Fuel Your Strength 374: Brittany Sterling

Overcoming a Strength Plateau w/ Brittany Sterling

Hitting a strength training plateau is so frustrating, especially when you feel like there’s nothing you can do to push through it. I’m joined by one of my students, Brittany Sterling, to talk about how she benefits from the support of her community to help her overcome her strength plateaus.

We also talk about cheering on other women, the surprising benefits of strength training, and why you need to eat more food!

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Key Takeaways

When you fuel, train, and recover smarter you’ll notice:

  1. More compliments from your partner
  2. Huge strides in your fitness goals 
  3. Feeling like a nicer person with more stable emotions

About Brittany Sterling

Brittany Sterling is a member of my community. I asked her to come on to talk about her experience with Strength Nutrition Unlocked and how she’s developed her fitness routine through strength training.

The Support of Community is Second to None

Strength training has always been a part of Brittany’s fitness routine, but she talks about how she hasn’t always been hitting her goals and often hit plateaus. One of the biggest things that Brittany can attribute her success to these days is the power of community. 

Community is the best support system when you’re serious about your fitness journey. It’s there for motivation and support when you’re feeling stuck or you’re injured. And each community member brings their own resources, perspectives, and experiences that can help fuel you forward.

Surprising Benefits of Strength Training

When Brittany started working with me in my training programs, she learned how to apply the knowledge she knew from books in a more practical setting. She started seeing the gains she always wanted to and felt supported in all aspects of her life.

One of the most surprising changes for her was that she started to feel happier and more joyful in her life – and her partner even said she was a nicer, more fun person to be around. When you’re balanced in your fitness routine, including eating enough calories, you’re going to notice those awesome differences!

Your fitness journey doesn’t have to be perfect. When you take that element out of it, ditch the all or none thinking, and start enjoying your body now!

Let me know in the comments what you’re doing to overcome your plateaus and what role community plays for you.

In This Episode

  • Why a support system or supportive environment is so beneficial [8:00]
  • How community can help get you through rough periods in your training [11:15]
  • Why it’s so crucial for you to fuel your body and eat more food when you’re working long, hard days [20:00]
  • What prompted Brittany to seek help with her fitness routine [24:15]
  • How calorie tracking might lead you into a scarcity mindset, leading to overeating [27:00]
  • What happens when you apply your book fitness knowledge to your fitness journey [29:00]
  • How following a balanced fitness plan with proper nutrition can help you lead a more balanced life [34:00]
  • How your fitness journey can inspire other women [39:00]
  • What happens when you remove the element of perfection from your fitness journey [41:30]

Quotes

“Having people that continue to support and push you, even when you feel down and out, you have people that you can learn from. You have people that have been there. That no what it’s like to slog through things. Maybe what you need to do today is not what you want it to look like. Maybe it’s just doing a little something. Anything’s better than nothing. Then you come out on the other side feeling so much more accomplished and better about yourself that you were able to overcome the emotional obstacle.” [9:06]

“In the last seven years, I’ve had multiple physical injuries, both work-related and gym-related, and it feels like starting from scratch all over again. You get very frustrated because you know where you were going, how well you were doing, and think ‘I know I’m capable, but I just can’t right now, so what’s the point?’ That’s where having that community come in really makes a difference. People who have been there, are there with you, can cry, suffer, hold your hand, cheer you on – it really makes a huge difference in your ability to keep pushing forward to the other side.” [13:17]

“Being well-fed makes me a nicer person!” [31:10]

“We get so hyperfocused on how we look. For women, it’s very much about appearances, skimpy bodysuits, and Lululemon head-to-toe. We do that to be noticed for how we look. How cool would it be to be noticed for what we can do? I don’t feel like we do that enough as women. Giving and getting feedback from other women is so cool.” [37:42]

“I don’t have to do cardio for an hour at one time in order to be effective and progress myself in my goals. As long as I’m moving. A little bit of jump roping or three sets of pull-ups on the squat bar in my backyard so I can do those things has really created this opportunity to not feel like I have to miss out on other things. I don’t have to sacrifice one thing for the other, I can do both, it just may not look like I want it to.” [40:51]

“We get into those weird mentalities and vicious loops where we say, ‘more is more, all or nothing, it has to be perfect.’ We put ourselves up for failure and fall into these weird, sneaky hate spirals. When you’re able to let those go and naturally allow yourself to find movement when you can, it makes it so much more enjoyable and so much less like a chore. When you’re able to find peace and enjoyment in that, other people notice and want to be part of it.”  [43:04]

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Overcoming a Strength Plateau w/ Brittany Sterling

Steph Gaudreau
Let’s be real, there is really nothing more demoralizing in your training than getting injured or experiencing a long period where your performance is at a plateau and a standstill. Today’s special guest is joining me today to talk about just that. How did she overcome a long plateau and some injuries and really start seeing a breakthrough in her training. She’s sharing about training, of course, but also nutrition and recovery, and a very surprising ingredient that played a key role in her progress.

Steph Gaudreau
If you’re an athletic 40, something woman who loves lifting weights, challenging yourself and doing hard shit, the fuel your strength podcast is for you. You’ll learn how to eat, train and recover smarter. So you build strength and muscle, have more energy and perform better in and out of the gym. I’m strength nutrition strategist and weightlifting coach, Steph Gaudreau. The fuel your strength podcast dives into evidence based strategies for nutrition training and recovery. And why once you’re approaching your 40s and beyond, you need to do things a little differently than you did in your 20s. We’re here to challenge the limiting industry narratives about what women can and should do in training and beyond. If that sounds good, hit subscribe on your favorite podcast app. And let’s go

Steph Gaudreau
Welcome back to the podcast. Thank you so much for being with me today. I’ve just got to say, you know, I know what it feels like to be experiencing long periods of time, maybe in your training where you know, you’re putting in the effort and things are not clicking. And it is so frustrating. Or you keep experiencing the same recurring injuries or things keep popping up. It’s like the game of Whack a Mole. Every time you feel like you’re finally on a roll, you’re finally making progress, something pops up to knock you off your stride. How do you deal with that? Well, today’s guest on the podcast is sharing with us how she was struggling beforehand with training with nutrition with recovery and injuries. And what happened after she started to participate in strength nutrition unlocked.

Steph Gaudreau
So my special guest today is one of my students, her name is Brittany and Brittany is going to be sharing with you her personal story, what she was struggling with before and how her time in strength nutrition unlocked really made a difference for her. She’s sharing some really incredible ways some that I didn’t even know about because they’re still rolling in. And I’m just really excited to bring the power of this program to you through my students perspective. Before we jump in, of course, if you’re listening to this show, and you’re like, oh my gosh, Brittany story sounds so much like mine, I can totally relate to her. And I am done with being frustrated. I know I have to do things differently. Now that I’m in my 40s Or I’m approaching, and I know I can’t keep doing the same things I was doing before with my training. I really want to see the results of my hard work, I want to feel stronger. I really want to put more muscle on my frame. I want more energy. I’m tired of dragging through my day. And of course, I want some prs. Dammit, I’m working hard, I want to actually know that I’m improving. If this sounds like you, then go ahead and apply for strength nutrition unlocked. This is a high level coaching program for women who are really ready to take action with their nutrition with their training and recovery.

Steph Gaudreau
So go ahead and check out the application at Steph gaudreau.com/straw. Without further ado, let’s jump into this podcast episode with my SMU student Brittany. A Brittany welcome to the podcast. Hey, Steph, happy to be here. I’m happy to have you. I’m so excited for this conversation. Because as I said before we started recording and letting the listener know. This is the first time I’ve had a conversation with someone from my community. You went through my program not too long ago. And I just think that your story the things you were you went through what you were dealing with before what changed for you. I think you’re so relatable in so many ways.

Steph Gaudreau
And I wanted to share that with everybody because there are times where you know, from from the business owner side of things we’re like trying to get the right words and trying to express things in in a way that’s going to connect with people and I think more i Through this work, I realized the most powerful, most powerful conversations and the or the most powerful words come from people who have had these experiences. And you just, you just share. So thanks for being here and being willing to chat with me. I’m glad I get to share. So yeah, for the invite. Yeah, absolutely. So tell me a little bit about, you know, your, I guess your background, like, you are not a person who’s new to being active and athletic and, or lifting or anything like that. So, you know, before you sort of came to came to land and strike nutrition unlocked, like, what were you up to? What were you doing with your training? And I guess we’ll start there.

Brittany Sterling
So I guess, um, before I came into strength, nutrition unlocked, I had just been training. So I’ve been weightlifting, for the last seven years. My husband was a powerlifting. Coach for a long time. So when we met, he started teaching me. And that’s when I realized, like how many I don’t know physical deficits that I had. Because there was so much room to like, continue growing in my strength until I met him. So busy when I before it came to SMU, I had just quit my job in October.

Brittany Sterling
So I started ramping up my my gym time, a little bit more started bike riding more I love to mountain bike, I have a small community of cyclocross people that I’ve met that have been inviting me to a lot of their weekend trips and weekly rides, which has been great. Because I had been pretty low on my mileage before I started my meeting them and they’re all like intense endurance athletes. And I’m, you know, I was really struggling to keep up with them when I first started. But I guess before that, like, I’m fairly active, I like to be outside a lot, I walk a lot, I hike a lot. I most of my free time is spent being active outside, which I’m pretty lucky I live in Nevada, in Las Vegas, Nevada. So I have a lot of opportunities to be outside the weather’s gorgeous most of the time. And that’s about where I was when I right before I started SMU.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah. And I loved how you talked throughout the program about you know, there, you have other things besides lifting that you like to do. And I think that that really connects with a lot of people who have multiple things are like, Yeah, I I like being in the gym or lifting. But I also have all this other stuff that I like to do as well. And that’s what I hear. So so often is like, yeah, being strong matters. But also like there’s, there’s a purpose to it, right? It’s right to be able to go out and be active and do all of these other things. I think it’s really cool that you mentioned that your husband, you know, is supportive, and we talk a lot about the environment around you like what, what does having either his support, or you talked about the, the cycling community that you’re part of, you know, what to you is important about having either a supportive environment or other people that’s really kept you going for so long, right? You talked about seven years, you’ve been lifting? Why is that element of like support? So key in for you, or in your opinion?

Brittany Sterling
I think it’s just, you know, you actually just recently sent out an email regarding motivation, like motivation, like it comes and goes, it really like it can be there, you’re like, Yeah, I’m pumped, I’m gonna go and then you realize, oh, no, I have all these chores I have to do, let me get this done. By the time you’re done, you’re like, you know, I really don’t want to go to the gym and lift for an hour. I think having people that understand the way like fitness really plays into making your life so much easier. And not only like your work, your play the things you enjoy. It also, you know, it helps with your mood, it creates a sense of like community like there I’ve made so many more friends going to the gym that I feel like I’ve met like in IRL in real life, you know.

Brittany Sterling
So having people that like continue to support and push you even when you feel kind of down and out you have people that you can learn from right you have people that have been there that know what it’s like to kind of slog through these things. It’s like I know that like maybe maybe what you need to do today is not what what you want it to look like maybe it’s just doing some just a little something like Anything’s better than nothing kind of thing and then you come out on the other side just feeling so much more accomplished and better about yourself that you were able to overcome you know, like this emotional obstacle because I feel like for a lot of people yes, there are like time limits and different things to get in the way but a lot of it is really like you’re you’re able to like overcome whatever mental obstacle you have in the way of feet like a you know your perceptions about yourself or about your environment, having those people available to It really makes a difference I feel in helping you continue on to achieve your goals. I mean, so cycling with women, I’ve been living in Nevada for almost three years, it’ll be three years in June. It’s taken me almost three years to find a community of female bikers.

Brittany Sterling
And all of these women are twice my age, just about I’m like, 33. So most of them in their late 50s, early 60s, and they smoke me all the time. You know, we’re bombing up these hills, I’m always the one in the back. But like, they’ll get to the top and they’re cheering me on, I’m, like, barely halfway up, you know, like, they know what it’s like to be where I am. And they know what it takes to get through to the other side. And, you know, they’re willing to support me in any way they can, because they’ve been there. And that’s, that’s really motivating and inspiring for me, having that community and that support.

Steph Gaudreau
Absolutely, yeah. And I’ve been the, the caboose on many rides. So I totally relate to that. You know, you’re talking about some of the mental obstacles. And I wonder, you know, have you run into things like self doubt, or injury and sort of like coming back from maybe like, those aches and pains and tweaks? Like, can you think of anything off the top of your head or any specific instances about how that community has helped to get you through?

Brittany Sterling
Absolutely. So um, when I lived in South Dakota, I had like my first back injury at my job, I was an ICU nurse, we had a patient that was in a life and death situation had to apply life saving measures ended up tweaking my back, I was out of work for three months, on light duty. And so we, my, my husband, at the time, actually worked as a personal trainer in a physical therapy clinic that really focused on like weakened athletes, like people who really strive and enjoy, like being active, have had injuries that are preventing them from expressing themselves in their truest in the truest way. And I had a community of like, older gentlemen and young women that all suffering from injuries coming and coming together supporting each other.

Brittany Sterling
And you know, I that that was like my first instance of having like, a really severe injury where that like it was actually debilitating for me and really played, like, rigged a lot of havoc on my mental health of me being like, I know what I’m capable of. And I can’t do that, is this going to be forever. And like having that fear of becoming, you know, decrepit, like it like in your early 20s is terrible. But having supportive other people that have been there really made the difference in you know, me being able to mentally break through that barrier and continue pushing forward and finding something that fit better. Maybe it didn’t look, my fitness regime didn’t look the way that it used to. But I was able to find something to work for me.

Brittany Sterling
And kind of keep that. I don’t know, it’s Sorry, I’m having. We haven’t got to like the racing thoughts. I had a little too much coffee this morning. To sound man manic on radio, but No, you’re good. It’s just like I’ve had multiple in the last seven years, I’ve had multiple, like physical injuries either work related, Jim related, and it feels like starting from scratch all over again. You know, like, you get very frustrated because you know, where you were going, you know how well you were doing. And you’re like, I know I’m capable, but I just can’t right now. So what’s the point? And that’s where having that community come in really makes a difference of people who have been there are there with you can cry, suffer, hold your hand cheer you on, it really makes a huge difference in in just your ability to keep pushing forward to the other side.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, I appreciate you talking about that. Because on this podcast, we’ve had D pts and other people who deal with mobility and injury and rehab. And, you know, they all say very similar things, which is really amazing. And yeah, it’s different to hear it from, you know, you’re like, Oh, well, that’s just their professional, you know, they have to say that that’s their professional experience.

Steph Gaudreau
But I think I what I hear you saying and what I really appreciate is that there are those those moments where you’re like, Yeah, I am afraid or Yeah, like this, this has kind of messed with what I want to do and what I feel like I’m capable of doing and I have to, you know, it’s one of those things when you have that kind of an injury where you’re like, the only way out of this is through it. And and having those those people or those communities and that support so that you don’t feel like you’re completely alone. And in those moments when you want to really just kind of give it all up. There’s something that keeps you going forward. I think that’s huge.

Steph Gaudreau
I think it’s it speaks volumes to of like when you’re stuck in that moment of of feeling lost, and having those people there who know what you’re going through, be able to To offer you, you know, the resources and the solutions that you may not be mentally capable or prepared to do for yourself in that moment, because you’re like, you know, you’ve given up at a certain point. And having people like, you know, I had something similar, I went and saw this person, or, you know, I was a part of this program, it really helped me, I think he may get some benefit out of i

Brittany Sterling
And you’re like, okay, whatever. And like, lo and behold, you’re like, oh, you know, I kind of feel better, I feel released, I feel more capable, I feel more confident, even though I’m not where I want to be. I know that I can progress. And so even just having a community of people with different experiences, they give you different perspectives. You have access to different resources, different perspectives, different experiences that you can play off of, and you hear you hear bits of yourself, and each one of those people, you can have completely different backgrounds. And you’re like, that sounds really similar to what I’m going through. And I actually really liked that solution. I think it’s very elegant. And I’m going to practice that. I’m going to put that into practice.

Brittany Sterling
So yeah, I mean, that’s kind of my, my husband is like, I actually last year, I hurt myself, I was doing bent over rows, and I felt something tweak in my back. I was like, dammit, I was off of work again for probably about a month and a half. And like every other day, he’d send me videos of like 76 year old women, learning how to like deadlift, 200 pounds winning like gold medals. And like, you’re like I just started lifting three years ago, I used to not be able to get up off the floor. He’s like, see, but if you’ll be fine, don’t worry about it. You got this? Just, yeah, your mobility be like a kick ass grandma someday. That’s it.

Steph Gaudreau
I love that. Yeah, I love that. And I think I love what you said about getting other people’s perspectives. And that that sense that you’re not the only one, right, there’s like commonality, there’s shared experience, even if we’re not all dealing with the exact same thing, you’re going to find that there are common threads. And I think that that is so I don’t know, if you can, like, overstate how powerful that is to, to feel like, I’m not the only one going through this. And yes, you’re right to see somebody who’s further ahead, or it happened to them and like hear something that they did or hear like they got, they’re able to return to the things that they love to do. And that sometimes is, is that carrot that you need, when you’re feeling you’re feeling really down about that.

Steph Gaudreau
So you’ve kind of talked a little bit about, you know, your strength training for quite some time and a little bit more a little bit newer to cycling, and that’s been something that you were doing and you’re you know, love being outside and active and hiking and taking advantage of the the beautiful desert weather. You know, can you think back to what were you struggling with, or what wasn’t really working super well for you, either with your training and or your, like your nutrition, what you were doing for for food? Just kind of paint the picture and not into like, oh my god, I can’t believe you did that. But sort of, uh, you know, I didn’t, I just didn’t know what I didn’t know, or I was I was seeking, seeking some different strategies or, or practices that would really help me.

Brittany Sterling
I think, honestly, some of the biggest things that are going on so I know we spoke briefly before we started recording about like my job in the ICU, very stressful, not a lot of control in that in that community or that environment. Because, you know, people are unpredictable, especially sick people. I worked three twelves a week and typically would bunch them together because you know, I really wanted to have four days off I felt like that’s how I felt the most quote unquote, like rested and available and on those four days off, it wouldn’t matter like what kind of week I had, like I would get up I would go do a bunch of cardio I would do a really heavy weight session and not having the control I wanted at work I was trying to find control in other ways like with my foods so I was like trying to lose weight I was of the mentality being smaller is fitter is better.

Brittany Sterling
So you know, I was really restricting a lot of my calories and I was like why am I exhausted all the time? Like I’m I’m doing all these exercises I should be getting stronger. I was seeing you know the ways in which I was plateauing and a lot of like my weightlifting and a lot of my endurance training I was getting really frustrated because I’m like I don’t understand why I’m not getting better and on top of it like I have a lot of chronic injuries that were flaring up at that time as well so like on top of like being frustrated not being able to progress and like I literally have injuries that are flaring up in the middle of my lifting sessions so I can’t even complete the sessions and feel good about them. I was definitely have the more is better mentality. I was also a mentality of like, you know, had needing rest is weakness, right? Like I like my job isn’t like that hard. I should be able to complete all of these is no bullet points that I’ve given myself for what I need to complete in like my small span of time off. And it’s just like, I didn’t realize until I quit my job in October, like how long I was running on empty. I was so obsessed with food, like, here’s, here’s an example of so I would go in on my work days, I do all my food prep.

Brittany Sterling
So I’m planning out all of my calories, all of my protein, all of my snacks, all these things I come home at the end of the day, like, awesome, I managed to stay under 1700 calories for the whole day. That’s like an typically on a typical workday, in ICU, I was putting anywhere from six to eight miles a day, with walking, not to mention I’m lifting people I’m pushing, I’m pulling, like for full 12 hours, like I rarely sat down, I come home, I plan out like my meal of what I have a lot of for my calories I eat, and then all of a sudden, I find myself in front of the pantry. And my husband’s like, Are you still hungry? I’m like, No, and I’m looking and I’m like, I have all of a sudden, all of these cravings, and I’m just finding everything I can in, you know, in the closet of like just stuffing my face. And I was and it wasn’t until like I reached you know, the point of being too tired to continue to eat that I would stop and go to bed.

Brittany Sterling
Um, so like, after I quit my job, and I started with SMU, I noticed how much that way of of conducting myself especially in, you know, my free time how little energy I actually had available to enjoy what I was doing. Like, you know, having the time and the space in the clarity and even like just giving myself enough energy to be able to do these things. I just didn’t realize how much of a detriment I was being to myself and until, you know, I started really examining Well, what am I actually taking in? What do I actually need? How much food Am I taking in where I actually feel good? Like, I feel like I can go out, you know, I can go lift, I come home, maybe I hang out I have lunch like Oh, I feel good. Maybe I could go for a 10 mile ride and like not need a nap. Like I napped literally every day that I was working on the days off that that when I was still working in the hospital. So sorry, I felt like I kind of rambled a little bit there.

Steph Gaudreau
No, you’re good. I think that that pays it. Like first of all, thank you for your your candidness. And I know it’s not always comfortable to look back and go, you know, oh, like I realized I was doing these things that weren’t actually really serving me or you know, I wasn’t eating enough. Or I was really pushing myself really hard. And it’s not always the most comfortable thing I think to acknowledge but I think what you’re sharing is so incredibly common. And I write about this a lot and similar things happen to me. I mean, we have different we had different careers at the time that I was experiencing a lot of those things to where I just was sore all the time. My back was always hurting. Yeah, little injuries started to crop up from when I was racing bikes. And then I stopped racing bikes because I was like having this really debilitating back pain all the time.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah. I wasn’t seeing results in the gym. I was had Dom’s constantly. Yeah. So a lot of the a lot of the things that you’re talking about are things that I’ve experienced as well as I see in so many people I mean, you’re talking about you’re very diligent, you’re getting home and then you’re standing in front of the the fridge or the pantry. And I tell I tell variations of this story all the time and so many people’s stories because we’re still looking for that energy. And, and the irony is and like you said, you’re you’re a person who’s like, I’m, you know, I feel like I’m being disciplined and I’m putting in effort and right. And yet, like those just are, are those sort of proverbial, I guess, like shadow spots where we can’t see super clearly because we’re just in it at the time. So can you think back like what was it that finally in your mind, you were like, I think I need some help with this. Or you know, I do I need to do every day. Do I need to do something different that really, like caused you to go okay, like I really I’m gonna do this program and just see what happens. Do you remember kind of what triggered that?

Brittany Sterling
I think I had been I had actually so your first I can’t remember. Maybe it was it was should have been over a year ago. Right? It was when you’re first you first started advertising your program. And I kind of like listen, I was like, oh, that sounds cool. I should probably do that sometime later. And then like you know the the deadline comes and goes, you’re like, oh dang missed it. Oh, well, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. It wasn’t until after I left my job that I was like I just like I was so exhausted, like, like literally being obsessed about calories and food. I just didn’t want to do it anymore. Like, I didn’t want to feel like I had to micromanage myself I wanted, I wanted more freedom, you know, I wanted freedom to be able to enjoy, like my life.

Brittany Sterling
Because, you know, it started getting to the point where I was even starting to avoid some social situations where I knew like, I wasn’t going to be able to have the self control because I was obsessing about food and having all these cravings. And I like literally stopped tracking and I was leading, like eating everything in sight. I was like making up for lost time, I guess. And then you started advertising again, I was like, You know what, I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna pull the trigger and do it. Like, I just need, I need someone to help me to tell me what to do. Because like, I’ve accrued a lot of like knowledge. Like I, I look at research articles, I read, like I read books, I listen to a lot of people that are in the community that I think are really reporting a very like healthy message of how to like fuel and maintain, you know, yourself for the activities that you like to do.

Brittany Sterling
And honestly, I was I’m really grateful that I did, because it made a lot of the things that I knew for myself to be effective, I had such a hard time actually applying it in a way that was easy. Not necessarily easy, but a way that made sense and didn’t have to like think about it as much. So like, you know, you go through, like doing like the hand portions in terms for like protein, carbs and fat, like understanding how to do that, like in some vague way. Like I knew that was a thing. But like until you actually like show me pictures like hey, this is my hand. This is how that stacks up against like a chicken breast or, you know, familia Sam, I was like, oh, okay, I can do that. And like I you know, trying to make sure that I’m getting the like appropriate balance of protein to carbohydrates to fat, it makes it so much easier, instead of having to plug everything into some kind of, you know, application and like always, like, you know, no matter what application you’re doing, you always have like that little wheel of like, what your calories are left. Like there’s I haven’t seen a program that doesn’t do calories, there probably is one I haven’t looked hard enough. But like, that really plays with you mentally, I feel like you start to get in like this weird, like scarcity mindset of like, oh, no, I only have such like, so many calories left, and you start to like,
pervert your, your, your habits around food.

Brittany Sterling
It’s very weird, the psychology behind that. But like, I felt like, I didn’t have to do that with the principles that you helped us apply to feeling for strength, and it made it a lot easier for me to be able to know, oh, hey, I’m getting ready, in 30 minutes, I’m gonna go out and I’m gonna bike for 10 miles. So I know I need a little bit of protein and carbs. Before I go, I’m gonna get some protein and carbs that are easy to snack on, while I’m writing, make sure I have my electrolytes. And when I get back, I’ll have a big nice meal load up on protein veggies, all that stuff. And it’s made it so much. So much more streamlined for me to where I’m not spending so much of my day having to plan and, you know, stress over food anymore. And that’s been really liberating. I feel like, for me,

Steph Gaudreau
I love that. And in you, you tell a similar story to a lot of people that I talked to you like you all are, you’re educated. I mean, you’re you’re in health care, you understand the body, right? You’re somebody who is already, you know, you have a sense of like, okay, and like feeling is important. But then when it comes to the application of it is like meeting a little bit of simplicity, a little bit of you know, taking, taking a little bit of stress off your plate out of an already stressful life. Right?

Steph Gaudreau
And doing it and I hear that a ton from people who are students that come in to work in the program, or there’s people out in the community is like, I’m listening to all the podcasts, like every read all the books, I mean, you’re reading, you’re reading, you know, primary primary source, research and literature and, and that’s all great, but it’s also like we have to then also be able to apply it in real human way with all of the things that make you a real whole multifaceted human being. It’s it’s there’s some translation I think that has to happen there.

Brittany Sterling
Absolutely. Like Case in point where I was talking about how I’m supposed to be feeling like my endurance on the bike and you’re like, oh, there’s this really great book called roared I’m like, Oh, wait, I think I have that off. Yeah. So even Yeah, just having the community the different experiences your your background, was just like, like your intellect and being able to apply it in a way that was, you know, so easy to grasp and apply to my life was really, really made a huge difference. I feel.

Steph Gaudreau
I love that. So tell me Tell me what are some of the things that you feel like really changed for you? Like, what are some of the things you experienced through applying some of the stuff that you learned? Like, in the gym or in your free time? Or with your nutrition? Like, what do you feel like really enabled you to? You’re like, okay, yeah, like this stops working or I’m feeling different. What do you what do you feel like are some of the big things there?

Brittany Sterling
Oh, man, there’s so many. The biggest one that my husband would say is like you’re really cute and fun now.

Steph Gaudreau
Yay. Nice are nice. Humans. Love it nice. Again,

Brittany Sterling
like I like I didn’t realize how much like being so chronically stressed from under eating and overworking myself. I was literally in fight or flight all the time. Like I could drop at, like, in the blink of an eye of like being fine. And then sorry, but losing my shit over something very trivial. And, you know, humbling. Like, I don’t know what’s going on. But it doesn’t have anything to do with me. And like the last few months, it’s just so much more like easy, breezy. Easygoing. I was like, oh, you know, being well fed makes me a nicer person. I think to I’ve been able to make huge strides in my fitness. I finally back squatted over 200 pounds.

Brittany Sterling
The other day, I was super stoked about than weightlifting for over seven years. And I finally joined the two hundreds club. And I’m close to getting to 300 on my deadlift. I actually had I did a pyramid the other day. So I have a personal trainer. We do online stuff. He’s one of my really good friends. It was really cool. Like when you were talking to us about lifting and like what you should look for in a trainer and he has like all those attributes and on top of it like he grew up with like two sisters. So he’s very like clued into females. So he accommodates like, I’ve talked to him as like, Oh, well. I’m in my luteal phase right now. So maybe we could do you know, like some some more hypertrophy work rather than like shear strength, because I’m just feeling like really rundown. He’s like, Okay, I’ll change that for you. Like, really open to that kind of stuff.

Brittany Sterling
But anyway, I digress a little bit, I was doing a pyramid for deadlifting. So I was doing three, five sets of three repetitions going to 55 to 65 to 75. And then back down. And each one of those was a PR for me. So like doing the first set, I’ve never dead lifted. 255 I did 265 You’re serious? Yeah. Um, so I was, in that day, I felt like shit, too. I was just like, emotionally not feeling great and was like, I don’t want to go to the gym and my baby, my baby. My husband was like, come on, you just just go warm up and see just go warm up and see what you can do today. And I like busted that out. And it was really cool. Because we have like a little I go to like a commercial gym. It’s called Elva LTAC. And they have like a little mini box room, they call their team room, it kind of looks like a mini box, like you’d see, like CrossFit or whatever. And there was a class getting ready to start and this girl walked up to me after I finished my 275 She’s like, that was fucking awesome.

Brittany Sterling
And I was like, what she’s like, I know how hard that is. And that was so fucking cool. You are so strong. And I was like, Thank you. Yes, I am. But I mean, so like I like I’ve seen just and I’m still like discovering things that are, you know, happening since like, we’ve like finished the program. But like, even my biking when I go out with the people that I bike with, you know, I’m keeping up with these women who’ve been biking as long as I’ve been alive. I’m not like I’m the caboose, but I’m not that far behind. And I’m bombing up these hills, you know, and they’re just like, how long have you been biking again, I’m like, just a couple years, like you didn’t really well, like, you know, that’s just like, you know, fresh off show but like, um, but like, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. Four or five months ago, like I struggled doing even a five mile ride with very minimal elevation gain. And afterwards, I’d have to take a nap. I’m going out and doing 10 to 15 mile rides with these women who are Uber like endurance conditioned and like able to go have lunch, go home, take my dog for a walk, go do other things outside and not have like this huge energy sucker disruption to my day, and that has been incredibly invaluable to you know, just creating a much more balanced enjoyable way. So it’s been great.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah. Oh my gosh, I Oh, there’s so many great things there. I think I wanted to kind of circle back to something you said about feeling nicer, or feeling like feeling like you’re able to kind of tolerate the some of the things like mood wise and this is what a lot of women especially don’t realize is that of course we’re humans, we have going to have all the emotions, and that’s fine, but their mood disturbances are a huge huge red flag that you’re in low energy availability, especially if this is something kind of unusual for you, and it’s coming out of the blue.

Steph Gaudreau
And it’s, it’s, it’s hanging around for, you know, we all go through ups and downs and have our days, but you’re starting to notice this is persisting, this is one very, very common flag for low energy availability. And then unfortunately, that goes into red s. Also, like, you know, mood disturbances, disruptions, cognitive shifting, you know, really having difficulty focusing, concentrating. So it’s not just only the performance elements, it’s not just the strength elements, it’s not only just the menstrual cycle elements, perhaps, for some people that can start to go a little bit awry. But that that thing of, you know, feeling like you’re just a little bit more easygoing, and things like that. I definitely had that for a long, long time.

Steph Gaudreau
Oh, man. And I hear that from a lot of students and and sort of clients is that their families, their kids, significant others, like, you just seem nicer. And it’s sometimes hard to hear, but you realize how how much yes, the effect of that stress and under eating and under fueling, over exercising or training, you know, in the context of not eating enough can really be detrimental to that stuff as well. And you’re, you’re just it be your ability to be able to sort of weather some some things that are a little bit more emotionally challenging. So I think that’s amazing. And then I remember when you wrote that you had, you had sort of gotten toward that 200 pound back squat. And I think that’s incredible. And now like, this is new news right away. Yeah. About the deadlifting. I think that’s, that’s solid. I mean, right? Amazing.

Brittany Sterling
For someone who’s not planning on competing, I’m pretty proud of that.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, absolutely.

Brittany Sterling
Multiple women come up to me in the gym and be like, You are so strong, like, you know, older women, like younger girls, like, I’ll talk to them about different things like because I’ll I, I kind of creep on people a little bit in the gym. I’m not gonna lie. I love people watching. It’s like my favorite thing. Like high school girls, you see them doing certain things. You’re like, Oh, my God, you’re gonna hurt yourself. I was like, Hey, how’s it going? Can I like, can I like, do your knees hurt when you do that? Or like, do you feel like your back feels kind of pumped when you’re done? I was like, you know, and try and help, you know, guide them a little bit if they’re open to it.

Brittany Sterling
Like, are you open to? Are you open to like beta right now? And a lot of them are and they’re like, Oh, well, I’ll never be as strong as he was like, girl. Yeah, you can you absolutely can be as strong as me. I was like, I’ve never heard that before. I think that like, you know, we get we get so hyperfocal like hyper focused on how we look, right? I mean, women, it’s very much about like appearances. Like, all the girls are wearing like these skimpy body suits Lululemon head to toe, and different things, but we don’t like and we. We do that to fish for not necessarily fish for compliments, but we want to be noticed for how we look. But like, how cool would it be, to just you notice for how what we can do, I don’t feel like we do that enough as women and that like getting like that verbal feedback from other women being like, Whoa, that is cool. You are strong. I was like, Absolutely, I am. And you can be too. That’s been fun.

Steph Gaudreau
I love that. That makes me so just excited. I think that’s the kind of ripple effect that we need in the world. You know, we’re, we’re facing so many challenges still with social media and comparison and filtering and all the things that go on and the pursuit of like shrinking ourselves. And I think that this is the this is one of the antidotes to that is yes, being able to not that you’re there to change other people’s minds, but you’re in there doing your thing, and other people are taking notice. And other women are like, wow, that’s really cool. And that is going to plant the seed. That if she can do it, I can probably do it too. Yeah. And I think that’s really exciting.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah. You mentioned also I remember you were talking about and you touched on it a little bit here how having a little bit more balanced in your life, you talked about actually being able to enjoy your some of your free time going out and doing hobbies and spending time with the people that you love has been sort of an outcome of, I’m sure you know, your career, your job change and some of the things but can you talk a little bit more about that? You know, you mentioned earlier like, the more is more mentality and now it seems like that’s shifted for you.

Brittany Sterling
So yeah, I mean, so like, the more and more the more is more mentality and then it’s kind of like the all or nothing mentality of like feeling Like I have to choose, okay, so either I can go meet my friends at a house and we can have like a night, you know, a couple hours together to just chat, drink, eat whatever, or I really need to finish this one and a half hour session that I know that I have to do at the gym. And it would be like, I would make myself feel guilty because if I’m not choosing my fitness, I’m choosing you know, the social outings. I feel like I’m failing in this area, right? So a lot of it started being like, well, what can I do in like, 20 minutes? Like, why do I need to complete the whole workout right now it’s like, the other day I came home.

Brittany Sterling
So I work preop pack you now I’m no longer in ICU and I came home and I was tired. I’m like, I really don’t want to walk to the gym. I mean, even though it’s like 10 minutes away. I was like to go do a cardio session. But I’m feeling really tired. I was like, You know what, I’ve got to jump rope. I’ve got kettlebells I’ll do two Imams and call it a day like I don’t have to do cardio for an hour at one time in order to be effective and progress myself and my goals. As long as I’m moving, doing even a little bit, a little bit of jump roping a little bit. Like like doing like three sets of 10 Pull Ups, I’m lucky enough we have like a squat bar in our backyard.

Brittany Sterling
So I can do those things,has really created this opportunity to not always feel like I have to miss out on other things. It’s like I don’t have to sacrifice one for the thing for the other I can do both. It just may not look the way that I want it to. Like it’s kind of like this idea of it has to be perfect. And it’s like not I know, we went over this a lot. It’s like progress, not perfection. Getting that like that sinkhole of like progress, but like really it is it’s like okay, I can take 10 minutes I can do a sprint around like my neighborhood real quick, come back, I’ve done something like I did something I moved my body in a different way today. And that’s enough. Um, and that, that really, I don’t know, it’s it’s liberating in a way that like, I think too, like we talked about more as more I didn’t realize how much damage I was doing to my body when I was like really going at it hard like cardio and weightlifting every day.

Brittany Sterling
Not giving myself any rest days, or if I did have rough days is because I was sick. Like I was getting I was having I was getting ill a lot more when I was under eating and overworking. And now it’s like some like for me as I’m getting older, I’m noticing less is more I go to the gym two to three times a week, and I’m noticing huge strength gains and also like, even just muscle gain. I before we started the program, sorry not to get into numbers, but like I was 152 I’m 160 now and you know what I look healthier than I did when I was 152. And chronically under eating I have more muscle I have more strength, I have more energy, I have more love to give. I just have I have more available for like the people I love as well just being able to be more emotionally available not being chronically stressed, which has been huge for me and my friends and my family. You know.

Brittany Sterling
So you know, we get into those like weird mentalities of like these like vicious like loops of like when we say like more is more, all or nothing perfection, like it has to be perfect. We set ourselves up for failure. And we get into like these weird sneaky hate spirals. And when you’re able to, like let those go and just like naturally allow yourself to find movement where you can, it makes it so much more enjoyable, and so much less like a chore. And when you’re able to like find peace and enjoyment in that, like other people notice and other people want to be a part of it, like I have a couple of friends of mine that are younger than me, that I used to work with that are still working at the hospital I used to work with she got into weightlifting.

Brittany Sterling
And that was because of me. So it’s really cool to see her progress. But like also like seeing her make the same mistakes I was making and being able to coach her out of those, I’m like, dude, find yourself a coach, like quit trying to do this by yourself. Or, like, take this program, it’s worked for me, like if you’re worried about your food, like, you know, all these different things like you just like, life’s too short, stressed about things that really don’t matter. Like you really need to take the time to enjoy yourself, enjoy your body while you can, and enjoy, you know, the people around you. And that’s what I’m getting to do now. So thank you for that stuff.

Steph Gaudreau
Well, thank you for, for doing, you know, for showing up and doing the work and try putting your trust in the process. And, you know, I think we really look at taking small steps and you know, helping you implement and things like that. And I think you’re a perfect example of where, you know, the traditional notions of what we think it takes, right like we have to, like, go in there every single day and just leave wrung out mess, you know, we’re just exhausted and pushing, uh, you know, past the point of actually getting any benefit and how you’ve really restructured things you’re like, were you working out or lifting two or three times a week and getting stronger?

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, I mean building more muscle, writing fast, writing strong, having the space, the emotional space in presence for the people that you love. And I think sometimes it is just that process of going through and saying, I’m gonna just try this thing, and we’ll see what happens. But I think you did that beautifully. And just really appreciate your willingness to, to try new things to apply it to get in there. And like, like you said, there’s a lot of information that you had, but putting things into into practice and and workshopping it and asking questions, and getting that support. I think, at least from my perspective, made a big difference for you. Absolutely. 100%. Agree. I love it. Okay, well, is there anything else you want to say or any any parting words or any last thoughts?

Brittany Sterling
I think like, for all of the women that have been doing like the same thing over and over and over again, and like not getting results, or getting a step forward, and then two steps back, like it’s a normal part of the process. And also, it’s okay to ask for help. I think like, take advantage of the resources that are available. And honestly, like, I feel like SMU was like a big one. For me, I like it was really hard for me to put the money down. And then it was like when I did it, it opened up all of these new avenues that like I knew I was capable of, but I was having trouble figuring out how to get there. And it really, really just it, I would probably still be struggling honestly, out, you know, the convenience of the package that you created. So just give it a go see how it works.

Steph Gaudreau
Thank you so much for hanging out with me. I am always you know forever a fan of of all of the people who I’ve worked with, and I truly adore you all and just really want to see you succeed and hear that there are more things that you’re learning or it’s really helps you in another aspect of life. And it continues to kind of roll forwards I guess in a positive domino effect. And that’s what makes me really excited is that I get to keep seeing how, how this is having a really positive impact in your life. And I’m just really stoked for you.

Steph Gaudreau
Really, really excited. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for coming on the show and be here. And let’s you know stay in touch and keep sending me all of your wins so I can celebrate you will do. That does it for this episode with my student. Brittany, I’m so grateful to her for coming on the show. And you know what, if Brittany’s story, you found yourself relating to a lot of what she said, then it’s your sign. This is your sign you’re waiting for a sign it is this. So go ahead and head over to Steph gaudreau.com/strong. That’s where you’ll find the application for strength nutrition unlocked. Now I’m really looking for women who are ready to take the next step, you’re ready to take action you are wanting to see gains in your strength, you know that building muscle is critical. As you’re in your 40s and beyond. I mean, we can talk about metabolism, we can talk about bone density, we can talk about all of the things, it matters, you know it does, but you know that what you’re doing right now isn’t quite working for you. You are waking up every day without the energy that you want.

Steph Gaudreau
Especially not just to get through your workouts, but for your rest of your life, your career, your family, your hobbies, and you want to see some prs. Dammit, because you’ve been training for a while and things just aren’t moving. You’re kind of stuck at the same numbers. I’m really looking for action takers. This is a high level coaching program, where we’re really going to be walking you through step by step what to do, holding you accountable and cheering you on the whole entire way. So you can get more information at Steph gaudreau.com/strong. Of course while you’re there, you can get the show notes for this episode, and all the links to everything that we talked about. Make sure you hit subscribe on your podcast app tell a friend about this show. And I am so very grateful for you being here. Until next week. Stay strong

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Hi, I'm Steph!

Lord of the Rings nerd, cold brew drinker, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more, not less: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.

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