In our series Fit Chicks, we chat with female fitness bloggers and trainers from all over the country. Equipped with their collective experience, expertise and practical tips, you’ll be happy to know that a healthier lifestyle is right around the corner.
Name: Caroline Ward, 39
Business/Blog: Transfit Athens
City: Athens, Georgia
Caroline started Transfit seven years ago in her basement with just a few clients. Three kids later, she has her own space in Athens, Georgia, helping women ages 12 to 75 to not only transform physically, but spiritually and mentally.
Where did your love of being fit and active come from?
Caroline Ward I was a gymnast at UGA from 1996-2000 so I feel like I’ve always loved health, exercise and nutrition. I was always the one when our aerobics instructor called in sick to lead our class for our team through any cardio exercises. I always loved it then, but I decided to get an accounting degree at UGA, so I did not end up going down that route. So I did accounting for about eight years. That’s when I felt God speak to me saying, “You need to do what it is you really love to do,” which was help people with exercising and nutrition.
In what ways do you see fitness and nutrition changing?
CW I feel like social media has changed things a good bit with how we view women’s bodies. Sadly, a lot of exercise pictures are ladies in half-tops or sports bras, but everything is filtered. So I feel that it has changed in that way—granted, it might have always been like that, but I feel like now we’re so picture-driven and looks-driven because of social media, everything has to be perfect. So in [Transfit], we try and focus on what’s best for you and your body. This isn’t CrossFit in here. This is exercise that’s good for women ages 12 all the way up 75. Just wanting women to appreciate the bodies they have and what does that mean for you? Everybody’s best body is different.
You have three kids. What’s your biggest piece of advice for busy, working women or moms who want to start living a healthy lifestyle?
CW Just to take it one day at a time. Just focus on each day but keep the perspective change that exercise is worship. So many times we think, “Oh, I have to exercise but I don’t have time because my kids come first.” We’ve all got 30 minutes in our day to find time to do something at home with your kids and get them involved in a healthy lifestyle. It’s not about a diet. All things in moderation with them—not overdoing it with sweets and not saying “no sweets,” but letting them know that their bodies are amazing gifts. We need to treat them well so they can love and serve, but they can’t if they’re sick all the time.
What’s your go-to healthy snack?
CW I’m a nut freak. I love nuts, so my go-to is a trail mix. We’ll make a big trail mix on Sunday and throw them in a bunch of snack bags. The kids will chip things in theirs, too. So I’ll make one with Craisins and little pieces of dark chocolate and different kinds of nuts. For [the kids], I might start with that base, but add pretzels and popcorn to theirs. It’s so easy!
What’s your favorite exercise?
CW I love a reverse lunge because I love glutes—I love strong, toned glutes. And then the plank because it’s shoulders, abs, pushups and all the above.
What’s a nutrition trend you’re a fan of right now?
CW Whole 30 is a nutrition trend and what I like about it is that it’s going back to the basics of what God created for us to eat. I think trying to shift your nutrition to more fruits, more vegetables, more nuts, more healthy fats—that’s what’s going to lead to a healthy lifestyle.
How do you find the balance between setting goals and pushing yourself versus being negative and being too hard on yourself?
CW I think with goal setting, the biggest thing people need—and I need—is accountability. I really feel that setting goals with someone is the biggest difference between what we do in here between Orangetheory or Omni, just going to a class. We sit down with each of our clients—even if they’re in a large group session—to set goals and ask, “Are you setting your goals? Why or why not? Is that goal is attainable for you?” I feel like that’s a point where you wouldn’t cross the line. Because I might say, “I want to do an Ironman in three months.” Well, that’s not reasonable. So to have someone for that accountability is the key in reaching goals in any transformation. That’s the difference between transformation and you just showing up for a class, or you losing weight but then you gaining it back in six months. That accountability or mentor can help you keep the weight off or lose it in a healthy way so that you can keep it off.
For the fitness veterans out there, what are some practical ways they can continue to challenge themselves? How do you keep your routine interesting?
CW Accountability is the key because an accountability partner might say you need to spice things up or need a rest week. With nutrition, I think food journaling is so important if they have nutrition issues. We keep it fresh in [Transfit] by switching up the format every month. Each day the exercises are different.
What are some of your goals for 2017?
CW Just to continue to have balance with my home life and work life. I do feel that this is my calling, but my family’s got to come first. That’s hard when you love your work so much and this is going so well. You feel like you’re pouring into women and they’re seeing results, whereas the fruits at home aren’t as easily recognizable with small children. I think for moms with young children, that can be hard. Also, I turn 40 this next year, so I would love to run another marathon. I would love Transfit continue to inspire women. We didn’t really dive into college women so much this year, so I want to try and reach out to them. I think that’s important because I feel like college women need a place to exercise where they don’t feel judged by the way they look. Women can exercise, sweat, grunt, groan and be strong and beautiful here.
McGee Nall is a Paste intern and a freelance writer based out of Athens, Georgia. She was probably eating Nilla wafers and Nutella while writing this.