We all dream of being fitter, stronger and happier, but achieving that goal often seems like an impossible dream. Where exactly do you start? From her comfortable and familiar spot on the couch, Fitmark Ambassador Crystal Woods never imagined she could achieve the kind of fitness goals she has in the past five years. But she did it, and so can you!
If you had asked me five years ago if I could imagine myself happily living a fit lifestyle, I would’ve laughed. I was very sedentary in my lifestyle, work, home, and the occasional event. I was very much a homebody, just uncomfortable with myself and my life.
So what was the turning point for Crystal? It happened the day she quit smoking. She’d made a commitment to give up the habit and “quit cold turkey,” but she didn’t want to start putting on a ton of weight as a result. So she joined a gym. She told us:
A gym was something new to me and I admit, it was intimidating. I started out on the cardio equipment but wanted something challenging. I was hungry to learn. So I started asking a lot of questions, and soon I was training six days a week, becoming stronger and more confident every day.
Become Stronger, Fitter, More Confident
That was the turnaround point that changed Crystal’s life for the better. From there, she started working with a trainer and decided to enter her first competition. She told us:
Now I can’t imagine life any other way. I have more confidence than I ever did, not just with my outward appearance, but in my abilities. Touching other people’s lives, educating and helping them to live better fills my heart and let’s me know I’ve found my purpose in life.
To meet her fitness goals, Crystal follows a balanced meal plan and an “if it fits your macros” attitude. This allows her the flexibility to adjust her food choices depending on her training program and also what she’s craving that day. It’s the kind of flexible dieting anyone can easily follow. She told us:
I always start my meals with a protein (chicken breast, ground turkey, lean steak, lean ground beef) and build my meals around that adding in carbs and fats. A typical day in prep looks like this:
Typical Daily Menu Plan
- 1 whole egg, 1 egg white on a flatbread
- Greek yogurt
- Salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, ground turkey, fat-free Italian dressing
- Cottage cheese and blackberries
- Roasted red pepper, quinoa and lean ground beef
- Turkey pepperoni, low fat sharp cheddar
- English muffin with peanut butter
- Gallon of water daily
Tracking my macros and following iifym allows me variety, flexibility, and more importantly allows me to still be able to enjoy time with family and friends for special occasions or at an event. As the saying goes “give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” After finding a fit lifestyle I now know how to eat for life, not just for a moment.
Crystal’s Top 3 Tips For Meal Prep Beginners
Patience – there is a learning curve to meal prepping in the beginning, especially if you’re tracking macros. As with anything, you’ll get better and quicker with practice.
Variety – three benefits:
– Vital nutrients you would otherwise miss.
– Maintaining a good relationship with food.
– Allows better adherence for long-term lifestyle goals.
Pre-plan – The most time-consuming part of meal prep is protein. Having multiple protein sources pre-cooked for the week makes putting your meals together each day quicker and easier.
Planning, Prepping, Packing
The last ingredient you need in menu planning and meal prepping is a cooler bag to keep your food fresh when you’re away from home. Crystal told us:
Fitmark Bags are an integral part of my life, whether it’s at work, in the gym or running errands on my day off, my bag is always at my side. The Max Rep Transition Pack is my ideal gym bag because it’s the perfect size, has a bunch of pockets and is easy to carry. For meal prep, depending on my schedule and how many meals I need, I choose between the Shield for regular work days, the Box LG for 12-hour shifts, and the Box SM for weekend errands.
So seize the moment and let fitness change your life for the better. Taking the first big step is often the hardest, but it’s also the most exciting and everybody has to start somewhere. Here’s Crystal with some advice:
We don’t all start our journeys from the same place and our reasons for beginning are all different. Remember to always enjoy the the process of learning and changing, and never compare your journey to another person. This is an amazing life, and living fit allows us to extend it to the fullest with quality.
You can follow Fitmark Ambassador Crystal Woods on Instagram @cbrwoods