What We Learned From Our Inspiring Community in 2016

Here at aSweatLife, we have the privilege of meeting, profiling and befriending scores of amazing women and men who are kicking butt in their fitness pursuits. If you need motivation for 2017, look no further than these words of wisdom from some of the fantastic folks who inspired us in 2016.

aSweatLife_What We Learned From Our Inspiring Community in 2016

On reaching your goals

“Work hard … (No, like really hard). Listen always. Take advice. I didn’t have the typical college opportunities that most people have. I was, however, willing to grind, work my ass off, listen to my mentors, study and get certifications on my own. If you want it, you gotta be willing to put in the hours and be open minded to all different types of training.”

Jessika Alexander, Nike trainer at Nike World Headquarters


On empowerment

“A career in fitness requires a lot of soul searching. It has empowered me to be extremely confident in what I can deliver and the messaging behind doing what I do. Having a platform to have a positive effect on people’s lives is a lot of responsibility!”

Aleah Stander, master instructor and VP at Flywheel


On overcoming injuries

Writing has been very therapeutic, sharing my journey and frustrations with other people. So often, when athletes get injured, they just disappear. They don’t want to talk about the injury or they want to hide it because they’re ashamed. But even the highest-level athletes get injured. It’s also been helpful to stay involved in the community. I’ve been going to races and cheering people on. Physically, I’m focusing on the little things that I can do. For a while, I could only swim with a pool buoy between my legs and that really, really sucked. But it’s still something.”

Amelia Boone, obstacle racer and endurance athlete


On staying healthy while traveling

Before I go on any business trip, road trip, vacation, etc., I Google workouts, studios, healthy coffee shops, cafes and restaurants. I book my workouts in advance, or check out the hotel’s gym online to determine if I should pack my own equipment (jump rope, resistance bands, etc.). I love trying new workouts and meeting new trainers when I travel. I sweat, learn and take away new methods of instructing. If I know where to go for my workouts, what I can eat after, I’m setting myself up for success.”

Kate Lemere, Barry’s Bootcamp instructor


On balance

“When I feel overwhelmed, I come to a place of gratitude. It all comes down to perspective. In the summer, track runners go to Europe and compete on a European track circuit. When I went, I felt underfed, I struggled with communication, I felt out of my element and I got in a cycle of negativity. But then I went back to writing a gratitude list. Things that I was complaining about just an hour ago became what I was grateful for in the moment. When we become overwhelmed with our to-do list, we should be grateful to pursue everything. It’s all about being grateful and feeling privileged by what we have to do on a daily basis. Our perspective can easily turn a burden into a privilege.”

Deena Kastor, Olympian and record-holding marathoner


On staying motivated

“The clients [always inspire me to keep going]. ALWAYS! Whether I’m teaching a class of five people or 48 people, I remember they’re showing up for not only a workout, but [also] an experience. No matter how I am feeling that day, I must give them that amazing experience every time! It keeps my energy high and it inspires me to push through my longest days.”

Alicia Miller, Flywheel master instructor


On recovery

“Ice baths have become a thing for me now. It makes me less sore in the morning. It’s also important to be getting enough sleep and taking days off. It’s as simple as listening to your body. Early on when I used to work out, I’d pile on hard runs and weight training all in the same day and consecutive days, and I’d be totally burned out. Now Tuesday can be a hard day and Wednesday be a total day off, then I’m refreshed by Thursday.”

Mark Tudela, aSweatLife ambassador and marathoner


On routine

“Create a morning routine. I don’t care what it is. Maybe it’s get up and check on work right away. Maybe it’s meditate. Maybe it’s do some yoga or go for a walk. Whatever you do, start the day off with a routine and make sure you’re religious about it so you feel like you’re running the day instead of the day running you.”

Melissa Hartwig, co-creator, The Whole30


On running insanely long distances

Be committed. That’s the best advice I can give! Anybody can run an ultra if they put their mind to it. I really believe that. You have to willing to put in the miles when you don’t feel like it, and continue pushing through fatigue when your body wants to stop. It comes down to hard work and mental strength!”

Adam Kimble, ultramarathoner

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About Kelsey Schagemann

Kelsey is a former NCAA Division III cross country and track athlete who exchanged sneakers for spin shoes in her twenties. Hailing from the great state of Oregon (by way of St. Louis, where she spent her childhood), Kelsey has made Chicago her home since 2006. She can often be found at the helm of her daughter’s stroller, walking miles throughout the city. Her other favorite fitness activities include spinning, yoga, lifting weights and biking. As a freelance writer, Kelsey works with universities, nonprofits, websites and magazines (visit bit.ly/kelseyschagemann for more information). In her spare time, she enjoys trying new recipes, traveling with her family and keeping the library in business. Kelsey holds a BA in English from Kenyon College and an MA in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago.