Stephanie | Carmel, Indiana | Fundraising Professional
This week we are high-fiving FiTONIC’s Athlete Spotlight: Stephanie Patterson. Stephanie talking how she dabbled with fitness for a time, even having a trainer, but she didn’t really fall in love with it until she was introduced to hot yoga. She instantly knew that was where she belonged. Stephanie talks about the importance of building small habits and trying new things. She also talks about the true struggle with nutrition, and her overall motivating factor to stay healthy and strong. She has some awesome mantras that she uses and definitely will encourage you to get started.
What is your fave way to train (running, yoga, CrossFit, weightlifting, dancing…)?
Currently, I’m really into yoga, specifically bikram. I’ve been practicing for about a year and a half. Being in my 40’s, I’ve always tried to stay fit. I was a swimmer growing up. After I had my second child in my late 20’s, I took up running for the first time. I stayed with that practice throughout my 30’s, completing several mini-marathons and also a sprint triathlon. I found hot yoga in 2017 after spending about a year with a personal trainer in 2016 to shed some extra pounds I’d picked up. At 41, I found myself at my highest weight since my pregnancies in my mid-twenties. With my trainer’s help twice a week, plus regular kick-boxing gym circuit workouts, and private Pilates instruction once a week, I was on a path that resulted in a 30-pound weight loss that year. I enjoyed the personal training — I didn’t love it. Although, I stuck with my Pilates, which I continue to this day. I truly enjoy my instructor. I got a Groupon for a hot yoga special at a local studio in October 2017. Once I tried it, I was hooked! Now, I practice nearly every day. My weekly regimen also includes Pilates a couple/few times each week.
How did that become your thing?
It’s difficult to explain the addictive nature of the bikram workout. It’s a combination of rejuvenating your body+mind+spirit. Early on, every time I made it through a 60-minute workout — just staying in the 100+ degree room — I felt accomplished. Eventually, I was pushing myself more in the postures and becoming more skilled at poses. I’d practiced yoga before, but hot yoga was different. First, the heat of the room warms your muscles, making them more pliable. The other benefit is the sweat. I always feel like I’ve had a great workout when it’s finished. I look forward to it every time I practice. And every practice, I feel like my body that day is different than the last. I give myself grace when I need it and celebrate when I crush it.
How has training physically changed you mentally or emotionally?
The nature of my work, plus being a wife, and mother to teenagers can cause some stress. Prior to hot yoga, it was pretty normal for me to see a masseuse once a month or so. I quickly realized I wasn’t carrying as much tension in my neck and shoulders after regularly practicing hot yoga. I also noticed a shift mentally. Every time you make it through a session, be it 60 or 90 minutes, you feel accomplished. It’s a powerful feeling that carries over to your work and home life. I believe I can accomplish difficult things and persevere. Emotionally, my patience has improved. The same breathing exercises I use to moderate my practice, I use throughout my day at work and home. It’s a centering exercise and experience. I feel grounded and strong.
What is still hard for you about your training, fitness or nutrition?
I still desire to walk and run. I love being outside and appreciating nature. Unfortunately living in Indiana, the weather is unpredictable and somewhat depressing. We have long winters and cool springtime weather as well. As much as I love to walk/run, it’s not the same indoors on my treadmill.
I also work hard to eat a balanced diet of real, mostly unprocessed, food. Too much extreme in diet derails me. I know what I should be eating, and try to maintain a moderate lifestyle when it comes to my food choices. However, this is still probably my biggest struggle, since I know that what I eat can quickly negate any workout or training I’m doing.
One component that is important in my daily meal planning is my morning smoothie made with FiTonic protein. After my apple cider vinegar and cayenne + lemon water ritual, it’s another part of my regular routine. FiTonic is the best-tasting protein powder I’ve ever tasted! I promise — and I’ve tried them all!
What is the mantra in your head that you hear most often when you train?
Truthfully, I say breath prayers a lot, such as “Breathe in kindness. Breathe out chaos.” or just repeat the name of Jesus, who I love and owe my life. When I was a runner, I’d often repeat, “You are strong.”, “You are capable.”, or “You can do hard things.”
What do you love most about your body?
Ahhh, just that I can move it and that it doesn’t ache! I love feeling fit and strong. I love being able to stretch and run and bend and flex. My father died at 63. That’s just too young. So I think a lot about taking good care of ‘my girl.’ (I think of my physical body as my partner in this life.) I want to treat her with respect. I also want us to be around as long as we can!
As far as physical traits, I love being tall. Being 5’11” since age 14, I was somewhat self-conscious about my height until I entered college. This is when guys were finally taller than me! Now, having children who also are tall, my 17-year-old son is 6’2” and my 18-year-old daughter is my height; I’ve always encouraged them to see their height as an advantage and not to be ashamed. It really is unique to be different.
If you have worked with a coach, what’s the most important lesson you learned from that person?
That I can accomplish anything I train for.
What is your fave nutrition tip? Or if you have tried a FiTONIC product, how do you use it in your day?
I regularly use both FiTonic Blissed and Fit in my morning smoothies. I add different ingredients based on my mood, but almost always incorporate chia seeds, collagen peptides, and almond milk. I look forward to having it every day!
If you could tell only one thing to every woman who is struggling in her fitness journey, what would that be?
Just get started! Try different things until you find something you enjoy. Do that thing for 15 min a few times a week until it becomes a habit you look forward to. You are capable of so much more than you think!
What goal are you going to crush next??
I’m making running a regular part of my lifestyle in 2019. I’d like to complete the Indianapolis 500 Mini Marathon again. It’s just a super-fun race!
BIG thank you to Stephanie for being our FiTONIC’s Athlete Spotlight!
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