Over the course of the following months, it became clear that Sara's job and schedule were incredibly demanding and the thought of a marathon became too much. For some people (Sara included), the thought of dropping out of a race/meet/etc might feel like failure. But I was so proud of Sara for making the healthier decision: One that would ultimately keep her healthy and able to train for the long-term while not flooding her system with far more stress than a person should handle which I firmly believe would have left her injured or just with a genuine hatred of training.
Sara showed up every week and stayed consistent. She has made incredible lifestyle changes over the last few months that have left her with a lot less stress, better sleep, a healthier system, fitting into a hot red dress that didn't fit right this time last year and she was at the top of the leaderboard in this spring's CleanSlate28! She's an inspiration and I'm happy to have you meet her!
I moved here in August for work and didn't know anyone, but I knew I wanted to avoid falling off the fitness bandwagon during a time of lots of stress. So I found Izzy during the summer and signed up right away. My goals have morphed a lot over time as I've learned to be a bit more patient with myself, but originally I'd say they were: 1) stay fit while being stressed about moving and 2) do some strength training that would help with a marathon I had signed up for (marathon didn't pan out, btw).
How do you think your sessions have helped you out?
Even though I didn't wind up completing my marathon, I'm running with a lot fewer aches and pains now. I also got to do a bunch of things that I wouldn't have done if I'd have been focused on running longer distances, including a long-standing goal to deadlift my bodyweight successfully. :)
What do you enjoy most about training?
I'm a very process-oriented person. I like checking the boxes on the training plan and watching the weight I can lift or the reps slowly go up (except for the single leg glute bridge reps. Those don't need to go up anymore, ha). Izzy keeps things nice and varied. If I were doing it on my own I'd probably do the same 4 exercises for 6 months and would never push myself as hard. It's nice to have a fun place where I'm challenged to do new things.
Is there anything surprising that you've discovered with strength training?
Throwing a medicine ball at the wall is a way more effective way of dealing with stress than a stress ball!
Do you have any fitness goals for this year?
I really, really, REALLY want to be able to do a pull-up. I think it might be the most impressive exercise and I don't remember ever being able to do one, even as a little kid. It'd feel so amazing if I could pull that off now.
I'm also still flirting with the idea of running a marathon. It might be this year, it might be next year. I know it's going to be in the back of my mind until it's done, though, so I need to get that taken care of at some point.
How would you describe your philosophy on working out and nutrition?
I view my time working out as my me-time. I really look forward to the hour-ish I spend 4 or 5 times a week running, with Izzy, or doing strength training. It keeps me sane and balanced. Whether I'm talking something out with Izzy or just thinking while I run I usually either find a solution, or come to peace with, a problem while working out.
As for nutrition - I just finished CleanSlate28 and it was totally amazing! I am happier and healthier eating whole, real food and plan to continue it as much as possible. I *feel* more energetic and well-rested than I have in a long time, which has been fantastic.
What advice would you have for anyone just starting out?
In the last few years I've lost a certain amount of weight (not really sure of the exact number to date, I haven't been on the scale in a little over a month thanks to Izzy) and went from not being able to run for 2 minutes to running half marathons. It started with a Groupon (no, really) for a 30 day gym membership for $19.99. I figured it was worth $20 to see if I could rearrange what I thought was an impossible schedule for an hour of me time a few times a week. It resulted in so many wonderful, positive things I can't even describe that were way better than weight loss. I remember being too tired at the end of the day and thinking I'd never have time to be fit again, and I promise there is time, you just have to fight for it. When I moved from Boston to Evanston I knew it would be a struggle to keep what I'd built - but I also knew it was one of the most important things to me. Finding Izzy and having her help me through that has been so incredibly helpful!
Start now. Don't plan to start on Monday, or when life is less busy, or after meal X, Y, or whatever. If you want to change things start right now. Call and make an appointment, take the stairs, order something different at lunch, or whatever. Getting healthy and strong isn't a temporary diet, it's a decision to change your life for the better and for good. Make a change you can stick to now and then add more later.
Anything else to share?
I firmly believe we make time for the things that are important to us, but sometimes we're the worst at making time for ourselves and our health. I'm really thankful that Izzy has helped me continue to carve out that time even when life has been hard. The last couple of months of awesomeness have been so rewarding for that. I wanted to give up sometimes when I first moved here, but Izzy's relentless positivity kept me from throwing in the towel. Now I am starting the summer in wicked good shape and can't wait to see what's next.