LVAC member Andrea Taylor is a busy mom with six kids; two boys and four girls! Married to her high school sweetheart for 13 years, she works in the food service industry and still finds time to volunteer as a Girl Scout leader and helps with her sons Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops when she can.
Andrea says that “Participating in these programs has given me confidence and a great love for the outdoors. I love being able to share that with my kids. I love the clear mind that comes from exercise. Now I have the energy and strength to take on whatever comes my way whether it is a long night at work, a race, or just taking my family camping and hiking.”
LVAC: Was there a catalyst or ‘last straw’ that motivated you to change your diet and lifestyle?
Andrea: “After baby number three, I didn’t bounce back to my pre-pregnancy weight like I had after the first two deliveries. A year after delivering, I was the same weight I was right before I was due and I wasn’t pregnant. At my heaviest, I weighed about 178 pounds. Coming back from pregnancy is always tough, it feels like the baby weight takes forever to come off. Working in a restaurant made healthy eating difficult, but I knew I had to change. I started by walking and making small dietary changes. Then I decided I wanted to run a half marathon before I turned 30. When I began running, it was a run/walk. Slowly I built up my endurance and did the Las Vegas Half Marathon in 2008.”
LVAC: What type of exercise and workout routine has helped you to succeed? How do you make your workouts fit into your busy schedule?
Andea: “I joined LVAC and started taking group fitness classes. I also used the indoor track so that I didn’t have to run outdoors in the summer heat. I was consistently participating in group fitness classes, but when my co-worker invited me to an HIIT (high-intensity interval training) group fitness class, I immediately knew that it was the class for me. My coworker and I now go like clockwork; he keeps me accountable for showing up, which helps when life gets crazy.”
“I love training for races because they keep me goal oriented. I’ve done the Las Vegas Half Marathon as well as the Super Spartan twice. I’ve also run the Las Vegas Ragnar. My goal is to one day qualify for and run the Boston Marathon. I grew up four houses down from the course. I make sure to participate in one race per year. My older kids love being included in some of the obstacle races and I love bonding with them in that way. My workouts vary depending on which race I’m working towards. As for classes, High-Intensity Interval Training is my favorite followed by Boot Camp and occasionally I’ll do a cycling class. I also run outdoors when the weather permits and use my nice double running stroller! I love how I can get out and clear my head while the younger kids get a nap in. To make sure I stay on schedule, I use my iCal Calendar. The older kids all have subscribed calendars that notify them of their appointments or family events they need to attend. I also print out the monthly calendar so there is an in-house visual that can be referenced. I have my gym class schedule blocked in for the year so that I can schedule appointments around my workouts.”
LVAC: Tell us more about your family’s diet.
Andrea: “With kids, it’s easy to fall into the habit of eating chicken nuggets and pasta all the time. I love to cook and am a bit of a foodie – working in restaurants for over 20 years will do that to you. I subscribe to a few different food magazines and do a produce co-op, so I force myself to try new fruits and vegetables and make sure I get them on the table for the whole family to enjoy. We post our weekly meal plans on the fridge and stick to the plan. My older kids cook at least one meal of their choosing a week which gives me a break. They know it must be a balanced meal that includes vegetables and protein.”
LVAC: What are your favorite things about being a member at LVAC?
Andrea: “LVAC has been essential to my success in staying in shape and training for races. My weight now stays around 135 pounds. The childcare is fantastic and my kids even ask to go, which means I have no excuse not to go. Since I take regular classes I’ve developed new friends and the group fitness classes have become a community. I look forward to seeing friends each time I’m there. All the instructors have been inspiring and welcoming and they always keep things new and fresh each class.”