Good morning World!! I hope everyone had a wonderful Saturday. I had a very indulgient evening…so today I have to make myself pay for that. Sad.
But on a lighter note…today I have my long-time friend Abby Hout contributing with her story on her journey, and since she has been wonderfully successful over the last few years she also has some advice for newbies like me. I have known Abby since about 7th or 8th grade. It has been amazing watching her transformation from the girl I knew as kids to the beautiful woman I see today. Abby is a Fitness Competitor, model, writer, and all-around awesome human.
Abby, thanks for taking some time to answer some questions for my blog, I appreciate it!
Thanks for hitting me up, I’m really happy to answer any questions about health/fitness for you!
So I know that your journey started a while ago, what was it that made you decide that you wanted to make a change?
I think I just sort of hit a breaking point in my own life. My weight yo-yo’d all over the place in my late teens and early twenties (I’m 29 now) and I was getting really fed up with it. I went through a lot around 2006 and 2007 (a significant breakup, the death of my grandfather, a life-altering hand injury that knocked me out of the field of cosmetology). I was always uncomfortable in my own skin but a combination of anger, pain, and frustration was really beginning to head me down a path of self-destructive decision making that just didn’t suit me, my heart, or where I saw myself going in the future.
I hit a point where I realized my life was going to go one way or the other and it was up to me to decide which path I was going to take. One of them had emotional eating, binge drinking to hide from my problems, and weight gain. The other was going to take work, free myself from all my self-resentment and frustration, and really find a way to channel my desire to change lives into something real.
I had to make the change for me and myself. I was in my mid-twenties and single; if I didn’t figure it out now, I was never going to.
A friend of mine suggested I look at getting on stage for a fitness competition starting in about 2006 and I fought him on it til 2008. I finally committed to it that year and it COMPLETELY changed my life. I’m committed to it forever!
What were your biggest struggles when you first started? Are these struggles still an issue, or have you found new ways to cope?
My biggest struggle was learning how to get over my own fears. Fear was about 99% of the problem. I was afraid of changing my diet, afraid of training and lifting weights, afraid that I was going to humiliate myself at the gym every time I stepped in. I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb. I trucked around in an oversized t-shirt, basketball shorts, and a red bandana in my hair.
After a little while, I realized that my own worst obstacle was myself. I was afraid of hard work but found it was actually really fun. I was afraid I’d be hungry if I changed my diet but I found it was completely the opposite! I pictured everything being perched on top of a horrible mountaintop but discovered that it was really just a slow, gradual climb. It was so much easier than I ever expected it to be!
Another thing that was tough for me in the beginning was undoing everything I’d ever learned about nutrition. In truth, I was eating way too many carbs and downing things regularly that were not truly good for me (yogurt, granola, trail mix, low fat everything) and was severely lacking in protein. Protein builds muscle. Sugar builds fat. Muscle is the furnace that burns the fat, therefore you need to eat as much protein as possible. I never really knew that it’s 80% what you eat and 20% how much you work out– I always thought it was the opposite.
One of the struggles I still face is sugar cravings. I’ve since discovered Coconut Bliss and Arctic Zero to help with that. I’m never going to completely give up anything that resembles chocolate ice cream!
You have been doing some fitness modeling and competing for some time now, did you ever think that is where your fitness aspirations would take you?
Fitness modeling has been a blast. I always loved playing dress up as a kid and this is basically a way to put on sparkly girly dress-up stuff for a few hours and then go back to real life. I absolutely never thought that it would be something I’d be doing though. If you would have found me in 2006 and showed me a picture from the last two years, there is no way I’d have believed you.
Fitness modeling has opened up some doors and I’ve met some amazing, inspirational people along the way. I feel so blessed.
Have you had any set-backs, and if so how did you handle them?
My main setbacks have been burnout. It’s extremely easy to get bored with A. Your diet B. Your training. Make sure you mix it up as much as you can in order to avoid it. I get really tired of training when I’m doing a show. I think everyone gets bored training for events, and that’s really dangerous to everyone’s goals no matter WHAT you’re training for.
Another thing that was tough to do was to really learn to tune out the negativity. If you find that someone in your life eats more of your energy instead of adding to it, it’s time to give them the boot. Some people are complete vortexes of negativity through passive-aggressiveness. are often 100% oblivious to it. They can be good people but they don’t realize how often they cut you down or come off as judgmental. It’s much easier to trash someone who is chasing their dreams and goals than it is to actually get off your butt and do it yourself. You don’t owe anyone any explanations or justifications for why you want to go after a goal.
You have been a huge inspiration to me to get motivated, who are your inspirations?
You are too sweet, Krysty, that means the planet to me! I get burned out too and it really helps me to know that I’m acting as a role model for other people every day when I get up. 🙂
My inspirations are Lori Harder, Jennifer Nicole Lee, Jamie Eason, and basically anyone who has pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and made a huge transformation. I lost 65 lbs but that is nothing in comparison to many other people out there who have lost 80, 100, 150 or more pounds! I think there is really something to be said about the human spirit and our ability to make big changes! I love hard workers and they really motivate me to keep going!
I recently got to take a peek at your new website! It looks great!! Talk about this new adventure in your life- your website, a spokesperson for Maison Lyle…
Thank you! That was my first time making a site (thanks GoDaddy!) and it took some practice, but it’ll do for now! I’m sure I’ll update it to look fancier eventually!
My new adventures for 2012 are to kick up my fitness writing, compete a few times, and continuing to open doors professionally. It’s so early in the year, I’m not even sure where it’s going to take me! Lauren at Maison Lyle swimwear is amazing- I met her on a shoot last year and we really clicked immediately. She asked me to be of her official models for her line based on my curvy physique. She’s the best and I love her like a sister. Find her on facebook, her suits are gorgeous.
Personally, I’m really blessed to my boyfriend and trainer, Mike, in my life. I really want our relationship to continue growing. He’s the best!
It sounds like life can get a bit crazy sometimes, how do you manage stress so that it doesn’t interfere with your training?
Life does get stressful. My family has undergone some serious changes in the last two years and it really took its toll on me. I discovered that I’d have to stay active, even when I’m stressed. It feels amazing to grind out stress at the gym, whether it’s from finances, personal issues, or work issues. After a really crappy day, my instinct is no longer “OMG, I need a drink” or “OMG I want to go to bed”. Now it’s “DANG, I can’t wait to get to Lifetime to run this off and smash some weights around.”
Do you have any tips or words of wisdom for those who may be just starting out?
My tip for those starting out: hire a trainer. Of course I’m going to be biased to my boyfriend, Mike– he’s magical in terms of how much he knows! You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He does online training too!
Otherwise, pick up the book Body For Life. It’s a great starting place in terms of getting an idea of how to eat and basic lifting movements. That’s where I started and it’s a very easy read!
Best of luck to anyone starting out, I know you can do it!
Abby has been nominated as one of the Top 100 Fitness Models from Status Fitness Magazine for 2011/2012! She has busted her butt since 2008 and wants to use this opportunity as a launching point and voice to show women that… yes, they can really go from overweight to fit! Please “Like” Status Fitness Magazine on Facebook and then go on this photo and “Like” it. Share on your wall if you have a moment– voting goes til Feb 18th!