WHERES YOUR STRENGTH??
Strength can be a number of things, Inner Strength, Mental Strength, Muscle Strength. They are all types of Strength.
How many of you can say that you have all three.
How many can sit there and look at themselves and say that they will sacrifice everything to get what they want, or get to a goal they have set, or to make the right choices all the time. That’s the difference of giving everything to something, to devote and put 100% in, doesn’t matter how long it takes. To do the same thing day in and day out and not to waiver one little bit. Well they are the things that define us and allow us to get to that goal. Not giving up and not giving in. Even when those voices become louder and louder.
If you can say that you are and can and will. Then and only then, can you say “I have given it everything I have.”
Let’s go Back to late 2009.
Kelly was doing her best to stay on top of things. She had a few BodyPump classes at Re-Creation, the vibe and atmosphere were phenomenal there. She loved it there and everybody was so connected and such a great team. Her Training was amping up and she was looking fantastic. Yes!! Looking fantastic. Feeling Fantastic. Still a No. But it wasn’t stopping her.
She knew her routine back then and it really hasn’t changed much. Fuel the body with the right nutrition. Nothing bad was going in. And she needed to Rest as much as possible. There had been stints in the past few months where she would need to miss a number of weeks of teaching and working and just stay home and rest. Her immune system has always been weak since the inception of her disease. So any little flu that others would shake off, she felt the full brunt of it. Bed Ridden and sick for days and then a slow recovery to get back to “Her Normal” and then Repeat. That’s how it has always been for her. Down and slightly Up and then Down again.
But the main thing keeping her body strong and her mind strong was BODYPUMP. She loved teaching it and she was great at teaching it. Within a few month of teaching she started having a large following and people were starting to realise, that if you did Kelly’s class, you know you got a workout and were kept accountable all the way. And she made sure that she did everything at a higher level then anybody else, to not only push them but to push herself to new levels. It really made her who she is today. Strong inside and Out. Bodypump saved her Life and gave her new Life. Something to strive for and something to keep the mind from thinking about the bad things.
Leaving 2009 and entering 2010, something happened. Something that really moulded her and let her become free again. She was starting to meet a lot of different individuals in the Fitness World. And at that time, at Re-Creation there were some extraordinary trainers and fitness brains. She was picking them all and working with them. Two particular people spring to mind. Kelly really looked up to Warren Clampit, he was the reigning MR Olympia Natural Bodybuilder and he was regularly coming into Re-Creation. And the other was Dave Caruana. A PT who had more knowledge about Bodybuilding and training, then anybody we had met in the past. Between the 2 of them and myself, we convinced Kelly to do a bodybuilding comp. All Natural, and just take a chance at something. With a little tweaking and training she could get ready. The Miss Melbourne Titles were around 3 months away. And once Kelly gets something planted in her head, that is it. Full effort. Full devotion. And Nothing can Stop her mentality.
So for the next week weeks she would train, eat and sleep like a bodybuilder. Her biggest idol in her life had always been Arnold Schwarzenegger. So she bought his encyclopedia. Read it back to front and became a total MACHINE.
The training was the enjoyable part. She still kept up her BodyPump classes. But added hours of strenuous training sessions with myself and Dave. Working out with a new goal and obsession, made her forget to an extent how bad her illness is. Even though she woke up with it daily, she learned to push it aside and focus and work.
Saying that training was enjoyable, is one thing, the meal prep and diet were another thing, Times were much simpler back then. The goal was and is still the same. Strip Body Fat and Keep or Retain on to as much muscle as possible. But Today's guys have so much more information and nutritional help. Back then it was pretty much boiled Chicken. Ice Berg Lettuce Leafs and maybe a little broccoli and brown rice. Breakfast Lunch and Dinner. And a few protein shakes.
Kelly was killing it. And with around a month to go was close to being ready for stage. So the it was work harder and eat less the closer to the show. Kelly has always said it was the hardest thing that she had ever done. The last 2 weeks her carbs were pretty much cut down to zero. I could see her turn into a zombie. The brain needs carbs for fuel, and once you deprive it over an extended amount of time, you just cant think, you cant talk and you pushing on reserves the body doesn’t have.
And saying all that. She is always minutes away from getting sick. And that’s what happened. With under 2 weeks she got extremely sick. A cold or Flu that really sat her down. One, Two days and then three and Four. Still not getting better. She still kept training as much as she could. Once you get close to comp time, it becomes all about getting that cardio in and leaning up as much as possible. We had to take her Local GP. A GP she knew very well. And she knew that when Kelly got like this she needed Penicillin Shots. Everyday for the next 10 days I took her in to get that SHOT. That’s how sick she was. She would go in there all rugged up, so her GP didn’t know that she was competing. Not for the reason it was doing her any harm, but because people don’t understand what it meant to her, to achieve this and get on that stage. And not to quit. Her illness had taken so much away from her and it was trying to take this away as well. And she was determined to not let the illness win. She needed this win.
There have been times over the last 15 years that she has been really, really sick. And this was one of her worst. And by the time it she received her last Shot, it was only 4 days from comp. It was like get there or die. That’s how much it took for her to get on that stage. The whole time all she did was keep eating like she needed to, and train at home. She didn’t work for those last 2 weeks.
By the time the event came. Kelly was ready. She was so deprived, but she looked amazing. She entered the Figure Competition for Novice competitors. Most girls who enter a comp usually start with Bikini and slowly build there way to Figure. But not Kell. She goes straight for the top. The amazing thing was that over the time of her preparation, the vibe around Re-Creation was building. There really hadn’t been anybody that had competed from that club before. There were a few main gyms were all the competitors came from. The main one was Doherty’s Gym. They had a few gyms and there own Tony, pretty much started bodybuilding in this state. 90% of the competitors trained there, the judges all trained there and everybody knew everybody. No one from a small gym or an outside gym ever won a competition. But this made it even easier. Less pressure.
However saying that.A little gym from Caroline Springs bought over 50+ tickets all to go and see Kelly compete. The owners, Darren and Rob were proud as. We had hooked up the a Fitness guru from the other side of town, Tony Haranas. He was in his 50's and absolute machine. Still competing and winning comps. He controlled what Kelly ate and when leading into the comp. And he knew he had something special. She is and was at that time an absolute animal and machine.
When it came for comp time and prep, she was in the back with Tony. These comps always run late. He started warming her up. And by this time she wasn’t allowed any water, 1 cup in the last 24 hours. He warmed her up with bands and dumbbells for over 2 hours in the back. She was almost dead. But her veins had popped and she was dry. Exactly what was needed.
She jumped on that stage, not knowing how to correctly pose, and competing against girls who had done this times and times before. It was a Novice field she entered. But there were so many categories that night.
Kell blew them apart. She stood on there looking like a carved goddess statue. Absolutely perfect. Even if the judges, knew or had their own competitors, they had no choice. She received the nod and won her first title. Ms Melbourne Novice. It was amazing and so many experienced it in the crowd, and we all felt a part of it. It was special.
But it wasn’t over. Now that she won that, she was entered into the main draw with all the other female winners. Winners that were pro’s. Doing this forever. So she went back stage. Another hour had passed. Working out the whole time. By the end all she could do was cry and still kept on lifting. Still only small sips of water. It was the most painful thing she had ever done.
But the time came and she jumped on stage with all the other competitors. All experienced girls. All with unbelievable physiques. But seeing her on that stage was like looking up their yesterday. She blew them away. Nobody stood a chance.
She became MS MELBOURNE CHAMPION in her first comp and the place went wild, there were over a thousand people in that venue that night, and everybody knew Kelly was the best. It was an unbelievable part in her journey and has forged who she is and who we are today.
We only shared our illness journey late last year with everybody. Nobody back then, besides close friends knew what she was up against and what it took to win. It took absolutely everything to win that day.
Her Inner strength kept her pushing forward.
Her Mental Strength kept her focused and didn’t allow her to quit. Everyday she wanted to quit. But she never quit. That is what it takes. You have to be prepared to die for something you believe in. And she could have easily died. But she finished her dream. Gave it everything. Even if she didn’t win. Just getting on that stage was the biggest win of her life.
The lesson that she learned from that time of her life was, no matter what life throws at you, you have two options.
Let, QUITTING define you.
Let, Being an Absolute Machine Define you.
We all know what defines Kelly…
Why is Kelly a Vegan and how did we get here??
There are a lot of reasons to go Vegan, for Health, To decrease pain in the Body, to save the Planet. Individually these all are great reasons, but collectively they are a strong argument.
But I want to share you the reason Kelly has been vegan for over a Year now and before that a Vegetarian for almost 10 years.
What is the difference between Vegan and Vegetarian you may ask?
They are similar, but Vegans really take it to the next level. Vegetarians don’t eat Meat or Meat products while vegans don’t eat any source of animal protein what so ever. So Diary is out, eggs are out, meat is out, anything that comes from an animal is out.
So knowing that now, I want to explain the reason why Kelly is doing the Vegan option. She is doing it for her health, and primarily to try and improve her health. Almost everybody in this world has an option and if they choose to consume animal proteins, majority of the time, their body doesn’t react have any adverse side effects. The human body is an amazing thing and it will change and adapt to almost anything. That’s if you are healthy. And being healthy varies from person to person. How many of you know somebody that has abused their body for decades, alcohol, processed foods, cigarettes (Just to name a few) they are doing OK until they hit middle age and then one thing after another starts to slowly show signs that the body is weakening and cant cope anymore. And then it becomes to late. But all these people had a choice.
But going back to Kelly, she has no choice. Imagine if you had no choice. Would you do whatever it takes. Would you do everything in your power to try and get better and try to improve your day to day living. Well that’s what she has to do
Over 15 years ago, Kelly initially got sick. She copped a flu like symptoms in 2005. But unlike anything that she had experienced before. Normally, she would just shake it off and go to work and push through it. But this was different. Initially she was bed ridden for a few days, we went and seen a doctor and got prescribed antibiotics. Simple you would think. Well it wasn’t. 3 weeks she carried that Flu like Illness and eventually got a little better. But since that day has never shrugged.
For weeks after that she felt tired, a fatigue that was debilitating. She lost her old self. Her OLD self. She was the life of any party, her old self that would wake up at 4am, go to work at The Age Print Centre and run the show there, she was a hard worker and out did all the guys there. Carrying, lifting, driving forklifts, being a machine. She would come home, go to the gym, cook me dinner, clean the house, do everything normal people do, but with a smile, loved every minute of being busy, loved life, loved people. She was Kelly. Nobody knew anybody like her before, she had time for everyone and we were just 6 months from getting married. The best time of our lives and on top of that we had just moved in with each other. That was before that nightmare day when she woke with that illness, that disease that changed her.
From that day on, 15 years ago, ours lives changed. Kelly was sick. And even when her symptoms subsided a little, she was still sick. She could hardly bring one foot in front of other and felt ill. We started looking more deeply, seeing other GPs, getting blood tests and nothing, they couldn’t find anything. So after a few months and just before we were to be married in December 2005, she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At the time it was great to have a “LABEL” and think that we had an answer and could get a result from it. That never happened, years of seeing Specialist, Experts in Chronic Fatigue, Natural healers, Alternative Medicines. You name, we tried it.
And she still kept on fighting, We learned how to make her feel a little better, some days were better then others, some days were absolute shit.
Even though she was probably living at under 50% capacity, she still went to work, she had to reduce her hours, but gym was gone, training was gone. All the things she loved were taken away from her. She could just get through a day. One day at a time.
Then in 2007 she hit a bad wall, she had to quit work and was pretty much bed ridden for 12 months. She was at her worst and wanted to end the pain, misery and depression. Everyday when I was coming home from work, I feared the worst. But I kept her chin up and we kept pushing forward. Those days were the hardest that anybody could go through, but it has taken us where we are today. A strong bond, a strong belief, a strong passion and a strong love. We are One.
And because we have been through the hard times together we also experienced some unbelievable things along the way as well. All the hard times that we endured, forged what we have today, forged what we believe in. If you want an encyclopedia on the human body and how it works, ask Kelly. There is nothing that she hasn’t firstly tried or researched about. And it is only in the last few years that she has been able to do the normal things a little more frequently, and that is no thanks to medicine or specialist, it is to our devotion and dedication of trying everything.
The good thing to come out of her bad time in 2007, was that she did her schooling slowly in CERT 3&4 in Fitness and at least had some qualifications behind her. But believe me she still wasn’t training and her body and mind were still broken. It was to the end of that year, that she started feeling a little better and made a choice to return back to work at her job at the AGE. And you guys know Kelly, you give her a little sniff and she takes off running. She was feeling a little better, still at about 50%, but she took it as a new lease on life. She wanted to repay the management at her Job at the AGE, they kept her on and kept paying her weekly even though she wasn’t working, because they knew what she meant to them, they loved her there, as everybody does when they get to know her. So she went back, they helped her and she started to regain a little self belief and felt human again.
But even during this time, she was still trying. In that period she had her tonsils removed, maybe thinking they played a part, in her ears they put gromets, because her head was always feeling full and she never lost those flu-like symptoms. Her thyroid was abnormal, so they put her on medication. Then we realised that from all the anti-biotics that she had previously been taken that she developed a yeast overgrowth, Candida, so we had to start dealing with that. Kelly always ate very well, but with Candida, it loves sugar, and that was the first time she really had to go hard with a diet. She removed all sugar, processed, fructose, glucose anything. And that was for over 1 year. One year straight she didn’t have a drop. No yeast either. So staying away from all processed food in that time. She was still eating meat, but sparingly.
So her candida was that bad, that it took over a year to some what recover. But those early years was all about learning as we came across things. Kelly always felt blocked and deaf, she always said I wish something or someone could just suck everything out of my head. Then by luck, or by Gods will, one morning she woke up and her pillowcase was full of green and smelling liquid. She panicked and went and seen her GP immediately and took the sample. The results came back and it was Aspergillus, a fungus and it was growing inside her head. They said that if it had not come out and shown itself and we never treated it, that it would have entered her brain and killed her. Thank God it seeped out. So they treated that, got rid of that, she did feel a little better, and we honestly
thought, “YES” this is it, but with Kelly, there is no luck and her symptoms still stayed. She remained the same. Functional, but just living, not enjoying the moment.
2008 was a year that Kelly started her fitness career. Her dream job, she was still at the AGE, but started part time at FERNWOOD Cairnlea. A great place to start and build her confidence. Working the floor, helping people and doing PTs. Quickly, she realised she had something special to offer people. So she started devoting more and more time to fitness. Then one day she walked upstairs to Re-Creation Caroline Springs and that changed everything. As soon as the owners Rob and Darren seen her, they knew. Even though when she walkied in, wearing her AGE uniform and holding shopping bags, they knew. She started that night. They asked her to freestyle a class, she had never done that before. But bang, smashed it. And that’s where it started.
She went and registered for BodyPump, a week or so later and went to the initial training day, never before having participated in a BodyPump class. She just went and done it. So everybody in that initial training were participants or had taken part for many years, before they took that next step and became an instructor. Not Kell. Straight in and killed it. And just like that started teaching bodypump at Re-Creation. She took what she could get and wasn’t going to let her illness slow her down. We were GOING win.
But it was taking a toll. She was still feeling sick and fatigued constantly, still working at The Age, still at Fernwood and Now at Re-Creation, Rob and Darren could see she wasn’t right and offered her a full time position and all the support we needed, they helped us more then they know. She quit the age and Fernwood and now was solely at Re-Creation. Within a few months, Kell was taking more classes and became very close with the owners and Re-Creation. They were and still are very good friends of ours. Everything she did was for that place. And we loved it there.
That was 2008, and that was only 3 years after she first initially became sick. Yes she was eating very clean by this time, all processed food were out, all sugars were out. She had no choice. She couldn’t even risk being bad for one day. Because everyday was a blessing now. Everyday was different from the next and we never knew how bad she could be the next day. So nutrition had to stay on point. Everything was on point, She hadn’t really had a drink of alcohol in those 3 years and when she did she knew she was going to pay. So everything had to be done religiously day in and day out. No room for error. She was still eating meat and not yet a vegetarian. But like I said at the start, there is a reason for her needing to do what she does now. And that story is for another day. This is a little insight to where it all initially started and how we got to where we are today.