102f is not a comfortable temperature for anything except a hot tub, in the winter, after a day of skiing. It is not the acceptable outdoor temperature to jump into a new fitness routine with. Especially while trying to impress someone who mentored you into being fit in the first place. On top of that, black shorts, and a thick, heavy cotton, black t shirt might not be the uniform to choose for such an occasion. Yakking your guts up, in front of a group of movers and shakers of the political world of Oklahoma is not that fun either, but I digress.
SummerTREK was bringing me into Oklahoma City mid-week and I wanted to see if my friend Amber would be available for a coffee or lunch.
Amber England is the owner/ manager of SWEAT OKC. Her website describes: “SWEAT OKC is a wellness company on a very personal mission to help people lead healthier lives through fitness, nutrition and overall lifestyle changes.” Amber’s own story began as a member of the Oklahoma State government. I’m not the political nerd so I will not pretend to know what she did there, but she found a passion for helping other people change their lives for the better. The day came where she took a look at herself and didn’t like what she saw, so she did something about it. Amber lost over 100 pounds through educating herself, and good old fashioned SWEAT. Because of her public position people took notice of the physical changes in Amber’s body, but also in her attitude toward setting and achieving goals. Amber’s passion for living a better life earned her the chance to work with Jillian Michaels of NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Amber has been featured in the likes of First for Women and SELF! magazines. Amber has even earned the attention of former President Bill Clinton: when she asked him about working with his Obesity Initiative Program, he made sure she had his business card.
Amber is a motivational force of nature.
Originally, she and I met online, as members of Jillian Michael’s website. We both were using the site to attain our own goals. Amber’s before and after photos show a person who went from making due and settling with life, to an extra ordinary achiever with her sights set on success. Who would not be impressed with someone who lost over 100 pounds? Who would not be impressed with someone who stood up to mediocrity and challenged herself to be and do more? How can you not try harder when you see others successfully reach and exceed their goals?
Then I saw the triathlon photos, and Amber changed my life. Amber took part in a triathlon and posted her photos on the internet. It was impossible for me to see these photos and stay where I was mentally or physically. Here was someone who had achieved a goal I wanted, plus more. I wanted to finish a triathlon, but she had lost 100 pounds AND THEN finished a triathlon. What the heck was I doing? At the time I smoked, I drank and I had no path to that level of success. Amber became my mentor for finishing a tri. I would ask myself, “If she could do that, what can I do?”
Amber has recently left the Oklahoma Senate to start her own business, SWEAT OKC. Offering her highly sought after services in education and motivation, along with the more traditional personal training sessions, wellness planning and the SWEAT CAMP.
As I was driving across the U.S. this summer, I realized I would be passing through OKC and would have the chance to meet Amber. We had been aware of each other for two years, but never met face to face. I sent her a note on Facebook asking her out for coffee or lunch. She said she was running her SWEAT CAMP and I was welcome to attend.
I jumped at the chance! I drove up to the hotel Amber recommended, (Hampton Inn, Bricktown) and changed. Having just driven close to 500 miles that day and being in the middle of the US on a cross country drive, I was stiff to say the least. Working out had taken a back seat to driving and hiking. I Google Mapped where she was and chose to walk over there. I also chose to slip into the new POLAR t shirt my bud Chris from POLAR had shipped to me. You know… working out… meeting my mentor for the first time… I wanted to look good, look the part, and not be a butt head.
Did I mention it was 102f?
The 1.5 mile hike was not a big deal, but it did get me sweating. Close to time, I called Amber and she said the location had changed, but to sit tight and she would come get me. Big grins all around, a little conversation and a welcome hug for pen pals who had never met later, we drove over to a lovely green, (“park” for my southern friends) where the rest of the group was arriving. Four people Amber had known or worked with, and one lovely woman who had found the SWEAT OKC website the day it went live joined us. Amber took the time to introduce everyone, and even announced that I was a triathlete and aspiring Ironman. (That was kinda cool. Dude, I have never been the JOCK of the group!) The workouts ranged from a light jog to crabbing pushups, and burpies to tossing an 8lb ball over a beach volleyball net complete with sand to a partner as we shuffled side to side in a squat.
Sooooo….Lactic acid builds up in your system as you work out. It causes nausea. Often it builds up quicker if you are doing new workouts, or under more stress. We have all seen how happy Jillian gets when she makes someone puke. My take is that it is a badge of honor the fitness professional hangs on their wall. Well… my POLAR RS800CX recorded that it was upwards of 102f, my HR hit 201, and I burned 1102 kcals. Amber effectively kicked my ass. Just as she called for us to stretch, it hit me. I had to walk away from the group for a second. The wave passed, but just as I turned to walk back… “Yarg!”
I know you read this whole thing for the payoff of me Yarggling my Cheetos on the lawn, so there it is. One of the other guys leaned over and said “Dude, you are the first one she’s made yak.”
Ahhh well. JOCK status, has just been revoked. I hope the others were able to build on their own self confidence that they could survive SWEAT CAMP better than the visiting triathlete. My ego is at your disposal.
I gathered myself, scraped my up pride and gave each of the members a LIVESTRONG bracelet.
Amber and I ended up catching a bite to eat at a great little gourmet pizza joint that grows its own veggies right in front of the shop. We chatted aimlessly as we were both bumping into walls tired. Amber was unaware of my placing her on that pedestal until we sat in the evenings heat of downtown Oklahoma City, sharing dinner. It is always odd to met your heroes because often they can let you down by being a mere human. Amber England is one of my personal heroes because of her personal strength, values and willingness to do the hard work and put out the sweat success demands. Meeting her and having the chance to work with her was beyond motivational.
I highly recommend anyone that wants an educational experience for their business, knowledge about how to set and achieve goals, or needs the implementation of a fitness regimen based upon a lifestyle change, Amber England and SWEAT OKC provide answers.