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Remember that dream you’ve always had? Be that person, and go after it!

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Remember that dream you’ve always had? Be that person, and go after it!

Remember that dream you’ve always had? Be that person, and go after it!

By Amy N., 2020 $10,000 National Challenge Finalist

 

Remember that one dream that’s always been in your heart? It’s big, it’s scary, but it holds a spark that fires every time you think of it? Growing up, I played sports in high school; and as an adult, I still enjoy games/activities. I love watching athletes perform on the greatest stage they've trained for. Whether it’s a high school football game or the Olympics. Learning about their journey, seeing their passion come through for the sport. Their dedication, real fight, and grit show up, making their souls shine through. Seeing them capture that split second of victory feeling - that only you can capture. The one that only shows up after months of hard work, after many trials; and failures. I remember standing in line for the physical fitness tests and watching those who could do pull-ups and push-ups their strength amazed me in high school. And of course, that dreaded mile run, watching some sprint their way around the track with ease; that was incredible to me. As an adult, I still had a dream to capture all those feels – not only mentally, and emotionally, and also to be physically fit & strong.

During the summer of 2019, I found myself facing 40, at my highest weight, and my lowest self-esteem. I knew exactly how I got there with my nutrition choices, lack of exercise; and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I knew this was not the direction I wanted to be headed in for one more year. I wanted to feel alive, have energy, and love that reflection of the woman in the mirror! We all know what quitting feels like, and for once I wanted to feel something other than defeat. Everyone has their own vision of what healthy and fit looks like for them. I knew my vision was going to take a lot of sweat, tears, and a lot of hard work! Little did I know it was going to show me just how much I was capable of….

I heard about Farrell's eXtreme Bodyshaping in Andover through a friend at Eaglebrook Church. My friend Sharon and I were just chatting about our week, and she mentioned how much her legs hurt from leg day. If you're from Farrell's, you know "Lower Body” day is nothing easy! She said I could try out one week of classes for free to make sure I liked it! My initial thoughts were ‘another gym membership’. But then I thought, “What do I have to lose, let’s give it a shot!”

The very next day, August 12, 2019, I walked into Andover Farrell's to join the 5:15 PM class. I stepped on that InBody body composition scale, swallowed hard when I saw what it read – 228 lbs. I was immediately welcomed on the mats, everyone was helpful with combinations and making sure I was having a good time. That's all that matters on day one right!? The loud music, the atmosphere, it had such good energy! I knew right away, this felt like home… this had all the feels… OK, sign me up! The current 10-Week Session had just started, but I knew that I didn’t want to wait for the next 10-Week Session to start. I didn’t want that spark to burn out and let the excuses sneak in. I was done with excuses – I was '10 toes in' and showed up every day of my free trial week, and never looked back. 

This program had structure, a plan, and then it's yours to own it! I wanted this change, and I was ready. I knew it would take sacrifices, criticism, discipline, willpower, persistence, failures, doubts, and a lot of hard work. I knew for me this wasn't a 'sometimes' thing; it would be my new lifestyle. I knew my new lifestyle was going to cost me my old one. And, that comfort zone? Oh yeah, that will have to go too! Not only was this battle going to be very physically challenging, but equally mentally challenging. I was done with excuses. I was done quitting on myself as I did before. I made up my mind, and I knew that I didn’t sign up for easy. Pushing past that mentally uncomfortable stop sign is what it takes to grow, and change, and I was ready!

October 2019, my official 10-Week Session started! Since August, I lost seven pounds. I was feeling good and made it my goal to win my 10-Week Session. I took the nutrition advice from my Head Coach and dialed it in. I started doing double kickboxing sessions at Week 5, I showed up every day and added in a few miles of running to build up my endurance. I wanted to be able to run that whole mile by the end of my 10 weeks! 

I noticed my belt notches going down, and my family and friends were starting to notice too! This started to build my confidence. And then, in December 2019, I won my 10-Week Session! I lost 27 lbs and over 18 inches! I will never forget that feeling – I did it, and I gave it my alI! I saved my old belt as a reminder of how far I'd come, each notch represented hard work, dedication, and discipline during those 10 weeks!

On to the next decision - signing up for the Farrell's National Challenge! I read about it, and knew that my mat friends – Jamie W. and Sara S. were finishing up their year-long National Challenge. I thought about the 10 weeks I just went through, the friendships I’d built; and about that big dream that had a little fire attached to it! The dream that brought butterflies inside, but also fear of failure. The kind that makes your palms sweaty, and your heart skip a few beats! What if I gave it my all for one year? Yes! I wanted to be that girl who finally didn’t give up on her dream! 

I sat down and wrote out all those things as a high school girl that I always wanted do – push-ups, pull-ups, and to run long distances with ease! I committed to the National Challenge, and I made a promise to myself for 2020 to get to the fitness level I always dreamed of! Scared of the judgment I might encounter, I shared my goals with my family and friends; and surprisingly they were so supportive! During my 10 weeks, I learned that my workouts made me feel strong. They helped me escape the day, feel free, and to find peace. They also helped me battle the negative mental thoughts that sometimes creep in, telling me I’ll never be able to do this.

In January 2020, I was asked to be a coach for the new 10-Week Session! I accepted, and soon found these new mat friends motivating me more than I ever imagined! One day after class, we found ourselves on the pull-up bar. I was so nervous and scared, but yet very excited as this was a dream of mine to be able to do pull-ups!! Bob M., our instructor, helped me into the bands at my feet and he said "Now pull, I know you can do it!” I'll never forget that feeling of success! Even though I was still using bands, that small progress step was the greatest feeling of victory! It was like a small fire, now turned into an inferno! Those little victories – is what kept driving me ahead. The thought of going backward, and quitting on myself was something that I feared. To fight that fear, I visited that uncomfortable place by showing up every day to workout – so that I felt accomplishment instead of defeat. I was beginning to gain confidence, and being a coach is so rewarding; it brought joy to my heart seeing others reach their goals!

In February 2020, Lance Farrell & crew showed up in Andover!! Amazed, I watched as Sara Shroeck was named the 2019 Farrell's National Female winner! Sara is a beast, and she is always willing to share her knowledge. Her dedication, hard work, and discipline definitely paid off!

I celebrated my 10-Week win, along with my 40th birthday ( a little early) by going on a cruise with friends! Once we arrived in Houston, we ran a 5k Cupid Race along the beach before going on the ship. We worked out on the ship daily to keep the routine, and to stay on track. It felt great to be outside of my four walls and show myself that I could still do it. I was in control!

In March 2020, the world learned about Covid-19. This caused in-person workouts to be put on hold, which was going to be a new challenge for me. Fortunately, Andover’s owner, Cindi, and her managers quickly jumped into action and made it possible for us to join in and participate at home with online workouts. The new furniture in my house was a kickboxing bag, and a set of resistance bands. Here we go - learning to adapt to change. I still worked out every day, sometimes twice - having all this equipment staring at me! I wanted to come out of this 'season' stronger than before! I challenged myself to virtual races, 6K, 10K, 15K, up to the beast half marathon. At my quarterly InBody check – I lost another 20 lbs.! Consistently doing the daily workouts, plan, shop, meal prep, and logging my nutrition are the things I relied on to keep me on track.

In April 2020, Farrell’s Andover did a 12-hour Myzone MEPS challenge. Yes, 12 hours. Who does this kind of thing!? Oh yes, FXB people do!! I completed the challenge with 1143 MEPS – I started at 6 AM with shadow boxing, then a 6-mile walk/run, then a steady treadmill pace, walking up and down stairs, doing NEAT projects around the house, a 4-mile run, and ending it with two kickboxing sessions. This was very tough, painful, and it pushed me to a whole new level of seeing what I was capable of doing! Later in April, I also ran my first half marathon (virtual) Prince Purple Rain. I had to plan my own route, water stops, and traffic wasn't stopped, unfortunately. LOL! I put together my own playlist of songs to carry me thru 2:45 minutes. Wow, 13.1 that’s a whole new level. Miles 10-13 were unchartered waters for me. I'd ran up to 10 miles previously, so I knew three more miles was possible; but not going to be easy. Time to dig deep, mind over matter; sometimes I would sing along to just block out the muscle aches! My IT bands were screaming with tightness settling in my quads and hip flexors. I checked my GPS and seeing 2.5 miles left to go I pushed through to the finish! Now I had a time to beat – yes, I booked myself to run 2 more (virtual) half marathons. I also ordered myself a pull-up bar with assist bands at home to continue my pull-up training. I wanted it, and I was determined to make it happen!

In May 2020, Farrell’s Andover participated in another Myzone challenge. The goal was to reach 10,000 MEPS in the month of May. I accepted that challenge! It required me to do 2-3 workouts per day to keep in range of the daily MEPS required. There were many times I didn’t want to, as my body was sore and tired. Those are the times I did the workout for someone else – I did it for those who weren't able to, for those who were in much worse circumstances than I was. 

Those workouts pushed me farther in many ways, and most times my best workouts. On Memorial Day, I happily completed the MURPH challenge in honor of all those who served. TOUGH as nails, WOW! Time - 52 minutes -1 mile run - 100 pull-ups - 200 push-ups - 300 squats - 1 mile run. I broke down the middle 3 into sets of 10 until I was done. Now I have another time to beat next time! I also ran my second half marathon, (virtual) this race was for Coronavirus Relief. My time was 2:26:50.

On June 4, I was able to do two pull-ups unassisted! My soul smiled, and I will never forget that feeling!! I grabbed the bar to just try a pull, and wow - I did one, and then another! I was so shocked! Proving once again, you put in the hard work, the rewards will come! #SmashinGoals

June 10, 2020, WELCOME HOME! YES, that's right Welcome Home to FXB! Gyms back open to 20%. Driving to the gym, I was jittery, excited, and had the butterflies in the belly feels! Happy tears of joy to see my Farrell's family again! What a day - it filled my heart up! On Sunday, June 28, I completed my third half marathon (virtual) She Believed She Could, So She Did - 2:34:26. 

Miles 1-8 was smooth sailing, I felt great. Miles 9-13 were the opposite. I had to fight for every step, my mind said stop, go to comfort. The pain in my legs was creeping down to my calves and things were feeling numb. I mentally went to a happy memory of being in the gym – I could hear every one of my FXB peeps cheering me on, and every instructor that has pushed us to Level 10 – that's how I finished this race. It is times like these, when nobody is around, that you find out who you really are. I could have quit early, but deep down that wouldn’t sit well with me. Even though it wasn’t a PR time like I wanted, this one is a big mental win of 'you finished it! My quarterly check-in on the Inbody read another 20 pounds lost. Follow the plan, put the work in; and trust it.

On July 4, I finally felt confident & comfortable wearing a bikini swimsuit for the first time – at 40! I tried stand-up paddleboarding at the lake, and l also enjoy playing pickleball games! This new lifestyle had my soul happy, and it feels amazing! This is what six months of following a nutrition plan and hard work looks like! I was having so much fun being able to try new activities, and enjoying a fit and healthy lifestyle!

September 2020. Three months to go, I cannot believe how fast this year has gone! My friend Amanda was completing her year-long National Challenge. Amanda and I met on "killer-hill" in June at an outdoor workout our gym planned since gyms were closed. We shared our stories, clicked immediately, and she asked me to pace her for a personal record on her test out mile! What an honor to be there with her, and see her finish! This paints a clear picture for me of what I will be feeling in December! I get nervous, and excited all at the same time! Another quarterly InBody, I lost another 13 pounds. When I think of the 80 pounds I’ve lost – not only do I feel good, but I think of all the stress I’ve taken off my joints, and how I’ve improved my heart health. Your body will respond, and reward you!

October 2020, another challenge – yes, why not!! 4x4x48. 48 miles in 48 hours. "If you want to get better, do the Sh*t nobody else wants to do. Do the Sh*t that no-one is even thinking about doing." –David Goggins. 

We set up camp at Bunker Hills Oct 2-4. Every four hours, 4 miles, we had to run/walk/bike, for 48 hours. We started at 5 PM, on Friday night. The next loop was 9 PM, then 1 AM, 5A M, and so on; until Sunday 1 PM. This was by far the biggest endurance test I had ever signed up for. We pushed our bodies to limits beyond our imaginations. We experienced a lack of sleep, muscle aches, and cramps. At night it was cold and frosty; the temps dropped to the 30's. The woods have eyes, and the noises seem so close, which makes you go faster! I updated every loop on social media and sent messages to my family. I read every word of encouragement, and when things got hard all of those messages helped push me through! Family and friends blessed us by showing up with warm, delicious food that filled our bodies to keep going. A high school friend of mine who has followed my year journey surprised me up on loop 7! She biked alongside me as I ran. Another dear friend showed up at breakfast Sunday morning after we completed mile 47. Mile 48 was really a celebration mile walk back to camp – we did it! If you think about it, we did 12 - 5K's in 48 hours, or 2 marathons in 48 hours. It's amazing what you can do with the right group of people! I've finally found a new level of crazy…#myFXBSquad.

October 31, 2020 - A bunch of us from Farrell's signed up to run the Halloween Monster Dash – one of the only live races that didn’t get canceled due to the pandemic. My running buddy Nicole Lam and I vowed to stick together. Nicole and I met during the first gym shut down in March, and started running together. We decided to do our first ‘live’ half marathon together. During the race, we leaned on each other when things got rough. We ran our best time – 2 hours 15 minutes! The surge of victory, as we crossed the finish line was unforgettable!

As November 2020 rolled in, we were back to at-home workouts as the pandemic put in-person workouts on hold again. This was not new, but not what I expected the last 20+ days of my Farrell’s National Challenge year. Again, adapt and continue the fight to finish strong! I've got my family, friends, and an amazing group of FXB peeps behind me! Time to stay strong, and keep doing what I have been doing for the past 11 months!

December 2020, going into the final week of my National Challenge, for me, this was a celebration week. I had the village around me that helped me get here – those who held me accountable, inspired me, and challenged me all through the year. I asked two of my fastest girlfriends to run my test out mile with me; which resulted in a PR of 7:08! To be surrounded by family and friends cheering me through my final test outs was the best way to finish this challenge! 

One last InBody, it read 128 lbs. I never had it on my radar to lose 100 lbs.– what a milestone! Yes, I do love that reflection of the new woman in the mirror, and more importantly knowing that I gave it my all – 100% my best! This is just my beginning. I will continue to coach new 10-Week members, along with helping FIT members reach their goals. 

That 45 minutes a day is for you; show-up like you would for show up for your job. It’s the best gift that you can give yourself, and never give up on yourself! My goals were all personal to me. They all held a little spark. The challenges and failures I put myself through to finally feel that moment of my soul feeling victory was something only I could do for myself. I learned that comfort and tough do not live in the same house. 

Change will only happen when you become more committed to your dreams than you are to your comfort zone. A spark within you will drive and motivate you through the toughest moments, and in the end, is the greatest feeling of accomplishment! The final reward is seeing how strong you really are, what you’re made of; and who you really are! Remember that dream you’ve always had? Be that person, and go after it!


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