Welcome to Friday’s Featured Female!
This weekly series features inspirational stories from admirable women. IMHO, it’s always good to be reminded of how strength, determination, hard work, heart and ingenuity can impact the quality of one’s life and I’m proud that these women will allow me to share their stories here.
Today’s #FFF Stephanie@FoodandFitness4Real, is one multitalented woman. This blonde former NFL cheerleader is not only a powerhouse runner but she’s also petroleum engineer, wife, mother of two young children, writer and recipe developer. If you didn’t know her IRL, you might want to smack her because she makes many of us (hmm – me) look like slackers. However, this pretty and petite lady is one of the nicest people you’ll ever want to meet. Social media brought us together but FitBloggin’ made us friends. Get to know this fabulous female right now!
Soooo, have you met Stephanie?
Hi guys! My name is Stephanie and I blog about balancing real life with healthy living at Food and Fitness 4 Real. I am so excited that Melissa asked me to write for her Friday’s Featured Female series. When I started my healthy living blog 3 years ago, one of my main goals was to inspire others to make healthy choices towards a healthy lifestyle. As a busy career mom, I know it can be hard to find time for fitness so today I am going to be talking about the importance of a healthy support system from Fitness Friends!
I am excited to talk about Fitness Friends because that is what I consider Melissa. We connected on social media through our posts and pictures about running, especially when I was in New York for the NYC ½ marathon in March. Since Melissa is recent transplant from Brooklyn, New York to Southern California, my NYC pictures were making her homesick! When I finally got to meet Melissa in real life at Fitbloggin this year in Savannah, I already felt like she was a close friend. We also geeked out together over running with Jeff Galloway, sealing the deal on our Fitness Friendship.
Do you have a group of fitness friends who support you in your journey towards a healthy lifestyle? I am talking about fellow runners, friends who make you sign up for boot camp, members at your CrossFit box or neighbors who invite you on weekly walks. Fitness friends not only make healthy living fun but they keep you motivated, push you past your comfort zone and pick you up when you stumble and fall.
I am involved in several groups of fitness friends; at work I am part of a group of women who meet up to run or walk in the park during our lunch break. Other days, I carpool to the gym with fellow co-workers to lift weights or run on the treadmill. A few years ago I attended morning boot camp, meeting my neighbors in the parking lot of the nearby elementary school at 5:15 AM to fit in a workout before our busy day. Racing with my neighbors and friends is my favorite way to run, especially when I have fitness friends who are willing to wear matching outfits or crazy socks on race day!
Earlier this week, a friend from work who is just starting to run posted a picture on Facebook of her two scratched, bloody, banged up knees. She had driven straight home after work, changed into her workout clothes, put on her headphones and started the Map My run app on her phone. Just a few minutes into her run, she tripped and fell landing on her knees, scraping both hands, and bruising both her body and pride. She had a choice, to pick herself up and keep running or throw in the towel and give up.
We all get knocked down; in life and in our journey towards a healthy lifestyle. Have you ever been tempted to throw in the towel? Wanted to give up on your fitness goals because you are too busy, don’t have time or it just seems too hard?
Then it’s time to find some fitness friends.
Our lunchtime running group braved the cold to run the Snowman Shuffle in January!
Fitness Friends text “Where were you? We missed you this morning!” when you sleep through your alarm instead of going to boot camp. They send you an email telling you they need a break from work, would you be up for a run in the park during lunch? Fitness Friends show up at mile 8 of a half marathon and cheer for you like crazy, giving you energy to finish those last few miles. When you fall during a run, they tell you “We’ve all fallen at least once, just pick yourself up and keep running!”
So back to my friend from work that fell on her run, I stopped by to check on her the next day and she was stiff and a little sore. But she told me that even though she was embarrassed by the blood running down her legs after her fall, she decided to get back up and keep running! I told her she was hard core and proud that she did not let one fall keep her down.
Here are a few tips to help you find your Fitness Friends:
- Send out an email at work and see if anyone is interested in joining you for a workout during lunch. Whether it is going to the gym or simply going for a walk around the building, you are more likely to stick to fitness goals if you have a co-worker for accountability.
- Go ahead and use the Facebook share button when you register for a race and ask your friends to run with you! I have often signed up to run a race, just because my neighbor was going to run and it is more fun to celebrate at the finish line with friends!
- Join a local fitness studio and show up to the same classes each week, you will start to get to know the instructors and other people who attend regularly. Don’t be shy, introduce yourself – you already have something in common with everyone there!
- If you are a runner, find a local running group or training class that meets at least once a week. Three years ago, I signed up for a half marathon training class at a local running store, where all of us were training for the Dallas Marathon (full or half). We met three times a week over several months to get ready for the race.
If you are looking for Fitness Friends, just be patient and I promise they will show up. When I first started running, I signed up for races and ran by myself for several months until I started to make friends with other runners. If you already have fitness friends, I challenge you to keep encouraging each other and look for ways to include new friends in your group. Your greatest reward when be when someone says YOU have inspired them to start running, join CrossFit or finally get in the gym.
Four years ago, Stephanie started running and could barely run a 5K. She is currently training for her 9th half marathon, the Oregon Wine Country half marathon on August 31, 2014 and will run her first full marathon, the Marathon de Paris, in April 2015.You can follow her training journey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Do you have Fitness Friends? How did you find them?
LOVE seeing Stephanie here and what a pleasure it was meeting her at FitBloggin!! I love what she has to say about fitness friends because it’s just all SO true. They are a different breed of friends and “get you” when other friends who don’t run or workout, don’t. It’s just that simple. I was psyched to be hanging with some of my favorite running friends at a 5K last night. So.much.fun!
I think Stephanie did a great job of articulating this very special bond. She’s a pretty special person and I wish she didn’t live so damned far away!
Congrats on that 5K finish, lady!
Such a great & inspiring post!! LOve that you met all the amazing online friends that support us even though we never met them in person…. I am not part of group BUT I am OK with that. I have always been a solo workout person as I know it works better for me that way. I do want to take yoga at some point though as a class when I can afford it but in general, as you mentioned, the online friends are amazing. I have met a few & always so great to see they are the same or better in person!!!!
Fitness friends are good for running but I agree on the working out solo part sometimes. When I used to go to a gym, the last thing I wanted to do was socialize. I’m a social person but sometimes I just like my time alone. However, I’m exceptionally thankful for the virtual and IRL friends fitness and social media has brought my way.
I’ve just recently found Stephanie’s blog and already suspected I would like her IRL as well! This was a great post – it really is so important to have a support network in every area of your life and fitness friends are just the best, whether they’re virtual, or in person.
Stephanie is a doll and fierce runner. You two would definitely like one another.