Spotlight: Amanda Wegner
I decided to write a post about Amanda because not only has she accomplished so much as such a young age, but I truly see her as an inspiration to all men and women. I met Amanda when she started coming to BJ for personal training/KB training. Amanda was very overweight and at the age of 19, was looking at possibly being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes amongst other things. Amanda wanted a change, she wanted to be healthy, she wanted to live an active life. I'm not going to lie and say it was easy for her. But she stuck with it. She made the changes she needed to and has become an amazing athlete.
(Picture on the Left is Amanda at age 18, around 300 lbs. Picture on the Right, Amanda now)
Here is our interview.....
What would you say your health was like before you started working out?
- My health before beginning regular exercise was not good at all. My resting heart rate was probably in the 90s. I had difficulty going up a single flight of stairs, and keeping up with groups when walking. Mentally, I was also just not in a good place at all.
How much weight have you lost since you started?
- It's been up and down due to some health issues that kept me from training for 6 months, but the net loss is 80 pounds.
How has your food changed?
- The biggest change was just cooking my own foods. Learning to cook simple, but tasty foods that were good for me. Learning that you don't end a meal when you can't eat any more. Sticking to the "basics" - meats, veggies, nuts, good grains - was really the only focus at the beginning.
What got you motivated to start working out and changing diet?
- It wasn't any one thing or event, but several years worth. Growing up I was always overweight, in 5th grade I was 200 lbs. From then until my freshman year of college I was always really upset about how I felt and looked. I didn't feel that the person inside matched the person outside. I definitely dealt with a lot of name calling, jokes, laughter, etc. especially when I was at my highest weight. On a trip to Germany some kids were taking pictures and giggling. Couldn't fit in the chairs at cafes, or in the seats in airplanes. I broke my bed frame sitting on the edge. Broke a (plastic) toilet lid sitting down to blow-dry my hair. Overall I was just not happy with the way I was.
- I think I was in denial for a long time about how big I was getting, until I stepped on to a scale for the first time in years and years, and saw just under 300. So it all added up, but that was the straw that broke the camel's back. People always ask, "How do they not realize how fat they're getting and just change?" It's like anything - you don't realize on a day to day basis that you're getting older, or that your hair is growing, but one day it hits you. At least, that's how it was for me. I had to come to terms with my poor health before I could tackle the task of improving it.
What got you interested in KBs?
I found kettlebell sport in an interesting time in my life. I played the trumpet from 6th grade through my first year of college. That was all I had really ever done, and I wouldn't say I was an amazing player but I was good. So I just kinda went with it. After the first year of college I realized that I wasn't passionate about it at all, I had just gotten swept along. That was really hard to come to terms with - I don't want to play the trumpet... what do I DO with all my time?The first kettlebell workshop I attended, I think a few different things pulled me in. First, I was actually not bad, even just starting out. Somehow, despite never having done any kind of sport or exercise, I had pretty decent body control. Maybe I just had a blank slate.... they do say that it's harder to change old habits than to create new ones. Being a perfectionist I loved the technical challenge it presented. I don't event want to know how many hours I have spent watching myself lift.... watching others lift.... in real time... slow motion.... etc. It's a lot. Second, it gave me an outlet for my competitiveness. The world of music is obviously a very competitive one, and without it, I didn't have something to strive for.
What is your favorite part of training with KBs?
- My favorite part of all of this is surpassing my own preconceived limits. There's no way a year ago I would have said I could snatch a 24kg kettlebell almost 100 times.... as in, I would not even think it physically possible. But it happened somehow. Now I'm trying to find how to get out of my own way and keep pushing forward.
What advice would you give to a woman who is starting at ground zero with losing weight or just getting healthy?
Don't make excuses and don't over think it. It's so easy to get bogged down in glycemic index and this diet and that diet and don't eat after this time and DO eat at this time.... If you're just starting out, in my opinion, the 3 EASY things you can do are:1) Stop drinking your calories!! Self-explanatory. Put the soda down - diet or no.2) Learn proper serving sizes, and actually measure them. That 6oz serving of chicken is probably more like 12.....3) Shop the edges of the store and stop trying to look for "healthy" alternatives to crappy food. The cookies in the organic aisle are still cookies.
In a short 4 weeks Amanda is going to begin her new journey in life. She is moving to Russia to get her master's in the Russian language and learn more about Kettlebells and Kettlebell sport.
- August 24th, directly after the USA Nationals for kettlebell sport, I'll be flying to Chelyabinsk, Russia where I'll begin my master's degree in Russian as a Foreign Language. I am really excited to begin this journey! I won't just be studying, I'll also be able to train with my coach who is the absolute best in the sport, as well as with several other great lifters. No one has ever done something on this scale before, I just had to take the chance while it was available. It is and will be hard, but I hope to make some very valuable contributions to the North Texas Kettlebell Club and US kettlebell sport with the knowledge and experience I'll gain in Chelyabinsk!
To say we are proud of Amanda would be a great understatement. She has not only become an incredible Kettlebell sport coach, but an amazing athlete and woman.