Krissy has worked diligently with Figarelle’s Fitness over the last two years, gaining confidence and experience along the way. She has an unshakable determination to achieve every goal she sets for herself, and she constantly strives for improvement. We recently wrapped up our FF Spring Transformation Challenge, and Krissy was one of two overall winners. She collected $500.00 in cash, a box of delicious chocolate chip Quest bars, and a month of free Boot Camp classes. We love to reward our clients for their efforts!
These Challenges aren’t just about fat loss, they’re about making a mental and emotional change and adopting sustainable lifestyle habits, too. The FF Transformation Challenges are an opportunity for our clients to step up and set any kind of goal for themselves. We encourage our clients to get out of their comfort zones and focus on areas of their lives that they may otherwise not consider focusing on; recovery/self-care, spirituality, and finances.
During the Challenge, clients can track progress on a spreadsheet and earn points, or they can strive for their own personal transformation without tracking anything. We leave it all up to them to decide. Krissy chose to track everything she did over the last 6 weeks in order to earn the highest points during the challenge. Check out her story:
This is the second challenge that you’ve won this year. Can you tell us a little about what you enjoy so much about our FF Transformation Challenges?
For me, these challenges are really significant periods of personal growth, and they provide an opportunity to really focus in on the big goals. I have participated in all of the FF challenges since I started working with you guys two years ago, and I’ve found this to be the case every time. I still work on my goals in between the challenges. However, I’m always really excited when these come around because I feel like the added accountability and group camaraderie just gives me that extra little boost to make more headway than I typically achieve outside of the challenges.
What goals did you set and accomplish during the Winter Challenge over the holidays?
My biggest goal over the winter challenge was to achieve my goal weight. Quite a while back I had set that at 135 lbs. I really wanted to get below that number and start the year working toward maintenance. I achieved that goal which was really exciting. Weight loss for me has been a slow and steady progression over the two years I’ve worked with FF. At times I certainly wanted to see quicker results, but now that I reflect back on it, I’m so glad I remained patient, trusted the process, and let it happen slowly. I think this makes the lifestyle changes infinitely easier to maintain.
What I didn’t expect to happen was that I lost just over 5% body fat during that 8-week period. Given the general slow-go of my weight loss this was really surprising to me because it was the largest body fat drop I’d experienced during a challenge. It was a good reminder that the scale, alone, doesn’t always give you the full picture of the changes that are happening with your body.
My other goals were to curb a life-long nail biting habit and develop my abdominal muscles. I’m trying in earnest to go for that coveted six-pack. I did well with breaking the nail biting habit, but I didn’t quite get there with the six-pack.
What goals did you set and accomplish during the most recent Spring Challenge?
After attaining my goal weight, I can honestly say I was really happy with where I was at, and I transitioned to maintenance at the beginning of the year. However, I still had that six-pack goal, and I started to think that if I lost a few more pounds, I might be able to attain it. I say “might” because the honest truth is I’ve had a baby and lost 40+ lbs. so there is some extra skin that might make this goal pretty dang tricky. But if I’m this close, I have to try. So I set this as a goal again, and decided I would try to drop down to 128 lbs. That’s a pretty arbitrary number, but I also realized that I’m perfectly happy with where my body fat is right now and I don’t want to get into the mindset of constantly tweaking or feeling like I need to keep losing more.
I set this target for one final weight loss push in an attempt to find my abs. I have not yet achieved this goal, and that’s ok. The majority of my weight loss has been really slow so I knew going into this that six weeks wasn’t a lot of time to lose seven more pounds. I have lost about half of this though, and more importantly, I’m seeing some abdominal development trying to peak through. I’m excited about the progress, and for me, that’s the part that matters the most.
My other two goals ended up taking a bit of the priority this time around, and I did achieve those. My first one was to make some headway with our family’s finances. Sometimes money is more of a stressor than I’d prefer it to be, and I wanted to see if I could come up with ways to save a little bit of money here and there to save an extra $1,000. I managed to do that through all sorts of little ways. Low gas prices, a week without daycare, my husband’s per diem, selling some clothes that didn’t fit to resale shops were all little examples of ways I chipped away at this goal. This was just sort of test to see if I could do it, and this little test will play into some larger financial goals I’m trying to develop for my family’s future.
My third goal ended up being my hardest and largest priority during this challenge. Last winter, I was contacted by a professor in Sweden to write a chapter for an upcoming text book on northern pike. I won’t get into a ton of detail on this, but at Fish and Game, where I work, I’m a research biologist focusing on invasive species management.
My main focus is on coordinating control, eradication, and research projects for northern pike which are not native to our area of Alaska and are contributing to declines in salmon populations. I was asked to prepare a chapter on northern pike as a nuisance species. This is both really exciting and terrifying for me. Professionally, I haven’t done anything on this level before. As an agency scientist I don’t get a chance to publish much and when I do, it is generally for our department’s reporting series rather than academic journals and certainly not in text books. Further, the subject matter doesn’t pertain just to Alaska.
Northern pike are top predators, and illegal introductions of them throughout the western United States have caused serious conservation concerns for native and, in some cases, endangered species. For me, there was a ton of background research that went into understanding these situations in places I’m not at all familiar with. Preparing this chapter is really the biggest challenge of my career thus far.
In the beginning, I was a bit paralyzed by the magnitude of this task, and I struggled both with getting into the writing process and finding the time to do it on top of my normal job duties. Knowing this and trying to move past the struggle, I set completion of the chapter draft as my final, and to me, most meaningful goal of the challenge. I completed the draft and sent it to my team of coauthors for their reviews at 4:00 pm on April 18th, the last day of the challenge.
Tell us more about your morning routine, and some of the activities you do for recovery and relaxation.
I have a pretty regular morning meditation practice. I started this early last fall because I struggle a bit with seasonal affective disorder here in the winters. I bought myself a gigantic happy light which I kind of laugh at but find intriguingly effective.
Most mornings, I wake up, go downstairs, blast my happy light, and meditate for at least 20 minutes. In the beginning, it was just my light and I, and I had a hard time settling into the mediations. After a while, I tried adding a scented candle and soft meditation music, and that has really been the key to making this work for me. I found a ‘calm mediation radio’ channel on Pandora. I play that quietly, set my phone timer for 20 minutes, and there I go.
Sometimes I get into the quiet really easily. Sometimes I can’t turn off my brain and end up planning my day or thinking through something that’s on my mind, but I always come away from the quiet time feeling good. I’m not at all saying I haven’t had my moments this winter, but I do think these mediations and my goofy happy light have really helped me feel much more in control of the things that tend to stress me out.
Also, I discovered the world of chiropractic care and deep tissue massage during this challenge. I was dealing with a really tight lower back at the beginning of the challenge, but two adjustments later and a really good massage, and I’m feeling much, much better.
In addition to those things I foam roll as often as I can and try to give myself time to read before bed almost every night. I really enjoy that, and it’s a great way to wind down from the day. Every Wednesday night, by husband and I also take turns watching our son so the other can have a few hours of “me” time. I’ve used my Wednesday evenings to take a dance or yoga class and/ or hang out at a coffee shop. It’s nice to have those couple of breaks from the routine every month to look forward to.
How has your nutrition changed over the last few months? Can you offer any nutrition tips that have worked the best for you?
For the winter challenge, I slowly brought my calories down. That, and even during that low period, I incorporated a refeed every week. Really, most of the time, I’d say my macros were and still are at about 40% protein and 30% carbs and fat. I continued the weekly refeed throughout that process. Now that I’m trying to lose a few more pounds, I’m slowly dropping my calories back down again.
One thing I am doing is incorporating something fun into my diet every day. For me this is almost always chocolate. I can skip the alcohol. I have little trouble with most other things, but darn it, I have a sweet tooth. Ultimately, I want to be able to stop tracking calories, so I need to train my brain to allow a little indulgence without overdoing it and foiling my progress/ maintenance.
I’ve definitely had my chocolate allowance backfire on me (usually when it ends up being a little more than an allowance), but if I keep it to a piece or two of dark chocolate, it usually fits my macros just fine and is just part of my daily routine. One other strategy I’ve played with that also seems effective is to wait and eat my quest bar at night. Usually, I’m pretty busy during the day and need grab-and-go foods like quest bars, ready-made protein shakes, and fruit, but when I do save my quest bar for the evening, this quenches my sweet tooth at the time of day when my cravings for something sweet are always the worst.
You have some big goals coming up in the next few months. Can you tell us more about them?
More family time! First and foremost! My family has been awesome. All the way through they’ve supported me with my weight loss journey and all the time I’ve allocated to exercise, menu planning, etc. Recently, my husband completely took care of our son while I was largely absent for two weeks cranking on my chapter.
While I’m super excited about the progress I’ve made toward my goals, I really miss my guys, and I want to focus my attention on time spent with them. So, first and foremost is getting back to a normal family routine and focusing my time and energy on my husband and son is paramount. I also want to spend more time communicating with my parents, sister, and friends back in Wisconsin. My parents and I try to FaceTime weekly, but I’ve missed many of those calls over the last few weeks, and I’m really looking forward to changing that.
Next, I’m participating in my first triathlon, the Gold Nugget in May! Prior to training for this, I never really swam laps before. I didn’t really ride a bike either, and I’m not a very strong runner. So, here we go! All new things (except running), and I’m excited to do it. I have my workout buddy and fellow challenge winner, Brittany, to blame for this one. I really wanted to run Lost Lake, and she really wanted to do the Gold Nugget, so we agreed to both do both races. So, that is my next goal after the Gold Nugget.
I am excited to run the Lost Lake race in August. I have run long-distance races before, but I have never been on the Lost Lake trail, and I’ve never done a race that involved altitude or terrain. I’m a bit of a heights phobe so this could be a challenge for me both mentally and physically, but I am excited to conquer it and complete this year’s race.
Beyond that, I want to turn my attention toward some long-term financial planning for my family and start thinking about the BIG picture retirement and life goals and what we need to do financially to get there. In August, I was invited to give a presentation at the National American Fisheries Society Conference. It will be in Portland this year. I’ve never been to the national meeting, and it will be the largest conference I’ve ever presented at. Then fitness-wise, once I’ve discovered my ab muscles and am well into maintenance, I want to stop tracking my life on my iphone.
Seriously, I think for the next challenge, one of my goals will be to maintain my weight without using My Fitness Pal, Garmin Connect, I Map my Whatever, and any other apps I use to track my life. I strongly endorse tracking. I absolutely do. I wouldn’t have had the success I’ve had without tracking. However, this does take time and attach me to my phone more than I care to admit, and I want to trust that after two years I’ve learned enough to be successful without it. I’m pretty type-A, so not tracking is actually going to be pretty hard for me, but I’m excited for this transition.
What motivates you to take these challenges so seriously and use them as a way to get to the next level in self-development?
A strong desire to continue improving my self-confidence. These challenges are never about competiting with other people. Sure it’s fun and exciting to be a winner, but, for me, these challenges aren’t about winning or losing. They’re a competition with myself. It’s about doing better than I did the time before. Every time that happens, I notch a little bit upward in my self-confidence and self-esteem.
Two years ago, before I joined FF, I knew I didn’t feel good about myself. This festered into the way I interacted with others and created a pretty negative lens in which I tended to view things. I knew something was wrong, and I tended to think it was all because I felt physically out of sorts, but that was only a symptom of the fact that I didn’t really believe in myself.
I didn’t really believe I could lose 40 lbs. I didn’t believe I could write a book chapter. I didn’t believe I could run a mountain race or be excited about presenting at a national conference. If asked to do these things two years ago I probably would have politely declined. I would have been too scared and convinced I didn’t have what it took or too intimidated by what I thought others might think of my attempts.
I think finding self-confidence is really hard for a lot of people, especially if you’re not aware that it is lacking. I was definitely in this box before I started with FF. I mentioned before that these challenges really work for me because they bring my awareness back to my goals, but every time I achieve one of those goals, my confidence really grows. My sense of achievement grows, and I ultimately become more effective for it in all aspects of my life.
It’s cool that I’ve lost weight working with FF, and it’s fun to work on developing different muscle groups and all that, but more than the physical strength, I’ve gotten so much stronger mentally, and that’s been my real transformation. That’s the part that’s most important to me. That’s the part I’m testing when we do the plank challenges. It’s why I take these challenges so seriously.
If there is one thing that FF has done for me, it has made me really believe that my big goals are possible and that I am capable of achieving them. These challenges offer the opportunity to really focus on that and the potential for self-improvement that I’ve discovered during these challenges is what really drives me.
What advice would you give someone who has signed up for a FF Transformation Challenge, but three weeks in decides to throw in the towel? How do you stay committed?
Simply put, if you’ve made a commitment to yourself, follow through. Trust yourself and be adaptive, but finish what you start. For me when I start something I care about, I typically finish it. I joke that I’m pretty type-A, but honestly I think that’s just sort of how I am, and this personality trait makes me push it kind of hard at times. That said, there is real a difference between following through on things that matter and forcing yourself to follow through on things that don’t, and I’ve struggled from time to time with this distinction. Here’s what I mean. Working toward my goals and making progress is what is important. How exactly that happens is, perhaps, less so.
When this challenge started, I was flat out overcommitted. This challenge coincidentally occurred over a very busy time-frame for work beyond the chapter project. I was also without day care for over a week, and I had started on a REALLY ambitious triathalon training program. The training program had me working out multiple times a day to get in set training sessions that were supposed to happen on specific days, plus do my normal FF workouts. Two weeks into the challenge I was feeling pretty lousy. My stress level was high, my time was tight, my weight was actually going up, I was losing some of my seasonal affective battles, and my lower back was getting bad. I was injuring myself.
One night at about 10:00 pm, I was at the pool frantically trying to get my laps in before the gym closed, and I had this random thought, “What are you doing you type-A goof ball?” You’ve had a long day. Stop stressing about getting your training sessions in, and go home.” The drive home was sort of a reevaluation point. Yeah, I did it. I got my laps in, but I was exhausted and I felt terrible. This is not what exercise typically is for me. If it was becoming another “To-Do-List” item, then it had to go. Something had to give. What I realized is that my triathalon goal this year is just to do it, plain and simple. I didn’t set a time goal for my first attempt at this, so why was I killing myself trying to train as if I had one?
At that point, I already knew I was capable of finishing the race, but I had let that training program get into my head too much. So, I changed course. I adapted, but my goal and progress toward it remained. I decided the training program wasn’t necessary, but I continued running/swimming/ biking every week, just when it fit my schedule instead of when I felt required to. This was a huge help and set me on a much better course for the remainder of the challenge.
So I guess my point to all of that is for someone contemplating throwing in the towel half-way through, ask yourself, “Is completing this challenge really important to me”. If the answer is “no”, well then that’s the distinction I mean and so be it. But if the answer is “yes”, then ask yourself, “What can I change so that I can follow through? and “How can I keep forward momentum going without it being all or nothing?” Maybe that means not worrying about tracking points, but continuing to send in photographs or meal plans or homework. Or, track the points, but don’t do the homework if that’s honestly time-probative. Whatever it is, be creative. Figure out what it is that matters most to you, be true to yourself, and follow through with that.
What kind of advice can you give to other busy moms who want to fit in more time for exercise?
Don’t try to do it all, but do something. Exercise, for me, usually really clears my head. Even if it’s just going out for a walk or a bike ride, you’re still getting yourself into the habit of taking that 30 minutes or whatever for yourself and learning to prioritize that time into your day. It’s taken some time for me to figure this out, but I’ve learned that you need to take care of yourself in order to be any good at taking care of others.
Exercise has become a significant mental release for me. That’s not to say that I always feel like going for a workout session. The FF attendance policy or a buddy workout I’ve scheduled with Brittany keep me accountable so that I can’t easily bail on a workout.
However, I’ve come to really recognize that the workouts I feel like doing the least are most often the ones that go the best. So, my best advice is to make a commitment to yourself to prioritize your health, talk to the people around you to see if they are willing to watch the kids while you get your workout in (in most cases, I’ve found people are really happy to help and support this goal), and then do it. Commit to it and follow through. You’ll feel better, and you’ll be setting a fantastic example for your kids.
What was your biggest takeaway from this most recent Transformation Challenge?
I think one of the things I became most aware of during this challenge is that I have a tendency to let small stuff take interfere with progress toward larger goals, and this affects my efficiency to a large degree. My experience with the triathalon training program is sort of an example of this. At home, I have a hard time ignoring the dishes and laundry when I should be down on the floor playing with my son. I let e-mails, phone calls, meetings and random data requests completely preclude me from getting an earlier start on my chapter.
I think I really learned that my time management is up to me more than I think it is, and if I make a few tweaks, I can make a lot of things easier on myself. Prioritizing time toward the big things that matter instead of the small things that don’t is really what gets the big goals accomplished. By the end of the challenge I think I figured this out.
I also discovered that, for me, I am much more effective focusing my energy toward one big goal at a time instead of trying to do everything at once. I’d rather do one thing well than multiple things sub-par. This is why I’m so proud of completing my chapter draft and totally cool with not having yet completed my six-pack goal. Now that the chapter draft is in, I can re-allocate my energy back toward my fitness goal. For me, learning to take one thing at a time was a real take home lesson from this challenge.