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Coach Amanda’s Personal Fight Against Lupus

Amanda May, one of our newest coaches at RaceStart, also happens to be one of the most authentic people that I’ve come across. She radiates positivity, confidence, and is passionate in everything she does.  Recently, Amanda shared that she was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus  (and subsequent diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis). Her story truly moved me. I would watch her train and think, “that’s one bad-ass woman…athlete…person”.  Amanda’s just one of those people that makes you want to DO better. BE better- whether it’s in the gym or just be a better human. She believes in people and genuinely wants to support other athletes and their goals.

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I have not known Amanda very long, but these are just some of things that I admire about her. I strongly believe that it’s so very important to surround ourselves with others who inspire us….who make us want to be better.  Based on that reason alone, I knew Amanda was going to be an amazing coach and addition to our RaceStart team – Along with her long list of credentials:

  • USAW Level 1 Certification
  • USAW LWC Referee Certification
  • 5 years competitive Olympic Weightlifting experience
  • State titles in three weight classes
  • Wisconsin Weightlifting State Record Holder
  • Collegiate swimmer

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Read about Amanda’s journey and her diagnosis in her own words….

“It’s Lupus Awareness Month! Every year I like to take some time to think about my life since my diagnosis (and subsequent diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis) in 2010. What. A. Trip. There have been a lot of tough days / weeks / months since then – but more importantly, there has been so much good that has come of it.

I was diagnosed right after my freshman year of college. I have always been very active in athletics, so when I could barely make it through swim practices in college, I knew something was off. I was swimming my slowest times in meets since 8th grade club (yep, you read that right). By the end of the season, I had gained weight, was losing hair by the handful, and was constantly running on E no matter how much sleep I got. When I went home for the summer, I began to get increasingly sore. Every workout felt like I was having a heart attack. My athlete mindset told me that I was just out of shape; that I had to push harder, and the soreness was a good indicator that I was making progress.

Finally, one morning I woke up to go to work and thought I was paralyzed. I couldn’t move anything except slight movements of my head and hands; just enough to get my phone to call my parents for help. We immediately started the process of figuring out what was wrong with me. Luckily, being 19 at the time, there was a lot of urgency around finding an accurate diagnosis. It takes 6 years on average for most people to get diagnosed with Lupus – it looks like a million different things depending on the symptoms and blood tests on any given day. I was lucky to have only one misdiagnosis of a very rare form of Leukemia (my poor mother) before they diagnosed and started treating me for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. My main systems involved in my SLE are skeletomuscular, cardiovascular, and respiratory (fun fact: my pleural cavity was full of fluid for such a long period of time before treatment that each of my lungs is about ¼ scar tissue – there’s a reason I REALLY hate cardio!). I was formally diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis about six months later.  It took about two years of treatment after that to have more than a handful of days straight relatively symptom-free.

I have had some bad flares that have lasted months since my diagnosis, and my daily “normal” is nowhere close to feeling 100%. As a result, I have learned not to take my good days for granted, because they’re probably numbered. I am impulsive when it comes to travel and experiences, because there may come a time when I don’t have that luxury. I lift heavy things competitively, because at one time I was told I would never be an athlete again.

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But there are some really horrible days and chunks of time, and I definitely get frustrated a lot. Every dropped jar, every time I physically cannot open a drawer much less get dressed (shout out to Matt for crushing the caretaker duties), all the days that the barbell must take the backseat… I can get pretty down, BUT… I never feel bad for myself. And I never think “why me”. There are people out there suffering a lot more, with less support and fewer resources. There are so many people dealt far less fair hands. I am surrounded by strong, inspiring humans who spend their days overcoming the odds. I am lucky to have had a quick diagnosis, a rock-solid team of doctors, and a support team like no other.

If you want to learn more about Lupus (and some really exciting new R&D!) head to www.lupus.org, and as always, take a minute today to thank your body for all the cool things it does when it’s functioning normally.  Physical activity and a [mostly] mindful diet have been huge for controlling my symptoms… Never take the things you have control of for granted!”

~ Amanda May, Wisconsin Weightlifting State Record Holder, Coach

Thank you Amanda for sharing your story, being vulnerable, and giving us perspective.

Coaches like Amanda are an encouragement, and commit their lives to helping others achieve their fitness goals – no matter the obstacles they face.

Take a look at our exclusive discounts on memberships this Spring for new members and students .

October 2016 Athlete of the Month

“And though she be but little she is fierce”

alli-box-jumpAre you familiar with this quote? This is our Alli! She ALWAYS has a great big smile across her face with every rep, every round, and EVERY WORKOUT! She might joke that her arms feel like they are going to fall off, but she NEVER complains! I always tell everyone that “Whatever you put into your workout is exactly what you will get out of it”...and Alli pushes herself EVERY TIME!

When Alli was a “newbie” at RaceStart I can honestly say she was afraid to step out of her shell. Now I see her pushing herself to new levels every day- This way of thinking is now automatic and she’s beginning to see what she’s truly capable of.
It’s so important to remember to smile and just have fun, and that’s something that Alli brings out in all of us! She is so fun to be around, and really challenges you to push yourself harder in class. She might not admit that she’s competitive, but I beg to differ. Alli has been attending our 5:30A.M. classes as well as our night classes- Training 5 days/week, and 3 of the days she trains 2x/day. It’s safe to say that you have reached “rockstar status” 😀
Alli, I’m proud to announce that YOU are our Athlete of the month!

You have come a long way to receive this honor. Only those who are truly deserving are rewarded with “AOTM”. With that being said, some months might not have an “ATOTM” – but over the last few months I have .as you really stepped it up and your hard work has not gone unnoticed! Way to go! You have now taken on the roll to help encourage and empower others.

nose, cotton ball, bucket

(Allie usually does not dress up like a “dead bug” for her workouts, this photo was taken during the RS Halloween Event)

AOTM Survey:

Occupation?
Sales

Tell us something we may not know about you?
I am obsessed with my dogs. They rock.

When did you start training at RaceStart?
June of this year

Main reason for joining RS?
To find an enjoyable class experience that made me want to be go to the gym.

What were your thoughts after you completed your first RaceStart workout?
Everything hurts and I am dying. Also my arms are going to fall off. All in all I really enjoyed the group setting and how welcoming Antonette was, I didn’t feel pressured into doing anything I didn’t think I could do. 

What is your fitness background?
Running and swimming. Also that embarrassing stage in my life where I thought it would be fun to be an ice skater and I got stuck wearing a fuzzy lion costume at my first performance in front of hundreds of people.

What’s your biggest fitness accomplishment?
Lifting weights in general, I’ve always had a fear of how to properly do it.

Has RS affected your life at home, at work, with friends, family life, etc? (underline all that apply)
I would say all of the above. It has made me a more conscious grocery shopper and avoid the free terrible food at work. My friends and family have to put up with me talking about how my arms are going to fall off but find it amusing.

What results have you seen since your first RS workout?
I can lift much more than when I started and I think more about what I am putting into my body. Going to the gym also relieves stress that builds up at work.

What are your future training goals?
To be able to do a pull up with no band as well as do ropes for 20 seconds and not want to die.

What is your most memorable experience with RS?
When I wasn’t fully awake in the morning class and face planted over my kettle bell. Also the time Antonette was riding on top of the sled stacked with weights while Bryan pulled when I can barely pull 50 pounds.

What advice would you give to a “Newbie” or someone considering joining the RaceStart family?
Do it! The classes have a great structure so you don’t do repetitive movements day after day with no results. I also don’t dread going to the gym and everyone is so welcoming it feels like a little family.

t2b-alli

Fill in the Blank

I likeBeing outside, traveling, and hanging out with friends.
I eat(I feel like I shouldn’t honestly answer this question… joking). I have my weak days but mostly try to eat on the healthier side i.e. salads, canned tuna (I know this is gross but I can’t get enough), sweet potatoes, sushi
I doYoga, running, snowboarding, and water sports?? I don’t know how to answer this hahah
I amConfident and excited to see what I will be capable of doing in another year!
To be fit is to beDetermined, motivated, and perseverant

Post RS Halloween Event

Many thanks for EVERYONE who contributed

in our Pumpkin Pump Up Halloween Event!

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Thank you for your participation and contributions by bringing in a tasty (and healthy) treat,  a pumpkin, and/or dressing up! You all contributed in some way, and for that I can’t begin to tell you how much happiness this brings me.

At RS we love hosting events, but the Halloween Event is extra special. There’s just something about this time of the year- The colors, the smells, the weather, the food- I love it ALL!

However, this particular event helps remind us to not take life too seriously. We can still be silly, a little crazy, AND have fun without sacrificing our workout!

Don’t get me wrong, I still love me some good old competition. Our goal at RaceStart was to make you smile and laugh while getting in a good sweat fest. We are all young at heart and RaceStart wanted to remind everyone that it’s okay to let loose, and feel like a kid again. Sometimes we forget the importance of being able to laugh at ourselves, brush off a bad day, and keep moving forward on this fitness journey we set out on! #enjoylife #embracethecrazy 😉

PRIZES & WINNERS:

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  • Game 1 Prize: 1 packet of Shakeology AND their choice of either an RXBar, or FitAid
    • Winner: Angie
  • Game 2 Prize: 1 packet of Shakeology AND their choice of either an RXBar, or FitAid
    • Winner: Katie
  • Game 3 Prize: 1 packet of Shakeology AND their choice of either an RXBar, or FitAid
    • Winner: Natalie’s sister 
  • Raffle Prize:  Samples of pre-workout packets, sample of post workout packets, Shakeology packets, and a few more little goodies
    • Winner: Ciera
  • Best Costume Prize: 10% off their next month of unlimited group classes, a RS sticker, and a Shakeology packet
    • Winner: Marisa and Katie ( A&G featured Below)

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From the bottom of my heart I want to thank YOU for making this event happen! RaceStart is very lucky to have such supportive coaches as well as athletes. Thank you all for your help and contributions. You guys definitely made this year quite “eventful”! Enjoy the photos that we captured throughout the day. I know they brought a smile to my face. Some photos might need more explaining than others. LOL.

If anyone is interested in a recipe from the pot luck, please post questions and comments to the members only FaceBook group page

Click on the images below to view the SLIDE SHOW

7 Reasons Why Group Classes Are Not For You

Believe it or not I used to be the person with the 24 hour  ’globo gym’ membership. It was convenient, cheap, and I could come and go as I pleased. The gym was my escape … I’d put my earbuds in and tune out the world….I was in “my zone”.

It might be helpful to note that I was in competitive sports for most of my life. Once I graduated high school I was still active and continued to workout. However, I was just going through the movements, not focusing on a goal, or pushing myself to work on my weaknesses. I just stuck to what I liked to do. I was the classic ”cherry picker”.  In no way did I consider myself an “athlete”, nor was I really happy with my fitness results (even though I was putting in the TIME).

Then I tried Group Fitness and this was what I discovered.

Read my 7 reasons why group fitness is not for you!

  1. group fitness will push you out of your comfort zone – you will often find yourself doing things you never thought were possible
  2. our classes will keep you accountable. You can’t push it off, you have it on your schedule and that’s the time that you have to be there
  3. the coaches take the guessing work out of it. The workout program is already planned out for you. No “cherry picking”
  4. coaches are there to make sure you’re using proper form and weight-less risk of injury
  5. your confidence will continue to grow inside as well as outside the gym
  6. you will meet people who share similar interests as you
  7. RaceStart limits classes to 10 people – keeping class sizes small, and intimate

Group Fitness classes helped fulfill a void that had been missing after I stopped competing in sports. That competitive  drive  that was still inside of me and longing for camaraderie again … was fulfilled by Group Fitness training.  Group fitness training broke me out of my shell.

At RaceStart, your experience with Group Fitness  starts the moment you walk through the doors. You see your coach and then notice the workout on the whiteboard. Mobility and mental preparation set in as your excitement grows … After the coach goes over your workout you wait in anticipation for the sound of the clock, “3…2…1…GO!”  Your adrenaline kicks in as the beats from the speaker continue to intensify. The gym suddenly erupts. The coach looks around the room in sheer amazement at the sight of students, moms, and professionals. Suddenly your inner athlete is present, regardless if you were ever an athlete in your past or not.

We all have an inner athlete just waiting to come out. Are you looking to bring out yours? If so, then Group Fitness is for you. Your body will thank you!

Jordan’s Back with a NEW CLASS

cardio combat boxing mma jordan griffin
Hi warriors! I just wanted to give a big shout out to Jordan Griffin and welcome his return to coaching at RaceStart! We are excited to have Jordan on our team as well as seeing his charming smile back at the gym! 
Jordan will begin coaching a noon class every Tuesday and Thursday, starting THIS WEEK! Again, RaceStart is lucky to have Jordan and we look forward to seeing him around the gym more often 🙂  

CLICK HERE TO READ JORDAN”S FULL BIO »

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CARDIO COMBAT CLASS DESCRIPTION:

Our boxing classes take place in an intimate setting of up to 5 people and is led by instructor and Professional MMA fighter, Jordan Griffin, who is currently ranked #1 (145lb weight class) in Wisconsin and King of the Cage!

Cardio combat will teach you proper boxing technique and movement that the professionals use and will help you develop speed, agility, coordination and power. Each class consists of four rounds of 4 minute high intensity training. The first round consists of boxing, followed by circuit training and ending with shadow boxing and core finisher.

Contact Jordan at jordan@racestarttraining.com or (414) 881-5780 ASAP to schedule your class – Or just click on the button below!

 

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