MARY / MICHIGAN / RUNNER / KICKBOXING/ YOGA
This week we are high-fiving FiTONIC’s Athlete Spotlight: Mary Benson. Mary talks about how she was inspired by seeing others run to take it up for herself. She discusses how difficult it is to stay on top of your nutrition goals, and how to recognize whether we are eating because we are hungry or stressed. Her message is inspiring and she encourages us to stop comparing ourselves to someone else.
What is your fave way to train (running, yoga, CrossFit, weightlifting, dancing…)?
I could never pick just one!! Totally depending on my mood, I love running, weights, kickboxing, boot camp, Zumba, and yoga. My current love is kickboxing at CKO and running with my “Sweat is my sparkle” holiday group.
How did that become your thing?
When I was 49 I decided I wanted to start running. Most of my life I thought runners were a little crazy! But then passing by them on the road all of a sudden they started to look so free and graceful and I wanted that too. My employer has a run club so one night, a co-worker and I made a pact to join. That first year I did several 5K’s, a 10K and finished off with the Grand Rapids half marathon. It’s not always easy and honestly, sometimes I hate it and don’t run for a stretch of time but then it draws me back in. The challenge to push my body, the camaraderie of the running community and the chance to spend some time alone with God and my own thoughts keeps me coming back.
The kickboxing…..well basically a friend invited me and since I love hanging out with my friends and enjoy exercise, I went! What’s not to love about punching and kicking heavy bags and walking away feeling like a bad-ass??
How has training physically changed you mentally or emotionally?
Running has been one of the most challenging things both mentally and physically. It’s a total mind game and lesson in humility and self-image.
What is still hard for you about your training, fitness or nutrition?
All of it! LOL! Honestly, the nutrition is always the hardest for me. I love food and my husband is an amazing cook. Portion control, stopping when I know I’m full already, stress eating…….all of it. I know what I’m SUPPOSED to do but it’s so hard! One day I made my daughter hide the cashews. They are so yummy and good that I would find myself eating handfuls!! Same thing with crackers and cheese. I love them all. Even though I know they will make my stomach feel awful I dig in anyway. Totally open to suggestions on what to do about that! During times of more than normal stress, I’ll wake up during the night and go grab a snack. It’s become a sign for me that I need to pay attention to what is happening in my life. So often we don’t realize that we are under too much stress so it’s important to listen to your body.
What do you love most about your body?
My legs and my butt. Even as I age they don’t seem too!! What’s not to love about that :)
If you could tell only one thing to every woman who is struggling in her fitness journey, what would that be? KEEP GOING and DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO ANYONE!! Yes, all in caps because I want to yell it from the rooftops!
BIG thank you to Mary for being our FiTONIC’s Athlete Spotlight!