She Strength Warriors – Oct 2019

MICHELE MEANS BUSINESS

Finding Fitness at Fifty

Michele Vaughan was the definition of a busy mother. She homeschooled her two children, and ran a business with her husband. There was little time, if any, for herself every day. So when her children left home, she asked herself, “What’s next?”

“I was 48 at the time, and realized I would be 50 before I knew it. I had this epiphany. I wasn’t going to live forever, and I had grandchildren who I wanted to be healthy and active with. I was so out of shape, I wasn’t able to carry a laundry basket up and down the stairs. It was ridiculous.”

That’s when Michele decided that if her nest was empty, it was time for her to spread her wings and fly, too.

“I saw a race medal casually laying on my friend’s bookshelf, and I asked her about it. She said, ‘It’s this all-women’s triathlon I do every year.’ My friend isn’t a hulk, so I nagged her with questions. I thought maybe if she could do it, there was a chance for me. I was so intrigued. She assured me that I could do it, and I believed her.”

Michele did compete in the triathlon, and while that was a major accomplishment in and of itself, she wanted to reach for more.

“I wanted to take it up a notch. I wanted to beat my last time. But during my training, I kept getting injured. In 2018, I turned to an online group I was in looking for answers. That’s when someone recommended Anna Woods and the SheStrength approach.”

“Even though I was losing weight and improving times, my physical makeup wasn’t strong enough to do what I was asking my body to do. I was spending so much time in the physical therapy office trying to get my body put back together at $120/session. I wanted a better way.”

Michele was not only drawn to Anna’s ability to help clients improve muscle strength, but to the culture of the SheStrength community itself.

“I’d worked with a personal trainer before, but it was on their time. I am an independent and introspective person, and I really liked the idea of training remotely when it was convenient for me, but with the personal connection to ask questions, have someone check my form, etc. The environment in the group is very welcoming. It’s real and sometimes raw and that’s okay. She’s built a social society where we feel comfortable.”

After starting the SheStrength program, Michele started seeing results, but not right away.

“I warn people. I say, ‘Look, it’s going to seem like what she assigns you is far too easy, but stick with it, she’s building up a foundation, and it works.’ I redid that triathlon and improved my time, all while staying injury-free. I give all that credit to the strength training. I built intra-abdominal pressure and strength–a trunk with some integrity to it. Mine was like a big limp noodle before. I was just set up for injury.”

Michele is happy that she’s found the fitness she was looking for as she enters this new season of her life, but it isn’t without some regrets.

“I regret not being an active family. I wish we had been. Neither my husband nor I would have gotten so out of shape. It was basically ‘couch potato to triathlon.’ But it’s part of our lifestyle now, and it’s easy. We are always looking for ways to be active.”

Perhaps Michele sees things she would have done differently in her past, but she can be certain that the steps she’s taken toward better health have already impacted her future–and the future of her family. Her 5-year-old granddaughter just ran a 5K with her, and her 25-year-old daughter will be running her first 5K with Michele soon!

“Young friends, listen to me! If you want any hope of being active when you’re older, do it now! Get ahold of your nutrition now! Your hormones will take over and start working against you. Your body will eventually start slowing down. I’m so glad I didn’t wait a minute longer, and I’m glad I found SheStrength to help me along the way. It’s never too late! I may have started slow, but I will finish fierce. I’ve come a long way, and hey, now I can carry my own laundry basket up the stairs!”

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