Updated: Mar 28, 2021
Welcome to The Word on Wellness. We at Rockstar Wellness wanted to bring you all this blog as a way to share updates, tips, tricks, and personal stories. Rachel, Scott and many of the instructors will be posting and sharing wellness related information and experiences. Allie Mattey, new ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor at Rockstar Wellness, will be the main contributor to the blog talking about her personal story and many wellness topics. Thanks for joining us on this process! Now let’s get started!
Hello Wellness Family! Welcome to my first blog. My name is Allie Mattey. Here, I plan to document the techniques, recipes and tools I utilized to go from a type 2 diabetic with an A1C (measures how much sugar is attached to the blood's hemoglobin protein. The A1c test result gives a measure of how well your body has controlled the amount of sugar in the blood over the past two to three months) of 8.2 to an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor who is non-medicine dependent with an A1C of 5.2 (well within normal adult range). My hope is to inspire you, on your own journey to get from point A to point B – whatever that may be for you. If you are unsure of your current state (your point A) or unsure of where you want to be or your end goal (your point B), I am here to help you realize and achieve. This is a space you should come to for inspiration in the form of wellness tips and healthy recipes.
If you find anything in these blogs that was helpful to you, please share so that we can build this family of wellness - marching to the healthiest and happiest forms of ourselves.
First, a little about me. My journey most likely will not be the exact same as yours, but if there are any similarities, these blogs may be for you.
Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes – A Personal Low
I was extremely active in high school. I played tennis and softball for the school and played on a travel softball team during the summers. In my free time, a friend of mine and I would go on runs. During the best years of my running career, we would generally run about 5 miles a day. Being active and playing sports was my all-time favorite thing to do. My senior year of high school, I decided that I wanted to try to play softball at a collegiate level. I was constantly practicing and networking with college coaches. The week came where I was to play in a tournament with 5 college coaches watching me to determine if I was good enough for their team. The day before, I had a game with my local team at a school nearby. I was playing third base and ran up for a bunt and my knee snapped in half. The inside of my foot nearly touched the inside of my thigh on the same leg. I fell on the field in immense pain and was quickly escorted off of the field to the E.R. I missed the game the next day for obvious reasons and was never able to heal in time for a second chance. The healing process was long – In some ways I am still healing from it with occasional pains and pops. Being immobile and out of commission for a while, my health started to deteriorate. When my knee did heal enough for me to walk, I was in bad enough shape that walking up a flight of stairs made me out of breath, so running was out of the question for me. Instead of going to physical therapy or digging myself out of that hole I was in, I dug the hole deeper. I let myself go.
A few years later, I had gained nearly 100 pounds and was highly neglecting my body. I was eating whatever was convenient and surrounded myself with people who did the same. I had not exercised since high school. I went for my routine checkup with our family doctor. She drew my blood and ran some test. The test results came back to say that I was pre-diabetic. I had an A1C that was nearing diabetic, but there was still time to adjust my lifestyle and reverse it. I did not care. I was oblivious to the way my body was feeling and let that slide off of my back. The next time I went back and got more blood work done, it was official – I was a type 2 diabetic. I realized then that this was a lifetime diagnosis. I will forever be diabetic because of my careless actions. I will be able to reduce symptoms if I eat right and exercise, but that was clearly not in the cards for me at this point in my life. This was going to be quite the adjustment.
Introduction to Fitness
In May of 2019, I moved to Marietta, Ohio to start my job at Peoples Bank as a Professional Development Associate working through a rotational program. For the first 7 months living in Marietta, I was focused on my new and first ‘adult’ job and making new friends and connections in the area. The goal of this program is to learn about all aspects of the bank, spending most of your time at the Headquarters in Marietta, and then to be placed after about a year somewhere within the footprint of Peoples Bank. Knowing this, I was not planning on staying in Marietta for more than 1 year, so I was not focused on exploring the town and finding little things I liked, only my job and professional relationships. During one of my rotations, I met Marnie and she introduced me to WW (Weight Watchers). She had had such success on the program that it gave me the first little bit of hope that I had seen in a long time considering weight loss and health. I decided to join in October of 2019. I started tracking my food and my weight but was not really getting far with it. I think from the beginning of October to mid December, I had only lost 7 pounds. My sister and mom joined WW as well, which I thought would further motivate me, but it just was not clicking in my head. I was not ready for change.
For Christmas of 2019, my sister Maddison bought me a WW Scale. I know, a scale - for Christmas?! I can take a hint! But this scale was super cool. It tracks not only weight, but also % of body fat, % of muscle, bone mass, BMI and many other things. I opened the box, downloaded the app, and stepped on the scale for the first time. I was not happy to see the number that I saw. I was really upset for about 2-3 hours that afternoon. Not really wanting to talk to my family or enjoy the fun of Christmas. My mom noticed this and talked with me about how I was feeling. I remember her saying, “so what are you going to do about it?” My mom has always had this ‘can do’ attitude about life. Something clicked. “What AM I going to do? I CAN do something. But how?” I decided out of nowhere that I wanted to lose 100 pounds by Christmas day 2020. I wanted that day to be the first day of the rest of my life. Here we go!
I sat down for a majority of the rest of the night and the following days coming up with a plan. I had an exercise bike at home, so I downloaded a spin class app and decided I was going to bike for 20 minutes a day, starting easy - never going above a 4 for resistance. Come February, I would bump it up to a 6 as my max, March would be an 8 - and so on. I had also planned to turn my nutrition around. Having done WW for a while now, I knew what it would take. I began to make a meal plan for the entire month of January - tracking how many points each day would be and adjusting from there.
I even got detailed enough to plan my weigh-ins. I decided to weigh in every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. I planned out how much weight I would need to lose each month to hit my goal - even planning for plateaus. Knowing how much I had to lose that month, I would break it down to the exact number I needed to weigh each Saturday. From there, I broke out my Monday and Wednesday weigh-ins as well. Looking back, this was insanely crazy, but really helped me continue to push myself. I made an Excel file to track my weigh-ins vs. my goals and shared it with a few close friends for accountability. (Just a side FYI for those of you who may be worried - I no longer plan my weigh-ins and am not focused on the scale!)
For the last week of 2019 and first week of 2020, I did exactly as I had planned and lost 5 or so pounds but I was getting tired of sitting in my living room and biking. I knew I was not going to be able to keep that up all year. My friend from work, Tracey, asked me out of the blue one day during lunch if I wanted to go to a POUND class with her. Not knowing what POUND was or what I was getting into, I decided to say yes. I originally thought that it was a drumming lesson, but it had never crossed my mind that it was exercise! That night, I walked out of the bank with Tracey and over to Rockstar Wellness. As we were about to walk in, I asked her, “what are we doing here?” and got the obvious answer of “Pound!” I was wildly unprepared. I did not have tennis shoes or great exercise clothes. Tracey had brought me water. We walked in and were greeted by the people at the front desk. They were so excited that we were there! They welcomed us to the facility, had us sign some paperwork and showed us back to the room we would be in. As we entered the room, we saw Rachel standing in the front and lots of people that were also going to take the class. The music was playing loudly and everybody was talking in their small groups and laughing. Rachel came right over to us. She was ~pumped~ that we were there and ready to rock out with her. I explained that I had no idea what was going on and asked if it was okay that I did not have tennis shoes. I secretly hoped that she would say no and I would be able to leave. This was overwhelming for me. She assured me that everything was going to be alright, got me a yoga mat and Ripstix, and generally explained the concept of POUND. We got set up for class and Rachel started her introduction. She was energetic, and it was exciting to see that somebody could be so excited even though they were about to exercise! The warm up began. It was so loud. It was vibrant. Looking around the room, people were smiling and laughing and just happy to be there. I was having fun - exercising! What?! How is this possible? Song 2 - I started to feel it. The squats, the quick movements, exercise - period. But I was still having fun. This was the theme of the night. I could tell my body was confused that we were exercising for so long and at a much higher intensity than it was used to, but my mind loved it! I knew before the end of class that I needed to come back and take this POUND class with Rachel again. And so I did - every week I would come to Tuesday POUND at 5.
*POUND - February 2020
I started making friends that were also in class every week and would be excited to walk in and see them! I shared my goals and progress so far with them and they became my support group. It was refreshing to have people around me with similar goals in similar situations. Lucy was one of my first good friends. She challenged me to push myself and try new movements in POUND. One day, she convinced me to stay for AMPD Resistance - right after POUND. Who was I?? Two classes of exercise in one day? Craziness. But guess what, I loved it! I thought to myself how many classes Rockstar Wellness offered and how I should try others, maybe on a different day of the week. I tried Zumba - WAY out of my comfort zone - and was BAD at it. I stepped on a veteran Zumba girl who totally knew what she was doing and was embarrassed. She was not angry. She laughed a little and then helped me by talking me through the movements more. Who are all of these people? Everybody I have met at this gym is nice, supportive and people I genuinely want to be around. So strange. Not what I had expected at all. I was loving the atmosphere and the support I was getting - and the exercise classes were pretty fun too!
*AMPD Resistance - February 2020
COVID 19 – Prioritizing my Wellness
I was living my best life. Hitting all of my weigh-in goals, trying new classes, making lots of friends. And then COVID hits. Within a week of everything coming out, the gyms were told to close. I was devastated and worried about how I would get through. The gym really became a place for me to mentally escape and let loose after work and life in general. I did not know what was in store for my health if they closed. Luckily, Rachel and Scott are the best and were quick on their feet. They transitioned to all virtual classes. So it was not ideal, but better than nothing, right? At this time, I was also working from home and had little to no interaction with anybody, so I decided to stay in Athens with my mom until this was all over. She had a much larger space for me to work out and do classes, and I knew she would support me and my fitness journey anyway I needed her to. For the first few weeks, I decided to continue my normal routine. Then, Rockstar Wellness announced their Rockstar of the Month program and the first winner. I am ridiculously competitive and knew immediately that I was going to do what it took to be in that group. I listened to the video a few times to really understand the requirements to be a Rockstar of the Month and then made my game plan. I knew that taking only 1-3 classes a week with the same 2 instructors was not going to cut it. So, I decided to take other classes with other instructors. I had already been taking POUND, AMPD Resistance and Zumba, so I decided to try Strong by Zumba. This was intense. Not Zumba at all. It is a HIIT class that rocked my world. I don't think I have ever sweat that much or been that out of breath. I honestly was not a fan after my first class because I was afraid of hard work but I took it again the next week. Knowing what I was going into, I actually loved it! That was just the start. I felt like I could do anything. I started taking floor barre, pilates, barre above, kickboxing, P90X, Veraflow, and many others. I was taking 2-3 classes A DAY. This would not have been my reality if we were not working from home and virtual. I was able to turn my screen off or feel a little less watched and more comfortable from home which made me less afraid to try new things! So I tried them all. And guess what? I won Rockstar of the Month that month!
*POUND - Virtual - May 2020
*Post POUND and AMPD Resistance - April 2020
Taking Wellness to the Next Level
It did not stop there. After that, POUND Tour to Summer started, and again - it was a competition so of course I was going to win! I continued to take a ton of classes, but Tour to Summer challenged me beyond that. I was eating healthier because of their amazingly yummy cookbook they provided (some of which are shown below), I was drinking more water, prioritizing sleep, etc. I felt at the top of my game. Fast forward to the end of Tour - I lost 12 pounds that month, met so many amazing people from all around the world in the POUND family, and I won our local Tour to Summer challenge. I was on a roll. This roll continued for the next few months while I continued to try new classes and focus on myself.
*Tahini Toast - POUND Tour to Summer Recipe
*White Bean Skillet - POUND Tour to Summer Recipe
We went back to in person classes and my fitness family and new relationships continued to grow. I met people that I had only known through Zoom. The support continued to motivate me further. I was down about a total of 65 pounds - and then I hit my first plateau. Yikes. What was I going to do? By then, I knew that I had the power to change my life, but how?
I signed up for nutrition coaching with Rachel to really analyze my nutrition habits and hone in on some areas that I could do better at. After a month or two of doing that, I signed up for personal training through Rockstar Wellness to push my body to new limits and work on building lean muscle that would burn fat more quickly.
*Me after getting a coverall in RW Bingo - July 2020
*Butternut Squash Soup I made - inspired by Rachel’s Recipe
But the most exciting and life-changing thing that I did was sign up for POUND Pro training. Rachel is an Icon and hosts training for those that want to become Pros and teach POUND themselves. She was teaching training in Marietta, Ohio at Rockstar Wellness. POUND was truly my first group fitness love, so why not teach it? I signed up. On September 20th, 2020, after 8 hours of in person training, I became a POUND Pro. This was game changing for me. The next week, I started co-teaching with Rachel, Amber and Monica. I started teaching at events with them. I started pushing myself to do more of the progressions and shine as an instructor. I loved it and continue to love it. Originally, becoming a POUND Pro was for me to push myself and take my personal fitness journey to a new level, but now I can see how teaching can impact so many others and guide them on their journey to health as well.
*Me holding my certification post POUND Pro Training - Sep 2020
*Me, Rachel and Amber post POUND Pro Training - Sep 2020
*Me post POUND Pro Training - September 20. 2020
I continue to co-teach POUND with Rachel, Amber and Monica every chance I get. For the last few months of 2020, I taught 2-3 times a week and grew so much as a person and fitness instructor. Who would have thought a year ago when I was hopeless and at a personal low, that within 9-10 months of hard work, I would be a fitness instructor?! I started teaching a few classes on my own without somebody teaching beside me. This was and is an amazing feeling. It makes me somewhat emotional and proud knowing that I can achieve these goals and I can do this. I continue to do nutrition coaching with Rachel to work on how to properly fuel my body. I am working with Gina as my personal trainer to gain muscle and push my body in new ways. While I am still somewhat in that plateau weight wise, I am not worried because I know I am doing the right things long term for my health. This is a lifestyle for me now, not just weight loss. I know that I will get there.