Please welcome and congratulate, the inaugural All-Star line up, Caitlin, Caile, Anne, and Lisa. These four women have been recognized as Ambitious All-Stars. 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.

Caitlin T.

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

To feel the best that I can - emotionally, mentally, and physically. It's amazing how even just one day of working out can shift my perspective from negative to ready to take on the world. My experience with working out in earnest began in high school when I joined the track and field team for shot-put and discus. With the help of my coach, I realized I could be stronger and more fit than I ever thought possible. After graduating high school, I worked out on and off, taking different approaches over time, but I always missed having a coach to push me further than I could or would on my own. This is why, when I started working with Carmen, it seemed like everything fell into place. I'm back in a coached environment, being pushed to work harder, and feeling better and stronger than ever.

What does your training look like?

My training consists of getting in 3-4 Ambitious Bootcamp workouts in a week and 1-2 days of yoga.

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?

Another big component of feeling the best that I can is my nutrition. I'm still working on learning more and striking the right balance for myself, but since completing the Ambitious nutrition challenge my previously paleo(-ish) diet has been honed so that I now know better what I should be eating, when and why. The focus on macros makes it so much easier to manage than most other approaches, and I appreciate the emphasis on whole, clean foods. So typically my meals center around some source of protein (eggs, meat, fish) and from there I add all the veggies (and a source of clean carbs for workout days). I say typically, because if I'm cooking for myself or grabbing a quick bite I'm pretty well-behaved. When it comes to eating out with friends, though, I have a pretty hard time saying no to French fries or brownie sundaes! I've found that a good snack to ward off those French fry/sundae cravings, though, is a protein bar (I have a Quest bar everyday).

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

Indulgences aside, over the course of this past year of working out and eating well in earnest, I've seen improvements across the board (ones that I sure didn't see in high school). I've gotten stronger, can even see some muscle(!), feel healthier and more stable, and am overall feeling really comfortable in my skin.

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

Life is a lottery, and aging with grace and dignity takes a lot of work and a lot of luck. It is so inspiring to see people who stay active, stay motivated, and try to better themselves and their world every day no matter their age. Health and wellness is a huge part of that, so my goal is to work on becoming one of those people today, so that it's easier to be one of those people in the future.

Caile M.

Why do you workout, what got you started, and when did you get started? In short, I work out as a way to relieve stress. I have always been active through team sports, like softball, swimming, and field hockey, for my whole life. Despite this, I had never worked out for the sake of working out until my freshman year of college. I was the heaviest I have ever been, and my roommate offered to start running with me to work on it. I grew to love doing it and how I felt after I had a really good run. I am now at the point that I get stir-crazy if I don't get a chance to workout for a day or two. This evolved over time to running in conjunction with other fitness routines, typically in coached atmospheres. Before I moved to DC, I was part of a women's MMA/fitness class, and once I moved to DC I found Carmen. It really helps me to feel like I am getting a work out that is well rounded from week to week.

What does your training look like? My training includes two ambitious bootcamp sessions, one yoga session, and three to four days of running a week.

What about your nutrition? What works best for you? What's a typical meal look like? Do you have a favorite shake or go to muscle building meal? What is your kryptonite? As far as nutrition, I am a firm believer in moderation but also that life is too short and unhappy to constantly be denying yourself a treat every now and again. A typical lunch for me is a turkey sandwich with carrots and an apple, while a typical dinner is either steak or a chicken breast with either broccoli or mixed vegetables. What has changed for me nutrition-wise since I have started bootcamp is being aware of when your body needs protein to recharge. I now have a go-to of a 1:1 ratio of protein and simple carbs right after any extensive workout, whether in bootcamp or on my own, usually consisting of eggs and rice. My downfall(s) include chocolate, pasta, and beer. I don't deny myself these things if I want them, but like everything else, I try to consume them in moderation.

Talk about your results or biggest gains over the last year. My results have been pretty phenomenal. While my size and weight has stayed steady in the past year, my physical appearance could not be more different. I actually have the appearance of lean muscles now in my arms and shoulders, and have turned areas that were fattier into muscle (underarms, stomach, glutes, etc).

What inspires you and what does your healthy human future look like? My inspiration is my big sister. Before she got me into MMA, I was content with my cardio routine most days of the week and did not think that I could change much more than I already had adopting that routine. Man was I wrong. I learned how far I had to go, always holding her up as a something to aspire to. She changed her fate, first by being one of the first females from our MMA gym to actually start sparring and fighting against other gyms, but also by deciding after years in a steady career that she needed a change. She did so by joining the Army National Guard. Her ability to take charge of her life and where it went makes me want to do better, be better, both in bootcamp and in my everyday life. I hope that my future will allow me to continue to use working out as a way to unwind and relieve stress, so that I can live long and continue to be healthy.

Anne C.

Why do you workout, what got you started, and when did you get started? I’ve had periods of my life when I worked out regularly and periods when I didn’t, and I can definitely say I feel better physically, mentally and emotionally when exercise is a part of my routine. I think I first worked out with weights when I was in college. The first time I trained with a coach was after I had my kids, and I wanted to get back in shape. I was super disciplined then, and got in great condition with the addition of coaching. That was the first time I saw evidence I could really change my body with the right workout. This time around I was trying to come back from some health issues, and found I just couldn’t make any progress on my own. So it was clear to me when I joined boot camp that I needed to follow someone else’s instructions. I’ve been working with Carmen for the last year, and I am really feeling great.

What does your training look like? Right now I’m going to three boot camps a week, unless something interferes. Sometimes I do a workout-to-go on the off days or if I miss a work out. I wear a Fitbit, and try to walk at least 15,000 steps every day. It makes a difference if you sit behind a desk all day! Since the weather is nicer, I’ve got a couple outdoor things lined up. I just try to keep making progress since I came into boot camp really out of shape. I’m not sure where I’ll end up… I feel like I’m just getting started.

What about your nutrition? What works best for you? What's a typical meal look like? Do you have a favorite shake or go to muscle building meal? What is your kryptonite? Wow, this is the biggest area of change for me. I was always one of those fat-is-bad dieters, and didn’t realize what a mistake I was making by continuing to eat the carbs and sugars. Now I’m eating higher fat and protein and have cut the carbs, and it has made a world of difference. I eat protein and vegetables for most meals. I eat a lot of chicken and fish, and love big salads. I’ll throw in a high protein snack like a yogurt or protein bar, add a piece of fruit here and there, and occasionally have a piece of bread. I find I need more carbs about every 5-6 days, but as long as I keep that rhythm, I don’t have a lot of food cravings.

Talk about your results or biggest gains over the last year. Since starting to work with Carmen, I’ve lost over 25 pounds and feel great. I’ve also so gotten so much stronger, and feel like a powerful person again. It’s really a phenomenal feeling.

What inspires you and what does your healthy human future look like? I just want to be in the best shape I can be, regardless of my age. I didn’t have a lot of confidence when I started working out again because I was comparing myself to a younger version of me. But I’ve accomplished so much in the last year, and it motivates me to keep moving and trying to do more. Putting the nutrition and the exercise together gives me all the tools I need to accomplish what I want.

Lisa TC. Why do you workout, what got you started, and when did you get started? I got started running in high school. First cross-country and then track. I grew up in Vermont where you can go for miles on hilly back-country dirt roads or just all through the woods and in the fields. I loved running with my girl friends. I remember that our coach used to tell us to stop talking to each other as we ran along. But enjoying each other’s company was part of the reason to run. We cheered each other on. We even cheered on the opposing teams. But, of course, we were happy when we could out run those teams by the time we came to the finish line… and we usually did.

What does your training look like? I gave up running when I hit forty. I thought it might not be so good for my knees and by then I was no longer living in a place that inspired me to get into the great outdoors. I took up wind surfing for quite a few years while living on the New England coast. That was a muscle builder, especially while I was still doing a lot of falling off my board and having to pull the sail back up out of the water. When I moved to DC seven years ago, I discovered work-out classes. Going on three years ago, I discovered Carmen’s Ambitious Boot Camp. That brought together many things that I’ve loved about running and windsurfing with the added interest of beginning to think about how my body builds muscle and coordination.

So now I do the Carmen work-out sessions three days a week with the Yoga Tuesday session to help keep my muscles stretched. I also began rowing in the Potomac two summers ago. That has been a great new use of all the muscle that Carmen has been helping me build. I also used to be a bicycler years back. I am looking forward to putting long rides out of the city into my exercise life before too long.

What about your nutrition? What works best for you? What's a typical meal look like? Do you have a favorite shake or go to muscle building meal? What is your kryptonite? When I began a “Nutrition Challenge” with Carmen two years ago everything came together in the work out sessions. It is so much easier to move when I am moving muscle rather than fat. So the high protein diet with carbs thrown in strategically has been a life changer for me. I have one of two breakfasts every morning. Protein powder with coconut oil on non work-out days, protein powder with Prograde work out carbs on work-out days. Everyday for lunch I have a huge salad of veggies, sliced turkey, and olive oil and vinegar for dressing. I snack on almonds, a yogurt, or a protein bar in the afternoon. At night I eat dinner for two: meat of any kind, rice or potatoes, more vegetables. When I first began eating this way, I did not know if I would be able give up pasta and chocolate, but the results have been totally worth it. I own my body now in ways I never did before because I take full responsibility for everything that goes into it.

Talk about your results or biggest gains over the last year. Even though I have always loved to move, I have never before been able to stay with a program of exercise for years at a time as I have with this program. I think it has been the variety of work-outs, the built in recovery week, and the Tuesday yoga sessions that make for my new stamina. Being able to stay active without a lot of injury or just plain fatigue or boredom has been great for me.

What inspires you and what does your healthy human future look like? I just have to move and I love to sweat and I like to be with other people when I do it. That’s the best part of any day for me. Everything I bring to Ambitious Work-outs is its own reward. It all keeps me healthy and happy in the moment…one push-up at a time.

Comments Submitted by Lindsay on 3/14/14:

Thanks for sharing Caitlin. Keep setting the bar high! Submitted by queenB on 3/13/14:

you look fantastic and you deserve the french fries <3 keep up the great work, killer! Submitted by Anonymous on 3/12/14:

Caitlin, you really live into your training on every level and it shows. You are a true inspiration!