In today’s success story, I am highlighting Paula Woods. Many of you may already know Paula. She is one of my instructors. In fact, she is the most highly certified kettlebell instructor in Bemidji.
Paula started as a member of mine almost 6 years ago, and has really taken off in her passion for fitness. To the point where I trust her to teach my classes and my members.
Enough of what I have to say, let’s here what Paula has to say.
When growing up, there were no sports for girls except cheerleading, which at my school meant fairly advanced gymnastic ability, and I was never any kind of athlete. I did many of the usual – jogging, biking, videos, super light weights, calisthenics – off and on (mostly off) throughout my adult life. I guess I had a bit of a mid-life crisis because I went back to school and changed careers. When I was well on my way in a new career, I got serious about getting fit and was lucky enough to get Justin for my free personal training consult. I started working out with Justin in the Spring of 2007. My specific goal at that time was to complete a marathon in October of that year. I also wanted to be fit, and though I did want to lose weight, that was not my focus. One of the first things I told Justin was I wanted to be able to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. I did not want my level of physical fitness to be my limiting factor. To his credit, he did not laugh at me but made me feel like he was paying attention and would help me meet my goals. I did complete the marathon that year, and except for a few pesky blisters that popped out about mile 24, I had no other problems – no sore muscles and could easily have gone the same distance the next day. I also lost some weight in the process. Justin introduced me to lifting heavy weights. I started feeling like an athlete and eventually worked up to a 210 lb deadlift.
I went on to achieve other goals such as going on a 50 mile, six day backpacking trip in 2008; passing the HKC one day kettlebell certification in 2009, and passing the RKC three day kettlebell certification in 2012. I have, since passing the HKC, been teaching a few classes a week for Justin at Elite Performance & Fitness and really enjoy the opportunity to share the joy of working out with kettlebells with others.
From the beginning, Justin listened to what I wanted to accomplish and tailored a program to help me meet my goals. His programs have been innovative, fun, and challenging. Justin’s expertise and support has allowed me to work out more intensely than I ever had before (or even thought possible). I have been encouraged to do things I truly did not believe I could do, and I achieved them; and in the process lost weight, gained fitness, and been motivated to continue to set new goals for myself. I am rarely sick, no longer have “aches and pains” like I used to, have more energy than I ever remember having, and believe that I can accomplish most anything I set my mind to. Being strong is empowering.
I have had many epiphanies along the way – those “light bulb” moments when you finally get it, but there is one in particular I want to mention here. I often hear people say when achieving a goal whether it’s weight loss or something else, “If I can do (fill in the blank – lose weight, get fit, etc) then so can you”. Sounds good, but is not true. What I achieve has nothing to do with anyone else’s life and their goals. It’s just my achievement. I shared a post on Facebook called “7 Rules of Life”. Rule 4 states: Don’t compare your life to others and don’t judge them. You have no idea what their journey is all about. I completely agree – everyone is on their own journey. I was in a place on my journey where I could be successful in reaching goals. I also got expert help along the way that helped with the inevitable setbacks that happen.
Justin has answered my innumerable questions with patience and humor. If he did not know or was unsure of the answer; by the next session, he would have an answer for me. Justin stays current with the latest information in his field, and implements it as appropriate. Working out with Justin has changed my life, and I would encourage anyone who is seriously interested in getting fit to hire Justin as their personal trainer. He will not have a cookie cutter plan for you, but he will meet you where you are and help you achieve your goals.
Justin here again. Paula’s story is quite amazing. She has endured through the long haul and put in more effort and patience than most people are willing. She has reaped massive rewards because of it. The 210 pound Dead Lift, the marathon, and the RKC are not things that can be accomplished in a short amount of time. Congrats Paula on everything!
Before you go, make sure to leave Paula a comment and let her know how you feel about her journey.