Mom-spiration: Annie

I’m so excited to share this week’s Mom-spiration, Annie Brees, with all of you!  I can relate so much to her–from her love of coffee, to knowing the importance of making your health a priority to even gaining the freshman 30 (yeah, some of us are overachievers and laugh at your freshman 15!), to the ups and downs of weight gain and weight loss from pregnancy.  I chuckled as I read through some of her responses and found myself nodding along, like yep, totally get her!  I think her answers are honest and uplifting–enjoy!

My Fit Family: Tell us a little about yourself.
Annie: I’m a 30 year-old mother of two from the Mid-West.  I primarily stay at home with my little girl, Sloane (4) and boy, Adler (2) but I also work part-time at my local YMCA as a Personal Trainer.  In an ideal world I’d wake up in a clean house, eat a wonderful warm breakfast, workout, go shopping, and end the day in a clean house, on the couch watching a movie with my kids.  Is that took much to ask? Oh and throw lots of coffee in there.  No such thing as too much coffee.  

MFF: Have you always embraced a fit and healthy lifestyle?
Annie: As a former high school and college softball player I’ve always enjoyed working out.  Eating well is another story.  I’ve always been bigger/stronger (read- never skinny) but post college I stopped working out like a college athlete but continued to eat like one and packed on the pounds quickly.  Like 30 pounds in less then a year quickly.  Ouch!  I got engaged and like most women wanted to look my best for the wedding.  I hired a personal trainer to hold me accountable, lost weight and regained my love for working out.  Between that and having a few babies in there it’s been a roller coaster of ups and downs of weight loss and weight gain.  Since having my son almost two years ago, tear, I’ve turned a passion into a (part-time) career and became a certified personal trainer.  I’m finally focusing on my diet and even taking up powerlifting, which I absolutely love.  I’m lighter, stronger, faster, and more confident now then I ever have been before.  

MFF: Can you share with us an example of your daily nutrition?
Annie:  This probably isn’t going to sound very appealing but trust me, I wouldn’t/couldn’t eat it if these foods didn’t taste good.  Breakfast I have an egg whites and oats concoction that I make the night before and eat cold in the am.  Lunch is typically leftovers (meat and veggies).  I love to cook large batches of our dinners and just save them for lunches later in the week.  I’m all about cooking once, eating lots.  Dinner is always meats and veggies.  Our go to is either ground beef/turkey with stir fry veggies and a little soy sauce or coconut aminos drizzled on top.  Although I also really love breakfast for dinner- turkey sausage and eggs with any veggies you like is another top pick.

MFF: What does a typical workout look like for you and how do you manage to fit it in to your schedule?
Annie:  I lift four times a week and those lifts are my first priorities.  I just started a new cycle of training.  Each workout includes either squatting, deadlifting or benching (sometimes two of those).  Powerlifting is my focus right now so every workout, every exercise I perform is with the intention of strengthening either my squat, deadlift or bench.  

I’ll be honest, I don’t have to work too hard to find time to workout- it’s a priority so I put this on the top of my “to do” list each day and it always get’s done.  Finding time to clean the house?  That’s a different story. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful gym that provides child care which has saved my life many times.  I also have another gym membership to a powerlifting gym.  They don’t have child care, which means I have to go when my husband is home.  This is more challenging but he’s very supportive of my goals so he makes it a priority as well. Plus he knows I’m happier after I’ve worked out.  

MFF: What is your favorite physical activity?
Annie: Lifting.  Hands down, lifting.  I’ve tried a lot of things.  I’ve tried running, triathlons, heck I’ve even joined a bike team trying to find something I’m good at and enjoy but always came back to lifting.  There is something about being able to walk into a weight room filled with a bunch of dudes and being able to hold your own that gives a woman more confidence then anything else I’ve seen.  Don’t get me wrong, there are bad days, just like anything else.  Some days you’ve got it, some you don’t but over all lifting has given me such a boost in my self esteem.  
MFF: What is your favorite healthy meal or snack and of course we love hearing about favorite food indulgences–what’s your #1?
Annie: I make this Paleo Crockpot Chili inspired from PaleOMG weekly.  It’s so stinking easy to make first thing in the morning, my four year old could do it.  Snacks I love apples and peanut butter.  Or just spoonfuls of peanut butter.  
My favorite food indulgence is pizza.  We have a Papa John’s pizza shop right down the street from us and their pizza is just the way I like it- thin, crispy with little sauce.  They also have a really mean cinnapie dessert pizza.  My second pick would be chips/crackers.  I love crunchy, salty foods.

MFF: Who inspires you?
Annie: Oh man, so many people.  I honestly find inspiration a lot of places- women who are just starting to workout and busting their butts even though it’s so hard for them. My husband who comes home from a full day’s work and still takes the kids off my hands to give me a break and never complains.  Parents, moms and dads are always inspiring.  Anyone who gets woken up multiple times a night, changes diapers, gets puked on and still makes healthy living a priority has my respect.

MFF:  What one piece of advice would you give out to someone just starting out on their health/fitness journey?
 Aim for progress, not perfection.  Don’t feel like you have to overhaul your entire life to start seeing changes (although that may work for some).  Just start stringing small changes together, stay consistent and you’ll get there.  It’s not going to be easy, if it were easy everyone would do it (name the movie!) but I promise you it’s worth it.  It’s worth it to you and it’s worth it for your family.
Living Proof GearThanks so much for sharing your story, Annie! You can find Annie blogging about health, fitness, nutrition and more at Strong Brees. Be sure to connect with Annie on Facebook and Twitter for more fitness tips and daily motivation!
Never Give Up,



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