I joined BlN in June 2018 but this is certainly not my first go at managing my nutrition. I have been doing CrossFit since 2012 but I did not begin focusing on my nutrition until 2014. Along the way I have tried various coaches and approaches––at least five different ones––and I've had my ups and downs. I've lost weight and gained weight. I've lost muscle and gained muscle. It has always been an ongoing learning process for me but I was never quite able to reach my goals. 

Like many people, I want to be both strong and lean. 

Throughout four years of struggling to achieve this goal, I began to tell myself that it was just too high of an expectation, that it was unachievable. I even started telling myself that I didn't want it anymore. But then something changed. 

As I got older, and as I realized I was no longer that fresh 25 year old who first discovered CrossFit, my goal of being strong and lean began to manifest itself as something else. My goal was no longer strictly tied to superficial aesthetics, instead it became a goal of health, wellness, and longevity. And ultimately, I realized that these two goals are not mutually exclusive but are instead one in the same. 

Lean muscle mass and strength to me mean still being able to lift and run long into old age, not having to ask people to carry my groceries, ultimately being able to keep up with my children some day when I need to, and even further down the line, being able to keep up with my grandchildren.

This metamorphosis of my goal reinvigorated me with motivation like I had never felt before. I felt the imperative to be healthy and strong, and to live a long and happy life. I started 2018 off by losing 10lbs on my own over the first four months. Which I am very proud of. But ultimately I hit a wall. 

As I am sure we all know, the further you get into your journey, the harder it gets to achieve your goal. I knew that I needed support. And I knew from previous coaching relationships that I had to find the right person, with the right personality, to support me. After following BIN for a while on social media and assessing the company and their approach, I eventually made the decision to check out the BIN coaches. After spending time checking out and assessing the various coaches, I made my decision.

I knew I wanted Ryann to be my coach. 

I knew I would be able to relate to another woman, at the same stage of life as myself, dealing with many of the same goals and struggles as I had been dealing with. I also knew that I needed someone who was approachable and that I would feel comfortable opening up to. Someone who would be able to appreciate my dry sense of humor in my check-ins, and someone who would know when to be gentle with me and when to be strict. 

Ryann has all of this in her coaching approach. She is able to empathize with and connect with her clients. She is authentic in sharing her own story. And most importantly, she has a keen sense of when her clients need a gentle nudge versus when to lean in a little stronger. 

As our relationship has evolved, I have realized that we have more than I thought in common. One of my favorite strategies that coach Ryann regularly deploys with her clients is her insistence that we be gentle with ourselves. Her success as a coach does not come from merely her instance that I be gentle with myself, but it comes from her own authentic story and her being open about and modeling to be gentle with herself as well. 

Ryann is not only my coach. She is a role model to me. And I cannot think of a better role model to learn from. She has gotten me past that wall I hit earlier this year. She has made my goal seem closer and more achievable than it ever has been before. She has helped me to feel stronger, healthier, and happier. I look forward to a long, healthy life; I look forward to future successes to celebrate; I look forward to sharing them with coach Ryann; and I look forward to updating this story with new achievements and photos along the way.