SISU Transformation: Amber Bartell

About Amber

I grew up on a cattle ranch in the middle of nowhere South Dakota. Having moved to Minneapolis roughly 10 years ago, I now call Minneapolis home. I am a huge do-it-yourselfer and enjoy testing my abilities regularly, whether it is helping a friend with wedding décor or pushing through a kitchen remodel. If I do not have a project underway, I am catching up with family near and far. I am blessed with four (almost five!) nieces and one nephew. For work, I oversee operations for a retail display manufacturer. I have been fortunate enough to find a career that caters to both my love of detail and creative side.

Starting Her Fitness Journey

Throughout my life, I felt I was a pretty fit person. I enjoyed working out and the competitive aspect of recreational sports. Nevertheless, I let some momentary life changes become an obstacle for making my health and fitness a priority. I soon found I was no longer confident with my body and realized that my days of feeling “good” were few and far between. I did not want my lack of confidence and feeling “ok” to become my new norm.

I had a big push to attempt CrossFit from a SISU member earlier in 2018. I was beyond reluctant. At the time, I had convinced myself CrossFit was intimidating and was stuck in my cardio-heavy workout routine. But I tried it, then tried it again, and ultimately found it was the balance I needed to stay motivated.

Making Changes

Actually setting a goal made a big difference. In the past, I worked out just to work out. My personal workouts were not motivating to say the least. Being pushed to set goals, learn new moves, and reach PRs was huge for me.

I also started working with a SISU Nutrition coach (Christina Schlitz) to understand my nutrition. I cannot count how many times I tried a calorie-based diet through MyFitnessPal and had zero results. I honestly did not know what I was looking at nor did I understand the give and take. A calorie is not merely a calorie when it comes to how you want to feel and look. To have someone guide me through the process, while giving me the opportunity to understand and feel how my food choices affect my overall wellbeing, was priceless.

The Power of Nutrition

Being healthy is a process but once you learn the process; there is really no turning back. I can actually feel when I have an off day with my nutrition – something I previously assumed was normal or part of getting older. I was recently reminded where I was at, health and fitness wise, a year ago and I am so grateful for the changes I have made. Not only do I know the “ok” feeling will not be my forever normal but I know how to correct it going forward.


If I could tell my former self one thing, it would be don’t be so stubborn and try it already! I don’t know how many times I convinced myself I didn’t need help and that I wouldn’t like CrossFit. Looking back, had I known my results from adding more strength training and understanding my nutrition, I would have started sooner.

Looking Forward

Over the course of working with SISU Nutrition, tracking my food and finding new recipes to incorporate into my diet has become more of a hobby than a chore for me. I do not see myself eliminating food tracking any time soon. I have also gained awesome camaraderie at the gym which helps me continue to work towards new goals and keep my gym routine in check.

Click HERE for more information about SISU Nutrition. Interested in trying a class at SISU, click HERE to get started!