Fitspiration Friday Spotlight:
Rachel Black Graves
Rachel is one of my trainers at Bloomfield Fit Body Bootcamp and someone who has become a dear friend of mine. She changed my life over 3 years ago and introduced me so many things and really has taught me about be a strong and healthy woman both physically and mentally. Glad to be a part of her tribe and to see her vision of fitness and woman empowerment manifest.
What was a challenge you have faced during your weight loss journey…how did you overcome it?
“A challenge I faced during my weight loss journey was an unexpected, severe hormone imbalance. As much as we all like to believe the old, simplistic way of thinking about weight loss – calories in vs calories out – It’s WAY more complex than that, especially for women. I was an athlete my whole life, so I KNEW what to do to lose weight. But all of a sudden I found myself in my mid-twenties working a high stress job with little work/life balance, terribly uncomfortable in my skin. When the strategies that used to work (cardio and restrictive dieting), stopped working to the tune of about 40 extra pounds, I reached out to my primary care physician. I was told that gaining weight was part of aging and part of a sedentary job. Just for the record folks, if your doctor gives you an answer like that… It’s time to find a new doctor! On top of the weight gain, I had started getting regular headaches and chest pains that wouldn’t go away. This went on for months with no help from my doctor other than writing me a prescription for Xanax (after I repeatedly told him I wasn’t interested in pharmaceuticals). Finally my body reached it’s breaking point. I was rushed to the emergency room in Boston when my chest tightened up so much that I couldn’t breathe and my left arm went numb. In the ER I was treated for a heart attack….at 27 years old. I remember thinking – This CAN’T be real! After a number of tests, the doctors concluded that I had been having chronic panic attacks one directly into the next for months because I wouldn’t slow down long enough to address them. They told me if I didn’t find a doctor that could work with me, that my next step really would be a heart attack.
That’s when I found a naturopath that helped me get ME back. The very first thing they ordered was blood work (a full hormone panel to be specific). My primary care had NEVER asked about blood work, or nutrition. Come to find out, most primary care doctor’s don’t know how to read a hormone panel or have much of a background in nutrition(so now it all makes sense). The blood work gave us ALL the answers we needed. My cortisol levels were off the charts. It was time to get my stress in check – my life actually depended on it. I started a morning routine of journaling. I started an evening routine of herbal tea and a bath before bed to calm myself down from the day. I walked away from non-stop cardio, and started strength training 3-4 times a week along with yoga. I tried a few different all natural adaptogens until I found the one that worked best for me (ACTS by TLS). I also let go of the negative influences and relationships in my life that were contributing to the overwhelming amount of stress and replaced them with positive, nourishing influences and relationships. Today I am VERY intentional and selective with my energy and my time. With the right combination of stress management, supplementation, nutrition, and efficient, intelligent training my body and more importantly my health and sanity came back!
Today I own and operate a thriving fitness center that specializes in strength, conditioning, and sane, sustainable nutrition strategies. I train close to 200 clients, many of them women that constantly beat themselves up for not doing enough, when in reality they’re doing too much. It’s been amazing to have the chance to share my story and pass along the knowledge I’ve gained around hormone imbalances, overtraining, under-recovery and to be able to enlist the help of resources available to truly treat the issue instead of masking it with pharmaceuticals. Nothing makes me happier than helping my clients find the perfect regimen for them that gets them the results they crave while living a life they love!