I consider myself a strong, driven woman. Once upon a time, I even competed in a few amateur bikini competitions, including the Arnold Classic. Several years, three moves, and two wonderful children (4 and 2) later, I decided to stop working and stay at home. This decision has been the best blessing, but also the biggest challenge for me. As many can appreciate, it’s easy to lose yourself. I began existing and forgot to live.
During this time, I also discovered I had the gene for Long QT syndrome, which is a condition that can potentially cause erratic heartbeats, and possible sudden death. I was put on preventative medication, which not only scared me from pushing myself physically, but also had side effects of extreme fatigue and mood swings. I lost my drive; I was flat. I found myself just functioning day to day. I was used to pushing myself, setting goals, working towards deadlines, creating order – all of which go by the wayside with two little ones and heart medication. I was forgetting my purpose and how to appreciate life — for my family and myself. I didn’t realize how much I began neglecting myself until my husband asked what could make me happy again. One day I forgot my medication and recognized what a difference it made. I chose a risk-benefit of stopping it so I could find my happiness and feel again.
I’ve always gone to the gym, but as of late, it became a routine without purpose. I was going through the motions. I decided to try group training. Elizabeth Radinovic was a working mom trying to juggle a similar personal balance. She began pushing me as I was once used to. I attended her 1x/week group, which helped me realize I wanted to go further. My husband, and biggest supporter, noticed another group being pushed to their limits. He approached the trainer, Adonnai Santos, and asked if he would be willing to talk to me. I received a call that night and quickly took steps to continue my journey. I was encouraged to sign up for the 60-Day Challenge and commit to 5 days/week group trainings. I struggle with putting myself before my children, so committing to 5 days/week was an internal conflict. To some it seems silly, but I battled with taking the summer away from morning park adventures and zoo trips to get to the gym for myself. My husband helped me recognize that by doing this, I would be a happier, more fulfilled mom and wife. Also, I hate to fail. I was hesitant of the strides I could make in this time. Adonnai insisted that I would not only be successful, but felt I could also surpass my own expectations. I sent him old competition photos and said I didn’t expect to get there, but wanted to strive towards them.
I’ve been handed weights I thought impossible given the number of reps, my endurance has been challenged, and my nutrition re-inspired. My inner battle of family time was eased due to the wonderful child care center; my kids actually ask if we can go to “exercise.” With the encouragement and accountability of my trainer and team, I’ve been able to accomplish my goals with more success than I would have ever imagined. Sixty days ago I thought I would never come close to competition shape again. While still a ways off, I actually believe I could realize that goal. However, my goal is to be strong, healthy, energetic, and motivated to live and appreciate this time in my life with my family. I want to be a role model to my kids and others. I want to feel in control of my life and do so using a body and mind that are capable of doing all life has to offer. I want to have the strength and energy to climb trees, swim, and play tag with my kids and hear them laugh, and feel blood pump through my body again. My goal is to live with purpose and confidence. I love when I hear my kids say they want to use their body, when I see my daughter flex her muscles and say it’s because she ate her protein and vegetables. While it’s nice to feel good in your own skin, it’s amazing to feel the energy and drive to gain your life back.
My husband sees my spark back. He loves that I found a way to channel my drive again. The Challenge has helped me dig out from my rut and find a glimmer of myself. While this is just a start, I plan on continuing my fitness and nutrition journey with a new perspective. I intend to be mindful of each day. Although it will remain to be a struggle balancing the needs of my family and myself, I realize I need something for myself to be the best I can for them. My passion for fitness and health, and desire to support those around me in these areas, have been reinvigorated. I’ve already recruited my sister on vacation workouts, helped coach a friend with an ongoing weight loss battle, sent clean recipes to family, and even gotten pictures from friends when they are engaging in healthy eating and lifestyle habits. When you realize that you can be successful and strong, you can be that light for others as well. Thank you to Life Time, my family, and friends who have supported me along the way!