I work night shifts as a Paramedic for North Memorial and also work as a tactical/SWAT medic. I come from a big family; I’m the oldest of 6 kids, with my youngest sibling being almost 20 years younger than me! I love to spend time outdoors and enjoy kayaking, camping, hiking, and spending time up at the family cabin on the lake. I swam for a couple years in high school and played some other sports recreationally, but going into college, I wasn’t very active at all and fitness definitely wasn’t a priority for me.
I started coming to SISU in November of 2018. I had been wanting to try CrossFit for a long time, but thought I needed to be “in better shape” to start and was really intimidated by it. My boyfriend had been doing CrossFit for a few months and encouraged me to give it a try. I was really self-conscious about not being very familiar with the movements and was totally out of my comfort zone when it came to anything with the barbell. I also hadn’t done much exercise other than long distance running for the past several years. On top of that, I am pretty introverted so the thought of working out in a class setting scared the hell out of me! I remember being so nervous the first few times I showed up that I sat in my car before class wanting to just leave and go home. My boyfriend basically dragged me out of the car the first couple days. But after my first week at SISU, I was totally hooked; all of the coaches were super welcoming, everyone was friendly, and I loved the encouraging, upbeat atmosphere every time I walked in the doors.
Ready for a Change
One of the main reasons I wanted to make a change was because I wanted to improve my confidence. I’d been running marathons for several years but wanted to build muscle and become stronger, not only to feel better in my own skin but to feel more confident with some of the physical aspects of my job. I was sick of looking in the mirror and feeling self-conscious about how I looked, and I didn’t feel like I was challenging myself at all or making any progress on my own. Ever since college, I struggled with unhealthy eating habits and extremely poor body image & insecurity, and my weight would fluctuate drastically as I constantly cycled through various diets and excessive cardio in an attempt to lose weight or “get back in shape”. Every time I would wear a bathing suit or try clothes on in a dressing room, I hated how I felt, but no matter what I did, I felt like I just couldn’t get the results I wanted.
I began to go to SISU 4-5 times a week, and eventually started working with coach Christina in the nutrition program. I had considered myself relatively healthy and thought that I ate pretty well prior to starting the nutrition program, but l quickly realized that a lot of the habits and behaviors I had were not healthy or sustainable. At first tracking my food seemed a bit overwhelming, but I learned quickly that prepping and planning ahead is key. I became way better at bringing prepped meals to my overnight shifts, instead of eating gas station food or Taco Bell at 2am if I didn’t pack a lunch since they were the only places open. I’ve also stopped drinking alcohol almost completely – and I don’t miss it one bit. After going through the program, I feel like I have a much better understanding about how to properly fuel my body to optimize performance and improve my body composition. I’ve learned to listen to my body and pay attention to how certain foods, or ratios of macronutrients, affect how I feel.
Nutrition + Fitness = Results
Since joining SISU and going through the nutrition program, I feel that I’ve had a huge change in my mindset. Instead of constantly worrying about what I look like, I focus on how my body feels and performs. The improvement in my appearance and body composition is definitely a plus, but I get way more excited about seeing improvements with my lifts and feeling accomplished after an intense workout. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, and feel much more self-confident. Instead of wanting to be skinnier, I want to be stronger; instead of focusing on the weight on the scale, I focus on the weight I can lift; instead of comparing myself to other people, I challenge myself to try any do better than I did yesterday.
Encouragement to Others
The biggest piece of advice would be to not worry about “not being good enough” and to not care so much about what you think other people will think. I promise, you are being FAR more judgmental and critical of yourself than anyone else. Just jump right in and start with small steps. It’s also important to remember that it’s a process that takes time. It’s easy to get impatient or frustrated while you’re waiting for results, but consistency is key! Try to reframe your thoughts: instead of thinking about how much you have left to go to meet your goal, think about what you’ve accomplished so far!
The habits and practices I’ve developed are things that I can continue to build on and maintain, since it truly is a lifestyle change. I feel much more positive and happy overall, and I love the feeling of competing against myself and always trying to be the best version of myself. I’ve learned to eat to fuel my body and the nutrition habits I’ve established are practically second nature by now. The accountability I get from the people at the gym is great, and I feel supported and encouraged every time I show up!