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Why Age Is No Excuse

If you’ve checked out my Feel Amazing Naked program, you may know that I truly believe anyone can look and feel their best, no matter their age. And the same goes for you! Age is no excuse, and here’s why.

My Own CrossFit Beginnings

I found CrossFit at the ripe age of 30. At 6 weeks postpartum, I was 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, I’m both 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. I remember how 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 “Really?”.

I’ll be honest, I had a major internal struggle. She was almost 60 and had not been an athlete her whole life… at all (although she will tell you that 1 semester of college cheerleading qualifies)/ I was scared for her, especially because 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 was the one place I got 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 that 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 and 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.

She didn’t 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.”

Age Is No Excuse

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 every day. Her day actually starts at 5:30 in the morning.

She is rarely the fastest or lifts the heaviest and it doesn’t bother her in the slightest. My mom is there for other reasons, ones that far exceed either of the aforementioned ones. She’s 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’s 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. Second to smoking, a lack of fitness is linked to the main reason for the early cause of death. 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, and actually shift the genetic makeup of muscle. Why would you ever want to miss out on all of these benefits?

It’s A Cycle

Not only did CrossFitting make my mom 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.  My mom 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. When all of those aspects of life are supported by good nutrition and fitness, they 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.

What’s a goal you’ve set for yourself this year? Have you achieved it?

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

 

Why Confidence Trumps Composition

Our emphasis on fitness and nutrition results focuses primarily on aesthetics.  The flawless six-pack, sculpted legs, and well-defined delts remain the biggest indicators of perceived health success. Love it or hate, that is just how it is. We as humans are a social species that care about what others think of us. And many times, we care too much. Humans rely on aesthetics for so much of what we love about our lives. We use visual attraction to judge our potential mate, how we choose a meal and the type of products, we buy. It’s human nature. In fact, it is nature in general.

Is it in our DNA?

I taught biology and anatomy to hormone-ridden teenagers for 10 years and so many of my lessons still remain fresh in my mind. A great interest always erupted in class when we began to discuss the behavior of animals. We talked about the crazy, and not so crazy things, animals go through to impress their potential mates. The male peacock and his beautiful display of feathers to attract a mate, the funky mating dance of many species of birds to gain the attention of female birds, and the size of a bull elk’s antlers that impress a female are just a few.

My point here is appearance matters because it is a part of our DNA, literally. It’s my own opinion that every human being has some degree of concern about their appearance whether they admit it or not.

The Start of a Downward Spiral

I would be lying through my teeth if I didn’t agree that looking fit wasn’t a priority to me too. I am in my mid-thirties and I’ve come to realize it is a time of lots of reflection and continual learning about myself.

My husband and I were lucky enough to get pregnant quickly when we began trying in our twenties. Literally the first month. We were excited beyond measure but held our secret from our families until after our first ultrasound. The sight of the first heartbeat was an experience that you can never really put into words. It made me feel that I was put on earth to be a mom.

Things were amazing, I felt great, was gaining weight well, and had mentally started planning for the future. We went in for another ultrasound at thirteen weeks only to be hit by a truck with the most devastating news of our lives up to that point. There was no longer a heartbeat. For me, there was no longer purpose. My body had begun to change, my heart began to feel a love I hadn’t ever imagined and I had already embraced pregnancy fully. Now, it felt like it was for nothing.

I Stopped Taking Care of Myself

I let myself go, barely moving off the couch and I just couldn’t get past the thought that I may never be a mom. Again we tried and lost. And finally, our third time was given the gift of our daughter. I don’t share this for pity because I know many women suffer more loss than I did. I share this because I know that so many women have shared this same experience or similar ones. That so many women have given up their bodies in the name of becoming a mother. Some forever and some for only a short time.

The sacrifices both physically and emotionally have been worth every moment of grief I had experienced once I held them in my arms. And just like this experience, there are many more just like it, where people find themselves lost, hurting and in a place they never expected.  They let themselves go and with it, all their confidence goes too.

The Reality

All the mushy stuff aside, after being pregnant several times, having 2 children, nursing 2 children, and gaining too much weight during those pregnancies, self-confidence was not my friend. I looked in the mirror and felt embarrassed. Embarrassed about how I had let myself go. I had allowed food to control my emotions. I’d become embarrassed that I lacked the confidence to stand in front of the man I loved naked and vulnerable. I bought baggier clothes, I hid from myself in the mirror and most of all, I hid from confident intimacy with my husband. I no longer felt visually attractive and I was not confident.

Getting Your Mind Right

It took me time, a few years of time to gain back my confidence.  I found CrossFit, found food balance, and changed my mindset. Confidence is defined as “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.”  It is a word I have seen personally break someone down so much that they could barely find air to breathe. It is a word that I want to model to my own kids so strongly because for their entire lives they will face people who try and tear theirs down. It is a feeling that only you know if you possess.

A Turning Point

When I changed my style of eating and my perception of food my body began to change in ways I had never imagined. I’d worked my tail off at the gym for years and nothing, not even 1 little ab poked through. Now at 34, my body composition reveals that I work hard in the kitchen and at the gym.

I don’t want to look fit for anyone else. I want to look fit for myself. The change in my confidence as a woman has been empowering.  The feeling of putting on a bikini and owning it, the feeling of standing in front of my hubby butt-naked and feeling HAWT (sorry mom and dad) and the feeling of crushing a workout at the gym have all helped to build my confidence.

And you know what?

It makes me so badly want that for other women and men too.

I Want You to Feel Confident

I want people to be completely confident in their own skin. To not feel judged by what others think they should look like, but be guided by the confidence they have of their own self-awareness.  Some may read this and completely disagree. My answer — I am just being honest. Getting to a place in life where you begin to not care about what others think is liberating. I am talking about that place where your confidence in who you are surpasses the need to think twice about what others do. That place is starting to feel really good.

(Ready to feel more confidence in your own body? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

Why Confidence Trumps Composition

As I left my son’s football practice last week a stranger stopped me. She said, “beautiful arms mama— you look strong.”  She honestly left me speechless, I didn’t know what to say.

My reaction was completely anti-climatic, a quiet “Thank you.”

When inside it was so much more. It was gratitude in her confidence to tell me what she had, gratitude for reassuring my confidence in who I am, and gratitude for sharing that special moment in front of my children.

By pursuing goals to change body composition I’ve learned it isn’t really about composition at all. It is about gaining control of what you want, who you are, and the confidence in your ability to do so. That confidence pours into all areas of your life when you have it and creates an unstoppable cycle of awesomeness — in fitness, in nutrition, in parenting, in love, and in friendships.

In my opinion confidence trumps composition any day. What do you think?

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

The Awesome Couple

“First of all let me say this has been an amazing 10 months for both my husband and I.  Honesty we had little to no expectations and went in blindly trusting Amanda.  I was bored of Paleo and I was at the point where I was not seeing any more changes in my body composition.  We wanted something different.  I am the “that” person – we all are right? We are busy – plates full, work full time, full-time mom of 3 and Crossfitter…and for extra fun I train for marathons.

I have been truly fascinated from a metabolic standpoint that I went from 1400 to over 2000 calories and lost 15 pounds.  It’s actually crazy – most “outsiders” don’t believe me. So when people ask, “Is it easy?”  or say “I don’t have time for that” my comment is it’s not easy: it’s work, commitment, and consistency. But nothing in life is easy. But this is SO worth all the effort. Now 10 months later it’s becoming second nature and it’s “easy”.  I love the flexibility.  It is actually freeing to me.

Lastly, as with any lifestyle change, one of the most important things for success is accountability- that’s Amanda. I felt accountable to her, confident that I could trust her on this journey. We are so thankful for all her help!”

-Vanessa,

M.D./Mom of 3/Crossfitter

Want to read more client success stories like these?  Click HERE!

Stronger Than Ever

“I thought that exercise was enough to lose weight but quickly realized without good nutrition to back up all that hard work, I would get nowhere.   Macro counting was tough at first.  I had no concept of portion sizes.   Once I got the hang of the portions and my awesome nutrition coach Amanda educated me on some great recipes, types of foods to buy, and where to buy them things fell into place. While some would say that weighing & measuring everything and prepping meals is too time consuming, I say in the grand scheme of things it really isn’t.  I have three kids and my own business and I still always find time to plan and track.  That little bit of extra time is so worth it!

With the macro counting, I can see how my body reacts to things like eating out, drinking alcohol, working out, and even my cycle.  I see how eating out two to three times a week seriously impacted me.  Even eating at places with “good” food like Chipotle would affect not only the scale but how I felt the next day.  That doesn’t mean you can never eat out.  After all, it is called “flexible” dieting.  You can eat out, go on vacation, and even blow it one day but getting back on track and keeping consistent 90% of the time is the key.

How am I now?  Migraines are gone, insomnia gone, acid reflux and ulcers gone, fatigue- only when I do a huge kick butt workout! Best of all, I am currently 46 years old at 161l bs and a size 8 and dropping!  I can run and play with my 7 year old and not be out of breath, fatigued or in pain.  I am stronger now than I have EVER been.  I am in the best shape of my life and getting better every day.   My only regret is that I didn’t start sooner!”

-Michele

Mom, Business Owner

Crossfitter