evolution of FitBlog - inspire someone with your story.

November's Newsletter :: new FitStory to inspire you

Meet Suzanne


When I was in my twenties, I didn’t know I had a genetically flat butt. It wasn’t until someone made an insensitive remark about it that I decided to start strength training. How was I to know that his comment would spark a passion for weightlifting and fitness that would be ignited for years to come?

I began crushing it in the gym and seeing changes in my body I was proud of. I didn’t know how to get the exact results I wanted, but I saw positive changes.

However, in 2002 I was in a rear-end collision that injured my neck. In pain every day, I became fearful of flare ups. I cut way back on lifting and lost much of the gains I’d made. I had my daughter and tried to exercise, but it wasn’t enough to see meaningful changes.

I finally took a chance and participated in a one-time class for core strengthening. I was amazed at how stiff and inflexible I had become – I hadn’t even raised my arms over my head for two years for fear of hurting my neck.

That was an epiphany for me – I needed to MOVE more. I started attending a weights-based class every week, bringing my own two-pound dumbbells. I slowly worked my way up and became stronger, but I quit when the gym closed and I couldn’t find a similar class.

I eventually decided that it was time to get back into the gym on my own. Since restarting weights, I’m in the best shape of my life and have a career in fitness. I feel much more athletic and strong than I did in my twenties. And now as a personal trainer, I know how to train much more effectively. I’m proud of my body and my health and can’t even imagine going back to the way I was.
Both strength training and clean eating can completely change your life.


Location: Denver, CO

Occupation: Owner of Workout Nirvana Fitness

The point in life life I realized I was unhealthy and needed to make a positive change was ... About five years ago I realized my body wasn’t where I wanted it to be anymore. I’d stopped going to strength-training class when my gym closed, and I felt soft and out of shape. I was lethargic and could barely move after dinner. I also had severe digestive problems and pain from an old whiplash injury that prevented me from functioning well.

The change manifested itself after ...  I made a decision that I had to go back into the weight room on my own – not in a class, but the way I used to do it before my daughter was born. I remembered how it used to make me feel. So I went to the gym when no one else was there and just started lifting again, remembering the movements I’d done for years before. I also read about clean eating and made a decision to change the way I ate. I gradually cut out the processed junk I’d been eating, did away with daily indulgences, and started focusing on whole, natural foods. I immediately noticed an improvement in my digestive issues and my energy level increased tenfold.

The biggest obstacle I had to face and overcome during my journey was ...  losing the muscle definition and strength I’d gained before my daughter was born. Even before that, I was fearful of re-injuring my neck. I was starting over. But I was determined to have it all back. In the beginning, there were days when I just didn’t want to go to the gym. Excuses popped up in my head and I was tempted to skip – I was too tired, I had things to do, I felt “sick,” etc.

But I forced myself to go every time. When I left the gym, I always felt better and was glad I had gone. This positive reinforcement made a huge difference in getting the habit to stick. When excuses came into my head, I remembered how good it felt to strength train. Eventually my passion for strength training was reignited and now I hate to miss a workout.

Changing my dietary habits was a long-term process as well. For awhile I still relied on prepackaged foods. But I began noticing that my stomach was upset after eating frozen burritos, fast food, and that kind of thing, so ate it less and less. Now I rarely eat anything prepackaged or junky and my stomach rarely acts up.

The exercise I most enjoy: lifting weights. I love the techniques, how strong I feel as a result, the way it sculpts my body, and the self-confidence it gives me. I’ve been able to share my love of strength training in my blog and teach others as a personal trainer, which is an amazing thing.

Social media keeps me motivated to stay active and healthy by... being a very giving community. I’ve been a part of the online fitness community since 2010. I love connecting with my readers on Facebook and getting their feedback about issues that pop up. I strongly encourage anyone who’s on a fitness or weight loss journey to reach out to others on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I’m also part of Fitocracy, which lets you track your workouts and interact with others.

Advice I'd offer someone struggling with weight-loss, self-confidence or unhealthy eating is... Find people to support you. Research shows that people who have a support system are more successful at losing weight in particular. Ask people not to let you off the hook if you make up excuses. If you don’t have a support system yet, get involved in the online fitness community or hire a personal trainer to help keep you accountable.


Thank you Suzanne for sharing your inspiring & motivating fitness story!

Suzanne, myself & Kia at FitSocial in Boulder, CO, this past Sept.


#FitClean Forward Gratitude

Who is your Fitness Inspiration?
Here's your chance to say thank you.

From November 18th to December 20th, join in #FitClean Forward Gratitude by writing a blog post on your own blog about your Fitness Inspiration and how she or he has made a difference in your life this year.

Take this opportunity to pay forward your gratitude. One blogger and their Fitness Inspiration will each receive a $100.00 Whole Foods gift card

Doesn’t matter age, size, ability … Inspiration can be found all around us without bias. And sometimes, someone inspires us more than others because they’re able to motivate us through their actions, lifestyle, and words. They inspire us to keep going, try harder, stay committed, and change our eating habits for the better. They make us believe we, too, can achieve what was once thought impossible.

Brought to you by: Uncle Sam Cereal & Attune Foods

Full details are viewable here.

Full disclosure: Attune Foods is a client of mine until the end of this year. I've helped them create the #FitClean campaign and share inspiring stories on their website of how clean eating has helped change lives. I'm sharing information about #FitClean Forward Gratitude with you today as it's a great reminder to pause and appreciate the people in our lives that have inspired us to live more healthfully.

Share your inspiring FitStory in a future Newsletter. Email me at: alicia.benjamin@gmail.com

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If you want to send mail:
Alicia Benjamin
RIZE llc :: FitStories
PO Box 21231
Boulder, CO 80308

You're receiving this email as a Fitblog list subscriber. The running & fitness community has been so kind to me. I can't think of a better way to give back than to share inspiring stories that help support your goals. RIZE is the Boulder-based WELL+FIT marketing studio powering these emails, run-inspired.com, and rizebox.com.

THE RIZE WAY: to inspire others to live & be well through stories, connection and community
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