I started my fitness journey in 2011 when I was staring my 50th birthday in the face and I realized how unhappy I was with who I was physically. I was tired all the time and when I was in the gym, it didn’t make me feel any better. I was out of shape – morbidly obese – and it was affecting both my personal and professional life.
I knew I needed to do something different. That’s when I walked into the gym near my office and asked for help. Luckily, when I finally took this action, I was teamed with Adam Grubb as my trainer. I say lucky for a couple of reasons: first, he listened to what was really motivating me to even walk in the gym and ask for help – he listened to understand the problem I was trying to solve (improved health and not necessarily weight loss); second, while he has constantly challenged me over the past 3 years, it has never been so much that I’m discouraged; and, finally, he makes it fun. I have changed my goals over time, from better health to weight loss and stamina to our current focus on reduced body fat and greater strength.
Over the years, nutrition has always been a part of our discussions – talking about the previous months highs and lows, good and bad choices as well as what I want to focus on in the current month. I use an online food diary. At first it was to just track what I ate to better understand my diet, be aware of what I was eating. Then I used it to track calories to accelerate my weight loss but that quickly morphed into tracking the percent of carbs, fats and protein I consumed. I have consciously shifted away from fats ( <20%) and toward proteins (30-40%) , while keeping the carbs at 40-50% of my food, as long as the sugars are low. I am constantly looking for new low fat, tasty foods to incorporate into my diet – I am now on a baked sweet potato kick for my afternoon snack, teaming it with a couple of ounces of chicken and a scoop of wild rice and quinoa. Quest Bars have been a huge help to me as I made this change in my diet. Their high protein, low sugar composition, their density which made me take time eating them and their great taste which satisfies any craving for sweets, make them a TRIPLE THREAT in my fight to get and stay fit.
Employing all of these tools — Adam’s guidance, a commitment to eat more healthful foods and the amazing support from my husband — I am 110 pounds lighter than when I started this journey. In the last sixteen months, I ran my first 5K, quickly moving on to my first Tough Mudder a month later – crazy I know but trainer, husband and friends all said I could do it and I believed them! I finished and while I didn’t complete every obstacle or run the entire 12 miles, I FINISHED. And I have kept challenging myself ever since: three half marathons, two more Tough Mudders, a mini triathlon, and a slew of 5Ks. The rest of 2014 is filled with similar challenges and I am even contemplating putting a team together for a Ragnar relay race – 200 miles over 30 hours.
So a little more about why my fitness journey was different this time. I like challenges, they motivate me. I hate to be mediocre at what I do. And I thrive most when I get supportive coaching. As I walked into that gym to ask for help, I believed that I would never be more than mediocre in the gym, at running, at sports. Adam seemed to understand both my need to be good at what I do and how I was feeling about my physical abilities and he used that knowledge to get the best performance out of me. He has set goals that seem just beyond my reach. Setting a goal of an XX minute mile or YY reps at a certain weight and then having to say I didn’t make it? That is not something I like doing, especially if I believe it is a reasonable goal. The work itself has been well paced and varied. I’m never bored with our workouts. Having a coach that gets my psyche, challenges me and doesn’t let me get bored has been critical to my success.
What also was different this time was the support I got from my husband, family, friends and work colleagues. My husband has encouraged me to make time in my life for me. He has made it easy to say these 10, 15, 20 hours every week are for me. In fact, he is now running again and participating in 5Ks together. And we are now biking every weekend too. He is my number one fan at all my runs, Mudders, tri’s! I also have amazing friends who have challenged me and found me new events to try. And my colleagues at work have been encouraging and flexible when it comes to scheduling meetings so I can squeeze in a workout or ordering more healthful foods for our meetings.
At the end of the day, the combination of 1) admitting I needed help and taking action, 2) getting paired with a coach who understands how to get the best out of me, 3) having the support of so many people in my life to make changes in that life, 4) changing what I ate to meet a macronutrient profile and not count calories, and 5) giving myself permission to spend time and resources on ME — has changed my life……And I can’t say enough about how much fun the past three years have been. I just turned 52, I am in the best shape of my life and I love how much energy I have to tackle…..ANYTHING!