Please welcome Jenn, Shelton, Christie and Brad to the Ambitious All-Star line up. An Ambitious All-Star is someone who self defines Ambitious Athletics. This person demonstrates dedication, perseverance, community, and the willingness to get better.

Below, each All-Star answered a series of questions related to their lifestyle, check em out.

Jennifer A.

Why do you workout, what got you started, when did you get started?

I workout for multiply reasons but the main two reasons are stress release and to stay healthy. I have been working out since my days of playing soccer and field hockey as a kid and continued to do other types of exercising such as running or taking gym classes. It was not until my mid-twenties when I started to really get hooked on working out, lifting weights, and eating healthy. This was mostly due to my father being diagnosed with cancer for the third time and for me working out was my outlet. It has been my thing ever since and I am truly a nicer person when I workout! Now I workout not only for myself and for a bit of “me” time but for my son, Caleb. I want to be a fit mommy who can always run around and play with my little man!

What does your training look like?

On an average week my training consist of three days of training camp (5:30am baby!!) and several long stroller walks with Caleb and our dog, Toby. On a great week, I do three days of training camp, yoga, 6-mile run with Toby, and several long stroller walks with the kiddo and pup. It all depends on my little man and family but at the very least I always get three good workouts per week.

What about your nutrition. What works best for you? What's a typical meal look like? Do you have a favorite shake or your go to muscle building meal. What is your kryptonite?

Nutrition…since working with Carmen my nutrition is so much better. Prior to joining Ambitious, I ate healthy but never balanced my diet, as I should. After doing Carmen’s fitness challenge in November of 2012 I learned several things about myself such as: I didn’t get enough sleep (this actually hasn’t changed since we welcomed a baby into the world last August), ate way too much candy, not enough protein, and didn’t eat enough in general. During the challenge I found out I was pregnant and I promised myself that I would apply all that I learned to my diet during and after my pregnancy. For the most part, I have done just that. Finding healthy, easy, fast foods work best for me these days. I eat lots of Quest bars, shakes, and salads. A typical meal for me and probably my most balanced is during dinner which normally consist of a protein, veggies, and a starch of some sort. Our favorite meal is salmon, broccoli, and couscous. I love almost all shakes but since I love chocolate, my favorite would have to be chocolate protein mix, soy milk, yogurt, banana, almond butter, and an apple!

Talk about your results or biggest gains over the last year?

It has been quite the year for me to say the least! I had a baby in August of 2013 (he just turned one). Prior to getting pregnant I was at most fit and then discovered I was pregnant while completing Carmen’s fat loss challenge which I ironically won!! My goal is to look the same as I did in my photos after the challenge. My body is pretty close to being there but things change when you have a baby I suppose. I was very cognizant throughout my entire pregnancy. I ate very healthy, only gained the recommended weight (20-25ibs), and stayed with Carmen’s program until I was 37 weeks pregnant and then continued working out until I delivered by doing cardio and light lifting until 41 weeks. My greatest challenge has been accepting that I cannot workout as much as I used too. Having a baby is all encompassing (worth every minute) but working out has been my “me” time and I have learned to be very efficient.

What inspires you and what does your healthy human future look like?

I just want to be the healthiest me possible. I was never a morning workout person but now I could not imagine working out in the evenings. When I walk in at 5:30am, I am tired but jazzed knowing that I have chosen to surround myself with similar individuals who also want to be the best they can be too. It is an amazing feeling and I am exciting to continue doing it for as long as I possibly can.

 

Shelton B.

Why do you workout, what got you started, when did you get started?

I ran track in high school and played intramural in college and also played some rec soccer and football here in DC, but in all honesty I didn’t do much to maintain any kind of healthy lifestyle after high school. After years on the couch, my friends pushed me to run a 15K with them and I realized I had to get myself going again! I joined a running group and started out running a minute and walking a minute. Eventually., I got up to running 3 to 4 times a week with my running group and really discovered I wanted to be active again!

Before my wedding, my wife Sarah started working out with Carmen: even after a few sessions I could sense she was happier about herself and was seeing results. She encouraged me to give it a try… and I did. That is easily one of the best decisions I have ever made.

What does your training look like?

A typical week for me includes 2 Training Camp sessions and 3-4 training runs.

What about your nutrition. What works best for you? What's a typical meal look like? Do you have a favorite shake or your go to muscle building meal. What is your kryptonite?

This is easily the biggest part of my personal transition to healthy living! Before, I ate whatever tasted good. Now, I eat what my body needs – but I make sure it tastes good too. A typical meal consists of a protein (meat, chicken, fish or eggs) and always has vegetables. Due to the amount of running I do the meals usually include some carbs, but I have made a conscientious effort to stay away from as many processed carbs as I can.

One of the highlights of my day is the post-workout protein shake! I used to think protein shakes were for bodybuilders… then I had a shake with almond milk, peanut butter, a banana and a scoop of the powder. Not only does the shake help rebuild my muscles post-workout, it tastes great. I honestly look forward to drinking them!

My kryptonite? Blueberry muffins. I have to avoid the coffee shop near work…

Talk about your results or biggest gains over the last year?

I had always been teased due to being much skinnier than my friends. I wouldn’t wear certain kinds of clothes just because I wanted to hide my skinny frame. Since working out with Ambitious Athletics, I feel like a new person. Tank tops and shorts no longer scare me: in fact, I am now wearing things that I never would wear in the past because I am much more confident about my physique.

Working with Carmen has also helped my running tremendously. A stronger core, stronger legs (and not just the muscles you run with – all of them!) and a stronger attitude has helped me shave a lot of time in my races.

What inspires you and what does your healthy human future look like? Even with strength training and a healthy diet, I’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol. African-Americans in general are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc. I’m trying to keep these things as far away from me as possible. In order to do so, I understand that I need to put in the work right now and beyond. I constantly tell myself that the foundation I am creating will extend my years. I’m healthy now – but the goal is to STAY healthy!

 

Christie Y.

Why do you workout, what got you started, when did you get started?

I workout so that I don't feel and look like poop! I technically started some kind of working out in middle school, when I started training for cheerleading, which I did all the way through college. But I don't know if any of that really did anything. We did a lot of stuff like cardio and crunches, girl stuff. Also tumbling/gymnastics, which I HATE. I don't like flipping! In any case, for most of my life, I was never really on any sort of workout regimen and definitely did not lift weights (very scary! and the weight room was always filled with big men, not my crowd!). I started running and doing some yoga in college. I've been off and on with yoga, sometimes I really like and I did it everyday for a year when I lived in SF, but sometimes if the instructor isn't great I am not so into it because I've always been really flexible and it's easy for me to look good in the poses even if the pose isn't doing something good for me (to put it another way, I usually had the flexibility but not the strength). I don't really run much anymore because basically I kind of got over it and that's that. Haha. In law school I started my Pilates obsession, which got me more into thinking about thoughtful workouts and alignment. I liked doing Pilates because it helped my posture and helped me think more about my core and spine.

What does your training look like?

My training is usually Ambitious Athletics 3 times a week. Then I try to do a barre class (I only do Xtend Barre or certain methods in NYC, the other ones are stupid!) once a week and a Pilates class once a week. Sometimes I do more, sometimes I do less, and I'm okay with that, as long as I make it to the Ambitious sessions. Sometimes I throw in a cardio session, which is usually a dance cardio DVD (makes me sweat so much in 30-40 minutes!) or intervals on the treadmill (but I will ONLY run if it's for a very short amount of time AND if certain reality TV shows are on---the TVs in our gym have been broken for a while, so no running has happened in a while, sorry but not sorry!).

What about your nutrition. What works best for you? What's a typical meal look like? Do you have a favorite shake or your go to muscle building meal. What is your kryptonite?

Not being a giant pig and eating a lot of veggies works best for me. That said, I am kind of a pig, so I try to eat things (kale, sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, lettuce, other green veggies) that I can eat in large volumes but not feel terrible about. Basically, I only eat real food. I don't like protein powders or protein bars, but that's just a personal thing. Mostly because I would rather just eat regular food. If I do a post-workout shake I will throw in hemp seeds for protein. My fave shake is either banana with as much spinach and kale as I can cram into the Vitamix, plus my homemade almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and hemp seeds. Or it is pineapple + greens + herbs like cilantro, mint, parsley + water + lime + cucumber + celery (I LOVE hydrating and think it makes a huge difference in your skin!).

Talk about your results or biggest gains over the last year?

Always getting stronger! What is funny/nice is that there are certain people I see every three months or so and they are always asking me if I have lost weight. I actually haven't---I have just toned up a lot more! It's helped make clear to me that being consistent and building muscle/strength helps you look and feel your best! That's why even when I feel like total S#$#, I know that I owe it to myself to get my ass into Ambitious and try hard. It all adds up, even if you feel like you are not eating well (which happens to me every other day) or sucking at life, in the end, every little thing you do to stack the odds in your favor DOES help and show.

What inspires you and what does your healthy human future look like?

Always getting stronger! What is funny/nice is that there are certain people I see every three months or so and they are always asking me if I have lost weight. I actually haven't---I have just toned up a lot more! It's helped make clear to me that being consistent and building muscle/strength helps you look and feel your best! That's why even when I feel like total S#$#, I know that I owe it to myself to get my ass into Ambitious and try hard. It all adds up, even if you feel like you are not eating well (which happens to me every other day) or sucking at life, in the end, every little thing you do to stack the odds in your favor DOES help and show.

Brad A.

Why do you workout, what got you started, when did you get started?

I work out to feel and look good. I've always been pretty active and played a lot of sports when I was younger. I started lifting in college, but I wasn't that serious about it - I pretty much stopped after college. Then came law school, during which I played a lot of hoops (which is a total body workout in its own way) and got back into swimming, but didn't do much else. Once I started working I had a lot less time to work out or play hoops, but still, when my wife tried to convince me to start the Ambitious Athletics program, I was hesitant. She can be pretty persuasive though, and since starting two years ago, it has become a big part of my life. On days that I miss a workout, even though I enjoy the opportunity to sleep in, I still notice that I don't feel as good the rest of the day.

What does your training look like?

3 Ambitious Athletics workouts per week. 1 yoga class. 1-2 days of playing basketball.

What about your nutrition. What works best for you? What's a typical meal look like? Do you have a favorite shake or your go to muscle building meal. What is your kryptonite?

For breakfast I usually have a shake made of a leafy green vegetable, frozen berries, coconut yogurt, plant-based protein powder, and either coconut water or a nut- or seed-milk. I often have 1-2 more shakes throughout the day. I eat out for lunch more than I probably should. Dinner usually consists of a salad or one or two vegetables, quinoa or rice or beans, and a protein (meat or non-meat). Sweets (donuts, gummy candies, ice-cream cookie sandwiches, etc.) are definitely my kryptonite, with fried foods a distant second. I have good weeks and bad.

Talk about your results or biggest gains over the last year?

I don't have any quantifiable results, but I'm certain I've gotten stronger, particularly in my back, core, and hip areas.

What inspires you and what does your healthy human future look like?

Playing basketball is one thing that always makes me happy, and I'd like to be able to keep playing into my 40s and 50s. Working out with Ambitious keeps me in shape, wards off aging, and I'd like to think prevents injuries.

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