Competing-Getting ‘Real’ with Trainer Lindsey Mathews

Hey you guys!  My name is Lindsey Mathews, or Trainer Lindsey on social media, and I am so excited about being featured here on the CBJ blog and I’m excited to give you guys a little bit of a peak into my story.

I’ve been lifting weights for about 22 years and I have been a certified trainer and owned a coaching and boot camp business since 2004.  Over the past 16 years I have done everything from one on one training in a gym to owning a large in person bootcamp program to running online fitness challenges to where I’m at now where I manage a team of trainers who virtually coach clients one on one as well as running a virtual bootcamp program. As a team we help tons of women all over the world with custom programming including nutrition, cardio and lifting to reach their fitness goals. One of my biggest passions is to help women feel comfortable and confident in their bodies.  A lot of times that comes through fat loss and reaching fitness goals!

I got the competition bug back in 2009 and I competed in NPC bikini and figure competitions for 9 years.  My most recent story begins in 2018. I competed and was stage lean for about four months.  I pushed my competition season too long and my body wasn’t very happy with me.

I got really close to a pro card in the middle of the summer and placed second in a national show.  I really wanted to try one more time to see if I could get that pro card. So I pushed my competition season even longer.

Afterwards I started on a solid reverse diet and started gaining weight. Of course I expected and wanted to gain weight.  But I continued to gain weight up to my body’s previous set point and then it kept going.  It kept going and going. I gained almost 50 pounds over the course of one year. It was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever been through because for a lot of that time I didn’t know what was going on. I was working with my doctor, looking at blood work and hormones and trying different things and nothing was really helping stop the weight gain. The scariest part was that I didn’t know when it was going to stop. I remember thinking if it would just stop, then I’d be okay. I thought that I could learn to be happy here, if my weight gain would just stop.

I shed lots of tears over that year and over those really hard scary months.

After a year of gaining weight it actually did start to plateau. Exactly one year, to the week, from when I competed in my last show of 2018, I stepped on the scale, took some measurements and I was shocked because they actually went down a little bit and I thought …. “Huh, that’s interesting”.  I thought that it must be a fluke. But then the next week I stepped on the scale again and it went down again and I was like, what is going on here?

And then it kind of just started happening. I was focusing a lot on my nutrition and workouts but I was not being super extreme and killing myself in the gym.  In September I just started losing weight and I lost about 10 pounds over the course of four months. It was not fast by any means. But it was a solid 10 pounds.

Throughout that year I had so many challenges. I have dealt with low thyroid, low T4 conversion to T3, super high cortisol, gut issues, strange rashes and more.  I tried many different protocols to try to help with these issues.  I did keto for six months, carnivore for four weeks, tracking my food, not tracking my food, time off from the gym and intense workouts, lots of yoga and walking, meditation, etc.

The biggest thing I did though this last year that helped all of my issues, and it’s something that no one wants to do while gaining weight, was spend time out of a calorie deficit.  When you’re gaining weight, especially as women, the first thing we want to do is diet, right?

We want to eat in a calorie deficit so we can feel better. It was the hardest thing for me to purposefully not be in a calorie deficit. I paid very close attention to my food and the quality of food I was eating, but I did not stay in a calorie deficit.

Throughout everything, I have discovered a new found empathy for clients that I work with. I know exactly what it feels like to feel very uncomfortable in the gym. I know how it feels to be self conscious and to feel like you aren’t as fit as you used to be.  I know how uncomfortable it is to be in a body that you don’t recognize as your own. I’ve learned so much about how to help my clients and how to relate to what they’re going through that I never would have learned had I stayed in my happy and lean 140lb body.

Hopefully this story and my journey is helpful to you and anyone who is going through weight gain issues or just frustrations with their journey.  I want you to know that you are not alone and there are others out there, even fitness professionals, who are dealing with the same kinds of things. If you are looking for help with any of these kinds of things, my team and I would love to help you.  Just reach out to me and we can chat!  My social media handle is @trainerlindsey and I’m just a DM away!  Please reach out!  We can see if we are a good fit to work together or maybe I can just be a listening ear!  Xoxo

Lindsey Mathews

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