Meet Nicole D., manager at a large association in Washington DC by day, aspiring competitive rower by night and on weekends. It’s a pretty cool balance of work and play she’s got going…but one that took some shuffling of the life deck to bring about.
Seven years into her career she realized that she was on her way to getting fully indoctrinated by DC’s work culture, looking up and finding only work, wondering where all the years were going. So she flipped the script, trying out a totally new activity and getting fitter/healthier than ever in the process.
Before Changing the Script
Before deciding to mix things up Nicole was in something of a rut. She worked out periodically but didn’t have a good rhythm going or much engagement with the activity. Her eating lacked intention and interest, too, many meals starting with a box of pasta or whatever else quickly fit into a bowl. Work got the lion’s share of her attention. Routine set in. Head to office, hustle all day, and race home for a short connect with her loved one. Eat, sleep, rinse, repeat.
“It’s so easy to fall into the monotony of everyday life,” said Nicole.
Shake things up
A softball player and dodgeball enthusiast (aren’t we all on some level?) in college, Nicole wanted to do something really different this time around. “I used to always see people rowing and found the culture fascinating.” said Nicole. So at 30, when most folks stop rowing, she decided to chase a long-held dream and start.
She had to begin at ground zero. She started taking classes at a rowing school. To get stronger and in better shape she began working with a fitness trainer. And to find some time for her new pursuit she took a look at her work-life balance and started prioritizing the life part.
Eating Better Speeds Up the Process
The final piece in the change puzzle was finding a new gear on the nutrition front. Nicole and her partner Megan focused on getting more real, whole foods into the mix and worked Power Supply into their weekly rotation.
“I now understand what a portion is,” said Nicole. “The best part is that you can modify your meals, and you never really get bored with the food.”
Having a fellow traveler on the eating front helped. By sharing a similar eating approach as well as gym time, Nicole and Megan supported each other’s goals that much better and the results followed suit.
Within two months, Nicole slimmed down, her strength improved and her rowing ramped up. She finished rowing school, and felt confident enough to take the plunge (not literally) and join sculling groups.
Regattas and All Boats Rising
Once the momentum ball got rolling, it was hard to stop. Learning how to scull made Nicole want to participate in more competitive rowing.
“I plan on training to participate in a regatta,” said Nicole. “It’s my dream to gain elite athlete status. It gives me something to look forward to.” Now she hopes to actively work towards becoming part of an eight-person row-team, and will likely compete in her first regatta this summer.
Impressive stuff that you might think would put a crimp in her work style, but as it turns out the opposite has been true. With a better balance in her personal life and the confidence boost she’s gotten from rowing, Nicole finds her work improving.
“I’m a more confident and responsible manager now,” said Nicole. “I make decisions and stick to them. Not only that, I try to lead through my actions and show people instead of just telling them. It’s about being an effective leader.”
Above all, she reports feeling healthy and ready for whatever life brings. “I’m energized. The experience has helped me figure out the things that don’t make you feel well, and the things that give you energy.”
Congrats Nicole. And thanks for sharing.
Share your small wins
This month at Power Supply we are celebrating our small wins, and we want you to join us. The first step is capturing when you make a small adjustment to your day — Did you walk up the metro escalator instead of ride it? Take one more push up? Cut soda intake during lunch? Take a photo of this sort of moment, post on Instagram or send us a tweet using the hashtag #mypowermoment and we’ll reward one changer per week with a $50 Power Supply gift card. Think of us as your accountability buddy!
More on Nicole
Where she moves: Thompson Boat Center, VIDA Metropole (with Trainer Colette Beyer)
Her three tips to win:
1. Stick with it - Make goals, and even when it hurts and it's hard, do it anyway. The reward is always worth the temporary discomfort.
2. Find an activity you look forward to - Some workouts are necessary to make the progress you want to see, even if you don't love what is required of you. But, finding something that you enjoy and can be incorporated into your workout routine will help with motivation and make an active lifestyle more enjoyable.
3. Talk about it - It's always great to have a gym buddy or someone to be active with, but if you don't, there are plenty of other ways to find support. Find someone to simply talk to about fitness; Google your heart out and do your fitness research; use Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media tools to connect with individuals and information that will help increase your knowledge and maintain forward momentum. Once you have an active lifestyle, you crave talking about it with others, so surround yourself with people who want to share stories and experiences.