Finding Strength In Weakness: Kristen's Story

When I signed up for Boot Camp 16, I was at a place in my life where I hated my body. Not because of what I weighed or how I looked, but for things it could not do.

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My husband and I spent the first several years of our marriage and thousands upon thousands of dollars trying to have a baby....time and money that ended up being a complete waste. It was - and sometimes still is - the most difficult thing I've ever endured in my life. The heartache, guilt and disgust I felt every minute of every day seeped deep down into every crevice of my body and life. It began the first time our doctor used the word "infertility," worsened the day our third specialist told me I would never get pregnant and it continues today at random times and usually in the most awkward public situations & places.

After those years of medical testing, surgeries, infertility drugs, emotional & financial stress, my body, mind and spirit had changed beyond recognition.

They were not conscious decisions, but I see now that somewhere along the way, I began punishing my body...I didn't care what I fed it. I didn't care if I allowed it rest. And I certainly could've cared less if I let it stretch and burn and breathe. I despised this vessel that had denied us what our hearts so strongly desired. Why should I treat it well after what it had put me (us) through?

Every once in a while, someone who knew of our journey would say I was strong for carrying on....if that's what you could even call it. Because it didn't feel that way. And I didn't feel that way. I felt like a liar and a fake pretending to be happy. I felt tired of overcompensating, I felt like a failure as a wife and 100% completely and totally sorry for myself.

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One of the many hard lessons I learned during those years is that no matter our pain...no matter how long it stays....life goes on with or without our participation. And so it has....

About a year before my Boot Camp 16 endeavor, my husband started an exercise routine with some coworkers on a bet. Then another bet. And another.

I saw him change physically and mentally. In the beginning, though I was very proud of him, I was not interested in doing something similar for myself. Not even a little.

As time went on and he continued the hard work, I began to crack sarcastic (my staple & go-to defense mechanism) jokes to people about how I thought we were at that stage in life where we would get old and fat together as a married couple.... and that I didn't know what to think about his new lifestyle.

Later, I began adding that I should probably get on board before he found a fit & healthy younger wife (one that could give him children, and rightfully so - I would add to myself).

By now, I was meal prepping for him every week but not always (usually not) taking the same care for myself. I was listening to his gym stories and weekly successes about "beating so & so at the weigh in" or how many minutes on the elliptical or number of sit ups he had done and washing his sweaty gym clothes every day. I was staying up late and putting garbage in my body while he went to bed early to rest his.

And it started to bug me.

Sometime near the end of 2016, I started to see social media posts shared by my Aunt, Michelle Kendrick, about Boot Camp 16.

Over the last several years I had seen Michelle transform and the last time I saw her in person I couldn't believe how fantastic and healthy and strong she looked.

For some reason or another, something clicked. I had at this point secretly looked into other programs and gyms...but nothing "clicked" and I felt a sense of urgency to open this door.

I sent an email to Get Fit for the Boot Camp info and WHAM! Michelle responded almost right away. She was the DIRECTOR? GREAT. I was in trouble. I wouldn't have a choice in the matter.....except I did. First, because although Michelle was more than excited I had reached out, she didn't push or pressure me at all. She didn't need to. Because I had already decided.

I didn't tell my husband. I didn't tell my sister. I didn't mention to anyone that I made an appointment to register for a boot camp. I went. I paid. It was done. There was no turning back. No way would I invest that amount of money and not see it through.

I should add here that now that I've completed the 8 weeks...I see it differently. Now I think no way would I not invest in myself. Period.

When I signed up for Boot Camp 16, I hadn't exercised in any capacity in probably 10 years. Outside of yard & house work, I had no real physical activity. I wasn't a horrible eater, but I certainly wasn't the best, either. I went from being a two-sport high school & college (softball) athlete and a snow ski instructor, to a desk job lifestyle. My family history includes alcoholism, cancer, heart disease and diabetes and though none of that is a good thing....it wasn't my "why." My "why" list was longer than even I knew.

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When I met with my Boot Camp Coach (Lyndi) for the first time, I was honest with her. I told her we had struggled and not succeeded in having a baby. I told her I had a disabled family member who I wanted to be strong enough to care for. I told her I have very little family but the family I DO I have, most especially my nieces and nephew, I wanted to be strong and healthy for and for a long time.

I didn't tell her how much or how deeply I despised my own body, because in reflection, it wasn't until I started liking it a little bit again during this process, that I realized how strong my dislike was. I didn't even realize that the strong & healthy I desired so badly now was not only physically, but mentally, too.

It wasn't until I realized how weak I was, that I realized how strong I was.

My first fit test....I couldn't do one full push up. Not one. I hardly knew what a plank was, let alone was I able to hold one. Just eight weeks later I'm stronger than I've been in years. I've got a LONG way to go, but now I see that I am worth much more than I had treated myself in YEARS.

There are things my body still can not do. Things it never will be able to do. But it can do this. It can be otherwise healthy and strong. It can carry me through and help me care for the people I love. And I can even love on myself a little more.

Which brings me to somewhat of a point...This place. These people. This community. Without knowing one thing about me, or my life, or my brokenness....they smiled at me when I walked in the door the first day and every day for 8 weeks straight.

They offered guidance with food & workouts in a boot camp I paid for, without knowing they were actually guiding me out of a very dark and lonely place and giving me so much MORE than what I paid for.

I am not a fan of "bigger plan" or "everything happens for a reason" sentiments, but I am so very, truly, humbly grateful for my path having led to Get Fit.

I just signed up for The Change Up which starts April 22 and I cannot wait to see where the next challenge takes me, because I did NOT come this far to only come this far.

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