Stronger than yesterday

For Teresa Fosdick, strength has shown up in many different ways throughout her life.

It’s certainly taken strength to work as a nurse in oncology, surgery, urgent care and other units, as Teresa did for years. Strength has taken an increasingly prominent role in her athletic journey, from running to triathlons to CrossFit. It’s been needed as she’s raised two kids with her husband. And it’s been a focus as she’s grown her career to become a coach and trainer.

Teresa, who is heading up the Her Whole Story Strength Challenge, running January 22-March 4, shares more …

What does strength mean to you, and how has it evolved over the years for you?

Strength, for me, has been quite a journey. It’s now an essential part of who I am. While I have always been strong-headed, and strong-willed, I haven’t always felt “strong” in the physical sense. I only started focusing on strength as part of my fitness routine in the last few years. I used to be all about the cardio. I was a runner and then a triathlete and putting in hours of cardio each week was the norm. Since starting strength training I’ve seen significant changes in my energy level (for the better) as well as my joint health (a significant reduction in inflammation) and I’ve set new challenges for myself — always wanting to lift heavier and get stronger.

How did you get involved in strength training? Please tell us more about this!

My husband joined a CrossFit gym and after two years he finally convinced me to join him. I had always been afraid of “getting bulky,” which looking back is actually hilarious, as now I am trying so hard to build muscle and am by no means “bulky.” 

I went through the fundamentals and I had a broken clavicle from earlier in the year that had never healed. I didn’t think I’d be able to do a lot of the movements. This was true at first, but as my strength improved, so did my flexibility and my fracture was no longer an issue. The friends I made during CrossFit were so supportive and pushed me to be better and made the strength training FUN! They also encouraged me when I said I wanted to coach. Last year I got my CrossFit Level 1 trainer certificate and I began coaching and really started to dive into the educational component of strength training (along with the CrossFit). I also became a certified personal trainer and started doing online/virtual PT. 

What are some challenges or misconceptions women have regarding strength training?

The biggest misconception would be that strength training makes you bulky. While you definitely need to strength train to be bulky, it’s not EASY to get there. Like with any sport, it takes tons of time and dedication and effort in all areas of life to achieve that level of fitness.

Another challenge is FEAR. I hear this a lot. I don’t know where to start, or I don’t know what to do, so I don’t even want to try. That’s what I am hoping to help others overcome!! We all have to start somewhere.

Why do you like working with women on strength training? What you do witness through the process?

I’ve seen some pretty amazing physical transformations, but I’ve also seen some women really break out of their shell and find their place. They become more confident and strong in all areas of their life.

Why do you personally like strength training? What impact has it had on your life?

I love that it’s become an outlet for me, something I can do at home, at the gym and on the go. It’s part of my daily routine — something that has become habit/ritual for me.

Have you always been strong? In what ways or in what circumstances have you been strong?

We are our own worst critics and I see photos of me from five, ten, fifteen years ago and I think I don’t look strong, but I was strong in other regards. I think we all have strength within us and it shows up when and how we need it most. For example, I was able to birth two children; I think that took strength. I started nursing school with two small children and that took a different kind of strength. I suffered a bad bicycle accident and had to rehab through injury and that took a different kind of strength too. This last year was the strongest I’ve felt and I had the chance to showcase that strength by stepping on stage in a figure competition. 

What would you like all women to know or understand about strength?

We all start somewhere and everyone is capable of getting stronger at any age. I also can’t stress enough how important it is to continue strength training throughout life. Muscle mass is one of the greatest predictors of longevity. 

What are three words that describe you?

Stubborn, motivated, thoughtful.

Do you live by a personal mantra or motto?

I try to change this depending on the season I am in. For me, this season it’s: Stronger than yesterday.

What are you looking forward to in the year ahead?

I set some pretty lofty goals last year and managed to go above and beyond my expectations. This year is about growing!

Teresa Fosdick is a certified wellness practitioner, nutrition coach and personal trainer. She’s part of the coaching team at Custom Fitness Specialists in Madison, Wisconsin, a dedicated CrossFitter and an accomplished athlete, with two Ironman-distance triathlons and many marathons under her belt. As a wife and mother of two, with more than a decade of experience as a nurse, Teresa understands the challenges and importance of balancing family and work while still prioritizing health and wellness.

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