I always try and surround myself with other women who are for women empowerment, lifting one another up, and spreading positivity like I am. My wonderful friend Crystal is all about that, and is such an inspiration to me. She is also so passionate about health and fitness, and I find constant motivation from her. Thus, I wanted to interview her for my blog. Crystal can offer you guys tips and advice that I can't! I have not had a child yet, so I do not feel at liberty to tell someone how easy it could be, how to make it work, etc. Crystal truly does it all and I cannot express at how much I admire her for that. She is a mother of 4 with one of her daughters not even being a year old yet, devoted wife, employed full-time and working her way up fast at her company in Human Resources. Even with all of that going on, she still continues to make her health and fitness a top priority. She consistently stays dedicated to scheduled workouts along with all of her other demands, and even has a lot of "two-a-day's" where she will engage in cardio first thing in the morning and lift weights in the evening. Crystal truly works so hard at her job, her awesome husband Jordan adores her, and she has beautiful and successful children. Crystal is never one to wait around for good things to happen - she is always chasing them.
Perhaps the most inspirational part of her story is that it has not always been easy. Crystal had her first child at 18 and knows what it is like to struggle as a single mother. However, she never made excuses and worked to the best of her ability to get where she is today.
Where did your love for health and fitness begin?
Health has always been a part of me growing up. I was into track, basketball, volleyball, cross country and even a cheerleader. I was very active and a healthy child. Then I married to my first husband shortly after high school. Because that relationship was toxic, after my second pregnancy, I had reached up to 190 pounds. I had high blood pressure and no energy. I let myself go, because of that marriage. I lost ALL self-esteem and self-worth. I used food as my comfort and I lost myself. It was not until after I had my son (2nd child) that I truly looked into the mirror and said to myself: you are the only person who will love you NOW, so you must do something about it. That is when I did. I cleaned up my diet, I started in-house workouts and I lost 75 pounds in a year. I was healthy and happy once again!
Surprisingly my introduction to fitness was through running, and at a time in my life where part of me used it as an escape from my current situation, and another part of me used it as therapy and personal growth. I was at a low, going through a separation/divorce, I did not feel good about myself, or where I was in life, and I remembered how much I enjoyed running in school. One day I left the house and started running, I could barely run a mile, but was determined to do more. 1 became 2, then 3, then 5, 10, 20, and eventually I ran my first marathon and ultra-marathon. My relationship with running changed over the years and as I grew as a person. I still love running to this day, and now for all the right reasons, I but wanted to challenge myself even more. I previously dabbled with weights in the past, but it was not until I met my husband that my interest in the gym sparked. I started working out with him, and loved the challenge it offered and his consistency with it over the years. That soon became my consistency as well. While running is therapeutic to me, the gym is anything but that. I fell in love probably just a year ago by finally getting the formula right for me by combining weight training with conditioning. I love changes my body have made with the two together.
What is your biggest accomplishment fitness wise?
Overcoming insecurities has been one of my biggest accomplishments overall. That helped build my confidence, my ability to stand up for myself and what I believe in. With all of that happening, I was able to love myself again to actually realize what I deserved as a person and in a relationship.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have encountered while keeping fit?
Patience! I had to learn that results do not happen overnight. No matter how perfect your diet is, how perfect your form and routine is, it will always take time, and more than you want to give. It’s a game of mental endurance. With having four children, I have to be extremely patient and work hard at getting the results I want. I know that anything is possible and I also know that my body has been through so much.
You are a devoted wife, mother of 4, work full time, and stay fit. How do you do it all and keep consistent?
Consistency has come to me naturally because I was a single mother for so long. Consistency was necessary. I learned that having routines was the best way to actually include this in my life with being a single parent to my children. Now that I have remarried, I have included this in our lifestyle. With the busy life our family now has, how I’m able to do it all is by keeping balance. And that’s all my husband. He keeps me in check. He reminds me what my priorities are. If my daughter has a track meet one evening, I don’t feel bad for missing a workout or eating out afterwards. I can easily make the decision to wake up at 5AM before any of the kids wake up to get that workout in. Family is and always will be first and I love that balance we have in our marriage and family.
As we know, life can be so busy and hectic, especially when you add your health and fitness as a priority; what do you and your husband do to stay devoted to one another?
We work out together, we talk throughout the day with each other, we have date nights once during the week and once on the weekend, and most importantly we don’t keep our hands off each other. We’re best friends, and passionately in love with each other. If anything, health and fitness has helped add to our relationship and marriage. It adds to our sex life and adds to our family life. The consistency and balance required for fitness are also required in family so it crosses over and helps in all areas.
How often do you allow yourself to eat and/or drink whatever you want? What are your favorite choices to indulge in?
I never eat whatever I want. I will have cheat meals once, maybe twice a week. My favorite choices to indulge in are pancakes, wine, and margaritas.
What would you tell someone who thinks they can never lose weight since they have children, husband, a job, etc.?
Fitness is a choice that you have to be completely committed too, just like marriage. It’s a lifestyle, and it is possible! I am living proof. It’s not always easy, but what is that you really want? I do believe it’s easier than some people think it is. Everything you do requires effort, making good food or bad food, watching TV or going to the gym - this choice just requires a little more. Until you have made the realization that you will be doing this for the rest of your life, you may get temporary results with diets etc., but it will always come back until you’re committed. Being in a fitness competition is a different story, it’s very demanding. But a fit lifestyle is very balanced and very healthy.
Does your household partake in the same healthy eating habits that you do? If not, how do you manage to cook different meals and keep from eating their food?
They absolutely do. I cook and prep every Sunday for our clean foods for the week. My husband and I take our food to work with us and when the children get home, they eat what I have prepped for the week. They actually love it. They will still want and have their occasional pizza nights and junk food, but they’ll take grilled chicken, fish, steak, vegetables and rice now any day over fast food. We are examples to our children. What kind of examples we are is up to us. They want to do what we do. Not only do they want to eat what we do but they look forward to joining us in the gym when they’re old enough too.
What is best advice you have ever learned about keeping fit?
Living a healthy lifestyle has overall changed my outlook in life, love, marriage, motherhood, in my career and overall my focus in life. Every day I wake up, I am thankful for the way I can view things in life and knowing I am adding years to my life in hopes to remain here on earth for a very long time to see my children grow, my grandchildren be born, and maybe their children!