My name is Stephanie Woods and I am the owner of Stephanie.Fitness. I am an online personal trainer who is NASM certified. I’m married to a meathead who is my very best friend, Zack Woods, who owns and handprints his own fitness clothing called, Woods Strong. We have two rambunctious little boys, Ty and Dean, who are infatuated with big muscles and want nothing more than to get big like their dad. Together we live in Southeast Idaho and love nothing more than lifting weights, camping, razor riding, exploring ghost towns, eating Sushi, and supporting our kids in every sport possible.
I started Stephanie.Fitness on a whim back in April of 2011. I had a lot of family and friends that were asking me to share and post my recipes that I was starting to invent and come up with that helped me lose fat and build muscle. So, I started a small blog to share with my family and friends. Little did I know that Stephanie.Fitness would become so much more than that. I now offer online personal training, customized meal plans, fitness tips, product reviews, and more. But, there’s more to me than just my website. Here is my story…..
I’m not going to begin to tell you how my childhood was other that than I never took health and fitness seriously. Like never. The thought of a skinny fit body never even crossed my mind. Of course, I was always into sports, but never looked at them like they were bettering my health. I did them because I enjoyed them and it was something to do after school. I did volleyball, basketball, and even at College I started a women’s rugby team. I did sports because I enjoyed them. But, I still ate like a horse and was never taught the importance of proper diet and exercise. Even though I was active through high school and college, I still had hips the size of a Buick and I was technically considered “skinny fat”.
It wasn’t till after having Dean, my youngest, that I really started to pay attention to what I ate and suddenly exercising became very important to me. During my two pregnancies, I never once worked out or cared about the way I ate. It wasn’t important to me at the time. Yes, I was unhealthy and I was definitely unsatisfied by the way my body looked. I hated my hips, butt, and thighs the worse. I have always been very bottom heavy. I thought that God was playing mean tricks on me and decided to stick a skinny person’s upper body on a fat ladies lower body. I was wearing size 10 pants at 5’2 and I was even trying my best to squeeze into those. After having Dean, I decided to make a change.
I eventually one day asked my husband for help. Zack has always been into bodybuilding, fitness and eating healthy even before I met him 11 years ago. But, his dedication and healthy eating habits never really rubbed off on me until after having our 2 children. I finally asked him for help. I still remember him pulling out a piece of paper and writing down a workout regimen for me that would target one to two body parts a day for five days a week. I had to ask him about proper form with my exercises as I was completely clueless to lifting weights. He was very helpful and guided me along. We never once went to the gym together. We couldn’t. We had two small children and the gym he went to didn’t have a Kids Klub. So, I signed up for Gold’s Gym and he would write out my workouts for me and I would have to do them on my own. Trust me when I say, I felt very overwhelmed at first, but I was determined to look a certain way and I didn’t care how long it took me to learn.
Little did Zack know that once he taught me about lifting weights, I would take off with his guidance and become a BEAST in the gym. I have to thank him almost every day, because if it wasn’t for him helping me, I wouldn’t be who I am today. He’s my biggest motivator and supporter, but I don’t think he realized he had unleashed a caged animal. I soaked up everything he taught me and then some. Within a few months I saw changes in my body and muscle definition that I had no idea even existed. Seeing my muscles pop in the gym mirror for the first time was the day I suddenly fell in love with lifting heavy weights and since then I’ve never looked back.
Over the last few years, I began to educate myself with Kinesiology, nutrition, and diet. Zack always knew about the weights and exercises, but it really wasn’t until I started studying and researching about diet and food that our knowledge of a fit and healthy body truly grew. To this day, I’m constantly educating him and myself on diet and proper foods. And he still amazes me with the killer workouts that he can put together for me. Together we make a great team!
Back in 2011, I began training for my very first figure competition. I was so excited to start a new journey and I worked extremely hard and got so close to competing. But, I had to back out 2 days before my show due to a kidney infection from a severe case of strep throat that I had let go for far too long. That was stupid on my part and it really bummed me out that I got that close to a show and then never got to compete. I decided to put any competitions on hold and started focusing more on my career instead. I was working as a personal trainer at my local Gold’s Gym at the time, but decided after a year it wasn’t for me. I didn’t like the management and unless you had a great clientele established you really didn’t make a great income.
I hung onto my job at the gym as long as I could. In the last few months I began working closely with, Dr. Warren Willey, author of ‘Better Than Steroids’ and Board Certified Bariatric Physician. His CFO, Ace Call, contacted me and asked if I would be interested in working with Dr. Willey as his online personal trainer. I jumped at the chance to work with such a mastermind and we quickly became great friends. As soon as I began training people online for Dr. Willey, I came across a huge conflict with the gym I was currently working for and decided to quit in February of 2012 and began working full time with Dr. Willey.
I instantly fell in love with online training because it gave me twice as much accountability with my clients than I did when I actually trained them in the gym. With online training, I know exactly what workouts my clients are doing every week and I knew exactly what they were eating day in and day out. I never had that kind of “scheduling” with my gym clients. I worked for Dr. Willey for over a year and eventually the both of us decided it was time to part ways and go in different directions. Dr. Willey was starting a new program with hormone replacement therapy and I was starting to get too busy with my own personal website that I couldn’t keep up with both.
I officially started training people online with my very own programs, systems, meal plan software and recipes in January of 2013 and I couldn’t be happier. I learned a lot from Dr. Willey and I couldn’t have gotten this far without him. But, going out on my own and really focusing on my career and my website has made a huge difference with my clientele and my responsibilities as an online trainer. I absolutely love my job and I love every single one of my clients. I’m here to help and motivate those who want to be fit and healthy like me.
Owning my own online business and trying to complete a recipe cookbook and e-book, while trying to run a household and raising 2 kids is hard. And on top of all that, I’m staying active and healthy. I’m busy just as much as the next person. Believe me when I say, I understand how hard it can be to take care of your kids, run them back and forth from school and sporting events, keep your house clean, run errands, do your finances, cook meals, and still have time for yourself and your husband. It’s hard! Especially, when you’re also trying to squeeze in your workouts and stay on a good diet.
Here is the best advice I can give to all mom’s out there:
- Have a good support system. Whether it’s your friends, your family, your husband, and/or your kids. If you don’t have a good support system, it very hard to stay on track and feel confident in what you’re doing.
- Prep your meals ahead of time. If your meals are already cooked, chopped, and pre-portioned in the fridge, it is so much easier to just grab and go. The problem with people today is that they are constantly busy and heading to one thing to the next. Who has time to cook every single meal, every single day? I know I don’t. So, choose one or two days a week to plan and prep all of your meals. If you don’t have to think about your next meal or what to eat next because you’ve already planned it, you’re more likely to stay on track with your nutrition and diet. And this can also apply to your significant other and children. Chop up veggies and fruit and leave it at eye level in the fridge for your kids. Keep their favorite yogurts and whole wheat products where they too can easily grab and go. Teach your children while their young. They watch us like hawks. So, if they see you eating healthy, they’ll pick up on that as they get older.
- Make time for the gym. For most people, they have a hard time just getting to the gym. Well, so do I. But, it’s important enough to me that I MAKE time. If I start skipping days and not getting my exercise in every week, my body tends to get stiff, I get grouchy, and even moody. Exercising is a great stress reliever and I don’t know one person that ever regretted going to the gym. Start managing your time better and schedule your gym time.
- Stay consistent. This is the biggest misconception people have. If people don’t see fast results, they tend to drift off their path instead of staying consistent with their diet and exercise. There will be times during your journey that you won’t see progress or results. You will need to be patient and push past those plateaus. Everyone deals with them, and whether you succeed or not will depend on how you well you handle your plateau. If your goal is to lose fat, you shouldn’t treat it like a race. It took a long time to put that fat on and it’s going to take time to take it all off. I typically like to see my clients lose about one pound per week. That’s it. Any more than that, they’re probably losing more muscle than they are fat.
- Throw out your scale. Do not be constantly dwelling on numbers. Women especially seem to determine how the rest of their day is going to go by how their scale reads in the morning. If they don’t like what they see, they’re bummed out for the rest of the day and they think that they need to start eating salads and skip meals. WRONG! Screw what the scale says. If you’re sticking to a good diet and proper calories and macros, you have no reason to doubt your progress. The human body fluctuates its weight by 1 to 6 lbs depending on the day or time of the month. Our bodies are consistently retaining water, flushing out water, increasing and decreasing blood flow, and so much more. Depending on your hormones for the day or what you ate the day before can make a huge impact on your body and water retention. Even the type of exercise the day before can make you retain water or expel it. Don’t dwell on what your scale says. Your scale isn’t going to tell you if you’re retaining water. Your scale isn’t going to tell you how much muscle mass you’ve put on. It’s just telling you how much you weigh for the day. Focus more on how you feel, the extra energy you have now, and how your clothes fit.
- Take progress pictures. Pictures can speak a thousand words. Our friends and family see us every day. We see ourselves in the mirror every day. Often times, we really don’t see the progress we’ve made in a certain period of time until we go back to old pictures and compare our progress. Pictures don’t lie. Start keeping old photos so that you’re constantly reminded of what you were before and to also remind yourself that you will never be that person again.
- Lift weights and lift heavy. No, you will not get big muscles like a man. That is hormonally impossible unless you were to do some sort of hormone replacement therapy. Our bodies were made to work. So, make your muscles work. Shape them, define them, and exercise them. Lifting weights has been proven to improve arthritis, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease as well.
- Cardio is over rated. I don’t do a lot of cardio. I maybe do about 1 hour of cardio per week. That’s it. And, the same goes for my clients. I don’t have them doing ridiculous amounts of cardio. For the majority, I’m all about lifting heavy weights and focusing on diet. Ever since we were in elementary school we’ve been taught to run and sprint to stay healthy. Cardio is great to help with endurance and to help keep a healthy heart, but I don’t like using it to lose fat. You will actually burn more calories by lifting weights than you would by doing cardio every day. When I go to the gym, I see the usual cardio bunnies that are doing 1 to 2 hours of cardio almost every day. I never see them incorporating weights. Yet, year after year, these people always look the same. They never change. Why is that? For one, they’re all skinny fat. Too much cardio will actually make you lose muscle mass. You need muscles to burn calories and to shape your body. And two, most cardio crazy people are trying to burn “X” amount of calories because of what they ate the day before. It doesn’t really work like that. Focus on your diet every day and incorporate weight training and you will see amazing results. You can’t out train a diet. And you can’t out run it either.
- Set small goals. Big goals are great too, but doing a bunch of smaller ones to eventually equal one big one is more rewarding and satisfying to the average person. Most people like to see things happen fast, so setting small goals that you can reach in a few weeks or even a few short months will not only help keep you motivated, but it will also keep you more focused and ready to move onto the next goal. If you set one big goal, it may almost be unreachable or take so long that you eventually lose interest. Setting goals that you can see in the near future or can reach in a short amount of time will help keep you on track.
- Food is considered a drug. Many have become addicted to certain foods. Turning down sugary or fattening foods is going to happen almost on a daily basis. Our bodies constantly crave sugar and fat. But, as you start to weed those types of foods out, you’ll notice you crave those foods less and less. But, turning down those foods are not going to be easy. You will have to practice will-power constantly. The more you practice will-power the better you will become at turning down certain foods. Until you can overcome your cravings or incorporate them only in moderation, you will never be truly satisfied with progress and goals. Don’t give in. Keep pushing forward to maximize your results.
I train hard almost every day. I stick to a well-balanced diet every day. I’m constantly setting new goals. I have good days and bad days. I’m only human after all. Hitting the gym and sticking to a good diet should become habit to you one day. Just like taking a shower every day. If it’s important enough to you, you will find time for it. You may have to sacrifice a few things to do it, but in the end it will always be worth it.
Practice will power, make time for the gym, prep your meals, set small goals, and ultimately focus on how you feel. Speaking of setting goals, my next goal is to complete a cookbook and e-book with my recipes for all to have in their homes. It has been something I’ve wanted to do for over 3 years now and hopefully I will have it finished by Summer 2014.