It's hard to believe that the year is already over, and 2018 is already in full swing! As I look back on the year, reflecting on trials, blessings, stressful circumstances and emotional highs, health issues (myself and our little guy :(...) and overcoming many obstacles, I'm truly blessed and thankful to say that 2017 was truly a year of positive growth and change for me spiritually, mentally, and professionally. Seeing God's goodness in every circumstance, although not easy at times, truly made all the difference for what could have been classified as a rough year.
Stepping out of my comfort zone...
The end of 2016 was a bit of a challenge for us that carried into the new year...our new home had some undisclosed issues that were causing me massive amounts of stress. We found out that the prior owners of our new home had covered up a massive bat infestation in what was currently our master bedroom. Now I'll be first to admit that bats aren't my favorite creature, but they serve a valuable purpose eating bugs and other pests, and I'm pretty much okay with them as long as they're at a distance. To find there were 30+ shacked up above our bed sent my nerves into DEFCON 10...I wasn't sleeping well, my hair was thinning, I lacked energy and motivation to do much else besides rack my brain endlessly to try and find a way to better our situation. Limited time and resources, as well as some bad experiences with a wildlife contractor, left me feeling helpless and defeated. I cried out to God asking why we were going through this trial, and His reply was "Be still, don't worry."
It took a LOT of prayer and reflection, but after a little while I was able to do just that. Leaning on my faith helped me to stop worrying about circumstances out of my control and gave me new found focus to pursue the goals that would help me live out my purpose to help others. I began looking for ways to grow, to step out of my comfort zone, so I opted to participate in the 2017 Arnold Expo in Columbus, signing up for expo activities and vendor boot camps being held by my favorite fitness professionals (Sarah and Josh Bowmar). During my time at the event I met so many wonderful individuals, and am still connected with many of them now!
New Direction, new moves...
My time at the Arnold really set a new tone and direction for me and what I wanted to accomplish for the rest of the year. Due to the move in 2016, I had to file for an extension for my NASM exam, but thankfully I received my certification in April! I had been talking with my friend and owner of SNAP Fitness Xenia about training at his gym where I had been a member the past two years, and we started working on a plan to improve the gyms new location for the SNAP family. Things were starting to move, and I was so grateful for an opportunity to help others through health and fitness...I soon came to realize that God's timing is the only thing that matters!
Illness, Gut Health and Healing...
On Father's Day weekend, I took my 2 y/o son out for a lunch date followed by ice-cream so my husband could get some things done on our property. Shortly afterward, we were both violently ill with a stomach bug (possibly food poisoning perhaps viral) and for me, the next 6 months would be a battle with digestive issues, fatigue and the effects of poor nutrient absorption. It seemed that just as I was falling into a good niche, life slammed me on my face again! Yes, I was upset, and no I didn't see the purpose at the time for my gut issues, but I was blessed to be connected with some wonderful people on social media that gave me hope and advice for healing my stomach holistically.
I started reading more, researching gut health and finding out new things that had never occurred to me. The revelation that the stresses I'd been enduring affected my gut health, and that had likely caused the vicious cycle that made me susceptible to this latest bout of discomfort was a huge eye opener. I began working more on my mindset, my spiritual walk with the Lord, and overall mental wellness. After a couple of months, my gut was healing, and I began seeing the purpose behind my health issues. Focusing my energies on my mental and emotional health was just as crucial as the physical. It's so easy to get caught up in how we look or what the scale says, but often times we neglect the most important parts of our whole person, our spirit and mind! This was a huge game changer for me, and instead of dreading what each day would bring, I started focusing on what I could control and how to heal my body from the inside out!
Discovering 1st Phorm and Starting my Transphormation...
Shortly after the Arnold, I started following Emily Hayden, an amazing human being and 1st Phorm Elite athlete, which then led me to connect with other people associated with the brand. Everyone I came across in the community was real, truly provided value and seemed to genuinely care about helping others reach their goals in all aspects of life, not just fitness. I started following Ashley Nordman (IG@AshNordman), another brand athlete who also provided a lot of educational posts about gut health as someone suffering with Hashimotos Disease, an auto-immune disorder. It was through her, and later also Stephanie Lawler (IG@WarriorFit1) that I discovered some essential supplements that would help improve my gut tremendously!
1st Phorm's new product, Opti-Greens 50, as well as Glutamine became part of my daily routine to help heal my stomach. I noticed positive results after a few weeks with proper dietary changes (following a low-FODMAP diet and restricting processed foods). My energy levels have gotten much better as well as my other symptoms, and thanks to the wonderful supportive 1st Phorm community and their products my health has gradually been on the up-swing. Not only that, but so many Phamily members also share their tools for growth and overcoming adversity, several of which have helped me conquer the emotional and mental battles. I started their Transphormation Challenge shortly after getting sick, and even though I didn't see as many physical results as I would have hoped, the mental gains made up for it! I stayed out of my comfort zone, worked to find new ways to grow, and began discovering more structure on the path to achieving my goals as a trainer.
NASM Optima, Jumpstarting Personal Growth...
One of my goals for the year was to attend a personal training seminar to further my knowledge and experience as a trainer. When I received the email notification for the National Academy of Sports Medicine Annual OPTIMA training conference, I knew it was something that I had to attend. My expectations were high going into the weekend, but I was truly blown away and blessed by the amazing lectures, people and culture surrounding the whole event. Great friendships and connections were forged in such a short time, God truly brought me to that conference for a reason! I learned so much during the four days I was there, and left with a renewed sense of purpose, new connections and a huge list of personal growth materials. I'll gladly share those resources with you, because many of them apply to every aspect of life, not just training and business!
Making moves and Year End Trials...
Upon returning from OPTIMA, I had renewed energy and direction for my training approach, and I immediately applied the new techniques and improved foundational practices to my clients and boot camps. Since October I have completed 6 books either via Audible (highly recommend it, such a powerful investment in yourself!) or reading. Less than a week into 2018 and Im nearly finished with my first book of the year, How to Win at the Sport of Business by Mark Cuban. For the first time ever, I have a written goal plan for the year, and have been tackling a daily Power List to get more meaningful things accomplished. These habits started last year, and I was determined to carry them over into the new year no matter what. Little did I know that our family would be tested again emotionally, physically and spiritually in a way we hadn't been faced with before.
On Christmas Eve while I was getting a side dish for dinner ready at my sister-in-laws, our 3 year old son had an awkward fall in the living room while playing with our nephew.. The audible pop I heard a from a few feet away in the kitchen, followed by his painful and unconsolable tears made my heart sink...I suspected he had broken his leg, and once the x-rays came back at emergency, the physician confirmed he had a fractured femur. My husband and I were beside ourselves, worried and concerned for the prospects. Surgery was mentioned, difficult questions were asked, and during a 30 minute ambulance ride with him to the nearby Childrens Hospital I prayed fervently to God for grace and mercy in between comforting my little boy and talking with the EMT. Aside from enduring the pain of trauma ourselves, I don't believe theres a more painful experience than watching your child endure the kind of pain that follows an injury like this. It was hands down the most difficult thing I've experienced as a mother, trying to fight back tears while doing my best to stay strong for our little boy while the medical staff worked to get X-rays and IV's.
One thing I'm certain of is that our prayers were answered...God delivered the most caring professionals (one of whom is actually a family friend, imagine my relief seeing a familiar face through all the chaos), and we were relieved to hear that no invasive surgery would be required to mend his broken leg. Praise God! We spent Christmas Eve overnight in the hospital, and our boy went into the OR for his cast first thing in the morning. I was still anxious, especially knowing he'd have to undergo anesthesia and I wouldn't be able to hold his hand after pre-op, but God carried us through that ordeal, through the anxiety, exhaustion and slew of emotions. I firmly believe that, and although it was a difficult trial it confirmed my faith and gave me so much to be grateful for. We still have a ways to go until his cast comes off at the end of the month, and that has posed its own set of new challenges, but as our Orthopedic Surgeon reassured us, "This too shall soon pass."
The year didn't end as I expected, and our sons injury necessitated some goals being placed on the back burner, but I am beyond blessed, thankful and excited for all that 2018 will bring for me personally in terms of growth, our family, and Wonderfully Made Health and Fitness. I look forward to growing along side all of you, and helping your achieve your goals to live a healthier life...God bless you all, and Happy New Year! -Kelly
Kelly is a loving wife, mother, veteran, life-long athlete, personal trainer, and self taught cook with a passion for helping others. She hopes you will be inspired to live a healthier lifestyle while enjoying delicious meals cultivated in her home, and shared at your own tables.