Fitness and Finding the Right Fit

While I’m not a huge fan of moving, I am thankful of all of the great people that I have met in the various places we’ve lived. Cori Johnson is definitely one of those people. While we haven’t lived in Indianapolis for many years now, Cori and I have kept in touch over the years and have most recently been challenging each other with building our businesses. Each week we try and set goals and make each other accountable for accomplishing them.

You might wonder why I would want to promote someone else’s business on my blog and the answer is easy, we both want better health for those around us. Ultimately, I think that can be accomplished better by promoting the good things out there because as I have said, I don’t believe that fitness is a one size fits all deal. The more resources that people have available, the more likely they are to find what works for them.

There are so many things that I respect about her and her business: her counseling background enables her to coach women through the tough times to empower them in her journey, she knows the challenge of feeding a family with a healthy diet (sign up for her weekly menus), she has overcome injury setbacks to find programs that work for her, and overall, she is just one of the most positive people I know.

Image of Cori Johnson

I’m not letting “getting older” be my excuse for slowing down.

Stronger Than you Think

Cori Johnson

To be honest, I didn’t realize I had a “fitness story.” I have loved being active and moving ever since I was a kid. My parents weren’t exactly elite athletes, but I grew up in a household that valued good health in the most organic, natural way: we essentially were taught to eat right and enjoy the outdoors. We camped a lot. We hiked, went skiing, canoeing, white water rafting. I’m eternally grateful for what they taught me about the magic of just being outdoors and all that it has to offer.
My parents also supported our endeavors into sports. I began playing soccer at age five, and played through freshman year of high school. My high school didn’t have a girls’ team at that time, so I played freshman year with the boys. When I was told, “You’ll never play varsity because you might get hurt,” I suppose I could have put up a fight, for the betterment of all future female athletes. I wish I could say I did, but I didn’t. I quit and put more energy into running.

I first ran track in middle school and fell in love with running. I have always loved that running is available to everyone. I once saw a great quote that read something along the lines of, “There are country clubs you can’t get into, there are gyms you can’t afford, but the road is always open.” I love that. All you need to be a runner is a pair of shoes (and really, shoes are technically optional, we’ve since learned).

So, you may be thinking, “She’s been active since she was a kid. Fitness comes easily to her and she’s certainly never struggled with her weight.” You’d be wrong.

I am here to tell you, the phrase, “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet” is something I’ve had to learn the hard way. College shenanigans taught me that. I put on the dreaded freshman 25 (I’m an overachiever, I went for 25 instead of 15), and from age 18 until just a few years ago, maintaining a weight that I felt good about was a huge struggle.

I do pursue the rush of exercise. I love to move and be active. I love to try new forms of exercise- not because it’s trendy and I think it will be the answer to my weight issue, but because I love to see how my body will respond.

Nutritionally, I’ve been a train wreck. Although my parents planted a huge garden every summer, and we’d eat fresh fruits and vegetables from July through August, then canned and frozen the remainder of the year, I still am a child of the 80’s. What that means: processed garbage and horrible information about nutrition. Right when I was hitting puberty, we were suddenly given access to vast amounts of ‘fake food’ in our grocery stores, and being told that fat was bad. My passion for sports kept me ahead of the game through high school- I didn’t gain weight, but I also didn’t feel great. In college, I still worked out, but just ate much more of the fake food, plus my share of beer, plus the off-hours college kids keep, and the pounds came on.

Without going too far into my nutrition, which really is a story for another day, I’ll just simply share where I am now where fitness is concerned.

At 42, I can say with total honesty that I have never been fitter and healthier. I attribute that to Beachbody programs, Shakeology, and sharing this journey with like-minded people.

Here’s the deal… I ran for 25+ years. I ran more half marathons that I can count. I spent three summers training to run a marathon. Each summer I went out with an injury prior to getting to the start line of the marathon. I have spent more time in physical therapy and sports medicine offices than I care to remember… all from running injuries. Hamstring injuries, knee injuries, ankle injuries.

Three years ago, when I was playing soccer with my oldest and in my third attempt to train for a marathon, we connected ankle to ankle, and I suffered the most damage. For a full year afterwards, I couldn’t run without pain. But I knew I had to do something to stay active, and I was 100% certain nothing would fulfill the rush I got from running. I was totally wrong.
At that time, I decided to “retire” from running and try something new. I began with P90X. That was over three years ago, and since that time, I have never NOT been doing a Beachbody program of some sort. And here’s the really amazing thing: I am more flexible, leaner, and stronger than I have ever been before.

I won’t list all the programs… I’ll just say, if Beachbody produced it, I’ve probably done it.

I do the workouts, follow the training plan, in the comfort and privacy of my own home, on my own schedule. Then the magic happens online. I share my journey in what’s known as a challenge group, which is a private group on Facebook. There, I lead other moms just like me through these programs. They do the workouts in their homes, on their schedules, but we come together daily to share how we’re doing. Some days we vent, “That was SO hard.” Other days we celebrate, “Nailed it! And lost two pounds this week!” We share recipes, ideas, and accountability, and all support one another without judgment and with tons of love and humor.

But wait. There’s more.

Recently my 12-year-old, whose chosen sports as of now are running and soccer, has decided he would like to complete the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon this coming May. If you’re not from Indy, you may not be familiar with The Mini, as we call it. But those in Indy know it to be an important part of our city’s culture, and even an important part of the history and culture of Indiana. It was my first half marathon, and I’ve run it every single May from high school until three years ago, taking off only those years when I was pregnant or had just had a baby. So, when my son said he wanted to run it, my first instinct was: “I want to be there with him the first time he runs it.”

I recently began running again to train to run The Mini with my son. I retired over three years ago because I was tired of being injured. Since then it’s been almost exclusively Beachbody programs. What is amazing…. I am running strong, able to hang with my 12-year-old, who is one of the top runners in his middle school and recently went to Nationals for Junior Olympics Cross Country, and so far, my legs feel great with no sign of injury (knock on wood).

I am constantly amazed at our bodies. I am one who loves fitness, yes. But here’s the thing about fitness: you have absolutely no idea how strong you are. I don’t think most of us will ever push ourselves hard enough to realize that. But I do know that I am not backing down. I’m not letting “getting older” be my excuse for slowing down. If I can push, and it feels great, and it keeps my heart healthy and my lungs strong, and my clothes fitting, well, I’m going to.

My dream is that other moms will realize that they are far stronger than they have ever realized, and enjoy all the rewards of good health and fitness: confidence, empowerment, and yep, clothes fitting well. I love to use my counseling background to help moms figure out what’s got them stuck and unable to achieve their goals, and set them on a path to enjoying great health and feeling amazing. And I love to bring together moms from all over the country, in our little corner of Facebook-land, getting to know one another as we share our journey, trying to balance the demands of our busy lives as moms and wives while still pursuing great health.


I truly encourage you to check out Cori’s site and sign up for her newsletter. She’s of course also available on FaceBook and I know she would welcome new members to her private groups.

Fitness is truly about finding what works for you. If you haven’t found the ‘right fit’ yet, drop me a line. Let’s talk about your goals and what type of program would work best for you. Just because personal training might not be the right path for you doesn’t mean I don’t want to help lead you to better health.

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