Good morning, darlings!
I’m blogging from home today, as we have yet another Level 3 Snow Emergency. Now, I must say, I’m happy to have a free day off work, but this much snow in the middle of March is very frustrating, especially with one of my favorite holidays approaching… I was really hoping for warm temps for St. Patrick’s Day. I mean, I would’ve even taken 45!
Anyway, I’ve decided to start a series called, A Community of the Committed. Basically, I wanted to highlight people in my community that inspire me and they themselves are focused to be fit! I sent them a questionnaire to fill out and they sent it back for me to post along with some pictures. Let’s get started.
First up is, Mary. She is such an inspiration to me. I loved reading her story and I can relate to her love for pizza, beer and of course, TURBO! However, I’m not a runner, so the fact that she’s run a marathon is crazy awesome to me! Plus the fact that she ran a half marathon, 12 week post opt, of brain surgery…wow, just wow!
1) At what age did you start enjoying fitness and incorporating it into your life?
I started enjoying Fitness around age 26. I had always worked out and been active, but at 26 I really committed myself to a healthy lifestyle and making it a part of my identity as a person. Within 6 months of starting to live a healthy lifestyle (I had lost weight, eating better, feeling good about myself), I became sick. 1 week after running my 1st half marathon I had an MRI done of my brain and was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation. This is where your cerebellum is entangled with your c-spine. For me, it caused some major neurological problems (blurred vision, slurred speech, numbness in my arms and legs) and in January of 2011 I underwent brain surgery. I was determined to not let that stop me. My biggest question to my doctors was: “When can I run again?” This question was met with a lot of uncertainty. I went in with a positive mindset and I was going REFUSE to go down without a fight. I was told 8 weeks off of work- I returned to work part time in 3 and full time in 5. I also ran a half marathon 12 weeks post opt surgery and turned around 30 days later and ran a 2nd half marathon earning a PR (2:15:14). In the moment that I was diagnosed I knew that I had to continue to live this healthier lifestyle, it had forever changed my life, and I never want to go back.
2) What or who motivates you to workout?
There are tons of things that act as motivators for me. I love being healthy, and the energy it gives me. I love being able to find clothes that look good and fit! I love being able to tell people about the adventures that running takes me. I love the feeling after a really good work out.
3) What is your workout of choice? Did it take you a while to find your soul-mate workout?
I have two “soul mate work outs.” My 1st soul mate workout is Turbo. I was a Turbo Jam lover right out of college (2007) and fell in love with Chalene’s newer program Turbo Fire when it was released. I can honestly say it is the one workout that I always seem to go back to when I feel as though I am in a rut. My 2nd workout of choice is running.
4) What do you love most about working out?
When I do a morning lifting or circuit workout it is time for me to jump start my day. Get moving and get motivated to make it the best day possible! Running a few miles after work is my decompress time. The time where I think about the day, let things go, and when I am finished I feel as though I can tackle whatever my evening has in store with a clear mind.
5) How did you find confidence to attend a new class/run a race/lift weights around guys/compete in a show? (whichever applies to you)
Attending a new class is something that I struggled with early on. Now I realize that if I go in with a positive attitude everyone there is in the same boat that I am. When it comes to signing up for races early on I had a lot of self doubt; “what if I can’t do it?” “What if I fail?” I learned to overcome that with telling myself I put in the WORK and now it is time to have FUN! Enjoy the course, give as many high fives as possible, and enjoy the moment at the finish line!
6) What’s your favorite part of your body or muscleto work and why?
I love working my arms and shoulders and fighting the underarm wave jiggle!
7) Do you have a membership to a gym or do you workout on your own at home? DVDS?
I do not have a gym membership. I rely on at home DVD programs- I think all of the ones I own are from Beach Body! Turbo Jam, Turbo Fire, Insanity, T25, and currently I am doing the 21 day fix. Over the course of the past few years I have built up my at home library. So if I am not solely focused on doing a complete program I have lots of options at my finger tips!
When it comes to running I rely on Hal Higdon. He is my running guru. He has designed running programs to meet people at whatever level they are at from beginner to professional athlete. He also keeps in mind that people have busy lives outside of running! While he has written many books, his running programs and advice are available for free at www.halhigdon.com and he also has interactive apps for the smart phone for purchase.
8) When were you in the best shape of your life?
I was in the best shape of my life after I completed my 1st full marathon in May of 2012. I fully committed every aspect of my life for 4 months to marathon training and it defiantly showed. My nutrition was on track, I was doing strength training mixed with cardio, and I felt really good.
9) How many days per week do you exercise?
I try to work out 6 times a week. During the work week it is easy to stay on that routine, during the weekends is when the struggle sets in.
10) What is your mantra when it comes to food/diets? Do you watch what you eat? Have a 80/20 rule? Always eat what you want? Taste everything, eat nothing?
Diet is the number 1 thing that I struggle with. I grew up in a home where I was told “Clean your plate!” and that mentality has done me in over the years. I struggle with quantity to food…I see food and I want to eat it. I justify all the daily extras (which add up!) with thinking: “I will work out later.” Or “I have a 5 mile run this afternoon.” Or even: “I worked out this morning so I can have 2 cookies instead of 1.” Currently I am doing the 21 Day Fix to help gain control over my portion sizes as well as to help me eat cleaner.
11) Do you meal prep for the week? What’s your usual routine?
I am a firm believer in meal prep. I have found when I am the most successful at staying on track I meal prep my lunches for Monday-Wednesday and then half way through the week prep lunches for Thursday and Friday. This allows me to see what I have in terms of left over’s from cooking dinners and use them in the later part of the week so they don’t go to waste. Also it allows me to grab something quick on busy days. I know ultimately I make better decisions and avoid temptations when I have a game plan about what I am going to eat each and every single day.
12) What’s an easy go-to healthy recipe you love?
I found a recipe for chicken tortilla soup a few years ago that I absolutely LOVE! It is low calories, easy to make, and still has that comfort food effect. I also like the fact that you can swap out any of these canned ingredients for fresh ingredients. You control the ease of this recipe based on how much time you have!
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 pound chicken- cooked and shredded- I usually cook mine in the chicken broth the day before and then reuse the broth for the soup. It makes the soup a little thicker too!
- 1 can fat free refried beans
- 1 package taco seasoning- or I use my own blend
- I can reduced sodium black beans- drained
- 2 can Rotel Diced tomatoes with green chiles
- 1 cup corn.
*Cook in the crock pot on low for 5-6 hours or high for 2-4
Added bonus: Add some fat free cream cheese for a creamier soup! I love serving this in baked tortilla bowls topped with fat free cheddar cheese.
13) What’s your favorite cheat meal?
Pizza……and beer ß Come on I am a runner, I love the carbs in beer! J
14) What words of encouragement do you have for someone that’s looking to make fitness and nutrition more important in their lives?
You can do anything you set your mind to. It is not always easy to overcome the putting it off until tomorrow, but it is worth it!
15) What’s your goal moving forward with fitness?
I would love to complete an Iron Man someday. It is not going to be anytime soon, but I can see myself working towards it in the future.
Thank you so much, Mary, for being a part of this series. You freaking rock! Keep up the dreams of the Iron Man, I think that would be incredible!
I hope you all will enjoy this series. I think it’ll be fun to see how other people are staying fit and what motivates them! Stay tuned for more.