I have always been drawn to fitness and was actually very fit in my 20s; however, I knew nothing of nutrition and ate terribly but at that point I did not realize it. Once I got married and pregnant with my son I let my fitness slip but I continued to eat the same unhealthy way I always had. The weight gain seemed to just sneak up on me but looking back at it I know it was just my own bad choices and inability to take responsibility for my unhealthiness that caused me to end up where I did. I am 5 foot 3 inches tall and I weighed approximately 260-265 pounds. During the years I gained this weight I continued to be active and love fitness. I even became a certified Krav Maga Fitness instructor and taught classes three times a week and helped others work on their fitness goals while ignoring or not admitting to my own unhealthiness. I became so deconditioned that I literally became out of breath just bending over to tie my shoes.
In September of 2012 I finally had my aha moment. I received a picture by email of my son and I that was taken on August 25, 2012. When I saw this picture I saw not only how overweight and unhealthy I had become but my son who was 12 at the time was overweight as well and it finally clicked. What I do affects not only myself but all of the people I come in contact with, most importantly my son. I was teaching him the same bad habits that I had instead of teaching him how to have a healthy active life. We happen to be at Disneyland when I received that picture and it was the weekend of the Disneyland Half Marathon. I decided right then that I was going to become the positive example I wanted my son to have and I was going to lose enough weight to run the Disneyland Half Marathon one year later. I gave up fast food and soda cold turkey and only ate what I bought at the store.
When I began I could only run for 20-30 seconds at a time and then walk. Trust me it was frustrating but I knew if I stuck with it that it would get better. I continued working on it and my stamina and strength improved along with my running distance. After about four months I had lost 60 pounds but I knew I needed someone with more knowledge to help me get to the next level. I found an amazing personal trainer who supported, encouraged, and educated me. I ended up reaching my goal of doing a half marathon six months early. In fact, I did a running challenge of a 5K on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. That was the first time I realized that I was the only one limiting myself and that I was capable of absolutely anything that I put my mind to.
I was disappointed in the fitness industry and that overall gym atmosphere. It was not welcoming and came across as if only people with amazing physiques or competitors were what fitness was all about when in reality fitness is for everyone and I think it is extremely important for the people that are not in the fitness business or competing but just trying to be the best and healthiest person that they can be. However, that was not the message or experience that I was seeing as I continued to work on my fitness. I even had an instructor in a group class call me out for not being able to do the exercises the way he wanted (because I was so deconditioned I couldn’t but I was putting out my max effort at that time) and it was extremely embarrassing but luckily I am extremely stubborn and was not willing to let someone else keep me from reaching my goals. If that had happened to someone else though they may have never set foot in a gym again and that is not what fitness is all about.
As I continued my fitness journey I discovered 1st Phorm during their very first athlete search where they chose Ami. I was so amazed and excited to find a fitness-based company that not only celebrated the competitors and people with amazing physiques but everyone who was working on their fitness and to be their best. They interacted with their supporters on social media and supported them, they provided education, and they highlighted all kinds of different people at different fitness levels on their page. They made me laugh and made fitness fun!
When they had the second search I remember asking my personal trainer if it would be completely ridiculous for me to join because I felt so compelled to be a part of the 1st Phorm movement. He encouraged me to join and told me he thought I was exactly what 1st Phorm was all about. I tried to talk myself out of it but I just had to be a part of the change in this industry and I signed up. I had absolutely no expectation of being chosen. I did not even see myself as an athlete but I just had to be a part of what 1st Phorm was creating. I did not know it at the time but it was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Before joining the search I think I had three pictures on Instagram and I had a little interaction with friends on Facebook. It always has been and still is very uncomfortable for me to post pictures of myself. I definitely prefer being behind the camera rather than in front of it but that was the whole point. To do things that you would normally avoid just because it is uncomfortable so that you can grow. It was completely uncomfortable just joining the search so I had already conquered that and was not going to stop there. I wanted to show everyone out there, but most importantly my son, that you can do anything with hard work and if you are willing to take chances and do things that are uncomfortable to you. That is when change happens.
Because of the 1st Phorm motto of Never Settle I decided to set some big crazy goals along with my smaller milestone goals. My hope was that if people see that a regular person like me who had been so unhealthy could begin training to compete on American Ninja Warrior (a dream I have had since season 1 but never considered myself an athlete or to be capable of such a challenge) and competing in local ninja competitions…. to going from becoming out of breath bending over to tie my shoes to someone who just completed two half marathons in one day in two different states, then they will realize that anybody can achieve anything they set their mind to.
I realized I needed to learn more about nutrition to reach the next level. I reached out to Kit Kitson of 1st Phorm with a few questions about my nutrition. To my surprise he didn’t just give me a short answer and send me on my way. He took the time to find out what my daily activity level was and what I was currently eating and then created a meal plan for me. Free of charge. Never mentioning buying anything or pushing any products on me. He just gave me what I needed to improve. I realized that although I felt it from the beginning…these guys at 1st Phorm were not just saying they wanted to help people…..they really meant it. Because of this I chose to try their products and those, too, were just as effective as they advertised and did not have adverse effects on my body like other products I had tried. Phormula 1 and Ignition following my workouts is not only a reward now because it tastes just like Fruit Loops (yummy) but it has increased my results as I work to get stronger and I have noticed less soreness than I used to have allowing me to train more.
Now I have definitely come a long way but I am nowhere near done. I am still working on losing the last part of all of that weight. I have set some big goals of competing on American Ninja Warrior and doing the Dopey Challenge at Disneyworld (a 5k, followed by a 10K the next day, followed by a half marathon the next day, followed by a full marathon the final day). Both of these goals were originally set to be completed this January/spring but I did not make the timeline I originally set and you know what….that is not going to stop me. I am going to continue to work even harder and next year I hope to complete both of those goals! I refuse to settle for less than reaching those goals no matter the time it may take to do it.
It is really powerful when you realize that you can do anything and make changes at any time to change your life and make it what you want it to be, and I truly want every person to feel that for themselves and believe it. I hope that sharing my story will help others realize that if I can make a change at 43 after years and years of bad choices that they, too, can make a change and accomplish anything they set their minds to.
I am proud to be a part of the 1st Phorm movement and together we are all going to create a change in this world that has been needed for a long time!