March Athlete of the Month, Ellie!

Published March 1, 2019


Ellie Jo Swabowicz


1. What was life like before you became a member?

Life was full of soda and chips and candy. I was always a fairly active person between dancing, my job, the farm and just chores around my house but I definitely had HORRIBLE nutrition. Horrible doesn’t even begin to describe it. I tried to go to Planet Fitness, Fitness Quest and the gym at my work place because I was extremely unhappy with my weight. They were all failed attempts for two reasons. One, because I had no idea how to lift or what to do in a gym. I would just jog/walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes, do some really poor ab workout (usually consisting of 20 crunches and 20 bicycle crunches) then I’d mess around on the weight machines until I got sick of pretending, I’m doing something productive. The second reason they failed was because my nutrition was so bad... I honestly thought I could out-train it. I understood NOTHING about nutrition or macros or caloric deficits or even maintenance calories. I definitely over ate and was not eating enough nutritious food.


2. At the time you enrolled, were you already exercising? What was your previous background in fitness?

At the time that I enrolled I was not exercising. I was staying active through my job and the farm and telling myself that it was enough to balance out what I ate.


3. What originally prompted you to seek us out?

My ex was a member and he signed me up for Bootcamp in an attempt to help get me through a rough period of time in my life.


4. What was your goal when you originally signed up? 

Honestly, on day one my only goal was to get through Bootcamp, so he’d quit hounding me about it, haha! But after only a couple classes I really enjoyed the program and the people. Then my goal was to do the best I could for myself. I specifically remember one workout we did about halfway through Bootcamp... I was working so hard and trying to get as far as I could. I had sweat running down my face into my eyes. It burned but I kept going and I was sooo proud of myself... I can’t even explain it. That moment was a significant turning point for me on this fitness journey. I began to realize I could push myself to the point of exhaustion and then keep going, instead of working to where I’m comfortable and then allowing that to be enough.

5. What have you liked best about working with us?

I know it’s been just about everyone’s answer so far, but I enjoy the community. I really love the people. Everyone is so uplifting and supportive. And EVERYONE has someone looking up to them, even those who think they don’t. I love that. I love all the cheering and all of the excitement we have for one another. Also... I have to say that I probably have the least amount of confidence in myself (I’m working on that ), but I swear the members of KCF have so much confidence in me that it entirely makes up for my lack of it. I truly love & appreciate all of you.


6. What are you most proud of achieving since you started?

Funny I got this month because within the last week, I thought about my greatest accomplishment. I love the weight I’ve lost, I love the change in my body composition, I love my muscle, I love the change in my nutrition, I love the increase in my lifting numbers, but my GREATEST accomplishment is burpees. Man... those things still suck. I hate them and I’m convinced they will always be my weakness. But it was no lie when coach Julie told me that “defeating” burpees is all mental. They did not get any easier physically. They burn my thighs and my lungs, and they damage my pride. But the difference in the way I can do burpees now and the way I could a year ago is amazing. And it’s all because while doing them I tell myself to just keep moving. “It doesn’t matter if it’s slow movement, just keeping getting down and back up. Before you know it, it’ll be over.” One day I’ll eventually tell myself to move faster, but for now continuous movement is a hell of an accomplishment for me!


7. With everything that you have accomplished, has your view of yourself changed?

Yes! Absolutely! I say I have no confidence, but I mean that as far as doing new things, pushing past my limits and stepping out of my comfort zone. But as for the things I have accomplished so far? HELL YEAH! I never DREAMED of doing the things I do now. I never dreamed of being as small as I am now. I never dreamed of being comfortable in cute clothes when I go out on Friday night! I never dreamed of being this comfortable in my own skin! Do I aspire to be leaner and stronger? Yes, but I am so proud of how far I have come. I don’t think anyone should ever really reach their “finish line”. I’m a firm believer that you should keep striving for more, with a healthy mindset of course! But damn we should all love where we started and how far we’ve gotten. I hope everyone’s mindset has changed about themselves for the better, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to be scared sometimes. Don’t feel guilty for being scared... just don’t let it stop you. Conquer it and keep going.


8. What would you say to anyone else who might be dealing with any similar struggles you did?

I think I answered this question in the last 7 answers, But I would say... just do it. Creds to Nike but it’s unbelievably true. And not just in fitness, but in anything! If you aren’t happy with your routine, change it. It really is simple, just not easy! You’re going to fail sometimes. You’re going to feel like you messed everything up, but you didn’t. We’re human, we fall down. Just get right back up and start from where you stand now. Keep trying until you get one more step ahead. That’s how you do it. No one has an easy path... no one just simply strolled into the happy position they are in. Everyone had to fight. Everyone fell down and everyone felt like they would never get there but they did because they kept moving, even if it was in baby steps that took 3,10,25 tries to make. You will be so happy with yourself, I promise.


9. Do you have any special moments/memories?

The first one to come to mind was the moment I looked at the timer after finishing my second baseline test. I had nearly cut my time in half which I had never ever expected to do. I cried. Now I cry a lot in my life, but they were truly happy & proud tears. It was so unreal.


10. What is your favorite movement/lift?

Is this a real question?! Snatching! With the squat, from the floor! I used to love power snatching the most (trust me I still love it) but man, I fell in love with dropping under the bar!


I just want to send a special shout out to coach Alli. You haven’t been around lately due to having an absolutely beautiful baby girl. You’re taking well deserved time to be an amazing mom and you look incredible doing it! But I have to mention you because you have played a role in my life that I never saw coming. The amount of faith you have had in me from day one is astounding... it’s life changing. You have pushed me to try things I never would have tried if not for you (ahem, my first ever kipping pull-up.. among so many others!) You have also listened to me cry and complain more than I think we both ever thought you’d have to. I know I told you this once before, but I appreciate you so much more than I’ll ever be able to tell you. Thank you so much. I can’t wait to have you back coaching

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