Teri LaFaye, 53, Lives The Fitness Life
Teri LaFaye started her fitness journey 7 years ago. Those first steps changed her life forever.
bmf.c: Teri, tell us about the physical activities you stay involved in.
Teri: I am highly involved with strength training. I have never been one to love a great deal of cardio exercises: i.e. running, swimming, sports. However, the intensity of lifting weights and the balance I get from weight training provides me with my cardio and the ability to handle stress both physically and mentally.
All physical activities add up! I do my own yard work. I clean my own house. Much of the daily activities a person gets someone else to do for them can provide the mobility much needed to stay active. Mowing your own yard is cardio! Pulling those weeds in your garden is cardio! Taking carts back to your grocery store from the parking lot is cardio! Walking your dog is cardio! Keeping up with your grand-kids is cardio!
I sweat bullets in the gym! It is important to understand that a person does not need a great deal of ‘fancy’ equipment to make results happen. I started my transformation at the age of 45 weighing 171 and MISERABLE! I began with an ab lounge chair, a pair of 10 pound dumb bells, a broomstick, and an image of who I wanted to be in my mind.
Everything was an effort in the beginning. Just staying motivated was hard enough when negative people are everywhere. I found that by disassociating with some mindsets, I was being my greatest friend. I had to change the way I saw everything to provide a foundation to go within myself for the energy needed to keep training.
Women tend to think the body will bulk up with weight training, but as we grow older we NEED MUSCLE and muscle can be maintained in older years. All the overnight successes took years to accomplish. You can be skinny and be ‘fat’ at the same time. Society may be to blame for self-images. People want to be youthful in their appearances. Men have a tendency to grow more viral as they get older and appealing while society portrays woman like worn out shoes. I refused to buy into that image of what others said a woman should look like or what a woman should wear at a certain age. I plan on sporting around in my bikini when I am in my 70’s! that may sound far-fetched to some, but NOT in my mindset.
bmf.c: Why the interest in the area?
Teri: I became interested in weight training because I wanted to lose weight. Lifting weights burned more calories for me and fit into my lifestyle. I didn’t have to leave home. The small gym I had at my house provided me with the essentials I needed in the beginning. I admired my husband for staying fit and maintaining his weight training. I must say that he was one of the major influences in my transformation, not only providing mental support I needed, but the fact we could be active in the gym together.
bmf.c: How do you stay in shape for your activities?
Teri: Exercising my mind is as important as the body. I believe in visualization.
You can take a group of athletes, let’s say basketball players for this example, and divide them into groups of two for a 30 day period. In one group the team would be physically and actively doing their runs and making their hoops. In the other group the team would only be doing the activities for sessions of 20 minutes a day in their MINDS. This group would see themselves running the courts and making the goals every single time without error, while the physical working group ran the courts stumbling, falling, and through trial and error got better at their game in making the goals. At the end of the 30 days, the two groups play each other in a game. Which group wins? It is the group that did the activity in their minds without error.
Here is my point: mindset is everything and all physical activity first begins inside. The person with the finest equipment that is ‘unused’ is far worse off than the one with limited equipment but the willingness to be fit and stay fit.
It is my experience that keeping my mind active provides the ‘secret’ to making all other activities easier.
bmf.c: Tell us how about your workouts. What do you do? How often?
Teri: I train 3 to 5 days a week in season. I do something different about every 4 weeks to keep my program from plateauing. I can do supersets in a 20 – 30 minute time frame, but do not limit myself to a specific ‘time.’ I work some type of core exercise every time I am in the gym. Core training is highly important as the body ages.
There have been times I did a split day with training dividing into a.m. and p.m. frames. I make it a point to layer my breaks and off season times in. I do this to allow for rest. Rest is as important as training. Laying my rests in encourages muscles to repair and maintain stamina.
It is important to note that the workouts I do vary with the degree of what I want to accomplish at the given time. I feel better when I am in the gym and as a result of that feeling and energy I am able to do more in terms of activities in other areas of my live.
bmf.c: How do you keep yourself motivated?
Teri: Motivating others keeps me motivated. There is no “I” in “OTHERS.” I get excited to see the results a person can make with their bodies! It ignites a passion in me that spills out and creates a ripple effect. I remember what it is like to not be fit so I can continue to strive to be fit for life.
I take pictures of myself and hold myself accountable for the changes I want to make happen. The body is so amazing! It can be molded and shaped and naturally transformed at any age!
I research and read material that lifts me up. I surround myself with positive people.
bmf.c: What is your biggest personal challenge to achieving and maintaining fitness over 50? How do you overcome that challenge?
Teri: I overcome my challenges through visualization and meditation. Challenges for me provide me with an incentive to try to be better… not for someone else, but for myself. My father used to say, “When everything is said and done make sure more is done than said.” The person I can depend on the most is the one I look in the mirror every day.
If I had to pinpoint a specific challenge and name it, it would be NEGATIVITY. Society is full of it…. Turn your television on to any channel and you will be bombarded with people trying to make you feel old, sell you into thinking you need medications, color your hair, improve your stamina and so on. Whether you look for the good or look for the bad, you will certainly find it.
So I look for the good in all things. Even the clouds on a rainy day make you appreciate the sunshine!
I remind myself I am WORTHY TO BE FIT. It all comes back to mindset.
bmf.c: How do you approach diet and nutrition? What are your meals like? What kind of supplements do you take, if any?
Teri: One of the greatest diets I have come across and nutritional plans is one I had to do when I had a build-up of yeast in my body. The NO YEAST diet or Candida diet plan works. I had to naturally detox myself after a staph infection whereas I was on high amounts of antibiotics for several weeks. My organs built up a high deposit of yeast and I had to change my eating to get well.
The whole experience was worth the ordeal in my opinion because after I got off certain foods, I felt better. My seasonal allergies actually went away and I stop getting sick.
I eat a high volume of eggs for protein, ground turkey, chicken, liver, and fish cooked with the heads and skin. I cook, and try to limit eating out altogether. I slow cook, bake, broil, and stir-fry most everything.
I make my own smoothies from SILK vanilla milk and ice cubes.
I eat bell peppers and onions with almost every meal. One bell pepper contains all the requirements of a daily dose of vitamin C and is high in potassium. Onions fight off colds and can be sliced, diced, and frozen.
I eat sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.
I substitute Kale for lettuce. It is low in calories, high fiber, and can be steamed, fried, or eaten raw.
I eat eggplant weekly. It is a natural diuretic, contains minute amounts of nicotine for energy, and high fiber. It is a must food for weight loss or weight management.
I substitute tortillas for bread, the kind that has 0 or 1 gram of sugar. Since sugar feeds yeast it is a nutritional ingredient I watch closely. The body only needs 30 grams of sugar per day. It will produce its own if sugars are eliminated. The body stays detoxed naturally.
I do not drink sodas. I do not drink alcohol. I drink large amounts of water and do not wait until I am thirsty to do so.
I do not take supplements. I probably would if I could tolerate them, but I am intolerant to whey, chromium, or even high doses of vitamins. All natural is the only way that works for me and keeps me well. In 2008,I started researching about nutrition. I am highly allergic to anything fermented, mold, chromium, and whey. Even peanut butter is toxic for me. I tried many products, but they would make me get hives or get sick, so I stopped trying to use them. I periodically take a garlic supplement when I do not have the actual herb in my food. Garlic fights yeast and is a natural healer. When I am not training I increase my vitamin B-complex, but when I am training, I rely on food intake.
bmf.c: Have you overcome injuries and/or surgeries? What were they? How did you overcome them?
Teri: I tore my rotator’s cuff in the first year training and that taught me to warm up good before I train.
I tore my Achilles’s tendon last year and had to take 4 months off training. It was very humbling, but the rest actually worked to my benefit and made me come back stronger.
On September 2, 2013, I experienced a terrible fall unrelated to my training. I am resting and revamping my activities while I am mending. A fit person heals quicker than an unfit person. The body is already used to breaking itself down and repairing itself. It is up to me to listen.
I would also like to mention that I have never had any menopause symptoms. I believe this is due to my training. My blood pressure is that of a fit teenager. My doctor, at my annual physical, was amazed at my physique and my health. I am on no medications at all.
bmf.c: Do you have a target weight and/or body fat level you maintain? What is it how do you achieve it?
Teri: I stay focused but not so rigid that I do not indulge in the pleasures of sweets at times.
My regimen of exercising regularly helps me stay focused.
My weight range is 130-135 on season and up to 145 off season. I have comfortably maintained that for 8 years now. My current weight is 133.
I go by measurements more that the scales. I am more than a ‘number’ on the scales.
bmf.c: What are your health and fitness goals for the future?
Teri: To keep doing what I am doing and be fit for life, for the love, and for me