defyingfibromyalgia

My journey from CAN'T to CAN – one workout at a time.


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My Review of ChaLEAN Extreme: Yes, Someone with Fibromyalgia CAN Do It

ChaLEAN_logo_low_resOn January 12th, 2014, I completed my 3rd Beachbody fitness program ChaLEAN Extreme.  This was also my final Chalene Johnson program – for now at least.  Like all other programs, I was terrified before I started, unsure of my abilities, and excited to see how I would do.

First ImpressionsIMG_4791

I have to be honest here…  When I pushed play on my very first CLX workout, all I could think was “I miss TurboFire!”  I mean, how could I not miss it?  I spent 20 weeks of my life doing TF.  20 weeks that CHANGED EVERYTHING.  TF will always be THAT workout for me.  The one that changed my life.  During TF, I summitted my very first 13,000 ft+ mountains.  I started feeling like a “normal” person.  I started to forget fibromyalgia ever existed.  And so I knew it would be tough to live without it.

I also was completely unsure of what to expect from my body.  I mean, yes, I had been symptom free for quite some time BUT I’d never lifted before.  To think of lifting weights – HEAVY weights – was crazy.  Just a few short months before I could barely hold my blow dryer because of the pain and weakness in my arms.  Nonetheless, I pushed play on the first day.  And I kept pushing play for the next 90 days.

IMG_5455I CAN Lift!

To my amazement, ChaLEAN Extreme proved what I was capable of.  I can lift and I can lift WAY heavier than I could’ve imagined.  The way the program works is this: you go through 3 unique circuits or rounds.  Each one being 4 weeks. First is the Burn Circuit, second is the Push Circuit, and third is the Lean Circuit.  Obviously Chalene Johnson knows how to put together a program, but I have to say it’s never been better than in this one.  You truly build STRENGTH and get RESULTS because of the way the program is laid out.

Tracking SheetsIMG_5609

This is SO important – especially with this program.  Beachbody provides tracking sheets, which you can download from the website.  By using them for each workout, you are able to look back and see how far you’ve come during the program.  I am amazed at how much heavier I could go by the end versus when I started.  CLX is all about going HEAVY and going SLOW.  It’s about FAILURE.  And it’s about RESULTS.  Tracking your progress is the only way you’ll know just how far you’ve come.

OverallIMG_5589

Like every other Beachbody program I’ve done, I LOVED CLX.  I will do it again for sure.  There’s something about lifting weights that just makes you feel like (for lack of a better term) a BADASS.  It’s 90 days of getting STRONGER.  Yes, there are cardio workouts.  Yes they are TOUGH.  There are also ab workouts that may or may not have had me yelling at the TV.  But this workout is AMAZING.  If you want biceps, do this workout.  If you want to get LEAN, do this workout.  If you want ABS, do this workout.  BUT, only if you’re willing to stick to the meal plan.

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

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myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon

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How I Overcame Fibroymyalgia

IMG_5816It’s been a while since I’ve updated my story here.  I guess I’ve been busy enjoying the fact that I have my life back.  In the past several months, so much has happened.  I’ve been privileged to speak with dozens and dozens of fellow fibro warriors that seem to want to make a change.  All too often, the reality of the process scares them off.  But, even so, I gained much from each interaction.  It’s made me somewhat of an expert in the field, in spite of my lack of medical training and degrees.  In my journey I found that doctors were never much help anyway.  I discovered some interesting links in the backgrounds of each person and many correlations in the current lifestyle, nutrition, and lack of exercise.

It’s a gift to be able to connect and have people so openly share with me their stories and obstacles.  What’s clear is that

Mount Flora Summit - August 17, 2013

Mount Flora Summit – August 17, 2013

these obstacles are HUGE and seem impossible to overcome.  I remember what that was like.  It’s also clear that there is a strong connection with a trauma of some kind and the diagnosis of fibromyalgia.  Almost every person I’ve spoken with either had childhood trauma (often repeated for many years in the form of abuse) OR a significant trauma as an adult, such as a serious injury or illness.  It’s also clear that what we choose to nourish our bodies with TODAY will determine the course of our future.  It will decide if we end up in a wheelchair or at the summit of a 13,000 foot mountain.  I obviously chose the latter.   It truly is a CHOICE.  We choose to either give in or put up a fight.  We choose to either say CAN or CAN’T.

What Made the Difference?

If you’ve followed my story at all, you know this hasn’t been easy.  This ISN’T easy.  There is no overnight solution.  There is no magic pill.  There is HARD WORK.  There is the power of CHOICE.  There is POSITIVITY.  It’s frustrating to see the number of people who WANT so badly to make a change, but are too afraid to FAIL.  Failure is a gift!  Failure is our greatest teacher in life.  Without failure, there can be no achievement.  So what are you all afraid of?  I admit, when I started my journey in March 2013, I was TERRIFIED of failure.  I had no idea if I could do it.  But you know what I was more terrified of?  Living the fibromyalgia life.  Living the same life I’d been living for many years.  A life filled with pain and weakness; fear and exhaustion; hopelessness and depression.  That scared me more than failure ever could.  That’s what made the difference for me.

As soon as you realize you have 2 potential futures – one with constant pain, exhaustion, and perhaps even a wheelchair; or one with freedom, energy, happiness, and health – you’ll be on your way.  Once you see that dark future; the fibromyalgia future – you become a WARRIOR.  You become unstoppable.  You will do anything to fight back, to take your life back.  And that’s just what I did.

IMG_5797My Results Thus Far

So, I started this whole crazy ride in March 2013 when I turned to my best friend who also happened to be a coach for Beachbody.  The first thing I decided to do was deal with my nutrition.  I knew what I was eating only made things worse. The MOST IMPORTANT thing I’ve done for myself is start using a superfood meal replacement shake called Shakeology.  This has changed everything for me.  Without it, I would NOT be where I am today.

So step 1 was a 21-day detox called The Ultimate Reset.  This did AMAZING things for me.  By the end, I felt almost “normal”.  I was able to HIKE!  I was vegan, coffee free, and medication free.

Step 2 was a cardio kickboxing program called Turbo Jam.  Was it tough? Yes.  Did I want to give up? YES.  Did I feel like a failure almost every day? YES YES YES.  BUT, I kept pushing play every day for 8 weeks.  By the end, I had no symptoms.

Step 3 was a DIFFICULT cardio program called Turbo Fire.  I have to admit, this seemed impossible when I previewed the videos before I started the program.  But I DID IT.  All 20 weeks of it.  And fibromyalgia was LOSING.

Step 4 was a strength training program called ChaLEAN Extreme.  I was amazed that I could lift weights!  I hadn’t had symptoms in months.  And I finished this program too.

Now I’ve moved onto P90X3.  This program is tough too.  But now I don’t even consider myself a person with fibromyalgia.  I honestly don’t even think I would be diagnosed with it today.  I have my life back because I FOUGHT for it.  It’s been over 300 days since I’ve had a symptom.  So you tell me if it was worth it.  Tell me if it’s worth it to try.  To fight back.  To be willing to WORK HARD.

So, Where Do You Start?

You start by being willing to try.  You start by telling fibromyalgia to take a back seat.  You start by letting your DETERMINATION take over.  I love sharing my story.  I do it because I want every person out there with fibromyalgia or any other huge obstacle to know there is HOPE.  There is always HOPE.  My #1 goal in being a Beachbody coach is to help people who are ready to try.  If you want to sit around and complain about your obstacles, I can’t help you.  If you’re ready to FIGHT, I’m here to be your BIGGEST CHEERLEADER.

IMG_5203Are you ready to fight back?  Contact me at CoachWendyGordon@gmail.com to join the fight.

 

 

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon


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From Impossible to Possible: It’s All in the Mindset

Progress Pictures, ChaLEAN Extreme Week 8

Progress Pictures, ChaLEAN Extreme Week 8

When I started this journey, pretty much everything seemed impossible.  I was told by “experts” that the most exercise I could ever hope to do would be yoga and walking.  So, for YEARS, I accepted that as fact.  I accepted that this was my life – this would always be my life.  But, when it comes down to it, what do they know?  They don’t have fibromyalgia.  They don’t know what a stubborn, determined FIGHTER I am. Yes, it’s tough.  And most people probably wouldn’t do what I’ve done.  But I have PROVEN that it’s possible.  After that, it’s up to you.

The Change in Mindset

I remember how I felt when I considered doing my very first program, Turbo Jam.  There was no one out there saying “this is possible because I did it”, so I was left to wonder if it really was possible at all.  But I was determined to find out.  So in spite of my mindset of “I really may not be able to do this”, I tried.  And I did it.

The same thing happened with TurboFire.  I looked at the videos and thought, “How in the hell am I going to do this?  Is this even possible?”  I mean, it REALLY seemed impossible.  But I pushed play that very first day and I never stopped.  20 weeks later I was done.  And something magical happened midway through the program.  My mindset changed.

Somehow, I stopped being someone with fibromyalgia and started being someone overcoming an obstacle.  As soon as that switch was flipped, everything changed.  To this very day, I’m asked to share my story with others because it is seen as “amazing” and I am uncomfortable with it.  I feel that I am the same as everyone else. I see myself as a (very stubborn) woman with a (tough) obstacle.  I see myself as someone that USED to have fibromyalgia.  I see myself as just like you.  Just like anyone else that has something to overcome.  (which is everyone)

My Latest “Impossible” Accomplishment

I’m 8 weeks into my latest program, ChaLEAN Extreme.  It’s a circuit training program with a HUGE focus on strength training and lifting HEAVY.  Believe me when I tell you that, once again, I wondered if this program would be possible for me.  But, unlike the other times, as soon as I had that thought I remembered each previous obstacle.  I remembered the first time I pushed play on Turbo Jam, the first time I completed a TurboFire HIIT workout, and the overwhelming achievement of summiting 13,000-foot Mount Audubon and completing an 8 hour, 19 minute hike.  With those thoughts came the reality that, while CLX might be difficult, it IS possible.  One thing I’ve learned in this amazing journey so far is this: “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE”.  And I do mean anything.

As I started my final circuit with CLX today, I knew it would be tough.  I previewed the workouts and with mouth gaping opened I thought, “holy crap, this is going to be tough.  But I can totally do it.”  Day 1, Lean Circuit 1.  Seriously guys, this is a tough workout.  There are tricep pushups, plank with a single arm tricep extension, and a zillion other things that I would never have even attempted only 1 year ago.  But I did it.  And I will complete the next 4 weeks with the same determination and drive as every single other challenge.  Because that’s what I’m made of.

Why TRYING is the First Step

As soon as you make the decision to try, you’re changing your mindset.  Your choosing CAN over CAN’T.  Your choosing a better life.  No matter what your obstacles, this is the first step to changing everything.  I never imagined 1 year ago that I’d be where I am today.  I was in terrible pain constantly and my life was HARD every second of every day.  I was depressed and hopeless.  I was overweight and unhealthy.  And I figured that’s how it would always be.  Until I’d had enough.  Until I decided to TRY.

So, when will you make that choice?  When will you decide enough is enough? 

2014 will bring even bigger advances for me.  I will complete program after program, continuing this life-changing trend.  Continuing to defy the odds.  Continuing to leave my obstacle in the dust.  Continuing to forget that I used to be a girl with fibromyalgia.  Continuing to be a FIGHTER that overcame an OBSTACLE.

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon


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The Truth About Overcoming Fibromyalgia: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It

I’ve written about this several times, and I’m sure I’ll write about it several times more.  The thing is, most people out there aren’t quite hearing what I’m saying.  My journey has been nothing short of amazing.  But here’s the kicker: every single person out there could experience results like this IF they were willing to TRY.  That’s where I lost most of you.  But, I’m not one to give up that easily.  And so I’m going to lay it all out: what I did, how I did it, and how you can do it too.

The Decision

This is step one.  First you DECIDE you want a better life.  That you DESERVE a better life.  For me, this came during a serious ROCK BOTTOM situation.  In bed for a couple of weeks, in excruciating pain (as usual), and completely SICK of feeling that way.  That’s when I knew this wasn’t the life for me.  That I had to do something about it.  Now, no one can make this decision but YOU.  Just like no one can do the work but YOU.  This is all up to YOU.

Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition

Can I say it again? NUTRITION!  Few things are as frustrating to me as seeing people that claim to want to feel better posting about their fried chicken dinner or McDonald’s excursion with the kids.  THIS IS NOT GOING TO MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER.  THIS IS WHY YOU FEEL LIKE CRAP ALL THE TIME!  Seriously folks, you will NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER feel better until you CHANGE WHAT YOU EAT.  EVER!

Where do you start?  You start by eliminating processed foods, fast foods, and soft drinks.  YES, REALLY.  Why? Because they are poisoning your body.  Then you identify the foods that are making you sick by keeping a food journal.  Then you eliminate those foods.  The end result is a largely plant-based diet – that means, lots of fruits and veggies with lean, healthy protein.  I personally am vegan, but you can get healthy protein from animal products if you make SMART CHOICES.  Since I don’t eat meat, I can’t really help you identify the right meats to eat, but a little research will steer you in the right direction.

Shakeology helped me get my nutrition on the right track and it helps me keep it there.  It has been one of the single biggest factors in my transformation.  Send me a message if you’d like more info on that.

Fitness is HARD WORK

I know what you’re going to say: I CAN’T workout because I’m in pain all the time.  Guess what?  So was I when I started.  But I did it anyway.  You have to be willing to FIGHT to make progress. Once I corrected nutrition and started using Shakeology, I was able to get moving and start working out.  As you get fit, lose weight, and build strength, that’s when fibromyalgia starts to lose and that’s when you start to win. If you aren’t willing to work hard, fibromyalgia will always win.  ALWAYS.  It’s really that simple.

There is No Magic Pill

If you’re waiting for me to tell you about a magic pill, you’re in the wrong place.  If you’re waiting for me to tell you about a cure, I just did.  Fitness, nutrition, and HARD WORK.  That’s your cure.  I HAVE NO SYMPTOMS.  NONE.  Your cure is fitness.  Your cure is nutrition.  YOU CAN FEEL BETTER.  YOU CAN HAVE YOUR LIFE BACK.  Put in the work and you too can feel better, look better, and be FREE FROM FIBROMYALGIA.

I’m not saying the only way to do it is with the programs I’ve used.  I personally believe Beachbody products are the best out there because I am living proof.  BUT find what works for you and stick with it.  DO SOMETHING. MAKE A CHANGE.  Find your way out of the grips of this horrible condition.  Be willing to FIGHT.  Be willing to COMMIT.  Be willing to WORK HARD.

Complaining = USELESS

I used to complain all the time about my condition.  USED TO.  And a lot of you insist upon complaining day in and day out.  I understand that.  Really I do. BUT, until you STOP COMPLAINING and start focusing on POSITIVITY, nothing will change.  Change your mindset, change your life.  CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE.  Shift your focus.  Don’t let fibromyalgia be the center of your life anymore.  CHANGE IT.  Focus on your goals.  Focus on the things you want to do when you conquer your symptoms (not if, when).  Make the choice.  Change your life.

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon


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How’s Your Nutrition?

For anyone (especially those of us with fibromyalgia), nutrition is the KEY to feeling and looking your best.  Without the proper FUEL, it’s tough to find the energy to get through the day.  Energy is a thorn in the side of every person with fibromyalgia.  I know for me, it was debilitating to say the least.  When I decided to address nutrition, I took the first step in my journey.  I’ve certainly delved into this subject in previous posts (Ulimate Reset: Why Make the Commitment?, Why Shakeology?, Food = Fuel), but this time I want to give you useful tools to help you make the same transition in your life.  So let’s get started.

Forks Over Knives

This was a true turning point in my nutritional journey.  This film explains in a way no one ever has the importance of nutrition and the results of eating the wrong foods vs. the right foods.  FOK advocates a largely plant-based diet.  What does that mean?  It means you know where your food comes from.  While I’m vegan, that doesn’t mean being vegan is the only way you can stick to a largely plant based diet.  If you choose to include meat or fish, be smart about your choices.  As Americans, we tend to believe we “need” huge portions of meat and fish and tiny amounts of veggies.  The opposite is true.  Your meal should be mostly fresh veggies.  Every meal.  That’s what it’s all about.  Eat the right foods and avoid the wrong foods.  Check out the trailer.  The film is on Netflix so if you have it, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND watching it.

Food Journal

After watching FOK, I knew I had to make some changes.  The first change was eliminating meat and fish.  Then I decided to try and figure out which foods were making me feel worse.  I had always known about “trigger foods” but didn’t want to admit that I needed to give up some of my favorite things.  Once I got sick and tired of being sick and tired, I decided to give it a go.  The food journal should be kept for at least a week.

Here’s how it works:

  • Write down everything you eat for each meal and snacks.
  • Write down how much water you have each day.
  • Write down any activity you have each day.
  • Write down how you feel each day.

After a few days, it will become pretty obvious that certain foods and drinks are making you feel worse.  Some things to look for:

  • Coffee
  • Aspartame (Diet soda, splenda, etc)
  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Processed foods (especially fast food)

Download it here: Weekly Food Journal

shakeology pinShakeology

I’ve said it a million times: Shakeology changed my life.  Literally.  I was really skeptical before I started using it.  I heard that I’d have more energy, lose weight, and just feel better.  It seemed impossible.  Until around Day 3 of using it.  I can’t say enough about it.  I believe every single person would benefit from using it daily.  So what makes it different from the average meal replacement shake?

Ingredients: Shakeology ingredients are sourced with not only the users in mind, but also the planet.  The ingredients are highly sustainable and in most cases harvested by hand.  They are SUPERFOODS and the creators of Shakeology scoured the globe for the finest ingredients with the highest nutritional content. Check out this video about where the ingredients come from.

Shakeology is packed with:

  • Proteins
  • Amino Acids
  • Vitamins & Minerals
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytonutrients
  • Prebiotics
  • Probiotics
  • Digestive Enzymes

Because it is packed with so many nutrients, Shakeology GIVES YOU ENERGY.  I mean, real energy.  Without it, I would never have been able to start Turbo Jam and I certainly would not have moved on to TurboFire.  It’s amazing stuff!

Get Your Nutrition on Track

I can’t say enough about the importance of addressing nutrition in order to support your body and find some relief from your symptoms.  If you would like help in your journey, feel free to contact me here or follow me on Facebook for info on upcoming support groups.

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon


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Motivation

Aunt Pat and MommaI know we all have things or people that motivate us to work hard to achieve our goals.  People that push you.  People that inspire. I wanted to give you all a look into what it is that motivates me.  To be fair, there are many things and people that push me to work hard, but there is one situation in particular that I think of daily.  It involves 2 very special people and they, along with many others in my life, push me to be better and do more each day.  It just so happens that today happens to be the birthday of one of these people.

Sisters

In 1989, both my mother and my aunt were diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  And, let’s be honest, it’s really not a great situation for a family to be in.  My aunt is someone that I’ve always felt a special bond with.  Someone that understood me, gave me crap when she needed to, and always, always told me how much she loved me.  My mother is, well, she’s my mommy.  And this disease is super scary.  I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say MS works quickly and tends to destroy everything in its path. It takes resilience and fight to get through each day.  And that’s what these two women have always had.

My Health Scare

Fast forward many years – I began exhibiting symptoms of MS.  For several years, I ignored it, but I knew I had to take care of it.  I had every single test to diagnose MS – two MRIs, a million blood tests, a spinal tap, and a whole mess of other crap.  It was my worst nightmare.  The best day ever was the day my spinal tap results came back negative for MS.  It was just fibromyalgia.  And what a relief that was.  Now, FM is no picnic.  BUT, it’s no MS either.

Aunt Pat as Little GirlThe End

After more than 20 years of fighting and struggle, late last year, my aunt succumbed to the affects of MS.  She had fought for as long as she could.  She was finally at peace.  Finally free from the pain.  Every single day, she motivates me.  Every single day, I think of her.  I think of her struggle and I think of how hard she fought this horrible disease.  My mother is still fighting the fight.  She exercises daily, in spite of her obstacles.  That motivates me.  These two women—these sisters—make it obvious what I have to do.  I have to fight.  I have to overcome.  I have to think of my aunt each and every day and honor her memory by never giving up.

Today is my Aunt Pat’s.  She would be 71 years old.  I loved her tremendously and I hope, wherever she is, she knows that.  I hope she knows she is one of the main reasons I fight so hard.  I’ll never give up.  Mostly because I know if I did, she would kick my ass.