My story may be a little different than many. I went from feeling on top of the world to wanting to hide from it and all it took was one morning. One unexpected car crash.
In May 2016 I was a finalist in the Life Time Spring 90-Day Challenge Transformation category. I felt fantastic and was managing to maintain an after-Challenge training schedule and lean lifestyle. And then it happened, 2 months after I made the Life Time finals, the nasty car accident which left my car totaled. I was left with painful disc issues in my cervical spine area, shoulder problems and concussion.
Strength training and high intensity cardio were my healthy stress relievers during the Challenge. The accident changed all that. My injuries prevented me from functioning at the level I was. I found myself spiraling into a depressed state and treated for PTSD symptoms. On some days it was as much as I could do to just walk around the block.
I wanted to curl in a ball and hide from the world. Everything I’d worked so hard for and my proactive way to handle stress in my life had been taken from me in an instant.
In Physical Therapy for 6 months and having epidurals in my cervical area, it was extremely hard to sit back and watch my hard-earned muscle disappear as pain limited the amount and type of strength training and cardio I could do. With my rundown state, my eating also started to slip back into old habits. It felt like a never-ending spiral.
It took time, patience, re-education and digging very deep within myself to become determined to not let this car accident control my life choices. Little by little, day by day, I fought to change my mindset. I absorbed everything from Therapy, did all exercises assigned to me in the detailed form taught and gradually translated them to the gym. As my exercise time slowly increased my determination to get my mojo back, pick myself up and start over became stronger.
Enter the Summer Life Time 60-Day Challenge. I had self-doubt. I knew my focus would have to be top-notch nutrition due to limitations on my strength training ability.
Jamey Brice of Life Time helped me set healthy macro goals of carbs, protein and fat with an invaluable nutrition session. We did a Resting Metabolic Assessment to ensure my calorie goals were at the correct level. I was happy to find I was burning an awesome 82% of my daily calories from fat! We discussed a long-term plan and how to adjust my macros if needed as the weeks went by. Jamey you rock!
Using my time wisely and making very smart training goals were essential. There was no time for do-overs or start-again Mondays. My upper-body workouts had limitations but lower body was ready for more challenge. Enter the glute muscles! Biggest muscle in the body and mine were a good example of someone who did not use them much! Jamey refined my glute exercises, slowing all my exercises down with holds at max strain and slow deliberate release. Ouch!
I deliberately did little cardio at the start of this Challenge, concentrating on strength training form with the weights I could handle at the time. This allowed me to slowly increase my cardio with an extra 5 minutes HIIT or an extra evening walk/run here and there. When my body fat loss slowed I added just a little more cardio, or slightly adjusted my macros.
I wanted my chocolate cake and I had it! Having set my macros and with regular tracking of what I ate I was able to plan ahead. Birthday party with chocolate cake, no problem, not 1 but 2 pieces (get real who stops at 1!) and all within my day’s macros. Sensible eating on the other meals of the day gave me space to have treats as long as I took the time to plan and monitor. Recipes from the Challenge team online, those chocolate protein bars were delicious.
It was only in the last week that I lowered my carbs a lot. It was a tough week mentally and physically but I now have my sense of accomplishment back. I monitor my form at the gym closely. I never compare myself to others, I do only what I can.
Five years ago I was almost 50 pounds heavier than I am now. I knew nothing about strength training, I never exercised and I was miserable. I have turned my life around, I am now 46, the big 50 is out there, yet here I am getting stronger week by week, able to keep up with my 3 very active kids (my youngest is 7). I have found my spot where aesthetics, performance, health and lifestyle intersect. A combination of smart strength training choices, sound nutrition, intelligent cardio, restorative sleep and good stress management skills.
It’s thanks to multiple Life Time Challenges and amazing support of staff and members that I’m now considering a future in Personal Training and Nutrition. You can turn your life choices around and stay consistent with those choices despite life challenges. You can have your chocolate cake and eat it, you just have to believe in yourself!