Episode #78 – Staci Ardison On Lifting For Health

Starting to get healthy and fit can be intimidating – especially if you’re not used to exercise and have never excelled in sporting activity. Exercise is for everyone, and Staci Ardison is here this week to tell us about how Nerd Fitness is helping people begin on and succeed in their fitness journey.

Staci discusses her personal battle with weight loss, from weight gain to an eating disorder. Today, she’s more healthy than ever before and a big inspiration to female weightlifters – and fitness fans – everywhere. We talk about how Nerd Fitness can be a great way to get started with weight lifting and body weight workouts, while making the process fun and providing support. This online community has plenty of advice for our listeners, and if you’re looking to make changes in your own life you might want to take a look.

We also look at how exercise can be an important part of overcoming your battles with food. If you are seeing food as energy for your workouts, you’ll take greater pleasure in choosing and preparing healthy meals that complement your new routine.

Check out www.nerdfitness.com – find a great free starter workout here

Find Staci on social media if you’ve got any questions or need more information:

Read Charlie Hoehn’s inspiring words on anxiety here

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Melissa: Welcome Staci. Thanks so much for taking time to be on the show today.

Staci: Thanks for having me.

Melissa: You’re from an outfit called Nerd Fitness.

Staci: Yes.

Melissa: I think people will be intrigued. I know about Nerd Fitness and follow the blog and every kind of thing that goes on over there. I found it very helpful over the last few years in my journey. But can you tell people what your position is at Nerd Fitness and what Nerd Fitness actually is.

Staci: Yes, Nerd Fitness actually started off back five or six years ago as a blog written by a guy named Steve Kamb. He still is the owner of Nerd Fitness and runs Nerd Fitness. I am the operations leader at Nerd Fitness. So I basically head up all operations and I also run the Women’s Fitness Academy on Nerd Fitness which is our product that you can join. It takes you to do stress to get healthy.

But Nerd Fitness is a blog that everything is beyond it. We teach nerds and average Joes how to get healthy through simple, basic steps and not this fresh diet of lose 30 pounds in 30 days or lose 100 pounds in a year. It’s more just these are how to change the habits for sustainable health over just trying to lose weight.

We do that. We’ve got a nerdy spin on it. Steve is an amazing writer. He can make anything completely goofy which is amazing. So a lot of times I’ll describe it as Stars Wars and pushups because every single fitness thing we have is related to some sort of nerdy thing.

We have nerds of all shapes and sizes so we have people who are into the Star Wars. We have people who are into video games. We have book nerds. We have nerds of all shapes and sizes. So it’s just people who weren’t athletic growing up and wants to start learning about fitness now.

Melissa: Yes which I think is a great thing because I was just having this conversation yesterday with the men that helps me train and helps me work out with my osteoarthritis. We were talking about Spartan Races, the opposite end of the spectrum for where I am and about the popularity and so forth.

We were talking about what attracts people to it. We were discussing whether it was people who were nerds. Then we said well maybe but then there’s also Nerd Fitness. But we brought out those points, ones you’d just said which may be someone who wasn’t on the sports team in high school or junior high.

In my case, I was into a lot of active sports and created a lot of injuries as people are sick of hearing me say. But there’s a lot of people that now are in the working world and maybe in their late 20s or even older and they never have camaraderie or a group around them that supported them in the exercise field. This is what Nerd Fitness does.

Staci: You’re expected that in your late 20s or early 30s to know what you’re doing but there’s a whole group of us who have no idea what we’re doing. When I started, I had no idea at all what I was doing. I just figured it out as I went along. I actually joined Nerd Fitness as a member back in 2010 and learned a lot from it before I became a team member.

Melissa: Wow! That’s not too long ago.

Now tell us a little bit about your individual story. What kind of shape were you in? Were you deftly a nerd of some kind before in the exercise world any way before you got going?

Staci: I lived on a farm and I raised rabbits. So I definitely was not in the athletic field at all. But I grew up, I loved video games and that was my thing. So I would get my chores done quickly so I could maximize my time playing video games because that’s all I wanted to do. That continued through college and even after college.

Then it got to a point where my day would be sitting at work and I’d have a 12-hour work day then I got home and I would play video games. That would be my day. There was no exercise whatsoever. A lot of me staying in shape growing up when I lived at home with my mom because I was on a farm and doing chores and shoveling manure and I never realized that was exercise. So I never realized. I didn’t change any of my other habits.

When I went to college and then got out of college but because I wasn’t doing that work at home, I gained a large amount of weight. I only got up to about 170 pounds and I was 5’4” at that time. So it was to the point where I was uncomfortable but I wasn’t super over weight. But I was to the point where my doctors were starting to get concerned. I had high cholesterol when I was 25 which was not what I wanted to hear from my doctor. We basically decided that I needed to start exercising. I was smoking a pack a day which really didn’t help at all.

Melissa: Oh wow!

Staci: So I was just doing everything wrong. My doctors told me I needed to change things around immediately. So I joined weight watchers at work which was a great start for me because I didn’t know what to do. But I knew I needed to do something. So I hopped on the elliptical because that’s what I saw everybody else doing. Between weight watchers and the elliptical, I ended up getting down to about 112 pounds. So I lost like 50 or 60 pounds almost just through weight watchers and the elliptical.

Melissa: Wow!

Staci: But the problem was is that I got super obsessive about it. So the end there  I was doing two hours a day on the elliptical weight watchers and I developed a huge eating disorder from the obsession with the points – well this worth zero points and this is worth five points. Totally it’s not a problem with weight watchers at all. It was a problem with me and how I took it. Then I started looking to more extreme ways because I was 112 pounds. I wasn’t losing any weight. I was taking in 800 calories a day.

Melissa: Oh wow!

Staci: Oh yes, it was really low. Then two hours on the elliptical a day and that wasn’t working. So that’s when I discovered bulimia which was a whole another situation. That lasted for a little while. I went back to my doctor to say, “Oh look my cholesterol is gone because I lost all this weight.” And she was like, “Wait a minute.”

Melissa: Yes, you swapped your problems.

Staci: Yes, exactly. It was like the bulimia whole issue was a whole another thing. She sent me also to a specialist and they figured out that my cholesterol is fine. But my entire body was just a disastrous mess from not eating and then I was getting no nutrients at all. I started actually doing research because I didn’t understand why I couldn’t lose weight not eating anything. Why I needed to eat something and how I would be healthy then because I still thought I was too big. But I wasn’t. I was tiny. I was in like a child’s size 12 clothes

Melissa: Oh my God!

Staci: Oh yes, I was tiny, tiny. I thought that I was fat.

Melissa: So this whole body dysmorphia deal.

Staci: Yes and it was funny because when I was 170 pounds, I was very happy with my weight and then as soon as I started obsessing because it gets in your head. So that’s when I started researching. I started looking into different things. I found the paleo diet which makes sense to me. I still follow that to an extent but not like I did then.

But I found strength training too. I found Nerd Fitness and I found a group of people that I could talk to because along with this whole journey, I alienated my friends out of it. So I had no one to talk to. Doing Nerd Fitness, I found a community of people who are like me that I could talk to and that I could trust. It was the internet. So I wasn’t afraid to say anything.

Melissa: That’s a good point. That’s a good point.

Staci: It was just like an avatar.

Melissa: Yes.

Staci: So it really helped me to find a group of people that not only didn’t judge me but if they were to judge me, they didn’t know who I was. I started eating. I started feeling a lot better. My color started coming back.

One of the guys of the forums – I was doing just some dumbbell stuff and he said well, “Why don’t you just humor me and put a bar on your back and do some squats.” I was like all right. Well, if you’re insisting that I need to do this, so I’ll go do it. I went and I did it. And I tell him off. From that moment, everything changed from I’m doing this for what I look like to oh I want to lift more. And it was fun.

I know that a lot of people don’t get that reaction when they start lifting but I found my sport. That was something that I never thought that I would ever have was a sport, some sort of exercise that I enjoyed because I hated the elliptical especially get on for an hour at a time. It’s just boring. So I found this thing that I really enjoyed and it changed me mentally. So I no longer wanted to eat little because I needed energy to fill my next workout. It’s really what killed me in a lot of ways is that change of mindset from I need to look a certain way to I want to perform a certain way.

Melissa: Yes, I think that’s really important. One of the things you’re touching on there which I’ve talked about again a lot on this program is I had to do it but I didn’t want to face it either which was changing my relationship with food. That’s one of the things – you had an extreme case of that. But just I had sore of a case of that too. One of the things that the paleo, my own version of paleo helped me do was my first thing was I’m just going to outsource my food. Have it prepared and sent to me and I’ll just eat what’s in the package. That’s sort of the Paleo weight watcher’s model.

Staci: Yes.

Melissa: You can’t, you can’t really do that. You can, you can get a private chef and everything but it’s not really helping you reimagine your food issues. I was still looking at food as an enemy and a commodity instead of something enjoyable which nourishes you, which you should share with your friends and your family and a happy thing. It was always the enemy thing most of my life.

So when I began to change that and look at things as to helping that was a huge shift. That’s what a lot of people tell me when I see them out and about is they’re taking the attitude that you just talked about of food being the enemy. And the more I can eat less, they think that will help them to the goal which is actually the opposite. It brings on more problems and more illnesses and exaggerates inflammation which is one of the big things that was a big light bulb for me.

I think that’s the area that gets glossed over in so many of these programs. I’m always a proponent of it. If you want to be a vegan, vegetarian, paleo person, whatever works for you because there’s a bunch of different models that will work for people depending on their makeup. But do address your relationship with food if you’ve been on one of this either highly athletic or the opposite – highly starving yourself or going through a lot of diet programs because the food is the enemy isn’t going to work.

Staci: Yes, it’s not the enemy at all.

Melissa: You have to change your attitude about it. You have to develop your own personal outlook on it and how to deal with people too. Like you said, you did it through the blog which is good because that helped you get over the hard part. But a lot of people will want – you’re in a sensitive state right there when you’re adjusting that little. It’s like adjusting the flat side of airplanes so you can land safely. People will say, “You’ve been on 50 diets before. This isn’t going to work,” or “Oh you’re doing that thing now or something.” Something like that can throw you away off your game.

I just adopted this attitude as I can eat whatever I want. I’m just choosing to eat this now and the same with alcohol or any of those things. I pretty much gave up drinking and wine and all these things that I had before. And people would say, “Oh you can’t drink now?” or, “You’re not doing that.”  I’m like, “Not right now but maybe tomorrow.” You know I never said never about any foods or any beverages. I just said I choose not to do it right now. But down the road I might do it.

That put a whole different spin on things. That also threw off a lot of people that really had issues themselves to want to kind of put their stuff on you which unfortunately some of those friends aren’t really friends.

Staci: Yes and I came across that issue a lot when I was first starting to eat healthier even when I got further along. They had reason to be concerned but I’d be out with my friends and before they decided what they were going to eat, they’d start trying to figure out what I was going to eat because they’re like you can’t have this, this or this. I’d be like, “Please don’t worry about me.” I’ll figure it out. I’ll find something to eat.

Melissa: There’d be something on the menu I can have.

Staci: But they would make it so stressful because they were so concerned about me that it would stress me out and then I just wouldn’t eat. You guys are making this a big deal so please stop.

Melissa: Yes and I think like I said this is a really important point that people need to think about as they’re getting started. So if they have a good community around them and online is good because like you said it’s very non-threatening. You can say whatever you want. You don’t have to go to a meeting and be sitting there and whatever. But you have to take that step otherwise you’re going to be stuck and not make progress in my opinion. You’re going to go back to the old ways of doing things.

As a lot of people that have come on the show have said, sometimes you need to clear out some of the friends that aren’t really friends and that aren’t really helping you. If they have too much of a negative spin on everything you’re doing, are they really people you want to hang out with?

Also what you’re doing may sometimes threaten other people quite a bit more that you think when they see you making such great results and they’re stuck in things they don’t feel like changing, it develops resentment. They don’t want you to succeed which is always hard to for me to see that on other people but I know it exists in which case it’s time to say aloha.

Staci: Sometimes they might be afraid to see you change because like you’re such a good friend and this is what you guys do now. But if you change then maybe you won’t want to do that with them anymore.

Melissa: Yes, I think that’s a big part of it. I think it’s like you’re not like us anymore. You’re moving into a different circle and you’re doing different things maybe as well. Maybe more things that they don’t feel they want to do like maybe walking more, maybe playing more sports or like you doing some more weight work or things like that or even just going to the gym.

Staci: Right.

Melissa: Which can be good or bad but they may feel that you’re moving into a different realm and so they don’t like that. They’d like to keep you with them.

Staci: Right, exactly.

Melissa: Anyway so weights.

Staci: Yes.

Melissa: You’re a really good person to talk about the issue of weightlifting, how to do weights and all these stuff. I am a big proponent of using weights to help you with everything particularly with people who have some injuries if they do it correctly. So I would say a good amount of listeners are at the beginning stage may be taking a different look at weights and how to use them.

What would you say would be a good plan for someone who’s just maybe getting started trying to recover their health and become more healthy, fend off osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, all these nasty things.

Staci: Yes, so lifting in general is one of the best things that you can do in general. Barbell training is my favorite. The issue with barbell training is that people don’t always have the availability of a gym with a barbell. If you do have a gym with a barbell, one of my favorite programs to start out with is StrongLifts 5×5. It’s just available for you on the internet. My favorite thing about that is that it’s three days a week which is all that you need to do especially when you’re starting out. It’s just the main lifts. It’s squat, deadlift, benchpress and row and you start out with just the bar. You add 5 pounds to the bar every week. So it’s slow progress but it gives you a good starting place to really hone your foramen and have that right before you start lifting heavy.

I know a lot of people get really excited when you first start lifting and it’s really empowering to be able to lift something really heavy so you want to lift more. A lot of people get too excited at the beginning. They don’t quite have their form downright especially if you weren’t an athlete your entire life growing up and then all of a sudden you’re trying to do this very athletic thing which lifting is. People don’t realize that it is. But it takes time to get your body to really adapt to doing something and to really get your muscle memory in place for these movements.

So I like starting out slow because then your chance of injury is a lot less because your body actually remembers how to squat for example. With lots and lots of practice in that, have you squatting three times a weeks, which is great to get your body used to it. So that’s this little program. So that’s one of my favorites. We have a free body weight workout but that’s not really with weights.

Melissa: That might be a good starting point.

Staci: Yes, the body weight is definitely a great place to start especially if you went to lifting. I don’t think that you should squat with a barbell on your back and use squat without a barbell on your back completely correctly.

Melissa: Is there a link to the body weight workout at Nerd Fitness?

Staci: Yes and I can send that to you.

Melissa: Yes, just email it to me. That would be great.

Staci: Absolutely.

Melissa: Put it in the show notes. Because I started out doing some very simple body weight workouts and also like I said some eccentric exercises because I couldn’t possibly do a pull-up or anything like that. And I found them to be extremely challenging doing one leg of squats, trying to get up from a bench also doing one legged. But over time when I got started, I couldn’t because I have osteoarthritis. I have bone touching bone on my shoulder. I couldn’t do a plank or anything like that. In three months, I could do a plank for a minute.

Staci: Oh wow.

Melissa: I was to do the squats. I was able to get up. I was able to then move on to other exercises. So I’m really a fan.

Staci: Yes and one thing that people with body weights does, they always get frustrated because they can’t do a lot of things just starting out especially a pull-up. It took me a year to get my first pull-up. Not only did it take me that long because it’s hard but as I was eating more I was gaining weight and I needed to gain weight. But I was heavier to pull so if you think about it when you do a pull-up, you’re lifting your entire body.

But one question that actually someone asked me earlier is they said that they’re afraid of looking like they suck was the term that they use at the gym in front of all these other people. Like they’re afraid to go in and do these things because they’re not good at them. But we all started off somewhere so you don’t know like the person next to you who’s doing 10 pull-ups in a row, where they were. They started off where you did too.

Unlike when I started, even hanging from a bar I couldn’t do that. I didn’t have the gross strength to do that. So I would go into the gym every day and I would hang from the bar for as many seconds as I could. It’s a progress. It takes time to get there. But after a year, I got a pull up.

Melissa: Yes and also I think it’s important to mention here which I didn’t know but my trainer person told me which is women are very difficult to do pull-ups. It’s just as a general rule. He was saying most women can’t do it. They just don’t have that upper body.  Now if you’re a CrossFitter who’s been training for a couple of years, okay you’re good. But most just run at the mill even if they’ve been exercising do not have the upper body strength to just jump and do a pull-up.

Staci: It’s the same with push-ups.

Melissa: Yes and push-ups. Even the plank in my case so it’s going to take a little time but it’s safe to do the body weight things. It’s going to be more difficult than you think.

Staci: People don’t get how difficult body weight workouts are but I can deal with 400 pounds in a single leg squat is difficult to me. So they’re completely different but they’re both so good. Any single leg stuff or more advanced body weight stuff is half the time more difficult than with the barbell.

Melissa: It is. It’s challenging. It also helps you work on your balance. I have issues also with my feet so I’ve had surgery on one of my feet several times. So I don’t exactly have completely matching feet. So different pressure points, just trying to do a one-legged squat or get up from one leg is interesting because it’s suggesting your balance is – it’s causing a whole bunch of little mini shifts in your body. But like you said, I was very frustrated too at the beginning. After the third week, I’m like we’re not making any progress here. I want to do something else.

Staci: Sometimes your PR is a one second PR.

Melissa: Yes exactly and I think too switching around or having someone to suggest maybe switching up, changing things a little bit just for variety’s sake instead of doing the same routine each time is also a good way to mentally keep you focused on different things and different progress.

But I was so blown away when we did a test just like the basic fitness test to see how I’d come from day one. We’re like oh well you can do a plank for a minute now, before you could do it at all. I’m just like, “Whoa!” Because I just marked that off as I would never be able to do that. Because how can I possibly do it. But what had happened was the muscles surrounding the head becomes so strong that they supported the shoulder so the bones don’t touch which I don’t know. No one told me that’s going to happen. So body weight workout – we’ll put a link to that. What would be the next step after that?

Staci: Well it depends on what route you want to go. You could do a more advanced body weight workout. You could switch the dumbbells or the barbells. It’s really up to you and what you want to do. I personally do a mix because I think it keep things more interesting. I love gymnastics strings and doing things with gymnastic strings.

Melissa: It’s so hard.

Staci: It’s so hard and I feel like I’m five again just playing with them half the time, just because they’re fun. It’s amazing. I’ll keep track of things and I’ll be like okay, I held this post for eight seconds last week. So this week I did nine seconds. So I’m thrilled because it’s all the difference in the world. So you can continue to do body weight workouts from your home and make huge progress and be very, very strong. So it was really the route that you want to go. If you enjoy lifting, finding a good dumbbell or barbell workout is definitely the way to go.

Melissa: Right and I think the gymnastics, I’m glad you brought that up as well because I’m in no way pursuing that at the moment but I think it’s important because I’ve seen Georges St-Pierre from the UFC. That guy is amazing. A huge part of his workout is gymnastics. He can do incredible stuff. He just glides around when they show a part of his workout. He’s doing the rings. He’s jumping up. He’s on the balance beam, bar thing, doing handstands. It reminds me of a while back when I interviewed the wrestler Diamond Dallas Page. That guy can jump into a handstand.

Staci: Oh yes.

Melissa: He’s like 60 something years old and he looks ripped. He’s just done it all from yoga. He stopped lifting weights but again he focuses quite a bit on gymnastic moves and body weight moves obviously. It’s unbelievable. He’s flexibility and his ability, his strength – the strength that he has in his upper body but yet he looks good and he’s competed in everything. He looks like a wrestler but not overly. He doesn’t look like a huge body builder. He doesn’t look like The Rock or something like that. But he has underneath that body there, he’s got tremendous strength. To be able to jump up to just go up into a handstand like that is like that’s a lot of strength.

Staci: One thing with barbells is that because of the nature of the barbell, anything that you do – it evens things out so if you have imbalances in your body, it helps even those out. So you can muscle through things and one side of your body will compensate for a weakness in the other side. Dumbbells are one example but also gymnastics. Any sort of misalignment in your body is just going to be shown so much when you try to do some gymnastics or handstands or handstand walk. If your body is out of alignment, you’re not going to be able to do it. So it almost causes you to fix the issues.

Melissa: Yes, I think that’s a good point.

Staci: Yes, so my barbell training is a lot stronger because of gymnastics work on the side.

Melissa: Yes, so I would encourage people to search around. Find a couple of people to help you but definitely to check out the Nerd Fitness site and join the community to talk to people about things you might do and recommendations about training so forth that you can do. I think it’s important to find guides to help you and not all conventional gyms are going to be helpful to people, unfortunately.

They have certain programs that sometimes aren’t exactly what you wanted to do. But they also have trainers which if you have a program like I did when I was getting started and you say this is what I want to work on. Can you help me with this exercise? And you show them. They will work with you until you get good enough to self-supervise yourself which may be a better plan for a lot of people.

Staci: Yes and something we really believe in and talk a lot about in Nerd Fitness is doing what you find fun. So I love barbell training. I get excited the night before I get to swap and I have trouble sleeping because I’m so excited. So, you should find something that is like that for you. If that is yoga, then that’s great. If that’s martial arts, if it’s swimming, whatever it is that you enjoy, that’s what you should be doing.

We have on our message boards, it’s split up because it’s nerdy so into guild so we have our warriors, war lifters and our scouts. We’re runners and we’ve guild leaders on each of those guilds to help all of nerdy people out to say okay where do I start. If I want to start running where do I start? If I want to start lifting, where do I start? So that helps out people a lot. But it’s really doing what you enjoy and not forcing it if you don’t.

Melissa: Yes, I think you definitely have to. Like I said slow progress is the best way to go at it. Don’t jump in to the deep end of the pool right away. Try to find something – I think to my mind, body weight or if you have a lot of injuries, physical therapy is the place to start.

Staci: For sure.

Melissa: And because you can heal a lot of the stuff and you can learn about a lot of stuff like foam rolling and all these things that I didn’t even know about which will help you and then become a daily practice. There’s not a day that I don’t use the foam roller or the little foam balls or the acupressure balls that you can use. They’re so handy. They’re so cheap. It does away with Advil. Let’s put it that way.

Staci: Yes and physical therapy is actually a great place for people to start even if you’re not injured and you’re slightly older or you’ve had children because your body can get out of alignment from anything even pregnancy or hips get out of alignment from there. It takes a while to get them back because the center of balance has been pulled a certain way for too long. So physical therapy or working with a trainer to even make sure that your body that you haven’t been using after so many years, if you’re just starting to exercise is working right.

Melissa: Yes.

Staci: A lot of times it’s not.

Melissa: Exactly and they will work with you and do really gentle but educational work with you. They’ll give you little handouts to take home and practice and stuff. I did it for almost six months for all my injuries. I learned a ton.

Now, I was ready to go to the next step which was to seek out a proper training person to help me with what I wanted to do. Again, I just took in a list of things that my performance doctor and I had come up with which was the eccentric training body weight situation. We started with that. That’s what we did then move down from there.

Then like you said I think it’s always good to throw in things like yoga or meditation and tai chi, things like that. All things I discovered and I started to use because of reducing stress and trying to just relax a little bit after doing some more strenuous workouts. But you don’t need to sign up for the killer boot camp.

Staci: No.

Melissa: That’s the past people. That has passed, please.

Staci: I joined CrossFit for a while.

Melissa: Hi CrossFit friends! We love you!

Staci: I have no problem with CrossFit. My problem if you haven’t figured out from my story is that I don’t do anything in moderation. I’m slowly learning that. Now I work out 4 days a week and that’s it. But when I did the CrossFit, I was like, “Oh this is great. This is so much fun. I want to do it all the time.” It’s just the culture of it encourages that. So it was high intensity all the time, two to three times a day. I ended up burning myself out, basically.

Then deciding that powerlifting was right for me which is totally a much better fit especially health wise as I get older. You can sustain that for a little while in your 20s but as you get a little older, your body starts to revolt that idea.

Melissa: Yes, I know a lot of people and I was one of them who wanted to jump into CrossFit. That was the first thing I wanted to do. When I went to physical therapy, I saw all the people coming in from CrossFit with me every day. I said who are these people that come every day that are obviously young folks, younger than me? The physical therapist said, “Oh that’s our bread and butter.  That’s the CrossFitters.” And I said what’s happening? They’re here every day? “Yes, they get injured a ton.” And I’m like, “Uhoh, I guess not.”

But the thing that’s so exciting about CrossFit I think is the camaraderie, the community, and it’s also tied very closely to the paleo diet and the paleo food plan. That’s a combination for a really good group of people. Unfortunately, I think if you already have injuries or if you say if you’re older, I don’t think it’s a good route because it reminds me a lot of what we used to do in ski instructor land when I taught skiing for years. We got crazier and crazier.

Staci: Oh yes.

Melissa: We would push each other to do things we should never be doing. To go out of control and do things just really push beyond what you should be doing in every way. I think it reminded me a little bit when I’ve been to visit CrossFit boxes and stuff is it reminds me of that ski instructor mentality of you can’t break me. I can do everything and blah, blah, blah. Again I think you get going on a path that’s probably not sustainable or healthy for you and it becomes a new addiction for you.

Staci: It does. I coached CrossFit for a while. I don’t any longer. But I did for a while and there are a lot of great things about CrossFit. The community like you said is like no other. It really helps people, the same thing as Nerd Fitness where you come in and you’ve never done anything athletic before and all of a sudden, you’re an athlete. It’s exciting and it’s cool.

But the problem is too is that you come in and you’ve got all these issues with your body because you haven’t looked at before and all these things that you need to fix. And you see everyone else doing this one thing and you want to do it too. So push yourself to do it which is great. But you almost push yourself too hard. It’s a very easy if you don’t have good self-control like I didn’t. It’s really good to over push your boundaries, so go over your boundaries in CrossFit.

Melissa: Yes.

Staci: So I think the concept is great but the implementation is always the best.

Melissa: Yes and I think too a lot of people being a former smoker, yourself.  I think I smoked one cigarette and sneezed so much I had this not taken up when I was in college. So I skipped that thing. But if you have had some addictive type behavior, a new addition is so attractive to you.

Staci: For sure.

Melissa: That you can just go on to and go crazy with. I know some of the people I’ve interviewed before that had eating disorders or other issues – mental and physical will talk about the same thing is they go on do something and they just made that their new addiction and went crazy with it. And then found themselves to be in a not so healthy place again.

Staci: It’s funny because I actually quit smoking by second day of CrossFit.

Melissa: Oh man!

Staci: Yes, I popped up a lung and to the bushes. The reason why I quit is because every time I would go to buy a pack, I would think I don’t want this to mess up my workout which was great because it was treating one addiction for another one. It was a healthier addiction. But I definitely cried at CrossFit for helping me quit smoking because it gave me a reason.

Melissa: Yes, yes.

Staci: I needed that reason.

Melissa: Yes and that’s a tough – it’s like one of the hardest addictions they say to overcome because it’s so mental and physical. It’s just tough, tough, tough even as you do all the things that people are doing to try to escape from it. I think that can a problem. You want to be careful that you’re not switching out one addiction whether it be food or something else for another addition which is going to become unhealthy as well.

There’s a good episode for people. I’ll put a link in the show notes when I interviewed Charlie Hoehn who wrote Play It Away about anxiety and anxiety attacks. He’d gone into a cycle. He was Tim Ferriss assistant. For quite a few of the biggest the first two books that he wrote and he got into this same thing. He got caught up in the cycle of just pretty soon not sleeping at all and taking at a roll and all these things just to get the work done thinking that that was the end goal. Then he wound up basically just melting down and having to stop work and just chill for a while and get himself back into real life. But it’s a problem that can happen.

Well, we’re almost out of time, Staci. Where can people find you online?

Staci: Nerd Fitness is my main where I am. Then on Twitter, Instagram, everywhere, it’s Stacy Ardison is my name on those.

Melissa: Okay, so they can tweet to you or Facebook you?

Staci: Yes and I have, I actually have an account at Stacy Nerd Fitness for now until they decide to chop those down. But it is Stacy Nerd Fitness as my last name.

Melissa: Oh okay, cool. So people might want to just reach out to you and ask you some questions directly.

Staci: Yes, absolutely.

Melissa: Ask you all the things that they’ve heard on today’s show about maybe recommendations and things about to get started.

Staci: For sure.

Melissa: So that would be great. Well it’s been great having you on the show today. Hopefully we’ll have you back on sometime in the future to talk about more workouts and more things people can do, things to help them build strengths and recover or restore their health.

Staci: For sure.

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