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Monday, April 30, 2012

A Lioness Unleashed: From Tears to Cheers, Congrats Amanda!

“Trudging along “doing what we are suppose to do”, what is politically correct is like caging a lion. Eventually wild eyes die, leaving a body with no soul. It’s not that we can’t hear that little voice we remember so well from our childhood, where everything was black and white, it’s that it no longer speaks to us, it’s disgusted by who we grew up to be. Ask yourself; if your thirteen year-old self saw you now, would they smile, cry, or kick the s*!t outta you?”

- Josh Bunch

In late September / early October a young woman walked into the gym for her intro. Her name was Amanda and after several weeks/months of badgering/encouraging by her co-worker Dianne (aka D the destroyer) she finally gathered enough courage to come in and check us out. She was the only one that Fall Saturday and Coach Mo and myself were taking her through the steps. This intro was different. A mix of emotional and physical pain was taking its toll on Amanda. Several times we had to stop and let the tears flow. I think we gave more hugs than swings on this day. She mentioned several times she was a former athlete and over the course of a few years, exercise/athleticism/competition had taken a backseat. As time had elapsed, the pounds had accumulated along with some sadness and self doubt.

But she still had the courage to try it out. For several folks taking that first step is a HUGE one. Lots of folks are intimidated, shy, afraid of what to expect. We often hear “I need to get in shape before I go down there”. Which is obviously not the case, taking that first step is tough and for Amanda it was an emotional one. It was admitting to herself she needed to change and actually having the tenacity to do something about it …and that can be rough.

But through the teary water filled eyes there still remained a spark. A fire that had once roared inside her had almost been extinguished..almost..but all it takes is a spark to ignite a sweeping fire.

Weeks became months and over the course of time some amazing things were happening. We started slow and small with Amanda…but never easy. She set small attainable goals. These were Amanda's first goals:
1) 10 unbroken burpees
2) Run to the stoplight without stopping (approximately 400 meters)
3) Hang from the pullup bar for at least 5 seconds

 She started showing up consistently and added in a Paleo diet and pounds were dropping fast. She even won a weight loss competition at work. People were beginning to take notice. The spark that took flame was now blazing…

Over the weekend Amanda along with some other folks from the gym went over to our good friends at the Strength Lab and competed in a Bench Press & Deadlift meet. Amanda’s favorite lift is the deadlift and had wanted to join the 300 club for some time. On Saturday she stood on the platform victorious pulling 315 and taking home a first place medal also setting the Strength Lab female deadlift record at the same time!

In just over 6 months Amanda has gone from tears..barely able to swing a 18lb kettlebell for 5 reps without stopping to winning deadlift competitions! Not to mention she has lost over 50lbs along the way. Her sister joined the gym and has witnessed similar results and she has become an inspiration to countless others, most importantly her father who she has helped change his eating habits and cut his dependency on diabetes medication. Amazing what a single spark can do.And she isn’t done yet. In a few weeks she’ll be running her first 5K, competing at the Gauntlet, and has also signed up for a Tough Mudder.

Through the pestering of a friend (and anyone that knows D knows how her persistent she can be), she gathered the courage to take the first step. In just a short amount of time, that spark that was hidden behind watery eyes has now got fire. Now the only thing that matches Amanda’s fire is her smile.

Let her example be the inspiration you need. All you need to do is take the first step.

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