Tuff Girl Fitness has been the saving grace I needed. I was in an exhausting, controlling, emotionally and physically abusive relationship for quite some time. I was online one day, searching for fitness classes in the area and came across a name that I couldn’t help but laugh at. There was no way that I was a ‘tuff girl’. But after checking out the website, I was sure that this was something I wanted to be a part of. My first class kicked my A$$ and reminded me of how much I had lost. My stamina, my drive, my confidence in myself was gone and I was baffled that I had let someone take that away from me. After every class, I could feel the power gaining. I was not the failure I had been repeatedly told I was. I was not a waste of time. I was not less than special. It took me years to forget and a couple of Tuff Girl classes to remember that I was not a punching bag. I was not going to take anyone’s $#!T. I was strong and determined and able to do whatever I wanted.
One month ago I said goodbye to the ***hole who made me doubt myself. I will NEVER AGAIN let anyone tell me what I’m worth.
I can now say that I AM A TUFF GIRL and I will never look back.”
After I posted that email on the fan page I got several messages of “me too…” I sat in our office reading the screen, tears flowing down my cheeks. I was crying tears of joy that I get to be the one to watch as you amazing women realize your worth. Grateful that I had the guts and opportunity to open this amazing gym that so many sisters in strength call home. Grateful for all the incredible, kind, amazing, respectful women (and men) that I am blessed to know and coach.
What we do in our amazing home goes so far beyond a nice butt and toned abs. We become more. We realize our worth. We find out who we are (and who we are is AWESOME) and we demand more from those who are in our lives.
I have shared with many of you that strength training helped me overcome a 4+ year long battle with anorexia. I was in a bad relationship with a man who did NOT realize my worth. I hated my body and did terrible things to it. I did not respect or love myself, so why would anyone else? Those experiences make me a better coach. I don’t regret them, they made me stronger and more powerful, and I am who I am today because of them. I won’t look back, I’m not going that way. But I am grateful for those experiences, they helped make me better.
believe we are our strongest when we are our most vulnerable. We are our most appealing in our raw and honest state. We connect with more people when we show our humanity and the fact that we share the same struggles.
Right now, my struggles are different. But I am still striving to be more in my own life.
I cancelled the three classes I was supposed to teach on Friday. I am sure there were some who thought, “what a wimp… suck it up princess… we all have to work…. it’s only three classes…” The old Christa would have sucked it up and put my business before my own health, well-being and time with my family. How hypocritical of me.
I have learned it takes more strength to say “no, I come first” than it does to say “ok, I will do it… I will take it… I will allow it…” My words mean nothing if my actions are not consistent with my message. Take care of you first. And so, I took Friday off. For me, for my kids, for the one I have growing in my belly (yes, the rumors are true. Baby Doran #3 arriving sometime around February 23).
I am the most important part of this equation, and so are you. I am not beaten, I am not weak, I am strong, powerful and know my worth.
I’m certainly not there yet, but I am closer than I was yesterday. And so are you.
Two weeks ago, twenty-three of our very own set out to conquer twelve muddy miles on one big muddy mountain for the glory of finishing The Tough Mudder. Interestingly enough, this is one race I said I would never do. “Only crazy people pay to jump in an ice bucket and get electrocuted.” I would tell those who asked me to do it. Well, call me crazy, because I LOVED IT (so much so that a bunch of us are doing Tough Mudder Mount Snow August 10-11 if you want in…)
We learned a lot on that mountain. We learned a lot about ourselves, we learned a lot about what we are capable of, and we learned a lot about the amazing women we call sisters in strength.
The Tough Mudder is all about team work. Zoe and I found ourselves paired up and fell into an easy groove from the start…..long steep hills, big walls, barbed wire, frigid water….we did it all….. together…. usually with a slight pause then one of us dove in with the other right behind. However, our biggest challenge, the essence of the Tough Mudder, was our last obstacle. Running through Electroshock Therapy a zapping wire got hung up on Zoe’s neck, shocking her multiple times and knocking her to her knees. It was clear she was frightened and had lost her sense of direction. The electric wires were hanging everywhere sending jolts of electricity into both of us, but I couldn’t leave my partner. In that moment of chaos and fear Zoe needed to know more than anything that she wasn’t alone and believe that she could make it out and to the finish line! I also needed to believe we could do…..it was a decision…YES we could do it! Keep moving! Zoe reached up, grabbed my hand, stood back up and continued forward to face more shocks, and finish the course! What can I say…..we had trained for this moment to push through not only the physical discomfort, but the fear and emotional discomfort. We believed in ourselves and each other! -Steffy, Tough Mudder Finisher
For me, this was the most powerful moment of the Tough Mudder. I was a witness to this event of kindness, teamwork, and support. This ranks in the top five of proudest moments as a coach and I feel so honored to know women like Zoe and Steffy.
On the day of the Tough Mudder, I felt strong and I knew my training had prepared me for the obstacles that lay ahead. But midway through, there was an obstacle that I wasn’t ready for: my legs began to cramp like I have never encountered before. I didn’t want to hold anyone up, but I needn’t have worried. I had amazing team mates that are the absolute essence of Tuff Girl Fitness. I wish you all could have seen the faces of men, who were either doubled over or sitting, watch in awe as Karin and Maghan pass by while they piggybacked me up the black diamond mountain–just so my legs could get a break. I am incredibly touched and absolutely inspired by these amazing women. I don’t need to explain how this moment was not only an example of immense physical strength, but also of love and determination. Each of us crushed our self doubts and we finished the damn thing. Together. I was absolutely honored to cross the finish line with these fine women. And that experience is something that I will never forget. THAT is what Tuff Girl Fitness is all about. I’m proud to be a part of this place and I can’t wait to take on the Tough Mudder again. -Stephanie, Tough Mudder finisher
I feel so honored to coach women who would “sacrifice” their journey to allow another to finish. But the thing is, they didn’t see it as sacrificing. They saw it as helping a strong sister out in order to help her crush her goal of Tough Mudder glory.
Karin (yes, our coach Karin) and Maghan could have said, “call the medic, you need to stop.” But instead they (literally) lifted up a friend in need so she could conquer one of her goals. To actually imagine these two petite women, carrying another grown woman on their back… up a mountain, is an image I wish I had been witness to. It is one of true strength, kindness, teamwork and dedication.
My story is one of thankfulness. I remember looking up at the beautiful blue sky and clear view of miles and miles of New Hampshire, and was so thankful for this body, that is able to do something like this. I truly had an enjoyable time. A time where sweat mixed with laughter, mud mixed with jokes, and high fives were plentiful. I had never run twelve miles before in my life, but my body did it. The electrocution brought up some doubt and fear in me, but I boldly ran through it (screaming like Bravehart the whole way through).
(Especially) as women, we get so hung up on what our bodies are not. For me, that day was about what my body IS. Strong, powerful, capable, brave, resilient, conditioned, fit, awesome.
If it scares you, it might be a good thing to do. What are you capable of? Let’s find out together.
Dear Tuff Girl,
When you train, train your best. Train your hardest. Train for you. To celebrate and reward your body, not punish it. To help make your body strong and fit, not skinny and small.
When you train, love yourself. Believe in yourself and the amazing person you are. Push your limits and do more than you did yesterday. Remember, you are stronger than you think and more powerful than you can imagine.
When you train, don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy. We are all different with different gifts, abilities and life circumstances. You are only trying to be better than the person you were yesterday, no one else.
When you train, remember how blessed you are. Be thankful for all the amazing things your body does for you every day. You may ache all over, but it will go away. There are people who feel that way their whole lives. You may get frustrated when you are not able to lift what you want to, or perform the way you feel you should, but there are people who will never be able to walk, run, jump or move their arms.
When you train remember that you are making an amazing choice to change your body and your life. Be proud of yourself. Honor where you are and be kind to yourself and those that surround you. We are all fighting our own battles.
When you look in the mirror, see all the amazing things you are. Not the things you are not.
When you look at where you want to go, remember to take it one step at a time and keep moving forward. This is a long hard journey with many obstacles and road blocks. Keep knocking those walls down and keep moving forward.
Remember that small changes matter, and over time those small changes result in big changes. Be patient.
Remember that you are good enough. The number on the scale, or size in your clothes does not tell you anything about yourself. It does not let the world know all the amazing things you do every day. It does not tell people the amazing, kind, wonderful, caring, strong person you are.
Remember that every choice has a result. So make choices that will contribute to the kind of life you desire.
Remember that food is fuel, not something to hate or stress over. Choose foods that fuel you and make you feel amazing.
There are going to be people that won’t understand what you are doing. They will try and hate you, shake you and berate you. Stand strong in your choices and know that everything they say about you defines them, not you.
Be confident in your decisions. Love them. Embrace the wonderful changes you are making in your life.
Believe in yourself. Love what you are doing, remember to laugh and have fun, and always remember that you are beautiful just the way you are.
I think it is fitting to start what I hope is the first of many blog post with a note of thanks.
Wednesday I got a call notifying me of a first place vote for the Advocates Best of 2013 Readers Poll. Tuff Girl Fitness was voted best training program/personal trainer for the New Haven area.
Less than four years ago I showed up at a park, with a three month old in tow, hoping women would follow me on this crazy ride. And you did. And you told your friends. And here we are today, over 500 strong, in a 4700 square foot facility.
So thank you. Thank you for your continued support. Thank you for believing in this crazy vision I have had since I was fourteen years old. Thank you for trusting us with your most precious and valued possession, your body.
You make me a better woman and coach and you’ve helped change my life.
Welcome to Tuff Girl Fitness
Sometimes molds are meant to be broken…
Dig Deeper. Push Harder.
Changing the way you look at food and fitness.
Educating you to make smart choices.
Inspiring you to do something you never have before.
Motivating you to work harder than you ever have.
Ready to transform? There is a TUFF GIRL in you.
You better bring her!