle that so many women face today. She did it with strength and grace but not without struggle.  The amazing part is that she dug deep, invested in herself when it was behind her and now feels (and looks) the best she ever has.

 

Here is her story:

“One of the biggest things cancer does is strip you of feeling like yourself.  It wrestles you into becoming less of you and more of it.  It tries to diminish who you strive to be and it leaves you feeling beaten up, tired and worn.

About this time last year I was feeling pretty good and doing well.  I was probably the fittest I had ever been, having committed to clean eating and CrossFit.  We had just returned from watching some of the fittest people on the planet compete at the 2016 CrossFit Games.  Not even a week later I felt a big hard lump in my breast and well, the rest is sort of a blur.

Mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies, xrays, MRI, and doctor appointment after doctor appointment.  Cancer quickly becomes a full time job.  Two surgeries followed by mandatory 8 weeks recovery after each one  left me with a very sedentary life especially compared to what it had been.

When I was finally able to work out again I found I had zero energy.  I can remember on multiple occasions having to sit out half way through the workout.  That had never happened to me before, not even when I was a CrossFit newbie.  Scale the workout-yes.  Sit out- no way.  I was heavier than I’ve ever been and had lost most of my muscle definition.

As much as I tried on my own, I could not get my body to let go of even a single pound.  My body had been through a trauma and it was not cooperating with me any longer. My fitness was a priority to me and I was not about to let cancer take that from me.

So at the end of my rope, I contacted Amanda.  And she began to work her magic!  She knew my metabolism needed reset, she knew I wanted to lose weight, and she knew it was important for me to have the energy and stamina to get through my workouts to rebuild my strength and cardio.  And she helped me achieve all those goals, in an amazingly short amount of time!

She always told me what to expect in the coming week so I never had to worry that things weren’t headed in the right direction.   She always encouraged me and made me feel like I was succeeding.  And above all, she always set the example with her own nutrition.  It truly felt like she would just send me a magic formula and if I followed it my goals were met.

Yes, I dropped over 15 pounds!  But honestly even more satisfying than that was the way my body composition changed.  Every week I saw significant change in how my body felt at the gym, how it looked in the mirror, and how my clothes fit- even on weeks when the scale didn’t move.  I felt like myself again and that has been huge for someone who at times wondered if I would always feel broken.

This hasn’t been a diet, it’s been a life change.  I no longer eat mindlessly or out of boredom.  I don’t make excuses that it’s okay if I overeat just because the foods I’m choosing to indulge in are “healthy and clean”.  I no longer expect my body to perform when I have not provided it with the proper fuel.  I see food and my nutrition as I should- a way to eat a balanced diet in order to live the life I want.  I still eat delicious food and a lot of it.

Honestly, I’m eating more calories than I ever have.  Ask my family how many times I say, “Look how much food I get to eat!”.  But I understand now the relationship between what I put in my body to get the results I want- whether that’s weight loss or more energy or achieving my goals in the gym.  I even succeeded in not gaining any weight on my vacation at the beach!  How often does that happen?  No vacation guilt or regret, and yes, I fit some treats in too.  It feels good to eat good!

It’s been about 12 weeks since I started tracking my macros with Amanda.  I reached my original weight loss goal in about 7 weeks and set a new goal after that!  In a few weeks I will be turning 43 and shortly after that I’ll be celebrating one year cancer free.

I can honestly say I am living my life as my best self.  I feel like I have my feet under me again, and I’m so excited to see where this leads me next.  I am healthier, leaner and stronger than I was even before my diagnosis, and for that I am incredibly grateful. “

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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Client Success Story: The Marathoner

Client Success Story: The Marathoner

Age: 33

Time Frame: 16 Weeks

 

Before and After

Before and after pictures “sell.”  I get that more and more as a coach and I personally think it sucks at times.  When someone is looking to make a nutritional change it is often scale driven.  I love it, as a coach when I have a prospective client whose primary goal for making nutritional changes is performance driven.  Whether it is to establish new personal records dead lifting, in a race or just in life, non-scale related goals are ones I really enjoy helping clients pursue.  They are often the undiscussed victories that can be even better than a scale goal.

 

When this client came to me ready to attack her next marathon using a nutritional strategy I was ecstatic.  She has realized that fueling her body for performance was a missing link and she was ready to invest in herself to reap the benefits. Her goal was to crush her marathon with a change in the scale as a byproduct.  Needless to say, both happened and she’s never looking back!

 

The moral to her story is that nutrition isn’t just about a number on a scale.  It’s about listening to your body, zoning in how you actually feel, where you feel empowered and the entire big picture of health.  Often when we spend time really fine tuning the non-scale victories we find that weight loss comes along with it.

 

Here Is Her Story:

“I began my journey with Amanda in January 2017 in preparation for my fourth marathon.  I had run three full marathons as well as several half marathons previously, however, I always felt like something was missing.  Longer runs would leave me completely drained in the energy department and I would most definitely need to rest/nap afterwards.  I found that I would “bonk” energy-wise around mile 20 and struggle through the last 6 miles of the race.  I would be very sore the next day, making sightseeing in new cities I was running in uncomfortable.

 

Greater Accountability

As a Crossfitter, I had heard the buzz about “tracking your macros” and saw the results it could provide- improved body composition, PR-ing lifts, flying through WODs with amazing energy.  I began to track my macros on my own just to see if it was a lifestyle I could follow.  I’ve always enjoyed eating healthy and meal prepping has been a habit I’d been doing for some time due to my work schedule.  I found that I could make my day look great in My Fitness Pal and meet all of my numbers then would eat cookies/snacks and not log them (silly, I know).  I knew I needed someone to help hold me accountable and having Amanda review my log weekly provided just that.

In just a few short weeks of working together, I noticed that my runs were becoming easy and the time it took me to recover was almost non-existent.  I could go for an 18 mile run and turn around and go for an 8 mile run the next day without soreness and with continued energy.

 

Food As Fuel

Fueling my body properly for training including pre-workout and post-workout meals was clearly what I was missing.  I learned what types of food made me feel the best and tried to stick to natural, whole foods to eat while running such as dried fruits and applesauce rather than gels and blocks I had previously used.

The day of the race, I felt more prepared for a marathon than I ever have before.  My pre-race nutrition was solid, my snacks were prepared and I was ready.  I felt amazing throughout the race and did not have my usual “bonk” at mile 20.  And the next day, no soreness at all – even went for a 3 mile hike!

 

Nutrition Was Key

I can’t believe it took me four marathons to realize that changing my nutrition was the key to my success.  This way of eating is not just a change I will make when training for an event, but a permanent lifestyle change.  I was convinced marathon number four would be my last but just signed up for number five!”

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

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Client Success Story: “50-ish Is The New 30”

Client Success Story: “50-ish Is The New 30”

 

Age: 47

Time Frame: 1 Year

 

Father Time

No matter how hard we try, we can’t stop time.  We have the choice to allow the aging process to deter us from making life changes with the “it’s too late mindset” or use it to drive us to find a better, healthier quality of life.

I am so grateful that the client I am highlighting this month realized she no longer wanted to walk the path of inactivity and unhealthy habits.  Instead, she made the choice to become the best version of herself at almost 50 years old.  She is a case of the chronic misunderstanding that less food=greater results.  The most exciting progress she has made is shifting her mindset to food as fuel.

This month I am excited to highlight a client who clearly makes 50 look like the new 30.  She is an inspiration to all women and proof that age is no excuse to never stop working on yourself.

 

Here is Her Story:

“At the age of 47, I have had 17,155 days to make decisions. Decisions that led to habits. Habits that led to reflections and reflections that led to insights. Those insights helped me realize I didn’t want to just exist because I was aging. With 50 looming near like the Grim Reaper, I felt a new sense of urgency in deciding if I was going to watch my body wither away or fight Father Time with all I had.

 

We Are Responsible

That decision was easy to make but I knew if I wanted to see real changes, I first had to accept that I was ultimately responsible for every one of those thousands of decisions. What I had done in my past in relation to my health and fitness goals was never entirely met. I realized that I had sabotaged my own progress by rationalizing every excuse to miss a workout or follow a meal plan.

If I was going to do this 100%, I needed to change my mindset. No longer would it matter if the holidays are coming, a vacation or simply a bad day. The time was now and I needed to stop getting in my own way.

 

I decided to join a gym that was completely different from what I had done before. Somewhere that pushed progress and had the structure I needed to remain consistent. I stepped out of my comfort zone and a CrossFit gym became my new home the second I walked in.

The atmosphere itself was unique from anywhere I had been. Members that were actually sweaty and out of breath. Pushing themselves to perform without giving up.  There would be no mindless cardio for hours. If you were there, you were working hard.  The coaches and members encouraged each other to keep pushing themselves. The positivity and kindness from all was addicting and created an equation that proved results in their commitment and physiques.

 

Missing Piece

I found the missing piece to my fitness puzzle with Coach Amanda. Not only was she a strong leader as a coach but she also trained others in nutrition. As I watched my fellow members begin to shed pounds, build muscles and increase strength and endurance, I knew I had to take the next step.

Amanda accepting me as a client was like winning the lottery.

I had found someone who was knowledgeable, promoted accountability and continually encouraged you to strive forward. She helped me not just track my intake but to understand what nutrients I need to actually fuel my body for performance. I learned how to plan ahead to promote success instead of guilt. She builds you up so you become accountable to yourself.  This was a crucial part of the process for me as I had to become comfortable in social events to make choices that supported my goals.

 

 

Not only did I lose 15 pounds and 3 pants sizes (smaller than I was in High School), but I lowered my cholesterol by 47 points and have 0% visceral fat (that awful stuff that accumulates around your organs and causes illness).

I am stronger, faster and more confident than I have even been.

The hardest part of this journey is that I wish I could take more people along with me.  I want others to understand what it is like to feel incredibly healthy on the inside and actually look in the mirror and love who you see.   To never want to crop a photo because it is proof of your progress.

I’m not afraid of tomorrow. I welcome it as it brings even further results.

 

My advice to anyone considering making changes is this. Do it now. There will never be a better time to build a better you than today!”

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

Awalk

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Client Success Story: The Runner

Client Success Story: The Runner

Age: 44 (and proud!)

Time Frame: 16 Weeks

 

The Supportive Hubby

Often times women get so much spotlight for success in their nutritional endeavors.  I love when a male client jumps into macro tracking, often times to support their wife, with a little hesitation and lack of interest.  It doesn’t take very long for them to become a believer in the process and become the motivator of the family.  Even more awesome is when a male client comes to me with performance goals not just scale or composition goals.

 

This month I am excited to highlight a client who is all these things: husband, dad, endurance athlete, CrossFitter, coach, ref and also has a full time day job.  He had zero excuses in his busy life and had an amazing transformation in mind, body and performance.

 

Here is his story:

 

“The year 2015 seemed to be the year that everyone was raving about tracking your macros. The results for those on “macros” were amazing. Still, I wasn’t enticed to track my food intake. I had every excuse in the book; I work too much, it is too difficult to track on all my business trips, I don’t need to lose weight and more importantly, I don’t want to be denied any of the foods that I like to eat.

 

For the first 8 months of 2016, my wife had a major health setback. When that was all behind us, she asked me to join her on her journey to get back in shape. In August of 2016, my wife and I decided to finally commit to the macro nutrition lifestyle. Secretly, I had no interest in tracking my food, but I was trying to be a supportive husband.  Amanda focuses on eating whole real foods and that fits my wife’s beliefs, so we chose to work with her as our macro coach.

 

Within weeks, I had gone from 210 lbs to 199 lbs. It was rare for me to see the scale under 200 pounds, so I was hooked instantly. Amanda and I reevaluated my goals after a few weeks since we had seen progress early on. This is when I told her I would like to go sub 190 lbs. It seemed like an unrealistic goal since I hadn’t been that weight since my college track days. To my surprise, I got there and more importantly, I felt great!!!

 

I felt like I had reversed the clock 20 years. My energy level had increased 10-fold. I was sleeping better and was far more productive at work. With all this new found energy, I decided to go after my running goals (mile, 2-mile, 5K and 10K) that I had set back in 2010 but was never able to obtain. (Actually, my 2-mile goal of sub 12 minutes was set in 2000). It took me 17 years to finally achieve that goal with a time of 11:40.

 

For the first time in my 40-plus years of life, I finally understood the nutritional value of real food. I couldn’t believe how easy it actually was. If only I had this knowledge before my college track days. Sadly, I would fill myself up on convenience store burritos before track practice and went big before track meets at….Taco Bell!

 

Not only was running fun again, but I was blazing through all my personal running goals.  I was hitting times in those races that I honestly thought were unattainable. It just wasn’t the weight loss that helped me achieve my personal best times; it was that my body was able to train more and with higher intensity than before. I recovered faster between training sessions and was filling my body with healthy carbs, fat, and protein that generated more energy. As an added bonus my body was finally free of chronic aches and pains.

 

This kind of eating just made sense to me. I handle my finances the same way. If I stay within my budgeted numbers, great things happen. Amanda was instrumental in devising the perfect plan for me and adjusting the plan as my body was progressing.  Amanda’s coaching was a lifestyle change that has made all the difference in how I now view food nutrition.”

 

Looking for tips and resources to get started on your own nutritional journey?

Check out my FREE Resources!

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

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Don’t Be Afraid To Be A Beginner

Don’t Be Afraid To Be A Beginner

In second grade I remember being afraid to do a penny drop from the monkey bars because I didn’t know how. I didn’t want to look silly in front of my friends who could nail the penny drop.  For those of you who don’t know, a penny drop is when you hang upside down from the monkey bars by your knee pit (yes…it is a word) then plummet to earth while rotating one hundred eighty degrees to land on your feet.

 

So, do you know what I did?  

 

I played soccer, tether ball, basketball and completely avoided the monkey bars.  I never learned how to do a penny drop and honestly, I regret it to this day.  I was afraid.  Afraid to fail and afraid to admit that I was a beginner and needed help.  I have been afraid of this my entire life.  In fact, I am a bit afraid even writing about it because I am admitting it for the world to know and that feels nauseating.

 

Self Realization

I realized a few years ago this has been a theme my whole life.  I’ve always wanted to seem like I knew what I was doing.  Not because I wanted to impress anyone but because I was afraid to admit that I didn’t know.  That if I admitted I didn’t know someone would think I was a failure.  And one of the things I hate most in life…failing.

 

This self-realization came when I began to CrossFit.  I know what you are thinking…not another CrossFit obsessive story.  But just hear me out…

 

Crossfit is humbling.  You essentially try a whole bunch of new movements that your body has never done for consecutive days and realize that the athlete you thought you were, has left you.  Your body is expected to move in ways it never has and do it efficiently, effectively and gracefully.

 

I was none of those things in the beginning.  So, I became obsessed.  I wanted to be good at every single movement…in fact, the best.  I was a runner, a cardio queen, but not a weightlifter. I practiced at home and stayed at the gym extra hours to increase my skill level.  I began to throw more weight on the bar in an effort to compete with the best with a total sacrifice of correct technique.  And I did that for a long time.  Until I realized, I wasn’t really getting better.  In fact I hit a huge plateau.  I had been lifting at the same weight for months and I had no idea why. So I worked harder with the same ugly technique and got nowhere.

 

Then it came to me.  I had sacrificed technique, the foundation, the beginning, in an effort to compete.  I had to change something in order to overcome this stagnation.

 

That something was admitting I was a beginner.

 

Starting Over

I needed to start over, from the ground up, and retrain my bad habits.  I had to put my pride aside, admit my faults and become a beginner by taking some big steps back before I could move forward.

 

Can you relate?  Have you been in this place in life before?

 

It isn’t easy.  It is an ego check and honestly embarrassing.  To top if off I am a CrossFit coach.  I needed a coach with more knowledge than I had at lifting to coach me, a coach.

 

 

When I had this epiphany about myself, I began to reflect at similar situations in my life.  I began to identify moments and opportunities that I missed out on because I wasn’t willing to be a beginner.  I wasn’t willing to admit I didn’t know because my pride was too big to admit I didn’t.  I missed out on learning more in college because sometimes I felt like I knew the content so well, when in fact I didn’t truly deeply understand.  I missed out on being a better mom at times because I often felt like I had mastered certain stages of their life, when in fact I hadn’t (and still haven’t).  I missed out on being a better wife because I didn’t want to admit to my husband that I was a beginner when it came to truly, authentically, connecting to his needs. There are more, many more that I know I could list.

 

I realized that I couldn’t be a Varsity player if I didn’t have JV skills.

 

So I made changes. I didn’t want to continue through life this way and more importantly, I needed to show my kids that you have to start from the beginning to get to the top.  I was at a turning point in my career and in my life and I knew I needed to fully embrace the beginning to become who I wanted to be in the end.

So…

I began to do more yoga to give mobility to muscles that were the foundation for movement.

 

I began to break my lifts into parts before I could work on the whole.

 

I began to read more to discover truths not just hearsay.

 

I began to ask other moms what worked for them because I don’t have all the answers.

 

I began to resist the urge to say “I know” in situations where I really didn’t.

 

I began to take more classes to learn from people whose experience could add so much value to my life.

 

I began to look inward and study spirituality.

 

I began to surround myself with people who really know more than me because I needed their presence in my life to make me better.

 

I began to experiment on my body and try new things…because to fail on myself would be the best gift of experience I could have.

 

I began to try to just simply be a better listener.

 

I began to be more intentional and present.

 

And the best part…I began to learn things I would have otherwise missed out on because I was afraid to be a beginner.

 

When I stopped trying to always be “advanced” I realize that being a beginner was awesome.  I began to see growth in my life, in my strength, in my heart and in me as a person.

 

I love when people come to me and admit they too are beginners.  That they are beginners in understanding how to fuel their bodies and allow me the opportunity to guide them in that journey.  Together we learn and each time I have the opportunity to be a beginner with them.

 

“Sometimes you have to take a step back and look at your life in order to take a step forward and move on in it” -Rashida Rowe

 

Don’t be afraid to be a beginner.  Checking your pride at the door and really admitting you don’t know opens up so many opportunities for growth in mind, body and spirit.  I still wrestle with that internal habit to say “I know.” But now I am aware and work to strangle that urge (most of the time) before it is spoken.

I encourage you to be a beginner too.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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What 35 years of experience has taught me…

What 35 years of experience has taught me…

I turn 35 this week.  I normally don’t care much about my birthday.  In all honesty celebrating and making a big commotion about it has never been my thing.  I am not a “birthday month” or even a “birthday week” kinda girl.  I like low key, being with my family and still having my mom make my birthday meal (and I know she loves it too).  I grew to appreciate my birthday, more for my parents, after having my own children.  The birth of my own children was the most significant day of my life and I can empathize with their feelings on my own birthday.

This year has felt different.  I still don’t need a birthday week or a month…but this year I do want to celebrate. The 35th year of my life has provided me so much growth that I feel like I am beginning anew in my 36th year of life.

In my 35 years of life I have learned to…

 

Read more

I’ve learned to invest time in reading.  I never read much as a child or even as a student, only the things I really “had to.”  Reading continues my path towards lifelong learning, it sets me up as an example to my children and it helps me to cultivate my craft as a mom, as a wife, as a daughter, a friend, a coach and as a human.

Fill my soul, not my calendar

I’ve learned to say NO.  Quite honestly, it was one of the greatest gifts of knowledge I’ve learned this year.   It feels liberating to say no to things that weren’t my absolute best yes.  To say no to things that wouldn’t leave me walking away any richer in mind, in conversation or in spirit is freeing. A quote from a book I read this year by Lysa TerKeurst entitled “Best Yes” still remains a constant reminder of this: “The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live determines how you spend your soul.”

Be OK with being uninvited

I’ve learned to be thankful to be uninvited at times.  I spent so many years with heartbreak from not being included, from being left out and from feeling less than.  I am done with that and I am moving on with gratitude for a far less busy schedule.

Slow Down

I’ve learned to slow down.  To get on the floor and build legos, color, bake and not rush through the day trying to always accomplish my “to-do” list.  I’ve learned to actually sit and snuggle with my husband while we watch a movie instead of doing laundry or making a shopping list. Tomorrow is a new day and some things will just have to wait.

Invest in me

I’ve learned to invest in self growth.  To read books and talk to people who challenge my perspective, who make me answer the hard questions…the ones you struggle to answer honestly to yourself.  I’ve taken time to not just do but really try my best to act intentionally.

Eat Quality Foods

This isn’t something that really just happened this year.  But in taking my business to social media, it has really made my passion for sharing it even bigger.  Spare no expense for quality foods in your life.

Set Goals

I’ve learned to set goals.  To physically write them down and cross them off my list.  If you don’t hold yourself accountable then nobody else will.  It doesn’t matter if you are 35, 13 or 61 you must have goals to keep you young at heart, to keep your brain active and to never allow your life to become stagnant.

Find Beauty in Simplicity

I’ve learned that I may never know how to contour my makeup, or know the best beauty tricks, or how to coordinate the best outfits.  It just simply isn’t me.  I used to feel like this made me less of a woman but now I realize I just have different priorities. I love t-shirts and jeans and cut-offs. I am simple, not fancy, and I’ve finally found beauty in that.

Know My Why

The moment I feel like I am floundering I have begun to realize it’s the moment I’ve lost my “why.”  I’ve learned I have to have a “why” to drive my passion or life gets idle.  Find your drive, your reason and when you do, things move in the direction of your heart.

Get Out of My Comfort Zone

This was my motto last year and will continue to drive me in the peak of mid 30s.  Nothing extraordinary comes from being comfortable.  It feels good and safe but you never grow from it.  I’ve done things this year that literally made me almost vomit from nerves and then I felt so empowered after.  I’ve grown my small business and taken it to social media, I’ve put my face on live video for thousands of people to critique, I’ve wrote and shared things that I can barely say out loud and it feels so dang amazing.  The greatest growth really has happened outside my cozy place.

I’ve Learned To do what makes me happy. Period.

 

Eat More Burgers

I used to hate them and I have no idea why.  But burgers have become my soul food. I’ve learned to enjoy them more.

Lift Heavy

I’ve learned that not doing cardio won’t kill me.  LOL.  I love running and met-cons more than anybody.  But–I’ve learned that getting strong, adding muscle, being bulkier and lifting heavier than I ever have is pretty darn gratifying too.

Accept the Mess

I’ve learned that it is okay to have a messy house.  If there is dust on the shelves, dishes in the sink and laundry in the baskets than I have more important things to do.

Narrow My Circle

I’ve learned to narrow my circle.  I just can’t be everything to everybody and nor can they to me.  The definition of friend has evolved for me and is a title I use less willingly these days.  I need friends who support me, who are honest and who will call me out when I need it.  Those friends are hard to find and thus, my circle has shrunk.

Be a Beginner

I’ve learned that it is okay to be a beginner and to admit that I don’t know.  This is a hard pill to swallow for me.  Surrounding myself with people who have more experience in life than I have will only bring more value to who I am as a person.  Going back to the beginning is sometimes necessary.

Pack His Lunch

I’ve learned that packing my husband’s lunch brings me peace.  I know it’s random…but it is one of the only ways I feel like I can prepare him for battle.  When he leaves the house, sometimes I feel so empty and unsure, but if I know I helped him be ready in some way then he will come home safe to us.

I’ve learned that mortality is real.  For years I’ve ignored it.  I no longer can.

Accept Food as food

I’ve learned that food is not who I am.  I’ve found balance in my nutritional life and I will never be able to help all people find that place.  In the meantime, I hope to help as many people who will let me.

Put Family First

I’ll admit, there are times in my life both as a child and an adult that I put my family second.  That I may have chose a social event with a friend over quality time with family.  That just won’t happen anymore.

Turn off the Radio

I’ve learned to turn the music off in the car and talk.  Our driving time is sometimes some of the most perfect moments to truly hear what is going on in the minds of my children.  As they get older, I know this time will become even more valuable.

Question Authenticity

I’ve learned that I can no longer subscribe to “fluffy.” Invest in confronting things that aren’t real.  I can’t preach it to my kids if I don’t do it myself.  Take time to stand up for what you believe in and for those that don’t have the courage or the confidence to do it for themselves.  I am finding peace in quality over quantity in so many ways.

Accept that I am Far from Perfect

I’ve learned that even though I’ve learned all of these things…that I am far from perfect.  I wasn’t always okay with not being perfect.  I like being perfect, being first, being the best and all those other totally OCD Type A personality traits (I know you know them too).  But the moment I accepted I will never be perfect was the moment life started to be REAL.

 

Cheers to 35 years of experience that I have gained, that I can share and that I can only hope my friends, my family and my children will come to know as well.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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The Gluten Free Life

Gluten Free and feeling FINE

I was six weeks postpartum and was lying on the floor in pain worse than labor pain.  I was convinced I was having a postpartum complication and was completely freaked.  The pain was so horrendous I couldn’t move, couldn’t function and worst of all, felt like a horrible mother. I had a newborn and a 2 year old depending on me and I couldn’t do anything to help them.  My mom guilt was in full effect. My husband convinced me to allow the kids to stay with my mom while he took me to the emergency room.  After an evening stay, I was diagnosed with (drum roll please)…an ulcer. An ulcer. Really?  So I followed the suggested low acidity diet and ate things like bread, crackers and pasta that somehow made me feel like they would neutralize the acidity. Days later…I was back lying on the floor in pain worse than the first episode.  We found ourselves back in the ER with no answers and an offer of a narcotics band aide.

After multiple episodes in a few week’s time, I was desperate!  I reached out to a gastrointestinal doctor for help.  He was my Knight in Shining Armor. After several diagnostic tests he suggested that I had a recent autoimmune shift since my son was born that led to non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. Huh?  This couldn’t be me.  I had zero food allergies my whole life. I had an iron gut. I was willing to try anything at that point.  So, I immediately kicked gluten out of my life and it was a game changer.  The pain stopped, the headaches stopped and all the other GI symptoms stopped too.  I was in total shock and 100% a believer. I’ve lived the GF life for 5 years now and have never looked back!

 

My Blog

All my recipes created for my blog and others I share are always gluten free.  It is honestly the only way my brain thinks nowadays.  It is also a reason clients seek me out–they know I can help them maintain a gluten free lifestyle and help them explore their own creative ways to make their favorite meals gluten free as well.

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The gluten free industry and market have grown exponentially since my diagnosis almost 5 years ago.  The range of products offered is amazing compared to when I began my gluten free journey.   That is why I am SO excited to have been invited to be a blogger for Arizona’s upcoming Gluten Free Expo, Saturday and Sunday, November 12th-13th, from 10-4 pm, in Glendale at the Renaissance Hotel and Spa.  The expo provides an opportunity for all people, including fitness and health consumers, to come together to share products and advancements in the gluten free industry.

 

Join ME

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Join me there to learn more and sample awesome stuff!  Click here to buy tickets for the event now and get 20% of your tickets through November 11th with code ADVANCE.  Check out my giveaway for 5 free tickets to attend the expo as well.

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Why Age Is No Excuse

Why being Old is No Excuse:

My Mom, a CrossFit Grandma

 

My Own CrossFit Beginnings

I found CrossFit at the ripe age of 30.  I was 6 weeks postpartum and desperate for a fitness change to get back into shape after 2 kids and the chaos that I had now called motherhood.  I was 100% intimidated, 100% nervous and 100% addicted the moment I started.  I have passionately loved the sport for 5 years now both as an athlete and coach.

 

My Mom, A CrossFitter?

My mom is the most amazing woman I’ve ever known.  She has worked since she was 14 years old, has had a successful career and somehow managed to never miss any activity I was in. She put every ounce of her soul into raising me.  She was a superwoman and I didn’t quite grasp that relevance until I had my own kids.  Like most women her age, she gave herself to being a mom, and as a result somewhat lost sight of her own goals, her own health and her mojo. When my mom came to me over 2 years ago and said “I think I want to try CrossFit with you,” I said  Huh? “Really?”  I’ll be honest I had a major internal struggle.  She was almost 60 and had not been an athlete her whole life…like really at all.  (Although she will tell you that 1 semester of college cheerleading qualifies.) I was scared for her, CrossFit isn’t easy.  It is high-intensity, gut-checking and both internally and externally competitive.  I didn’t know if she had it in her.  To be 100% honest… I share all aspects of my life with her and this is the one place I go to escape, to push myself, to challenge myself and to feel on top of the world for a brief moment in time.  I was nervous to let her into this CrossFit “cult” I belonged to. That moment of hesitation quickly faded when I realized she needed all of those things too. Needless to say, she’s never looked back.

 

The CrossFit Open

My mom’s love for CrossFit grew wildly.  She was showing up almost every day to complete the same workout surrounded by 20-and-30 somethings with rock-solid abs and bulging biceps.  I didn’t really think much about her success at her first workout or the ones the directly followed. Was I a horrible daughter for that?  Of course, I was proud and inspired by her courage but I never really paused to think about the greater significance of my Mom, the “CrossFitter.”  I really started to reflect on what being a “CrossFitter” truly meant to her months later, during this year’s CrossFit Open.  That’s right after CrossFitting for just over a year and at 60 years old she decided to give the Open a go.  She had no expectations, little CrossFit experience and really no clue. What she did have… was an attitude that she COULD participate 110%.  That turned out to be of more value than any experience needed.

 

16.5 Was More Than Burpees and Thrusters

I had the privilege of judging her for 16.5…the dreaded thruster and burpees over the bar combo (both her nemesis). I rolled out of bed early to come cheer her on, sleepy faced and completely unaware of the emotions that would soon take me over.  The timer counted down and she began.  We had a strategy for her survival and I guided her through it.  Small sets, slow and steady.  She struggled, a WOD face in full effect until every.single.rep was done.  My body shivered with the realization that this moment was so much more than any workout would ever be.  It was about her digging deep, going to a place she had little experience with, to prove that at almost 61 years old…she could.  It was about not allowing her age in life to stop her from doing things she never had.  It was a turning point for me as a spectator but more importantly, as her daughter.  Tears rolled down my face as she completed the last few reps because I was proud.  She was the last to finish and honestly, we were engaged in our moment together so deeply that we had no idea. For a few minutes of time, we switched rolls, and I fully embraced being the proud “Mom.”

 

Never Too Old To Compete

As if just being a “CrossFitter” wasn’t enough, she saw an opportunity to compete for the first time and took it.  She joined forces with another CrossFit Grandma and in a gym filled with experienced female CrossFitters, the two of them stole the show. They hit personal records that weren’t just “weight” based…they hit life records.  It didn’t matter how much weight was on that bar, they were satisfying deep rooted goals that most of us don’t even understand yet.  With every single lift the crowd roared and their eyes filled with shock and a clear passion for more.  It was as if they were the leaders in the CrossFit Games and the rest of us just couldn’t get enough.  It was a moment too hard to truly capture into words that we will all remember forever.

Reflecting

I get game gut showing up to workouts–you know the kind of nervous belly that makes you feel you aren’t sure if you have to puke or… (well, you know). The amount of courage it continually takes her to show up is only magnified.  And you know what?  She does it almost everyday…at 5:30 in the morning.  She is rarely the fastest or lifts the heaviest and it doesn’t bother her in the slightest. She is there for other reasons, ones that far exceed either of the aforementioned ones.  She is there to prove to herself she can.  She is there to be able to wrestle, swim, and get on the floor with my kids.  She is there to inspire the other 50+ men and women, and for that matter, all of us.  She is a testament to not allowing age to ever be an excuse.  If you ask her, she will tell you that the time she makes for this will give her so much time for life.

 

Why You Are Missing Out

My mom’s story alone supports the amazing life changes being active can bring.  Numerous studies done about activity in adults only further the cause.  Aside from the mental benefits of being active, research continually supports the need for activity in adults, especially those over the age of 50.  According to the American College of Sports Medicine , the benefits of a regular strength training increase cardiovascular fitness, reduce depression, increase bone density and lower insulin resistance (1).  Second to smoking, a lack of fitness is linked to the main reason for early cause of death (2). In addition, the benefits of progressive resistance training are so powerful that research suggests they extend beyond the basic improvement of strength and cardiovascular health, but actually shift the genetic makeup of muscle (3). Why would you ever want to miss out on all of these benefits?

 

It’s A Cycle

Not only did CrossFitting make her aware of her fitness it caused her to think about her eating habits too.  She wants to feel good every time she gets into the gym and wants to be able to recover fast.  She now thinks about what she is putting inside her body.  She loves the feeling of an awesome workout and knows the bigger importance of fueling her body at her age for more.  She still works a full time job, is a mom, is a grandma and has to deal with menopause (AAAhhhhh!!!!) and when all of those aspects of life are supported by good nutrition and fitness, they all are more rich because of it.

 

CrossFit Grandmas

It’s a revolution, a movement, a challenge to our ingrained aging perspective that we are too old at some point to pursue a goal.  I wrote this post because I know so many women, in their middle ages and beyond, think that they are too old to invest in themselves.  I am here to tell you that I’ve never seen my mom walk around with more confidence than she has now.  You get one chance to live your life the way you want it, every moment, until the end.  It is never too late to pursue your health; in training, in nutrition, and in mindset.  Let my Mom, and the many other “CrossFit Grandmas”, inspire you to believe in yourself, reestablish your worth and achieve goals you never even knew you had.

Join their movement…you won’t regret it!

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

  1. https://www.acsm.org/docs/current-comments/exerciseandtheolderadult.pdf
  2. https://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/longevity-982/only-smoking-beats-inactivity-as-an-early-death-risk-factor-study-suggests-713243.html
  3. https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/ageresistUNM.html