Friday, April 18, 2014

Feature Friday: Sam Gispanski

Happy Friday!  I hope that you are having a wonderful week so far!  Today's Feature Friday is from Sam from Blonde_n_Strong, who I met on Instagram and asked if she would share her story with us.  She worked hard, believed in herself and has become the strong, fit person she always knew she could be.  After reading her story make sure to head over and follow her on Instagram.

Sam's Story:   

Looking back at where I started, there is a constant reminder of who I will never be again. Throughout this journey I have developed courage, desire, and to become the best version of me. Growing up an athlete and continuing to play sports well into my collegiate years, I had always had an athletic build. Diet was something that never crossed my mind. I would eat whatever I wanted and maintain my weight because of all the sporting events. My love of the game is what got me through each and every practice. I didn’t enjoy the exercise aspect of sports. I did it because I HAD to.
Things quickly changed after graduating college in 2010. I no longer had the “commitment” to working out. Coaches were not telling me when to run, or lift a certain amount of weights, all of the responsibility was put on me. This aspect was deleted from my life. My career became my main priority. The excuses grew and time got away from me. I had gained 30 pounds in year. The doctor had sent me for tests and blood work to figure out what was causing this rapid weight gain. Selfishly, I hoped it was something because I didn’t want to take accountability for my actions. In reality, I knew that I was my own worst enemy. Every weekend I went out to dinner and drinks. I would wake up feeling awful, but it didn’t stop me from repeating this week after week. While accepting the fact that I was going to be a “bigger” person the rest of my life, I had no confidence. Humor was a coping mechanism I used to cover up my real feelings. The self-destruction had to stop and a change had to be made. I knew that this wouldn't be possible on my own.
With the help of my best friend, Erin, we made the decision to live a healthier lifestyle. This started out as wanting to lose weight and get in shape. It rapidly turned into so much more. We turned over a new leaf for a healthy lifestyle with lifting weights and eating clean. Though this process hasn't been easy, it has been a life changing learning experience. In the beginning, we thought that being healthy meant giving up all of our favorite foods, while eating very little. Soon we realized this is not what being healthy was. We have been able to find healthy alternatives for all of our favorite foods and are eating more now than we had ever before in our lives. One of the most important things that we have learned on this journey is to educate yourself. Knowledge is power and without it you can't succeed. 

At the start, I thought that endless hours of cardio would be the only way to achieve my goals. But soon realized how much of a stereotype this was. While maintaining this lifestyle I workout by lifting heavy 5-6 days a week. Lifting weights is the key to my success. By building muscle I've created a foundation and constant fat burning machine. As ladies, we sometimes believe that lifting weights will make us bulky. However, the reality is that it makes you look strong and fit. Skinny doesn't always mean fit. Along with exercise, I have been able to achieve my goals through proper nutrition, by eating 5-6 small meals a day. Part of my daily diet includes my favorite pre-workouts, Cellucor C4 and Celsius. No day is complete without a jar of Naturally More peanut butter and a Quest bar. 

Along with this change, there has been both positive and negative feedback. What people do not understand is that it is not a diet, but a lifestyle change. I found myself a much happier person. My actions and the way I carried myself were different than before. The confidence I had once lost, found its way back.

Sam's Tips:

1.     Teamwork makes the dream work. Find a workout buddy that will push you to your limits. Having an amazing support system will not only help you achieve your goals, but they will push you to new heights you never thought were possible.
2.     Consistency is key.
3.     No Excuses! There is always time to get a workout in your day. Remember an hour is only 4% of the day.
4.     This is a process. Not a quick fix. Patience is a virtue.
5.     Positive attitude = Positive results

About Sam:

My name is Sam and I am a 25 year old elementary school teacher living in Western Pennsylvania. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. Being a foodie, I like to try new restaurants and foods. Shopping for workout clothes and products are also some of my favorite things to do. Just remember fit is not a destination, it is a way of life. Love it. Embrace it. Live it.

Instagram: blonde_n_strong

Thanks so much to Sam for sharing her story with us.  Her hard work has paid off and she is enjoying living a healthy and fit life.  She shows that if you work hard and truly believe in yourself you can achieve anything!  Way to go girl!  You are an inspiration! 

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