She is a certified personal trainer and her blog offers amazing at-home fitness tips and tricks (How To Overcome Cravings and Family-Friendly Exercises), delicious and healthy recipes (along with some vegetarian-friendly variations!), commentary on timely topics in the news (like her open letter to women in response to the Maria Kang story), and so much more. Please go check out My Trainer Nicole, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter!
My story is not so different from so many others: I joined/quit dozens of gyms and gained/lost dozens of pounds over the years. Dedicated, then lazy. Motivated, then “accepting.” It wasn’t until the death of my eldest brother and the disintegration of my marriage that my approach to living fit and healthy changed. I finally broke free of “I want to lose weight/be a size ‘whatever’/be skinny.” It suddenly became about coping and healing.
My fitness journey began in September 2009. I’d gained 30 lbs since my wedding a year before. By this point, the marriage was all but dead, and I was planning my exit. I focused on fitness to deal with the stress and anxiety of the situation. I did workout videos, I ate better. The lbs began coming off.
In October of the same year, I moved back home with my family. I joined a local gym, and asked my brother for a weight-training routine. I was dedicated. I worked out 5-6 days a week. Sometimes I went at 5am because it was the only time I had. I surprised everyone, myself included. 5am? My bed would need to be on fire to get me up that early. But I needed to go. It was more mentally therapeutic than anything. I wasn’t concerned with the weight loss. I never even got on the scale. I just worked. I looked forward to the relief. I enjoyed seeing my strength increase, my endurance climb.
I reconnected with an old friend who is an avid runner. He convinced me to start running. In JANUARY. I embraced it. What the hell? Bucket list! I began training for a half-marathon, which I would run that April. I trained hard. Alone, with friends. Outside in the freezing cold, Mojo trotting at my side… I finished that run in 2:20. Before that, I’d never truly run a day in my life. Add pride and accomplishment to strength and endurance.
My work pants started to get really big. I was at the point where I could pull them on and off without unbuttoning them. I headed to the mall, to my favorite store, and grabbed a few pairs I liked. I reached for the 6s. I figured they’d fit, since the 8s were drooping. Then, just for fun, I grabbed 4s. I wanted to see how close (or not) I was to getting in them. I anticipated a lot of sucking in/breath holding. But I approached it with humor because I didn’t actually care. I knew either way, I was buying smaller pants. The 4s fit. Perfectly. No muffin top. No labored breathing. No stressed out zippers. I giggled. I wiggled my butt. I text my mother, my sister, my best friend. SIZE FOUR!!!!! Never in my life until then. Add sexy, excited, and confident to the list.
Eventually I was ready to head back into the dating world. But I knew that I wanted someone who lived a healthy lifestyle, who would respect that this was an integral part of my life, and would, at the very least, respect it, if he wasn’t as fit. I would not welcome a saboteur. My ex-husband often did that, bringing home junk food, making fun of my fitness attempts, and refusing to join me. Not this time.
In May 2011, I met Tom. Fit, confident, strong, healthy. He’d gone through a similar transition with a dissolved marriage and unhealthy habits. He was dedicated to eating well and being fit. More importantly, fitness gave me all the tools to not only choose a suitable partner, but to give myself the full credit and value I’d never been able to do before. I often felt insecure and self-conscious in my relationships, criticizing myself even if my partner wasn’t. I just assumed he was. But now, there’s nothing to criticize. Not because I’m perfect, but because I’m happy and healthy. I stepped back into the dating world stronger, more proud, confident, enthusiastic. We supported and continue to support each other in our fitness efforts. We eat well, we work out, we help each other past plateaus and moments of laziness. Fitness didn’t just transform my body. It allowed me to reinvent myself, to grow, change, and improve. I am still growing, changing, improving. But I am the very best version of me I have ever been. Tom loves me. And I love me, too.
Isn’t she awesome? Check out her blog My Trainer Nicole for more!