Stephanie Ross: “How I Dropped an Unhealthy Relationship Food”
Stephanie has overcome past struggles with eating disorders. She is down ten pounds of fat and up ten pounds of muscle in one year. This is her story.
Name: Stephanie Ross
Length of Membership: 15 Months
Fat Loss: 10 Pounds (Timeline: 12 Months)
Muscle Gain: 10 Pounds
Reduction in Body Fat Percentage: 7%
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Stephanie Ross and I am 30 years old (I still cringe at the fact my age no longer starts with a 2). I am a nurse in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Rady Children’s Hospital and absolutely love what I do. I grew up in Iowa (Go Hawks!) and moved out to San Diego in 2010 and never want to leave!
I joined P360 in August of 2014 as a bridge to CrossFit. I thought I for sure wanted to join the CrossFit world but was extremely intimidated. A few of my good friends were members at P360 so I decided maybe I would join and become comfortable with some of the aspects of the training and then once I was in better shape look for a CrossFit gym near my house.
Needless to say, I absolutely love P360 and don’t have any plans of leaving!
What changes has your body gone through in the past year?
I’ve made more progress in body composition and strength in the past year than I have in the previous 29 years combined and couldn’t be happier.
January of 2015 was when I decided to take things a little more seriously and joined the 90 day challenge. After that was over I just kind of kept with it and am so excited about what I have accomplished.
12 months ago I was at a weight of 150. Fast forward a year and while my weight is identical to what it was 12 months ago my body fat has decreased from 29.7% to 22.6%. I cannot stress the importance of disregarding the scale when it comes to measuring your results.
I went from having 44.7lbs of body fat mass to 34.1 lbs.
My lean mass increased from 105.6lbs to 117.1 lbs.
While I still have progress I would like to make, I feel like I am in the best shape I have ever been in. My body feels stronger and more capable everyday.
Through this process, how has your mindset evolved?
Not many people at the gym know my history, but I dealt with a pretty severe eating disorder back in college. I was down to a deathly scary weight of 88lbs (on a 5’8″ frame) and was hospitalized for 3 months.
While I recovered and never really went back, the mentality of all of it sticks with you for a long time. Even after I “recovered” I still battled with the desire to be skinny and eat everything low calorie and fat-free. The thought of this now makes me cringe. Over the past few years I really did some work with my mindset regarding food.
The change in my mindset, in my opinion, has been my biggest accomplishment. Granted I still probably have a long way to go, anyone who knows me can attest to the mental changes I have made.
I started eating to be healthy and to fuel my workouts, but it hasn’t been until recently where I have really dialed this in. I quit counting calories and just made sure whatever food I was putting in my body was good for me.
I started eating real whole food instead of things that seemed low calorie but wIere made up of complete dog shit. For me this has been one of my absolute biggest accomplishments. Anyone who has gone through something like this knows how freeing this can feel.
Regarding workouts, I am no longer scared of “putting on muscle.” It’s all too common of a thought that if a girl puts on muscle, she will be bulky and look “too much like a dude.” Instead of the desire to be skinny, I now have the desire to be healthy and strong.
I admire strength in woman more than I ever have before and strive to continue down that path.
Are there certain aspects of Performance360 that have helped you with this?
Absolutely. The camaraderie, for one, is amazing. I don’t honestly attend many of the P360 events, but when I am in class I feel very supported by the people who are there with me. I also have a group of girls that I work with that are members of the gym so it makes it a lot more motivating to go knowing I have a friend there as well.
I also love group class settings. I have a large enough knowledge base when it comes to workouts that I can throw something together to do on my own, but it just does not push me nearly as hard as if I come to class. Although I am far from the top when it comes to performance at the time, I am very competitive. And when I see people doing more or going harder it really pushes me to step up my game. I need competition and motivation in order to function.
And more than anything, I think the coaches are amazing!! I really value everything they have to say and really try in put into practice what they are preaching. I don’t like to single anyone out, but I would say Julianne has been the biggest motivating factor for me as far as coaching goes. I met her before joining the gym at one of her yoga retreats and knew I wanted to be her from that moment! (haha, that sounds pretty creepy, right?)
But in all seriousness, I really try to attend her classes whenever possible because she can get to me and make me try something a little heavier than I think I can do, or push just a little bit harder.
What training factors do you attribute to your recomposition?
Like I said before, group classes are huge for me. But more than anything, making the conscious effort to add more weight and go heavier have made all the difference in the world. When I started the 90 day challenge last year was when I really made the decision to try and push myself harder.
As the weight started increasing, the fat started to fall off. I really want to stress the message that girls should not be afraid of weight. If done right, it can be one of the best things for your body. I don’t feel like this is as big of an issue with the girls in the P360 crowd, but in general too many women are afraid of adding muscle mass to their body and it is a shame.
I have a few barebell goals in mind for this year so bring on the weight!
What diet factors do you attribute to your recomposition?
I can’t preach about diet enough. This has been one of the hardest things for me to change over the last 10 years but am so glad that I finally have something that work just as well for my body as it does for my mind.
After all my struggles with food in the past, I am now a firm believer that food is the best medicine for your body. A few years ago I switched to a pretty much organic based diet and decided to go Paleo. I have always had a pretty sensitive stomach and eating Paleo really changed all of that. It also forced me to really just put whole foods into my body instead of processed crap.
My body started feeling better and then so did my mind. It was a pretty high protein, high fat, and low carb diet. But I really liked the fact that I didn’t have to think about what I was eating. I did see muscle gain and fat loss on this diet (I hate to even call it a diet because it is pretty much a lifestyle). I am however, giving while whole new gym diet a shot.
I really want to work on increasing my strength so I am making an effort to eat more carbs on my workout days. I still try to stick to pretty clean carbs. I eat a ton of potatoes, but want to try and fuel my workouts a little better and see if I can get better results.
What is your strategy on a week-to-week basis? Do you seek out certain workouts? Or do you let the chips fall where they may?
As a nurse I work 3-12 hr shift a week. So I workout max 4 days a week and that is all I can do. I would like to say I try and seek out certain classes and have a “plan”, but I honestly just go to whatever works best with my schedule for the day.
I live in Santee so I usually try and make the 11am classes so I don’t have to deal with traffic. If I can’t get to those then I will go to the 4 or 5pm classes…then sit for an hour in traffic to get home after.
Being a member at P360 is definitely a commitment for me given that I live further away than I would like, but it is totally worth it. I also base my classes on when my friends are going. It helps keep me accountable. I am trying to make an effort that if I go to the 11am class then to stay for the barbell or muscle class at 12. This is new for me, so I’m not great at it yet, but I am trying.
I am still little intimidated by open gym and don’t really make it there…although I think it would be very beneficial so maybe you’ll see me there in the future!
How long did it take you to embrace the benefits of strength training?
All my life! 🙂 I was a year-round athlete in high school, but unfortunately strength training was never really included into our training routine. Then in college it was all about cardio to try and work off all the booze.
After moving to San Diego I started to get more involved in well-rounded athletic training but heavy strength training was never included in that. So I would say, about 29 years.
I really have embraced this in the last year and am absolutely in love with it! I can’t wait to knock a few goals off my list this year!
Thanks so much to Performance360 and all that you guys do.
To read more about results like Stephanie’s, please check out The Most Efficient Way to Burn Fat and Build Strength.