This week, meet Nancy, a die-hard fitness fan who attacks each workout with an energy and enthusiasm that we wish we could bottle and sell! Nancy is “Jo-Lo minus 5” years old and never stops moving (if she can help it!). You’ll find her working out, meal prepping, or running around town at any given time, simply for love of what her body is able to do.

Nancy spent most of her life wishing she had the power and courage to make big changes to make her life better, until one day in her late 30’s, she finally decided to just take the first step. Her first steps led her to find a community that helped her lose weight, and as she gained confidence and tried new things (always pushing herself outside of her comfort zone), her path finally ended up here a few years later, at Bellum.

Nancy has been a member of Legion fitness for several years, and loves the boot camp, high intensity approach to working out. She joined us at Bellum post-quarantine, when she found herself wanting to push her limits a bit more and get reacquainted with a barbell, having been confined to her living room for workouts (like so many others during quarantine!). Once we started holding outdoor sessions together at the beginning of June, Nancy reached out with the desire to improve her technique and get STRONGER, and it was love at first CrossFit WOD.

One of the great things about Nancy is her passion (and I don’t say that lightly) for attacking her weaknesses. She’s not afraid to make mistakes, and never lets a mistake discourage her from coming back and trying again. When mistakes happen, she simply gets feedback, makes the necessary changes, and improves each and every class, no matter the movement! Whether it’s the infamously tricky olympic lifting movements, or the particularly mind-boggling double under, Nancy isn’t afraid to try, and try, and try again until she gets it right. And when she finally does, she’s damn proud of her hard work and accomplishment!

Nancy’s love of getting and staying fit is clearly evident in her social media feed. Check her out on Instagram or Facebook at any point, and you’ll find evidence of some seriously tasty-looking meal prep and healthy copycat recipe experimentation, as well as the occasional (or maybe more than that) hilariously appropriate fitness meme! We coaches LOVE getting to share in her baking bounties and are always impressed at her culinary creativity, crafted with healthful ingredients and keeping a careful eye on how each recipe is reworked to stay within her macro allotments each day!

Nancy – from the first time you stepped into Bellum years ago asking for tips for how to do a rope climb while you were prepping for a Spartan race, to watching you in class cleaning up your Olympic lifting technique (see what I did there?), you’ve always impressed us as someone who isn’t afraid to love something whole heartedly, be proud of your accomplishments, and to RUN (not walk) towards your goals and dreams. Thanks for being a part of the Bellum fam, and for inspiring us to not be afraid of putting in hard work to get better each day!

What type of workouts did you perform before coming to Bellum?: HIIT

Why were you looking for a new style of workouts?: I love my HIIT fitfam and still roll with them when I can, but I needed to get out of my comfort zone. I was so happy when I heard that Bellum was doing the parking lot workouts. I’d been doing HIIT Zooms at home, but swinging a KB in my living room was getting dicey, and I missed a barbell something awful. I needed to get back to lifting heavy.

What is your favorite CrossFit movement or workout?: Wait, is this a trick? ‘Cause if I tell you what I love, will you put it in future workouts? I’m also new-ish to the CrossFit scene, so I don’t necessarily know what’s specific to CrossFit. I’m an “everyday is leg day” kind of girl. I enjoy deadlifts and anything else that gets my glutes to fire (which is a weakness of mine). Glute bridges and Bulgarian split squats (although I’m currently in a love-hate relationship with the latter) are other faves.

Other exercises I like are dumbbell pull-overs, box jumps (even though they scare the bejeezus out of me), and pretty much anything where I can properly engage my lats (another weakness).

What is your biggest accomplishment since starting at Bellum? (in and/or out of the gym) Showing up consistently. I’m on the 13 check-ins a month program and have shown up 13x a month since joining. Being new to CrossFit, it’s very challenging – waaaaaay different from HIIT. If I had a nickel for every time I heard “there’s a reason why these things are in the Olympics”, I’d be a rich gal. As an overthinker, I’m very hard on myself in the execution of things that take years to master. I want to do it right and I want to do it right NOW, lol. Continuing to show up when I feel so far out of my comfort zone is a huge accomplishment.

Another accomplishment? Only crying once after CrossFit (yes, in my car, after a particularly humbling workout where my loaded barbell was replaced with an empty training bar), but then getting right back on the horse the next day. Number-wise, I’m pretty proud of my recent 5RM on the Sumo DL. During the earlier stages of COVID, I had no access to barbells. My heaviest weight at home was a 35lb DB. It was disheartening to think about losing progress that I had worked so hard for. Getting back to lifting heavy makes me feel hopeful for continuing my fitness journey.

What is your favorite out-of-the-gym activity?: Wait, people do stuff besides work out? I enjoy cooking and food prepping. I have a sweet tooth, so I’m always experimenting with making healthier, protein-packed versions of assorted goodies. I’m a bit of a social media junkie. I love a good meme. If I found a way, I’d probably just communicate in memes in all aspects of life (now thinking of a good meme to fit with this questionnaire).

To say you’re a fitness enthusiast is an understatement (ha!) – you’re seriously hardcore about getting in your workouts! How do you maintain motivation to stay as consistent as you are, and do you have any tips to share with anyone who may be intimidated at starting up a new fitness regimen, especially post-quarantine?:  So I recently listened to a Facebook live that talked about motivation. One thing that stuck with me was the idea that it’s not always about what I WANT to do, but what I NEED to do to achieve my goals. Motivation might get me started, but it’s not enough to keep me going. A long time ago, I had to be real with myself and figure out what I wanted and then start to make steps towards achieving those goals. For those who think it’s too hard? Start slow, but just start. Your future self will thank you.

For much of my life, even as young as 10 years old, I was trapped in a fat, even obese body. I hated the way I looked, the way nothing fit, the way I felt. It wasn’t until my late 30s that I just said “enough is enough!” I wish I could tell you what finally flipped the switch, but it’s hard to pinpoint. I just know that I didn’t want to live with regrets anymore. I didn’t want to keep living for some day. I was tired of watching other people change their lives and wishing I was them. I think a lot of people have those moments, but don’t act out of fear. Fear of failing, fear of what others will think, fear of the unknown. Fear is paralyzing. At some point, though, you have to take that chance, that leap of faith. When you get little moments of courage, seize them, act on them.

About 10 years ago, I was a stay at home mom.  I was sitting in my bed one morning and got this thought that I should finally join Weight Watchers. That was my “enough is enough” moment. I called around and found a meeting that very day and went and signed up. I knew that if I didn’t go that day, the moment of courage would pass. Here I am, 45 years old (J Lo minus 5, remember?) and I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m addicted to this lifestyle. Now, it wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen quickly. I was never an athlete. I didn’t grow up eating healthy. No one in my family was really into that healthy lifestyle. It’s been a long journey, but I’ve realized that this has to be a lifestyle. It’s not a “diet”. 10 years ago, if you had said to me that I’d be counting macros, lugging around multiple blender bottles with “supps”, chasing PRs, and forcing myself to take rest days from the gym, I would never have believed it.

I still have my ups and downs – days where I give into the cravings, days I don’t feel like working out, days I’m too lazy to food prep, but I remind myself of the big picture. I look where I was compared to where I am today. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way to do it, to push yourself. Keep trying until you find a place where you just fit. Where you find yourself surrounded by people who will cheer for you, cry with you, and hold you accountable (or as we call it, your fitfam).

As for starting post-quarantine: Quarantine robbed so many of us of so much – of vacations, family gatherings, any kind of normalcy. I think that’s all the more reason to not waste another moment. 

What’s your next big goal (in or out of the gym)?: A current goal for me is to work on my mindset, not just in the gym, but in all aspects of my life. And I’ll tell you, that stuff, for me, is hella hard! Dealing with old baggage, letting go of what I can’t control, being more positive, and everything else along those lines. I still see that “fat girl” in the mirror. I may have changed a lot physically, but emotionally there is so much room for growth. In the gym, more than one pull-up, consecutively – IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?! Completing my Spartan Trifecta (obstacle course races) in 2021 (since COVID sidelined this in 2020) is also on the list.

What’s your “Why”?: Aye, aye, aye! The WHY question! I never know how to answer it. Why do I do this gym and healthy eating stuff? I guess the simplest way to answer that is because I started and I liked the progress I was seeing and feeling. I can’t go backwards. For me, it’s just not an option.

The person I am today is so different from who I used to be. I have more self-confidence. I take pride in my hard work and accomplishments. I feel like I’ve found something I might actually be good at. I think it also just feels good to commit to something, to really be determined about something and to see it through. I had never really believed in myself until I found this lifestyle. So why? Why not?

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