Health Warrior - Lindsay Fresquez
My favorite health bit I get to share with you all each month has to be my interviews with the people whose healthy lives truly inspire others. That's why I'm so excited to share with you about Lindsay today. I have learned so much just being around Lindsay this year... in particular about how to find balance and stay fit no matter how busy life can get.
Lindsay has experienced a vast variety of what the fitness industry has to offer. She's a former bikini competitor, an experienced personal trainer, and has been a gym co-owner with her husband Chad since 2006. She's also the mother of 4 beautiful, active children! Those of us that know her get the "do it for the living" lifestyle she encompasses and I can't wait to share it with you.
I know you, my friends and readers, are going to love gleaning some insight into what Lindsay does and apply her practical insight to your own lives. This is the perfect morning read during your warm-up, so, hop on that cardio machine and read what she has to share with us and return as often as you need!
1. Lindsay, please tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do and where do you begin? Give us a glimpse into your health and fitness lifestyle and business and how you got here. And while we're here, in your opinion, what's the most important part of a healthy lifestyle?
I believe the most important part of a healthy lifestyle is to just do the very best you can. Do not strive for perfection in eating and exercise, but strive to do better each day. So often people set themselves up for failure pursuing the “perfect healthy lifestyle” this simply doesn’t exist. You stay fit and eat right to live your great life. We all have cheats here in there, but trying to do better and stay accountable each day keeps you on the path to success. I was raised by two very health conscious parents who worked out and ate right on a regular basis. As a stubborn teen I hated the gym, and thought eating healthy was ridiculous. Upon entering college I found myself longing to do better, look better and feel better. I began taking health courses that interested me and found myself in the gym on a regular basis. Those seeds my parents had planted finally took root. I soon changed my major to Exercise Science and found a passion for health and wellness.
2. How has your journey evolved since you took that turn in college? How do you approach health and fitness currently? How do you consciously steward and take care of your body on a regular basis?
As a college student, health and wellness became a passion and I wanted to share it with the world. As this passion grew I found myself in the competitive world and became both a fitness instructor and fitness competitor. I seized the title of Miss Fitness Colorado in July 2000. I was climbing the mountain to fitness success and planned to be a professional fitness competitor. However, God had other plans for me. I learned while training for nationals that I was to become a mother! This of course changed everything and I shifted gears completely. Today, a 41 year old mother of 4, my journey is now about teaching my family to be healthy and active, as well as, showing my clients that it can be done. I approach health and fitness as a guide for others as they enter the different stages in their life. I hope to show the women I work with that even though they have had children, have jobs and are over 40 that staying fit can happen and should be a priority. If I’m truly honest, taking care of my body on a regular basis is a battle. There are days where I am tired, having stayed up way too late helping with school projects or traveled all weekend watching sporting events and I don’t want to exercise. The cure for this is remembering how energized and clear headed one feels after they complete a vigorous routine. This helps me push forward and get my days in. I have scheduled specific times for my workouts and I share that time with a class full of empowering women who are all in the same boat as me. Eating healthy is a standard as I feed a family of 6, two of which are teenage athletes. Success for my athletes starts in the kitchen every day. Don’t get me wrong, I will on occasion grab those chips and munch to my heart’s content.
3. How do you set health and fitness goals for yourself? Do you measure them? If so, how often? What are some goals you currently working on?
As a general rule I don’t set hard-nosed goals for myself. However, as I approached my 40th birthday last year, I made up my mind to be fitter at 40 than at 30. This was fun, exciting and quite successful. I now just work hard to stay fit and strong so I can keep up with my children and go on my hiking adventures with my girlfriends.
4. I love that approach of aiming to be stronger year after year! What are some ways you stay on track and motivated to keep your hard-working, healthy lifestyle? Does working at a gym make it easier to stay so consistent? As you mentioned before, barriers exist and balance takes practice, so what sort of tools or tips do you use that help you keep a positive mindset for prioritizing your health?
My fitter at 40 than at 30 goal was fun. Because, motivated to do something different or not, I would turn 40! This was not a milestone that I could avoid or a destination I could cancel. So I decided to embrace my coming of age and have fun with it! Working at a gym absolutely does not make it easier to stay consistent. It’s like working at a donut shop. If you are around them all day you don’t necessarily want to eat them every day. But, I think this challenge just helps me relate more with my clientele. I’m not sure if I utilize any psychological tools to help prioritize my health, this is a lifestyle I have chosen to live so it’s just a normal part of my day now. Did I experience burnout during my competitive years? No. While I was in the thick of it, there wasn’t anywhere else I wanted to be. I was 100% dedicated and I longed to be at the gym.
5. Can you walk us through your typical morning routine or some other non-negotiable part of your regular health routine? Something you protect or put in place to take care of yourself.
I think I jump out of bed the same as everyone else. Sometimes a little more rushed than others. I have a healthy supply of yogurt, bananas and oatmeal stocked for these ever hurried mornings. The one non-negotiable part of my weekly routine is my 1130 a.m. HIIT class. I will try and work just about everything around those classes. I enjoy them, love teaching them, cherish the women in them and feel amazing after them!
6. In your experience personally and as a leader in the fitness industry, what's the biggest barrier to overcome in terms of health?
Today’s society is teaching our young people that things are given not earned, and that convenience is better than hard work. That whole “everyone’s a winner” attitude. I volunteer lots of time working with various girls high school sports and work hard to teach these young women how important it is to be strong and healthy. That being fit and healthy is not easy, it is challenging and is a lifestyle choice that one has to decide to embrace. I tell them that if they put in the work they’ll pull out the success, and if the work isn’t done the reward will not be there. I have found that by being honest with these athletes and not sugar coating how hard it can be, they work harder and find themselves more successful. I work hard to show them the fun sides and the benefits to living a healthier lifestyle. This helps them get through the hard training days. I teach them that being strong, performing well and feeling great far out way the visual benefits of training. My gym’s motto is “It’s not about the Looks, It’s about the Living.” I truly believe this and teach this. My young athletes in turn spread the good news, and it becomes intoxicating.
7. Have you had your own barriers? Can you let us into your personal experience with fitness barriers and how you've fought to overcome them?
As I stated earlier, I have four children. Maternity is normal and gaining weight is normal during this process. When I got pregnant with my first daughter I gained 64 pounds and struggled with my pregnancy. I found out I had gestational diabetes and nearly lost my life during child birth. After a blood transfusion, and surgery I was weak and it took me a long time to get better. Upon recovering, I found losing weight wasn’t the easy task it had been before. That my competition body had transformed greatly. I was able to lose the weight then was expecting my second child where I gained 57 lbs., then my third child 47 lbs. and my fourth child 46 lbs. So I have lost a total of 214 lbs. in my lifetime. With this kind of weight gain and loss you can imagine the head games it played with me. Through perseverance and acceptance of self, I learned to embrace my changing body and work it to its very best potential. Our bodies are amazing machines, it will do what you ask it to.
8. I agree - our bodies are SO amazing! I want so badly for more people to realize and have confidence in their amazing potential. That being said, can we dive into some hot topics in our industry: self-confidence and body image. As a fitness enthusiast and former bikini competitor, how do you recommend keeping a healthy mindset when the industry and especially social media seem to be bombarding us with these "ideal" body types or fitness trends. What do you recommend people think or tell themselves to overcome negative and self-harming mindsets? What is something you consistently tell yourself to renew your mind and motivate yourself?
I think that there is a big misconception that if you’re in to health and wellness you must be this crazy workout and eat right all of the time person. I have really tried to show my piers that we are all normal people and any one of us can be healthy. That I don’t do it just to look good, I do it to feel great. I tell people all of the time, the looking better part is just a bonus. Naturally, there was a time in my life where I focused on just looking great, and I took it to the stage. That was an amazing experience which helped me embrace the next stage in my health and wellness. Those bodies don’t look like that all of the time, you don’t diet like that all of the time and we have to embrace who we really are off stage. We live with that person every day.
9. Lastly, what’s the best advice you could give to someone just beginning their own health journey? A key takeaway you could share with us?
Don’t judge yourself for every little imperfection. Learn to love yourself for who you are and work hard at being the best version of yourself as possible. As I said before, It’s not about the looks, it’s about the living.