Top Health & Fitness Blogger & Wall of Famer of 2014

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Who doesn’t want to be healthy or look and feel physically great? Sometimes we just have too many situations that don’t allow us to reach those health goals. After all, it takes time and dedication, doesn’t it?

Top 2014 Health & Fitness Blogger, Cynthia Steele from You Signed Up for What?! is here to share her secrets about how she manages to be wife, mother, and worker while staying fit and healthy. It will cut through the number of excuses you have so you can just get right to it!

The interview with Cynthia is truly inspirational!

1. How do you feel about being our Top Health & Fitness Blogger for 2014?

Cynthia-SteeleI’m excited and honored! I started my blog as an outlet to talk about running, signing up for my first triathlon, and trying to lose weight after having my third baby, and it’s such a thrill to me that people enjoy reading my crazy antics and are inspired by my juggling act of working-mom-does-fitness! I’ve lost a total of 50 pounds through changing my eating habits and exercise, and I love sharing my journey and connecting with others.

2. What inspired you to be an athlete?

I started running about 11 years ago, before I had kids – I wanted to lose weight and get in better shape. I saw people running and thought “why are all these people running, that sounds awful!”, but after a while I decided to give it a shot. It was hard at first but I kept at it and eventually found it was a great way to get exercise right out my front door, since I’m always in a time crunch. I can even take a kid in a running stroller along! I started doing triathlons last year and absolutely love it. I’m inspired by the variety, finding new goals to push myself towards, and the outlet from my daily work and mom life.

3. What motivates you to continue to stay fit and healthy?

I’ll be honest – it’s been a rollercoaster of trying to lose weight and get fit through three pregnancies, nursing three babies, working full-time, and a lot of domestic and international travel for work in the past several years. I’ve had to be really creative with how to juggle it all but I’ve stayed motivated by setting goals and signing up for races – I always need something to work towards.

Also, when I see the number on the scale moving down and I see how strong and fit I am getting, it’s exciting and that motivates me even more. After my third (and last) baby, I realized that being healthy could be a lifestyle rather than just a way to get to a “destination” of a particular number on the scale.

4. How do you apply your healthy habits to your kids’ lives?

My kids know that mom runs, bikes, swims, and goes to the gym, but they also know that we’ll do a lot of these things together! They want to be active too and they love to be included. We’re finding ways for me to train together – just the other night I ran pushing the 2-year-old in the running stroller while my bigger kids ran alongside. They had a blast and I had trouble keeping up with my 4-year-old son – he is so full of energy!

They also love to pick the vegetable that we’ll eat with dinner – I’ve found that if I give them a choice of a few things that I know they like – roasted cauliflower, kale chips, or broccoli, for example – they will pick one and gobble it up since it was their choice and not forced upon them.

5. What is the scariest thing you’ve ever signed up for? How did you get through it?

Years ago and about 50 pounds heavier, I signed up to do the MS150 – a 2-day bike ride. I didn’t own a good bike, I didn’t know how to train for an endurance event like that, and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing! I rode my dad’s spare bike that was too big for me, and consequently hurt my knee and got carpal tunnel. I realized that my mind wanted to do all these crazy active things, but my body wasn’t up to the task yet. But I did it – I finished it! I wasn’t the very last person, but I was close! But it wasn’t about not being last, it was about doing it.

I learned a lot – most importantly, that so much of it is mental. That you can push yourself past what you think your body is capable of, and that you have the power within you to achieve big goals.

When I signed up for my first marathon years later, I knew I wanted to train properly, so I joined a training group and made sure that I built up my mileage slowly so that I didn’t get injured.

6. How many total running competitions have you entered?

Iron-Girl
I’ve done a lot – I love the thrill of a race! I’ve done two full marathons, and many half marathons, some 10Ks, some 5Ks, a duathlon and a triathlon. This year I have a pretty full calendar, and I’m about to start training for a half Ironman!

7. What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever done to reach your health goals? Your fitness goals?

Getting up before my kids are awake to fit in morning workouts! I stay up too late at night and that makes it pretty hard to get up in the morning, but switching to mornings has meant that I can be more consistent and get in a workout before the day gets crazy. Otherwise I end up doing a workout video in my basement at 9 or 10pm, I’m really exhausted then and feel as though I don’t get any time to myself. So mornings work best but it’s been hard to switch.

Health-wise, I have really changed my eating habits and cut a lot of unnecessary sugar out of my diet. I try not to “diet” now, but I do watch what I eat carefully and track my food. I think being consistent with tracking and making healthy food choices was a really hard adjustment, but now I’m in a groove with healthy eating and it’s just a lifestyle.

8. What is the most important lesson you learned about being a health & fitness blogger?

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Be real and be yourself, and let your voice shine through. I try not to come off as someone who knows everything and has all the answers – I share the REAL challenges, successes, and even my imperfections as a busy mom of three little kids with a more-than-full-time job who travels a lot and is trying to fit in exercise and train for big goals! I’ve learned a lot through my fitness and weight loss journey and I love sharing tips for how I balance everything and what works for me, but I also have moments where things don’t go as planned. I like connecting with people online and in person and always try to be myself.