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I have been a lifelong athlete and growing up I participated in almost every sport possible. If it involved movement and competition I was there. Like most of us, when I graduated from college, my involvement in competitive sports became limited so I just exercised to stay fit but without any real goal other than to stave off weight gain and be healthy.
Like many other people I knew , my attitude about working out became more about using it to keep from getting bigger and allowing me to eat what I wanted and staying “fit.” I lived according to the “eat less burn more” mantra. Though I loved working out and was fairly regular about it, what I did in the gym didn’t seem to make keeping weight off easier. Eating less seemed impossible after putting out hard efforts in the gym. Plus working out in order to just lose weight and stay “fit” made me not like exercising as much. All that work and no results – why bother? Though I never had a huge weight issue, I always wanted to be about 15-20 lbs lighter and didn’t want to have to worry about gaining weight if I stopped exercising or ate the wrong thing.
Then I got pregnant. Though many women love being pregnant and feel great for those 9 months, that was not my experience. I didn’t get a cute round tummy and glow with happiness. I blew up everywhere like a tick and felt like hell. I didn’t want to move and I gained more weight by the day – much more weight than was recommended. It was totally out of my control. Rinse and repeat 2 more times and, though I wouldn’t change it for the world since I have 3 amazing boys that I love dearly, after 3 pregnancies and 3 C-sections my body was a wreck, my back went out and I felt disconnected with my identity as an athlete. Maybe this was the price of having kids or getting older? But I couldn’t accept that.
I went back to the gym with a vengeance and though I lost some of the weight I had gained and started feeling like I could move again, something was missing. I missed the community of a team and the lure of a goal greater than losing weight. Working out with no other purpose than to lose weight or stave off weight gain? Ugh.
Then I got injured. Not from exercise but from backpacking. It was a foot injury which meant no running or CrossFit type workouts. This got me back into the pool swimming laps (which I hadn’t done since I was a kid on the swim team) and onto a bike with a small cycling group. Cycling was something I had never done competitively. Though I was sad to not be running, I found myself part of two small groups and had fun being a part of their communities. Before I knew it someone got me to do a small triathlon race. I won that first race and was hooked. I had found a community of people, a competitive outlet and a purpose to my workouts. It was the start of quite an adventure!
Now that I was looking to get better at all these three sports, I started to research and experiment and learn all I could from a variety of sources – coaches, podcasts, doctors and other athletes. The biggest learning curve for me was in the area of diet. A slave to the “calories in calories out” paradigm since my earliest memory, I found that many people now posed the idea that maintaining or losing weight wasn’t all about calories or working out more, that fat wasn’t the enemy of perfect health and that caffeine wasn’t the answer to energy problems. I was fascinated to learn that one’s diet can change every aspect of health from performance, depression, energy, movement and well-being.
I used myself as a guinea pig and experimented with my diet and my training program. The work I did in training paid more dividends with how I performed and felt. My energy was up and my weight stabilized without effort.
It seemed everyone I knew, athlete or not, had issues with energy, weight gain and injury (usually knees or back.) I started sharing what I was learning with others and they often had relief of their symptoms. In fact, some people had life changing results from simple supplementations or diet changes.
I for sure am not an expert in health and diet, but I love helping guide people to try and find solutions to feeling better. I love coaching people to reach their athletic goals – whether that is for someone who has never competed at all and is wanting to an exercise plan or more life-long athletes completing an Ironman triathlon (and staying healthy while doing it.) It isn’t about putting mind numbing hours in at the gym and depriving yourself. It’s about moving as you were meant to, eating as you were meant to and feeling like you have the energy to live the life you want to and have fun while doing it. I had many great coaches along the way that inspired me and taught me to reach beyond my grasp athletically. I am passionate about helping others, as my coaches helped me, to become more confident and push beyond the limits I thought were impossible.