Warrior of the Month Hilary

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Warrior of the Month Hilary

“TFW Ponte Vedra Beach Proves That You Can Always Give Fitness a Second Chance And Change Your Life!”

I’ve been active my entire life but with intermittent breaks usually accompanied by varying amounts of weight gain. Let’s just say I tend to be an all or nothing kind of person. When I joined TFW in January 2016 during one of the 8-week transformations, I had been on one of those breaks. I had done absolutely nothing for about a year coming off about six years all in with triathlon. I did my 2nd and last (well never say never) Ironman distance triathlon (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run) in November 2013. I was burned out and beat up from non-stop endurance training and racing. Something that I once loved and was integrated into every part of my life wasn’t fun anymore and that’s when I knew it was time to take a break. I spent the next year working with my personal trainer trying to resolve some of the muscle imbalances I’d developed during all the endurance training. I also attempted to restart triathlon training a few times and even hired a coach again, but it just wasn’t there. Then after having the luxury of working mostly from home for many years, my company required everyone to head back into the office full time which eliminated my morning training sessions and put me on a “break”.

I was also dealing with Graves’ Disease (an auto-immune disease that causes a hyper thyroid) which seemed to develop after my first Ironman in 2011. I don’t think it was a coincidence that one of the believed triggers for Graves and other auto-immune diseases is stress and your body can’t tell the difference between stress from your environment (e.g., job) and stress from exercise. I was getting a LOT of stress!

A hyper thyroid can be quite dangerous and do a lot of damage to your body. It basically puts your body in overdrive. Before I was diagnosed, I would say my heart felt “funny” after my long bike rides (palpitations), my muscles were always very sore (muscle wasting), I had hand tremors, I had become completely intolerant of the heat (I was ready to move to Alaska), I was hungry all the time and I was extremely anxious and now realize I also had periods of what they call Graves rage. I chose to go on anti-thyroid meds (vs the more permanent option of destroying my thyroid then taking thyroid hormones the rest of my life) in hopes I could get my Graves in remission. I responded well to the meds only needing to take a very low dose, but I never really felt 100% myself and was still symptomatic at times. Graves and a year of doing nothing had left me weak like I had never been before (having strength trained for most of my life) and just generally out of shape when I showed up at TFW.


The TFW 8-week transformation was great because it eased me back into things and with a group of people that supported each other and were generally on the same path. Individual effort with the support of a group is what I liked so much about triathlon. Being competitive, I leverage others to get myself out of my comfort zone and improve, but I like an environment where everyone, competitive or not, supports and encourages everyone else and TFW gives you that. If my workout partners are improving, then I’m improving!

Fast forward 2 ½ years and after being fairly consistent with the suggested 4 times a week protocol (2 strength and 2 metabolic days) and having made some tweaks to my already fairly healthy eating during each of the challenges, at 51 I’m stronger than I’ve been in many years – possibly ever, my body fat is down to almost ideal and it seems after having to really watch my weight since my teen years despite being active, I may have finally found the secret sauce to keep it that way. I have a great workout family and wonderful new friendships and just recently found out that my Graves’ disease may finally be going into remission after about 6 years! While I still don’t love the heat, this is the first summer in years where I feel tolerant of it again.

I also feel like I’ve become better at balance and moderation. I realize some days it is better to show up and give it the best you have on that day than to not show up at all. The motivational stories, the coaches always willing to modify things for you, inspiration from others fighting different battles than you and the general support of the “Familia” have really helped. Not to mention the usual message from Phil wondering if everything is OK when you haven’t been around for more than a few days.

Do you struggle with some of the same things Hilary struggled with? You CAN make that change and TRANSFORM your life also! Contact us now!

Email:  trainingforwarriorspvb@gmail.com or Call: (904)834-3917

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