What made you start your fitness lifestyle/journey?
I’ve always been active, but really started to focus on fitness during COVID. There wasn’t anything else we could do! I’m not wanting to come off as selfish, but I decided to take the extra free time I found myself having, and try some things on myself: Food and Exercise. I started lifting in my basement, and gyms around us soon opened (much earlier than I was seeing in other parts of the country).
“I looked at lifting as a game at first”
I looked at lifting as a game at first (following some online people who were posting workouts) to see how much I could lift. Could I push myself harder the next week? Coupled with getting my food in check (see below), I started seeing changes. That’s motivating. .
Tell us a little about yourself, work, personal?
I’ve been a High School English and Communications teacher in Wisconsin for 24 years. After COVID, I discovered I’m NOT an online teacher. I was meant to be in a classroom. I also teach ACT prep courses for students – I give them test strategy / nuances and content. With my newfound love of fitness and lifting, I’ve started working with my school’s Powerlifting team and work in the weight room. I’ve been married for 24 years, with two kids who are 17 and 20.
Nutrition.. Tell us about your meal preps, and meal choices.
I’ve tried a lot of “diets” over the years. I hate counting and numbers, so counting macros was the absolute bottom of my list of things to try. With COVID (and a lot more time on my hands,) I decided to start counting. That is the one method where I’ve seen the most drastic changes. I was always a carb fan. BIG carb fan (and no protein). I’d have cereal for breakfast AND lunch. Maybe even supper. I have since learned the importance of protein (especially through my nutrition course), and how it can feed your muscles. You want to start seeing changes in your body? Eat enough protein.
Tell us about your workout routines, favorite workouts.
I follow 1st Phorm’s workouts and Jessica Gunn’s program. I lift five days a week, and incorporate HIIT and core throughout the week as well. Favorite workouts? I love them all! I have come to love challenging myself, and come across different challenges online that I’ll add on and do for fun (for example, I did a 10,000 squat challenge in one month).
Tell us about any Fitness certifications you may have.
I’m now working on CPT and Nutritionist certifications. Fitness and nutrition is something I’ve found a new passion for.
“Don’t compare yourself to others. I always used to beat myself up about that. Who cares!? You do you..”Heather J.
What is your secret to your fitness success, what keeps you so motivated and keeps your drive alive?
Motivation can be hard, but making the plan to go to the gym is the biggest thing. Then, if you wake up tired the next day: no excuses… It was part of your plan to go. Now, it’s just part of my day. Get up and go. I prefer to get up and do it right away. It gets the blood flowing for the day. Taking progress pictures I found is also key. I used to HATE doing that. Why document my unhappy self? Then I started to see some baby muscles. It’s shocking to me to see how far I’ve come. And I’m not done yet.
What are the top 3 things you would say our readers should avoid when they start their fitness journey?
1.Don’t compare yourself to others. I always used to beat myself up about that. Who cares!? You do you.
2. Don’t avoid tracking your weights. The 1st Phorm app (https://1stphorm.com/jourdeansh) does a wonderful job with this, along with videos on how to do things (I was so intimidated by gym equipment).
3. Don’t wait to “feel like it.” You never will. Especially to start. Make the plan, and GO!
Tell us about your fitness goals, and end game for when you reach your desired body.
End game? I’m not even sure. I don’t know a goal weight because I have no idea what my body would look like at a weight that I haven’t seen since I was 23. (HA). I will just keep working, and see where things go.
Any advice for our readers to help motivate them
Don’t let your age stop you. I would have NEVER thought, in my mid-40s, that I could change my body composition. I joke and challenge my students I coach in our school’s weight room that if I can lift (x, y, z), that they should be able to as well. HA!