Chrissie Bader
Let me just preface this by saying that it is a very long post and it has been a long time coming. I just wasn't sure how to go about sharing something that was both deeply spiritual and overwhelmingly physically trying. I am thoroughly convinced that this post doesn't even begin to shed light on the kind of accomplishment it is to complete one of these races. Those who go on to complete Spartan Supers and Beasts have my utmost respect and admiration.

Ok, where to start, where to start? So you all know by now that I'm a Beachbody coach and I love seeing the impact that proper exercise and nutrition can have on someone's whole life. Whether it's through use of a Beachbody program or not, the changes that take place mentally, emotionally, and spiritually when you make the choice to get off the couch are absolutely unprecedented! That's why, when last year my brother (5 years younger, who was, at the time, expecting his first baby) asked me to sign up to do a race with him, I said "Hell yeah!", wanting to give him all of my support. [***Disclaimer** I am by absolutely zero means a runner of any fashion. I don't run. And I have always supported the statement 'If you SEE me running, you had better run too because there's something chasing me'!] I told him to pick a local race and we would train for it and do it! Little did I know that he would pick the Spartan Sprint to be held in a mere 7 months!!!!

Not knowing much about the Spartan Race other than it being what I considered to be "extreme" I set off for Google and YouTube. If I could use one word to describe my reaction, it would be 'terror'. I was completely terrified. I read comments from others describing painful injuries, hypothermia, broken limbs, permanent disability, and the possibility of death!! To say I was scared is an understatement like no other. I procrastinated on signing up. Then I got the email invite from my brother to sign up with Team Mudstache so I bit the bullet and began filling out the forms. When I got to the liability waivers, I panicked! I had 3 small children; how could I sign a waiver of liability in the event of my permanent disability or even death?!? So, I stopped and prayed about it for a couple of days and the Scripture that kept coming to me was 2 Timothy 1:7 "For I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." So, I signed the waiver.

I had planned to train much harder than I actually did over the months that followed but I completed P90X and started T25 before we bought a house and began packing for a move. The move consumed nearly two months of me as well as a procrastination out of self pity over the loss of my grandfather just days before Christmas. Before I knew it, it was just days before the race. I got some workouts in early that week and then figured I was as in shape as I was going to be. Instead I concentrated on hydrating and trying to stay injury free despite a tumble down the stairs in our new house mid week. Aah!! Thankfully, I was only bruised in the fall! 

My nerves twisted into bundles that grew each day that week. The night before the race Mike took me and the kids to my favorite restaurant to eat my "last meal", lol! I barely slept the whole night, I was so on edge. I had nightmares and waking anxiety about oversleeping. Once I woke up in a cold sweat and nauseous, convinced I had come down with the flu and would not be able to race. Finally, my alarm went off and the adrenaline began to rush! It was race day!!

The day before I had bought myself some awesome new workout clothes to wear for the race so I got dressed, made my Shakeology, and waited for my brother to arrive to pick me up. When he arrived, the kids wished us luck and I hugged them goodbye. Mike exchanged words with Casey which were something along the lines of me returning in one piece. Ha! I hopped in the truck and we were off. We picked up both of our team members along the way and headed for the horse park in Conyers for what would be a first Spartan Race for all four of us. My stomach was light and jumpy the whole way there and as we pulled into the park and found our parking space, I was sure I would faint. 

The walk to the sign-in stand from the parking lot was a distance all by itself and I retreated into my own mind during the walk, contemplating several times turning around and waiting at the truck for the guys! The weather was perfectly gorgeous! Sunny and cool, 50ish early and probably close to 70 by midday. As we approached the entrance you actually walk under one of the obstacles, The Bridge. I got in line and picked up my envelope and the guys and I went in and started attaching our timing bracelets and race bibs. After we got our stuff stowed away we made our way toward the start gate for our 11:45 heat time. Right before you get to the gate, there is a table with people handing out sharpies and offering to "mark" you. I let one of the ladies mark my bib number on my left calf and we got in line at the gate for our heat. At this point my nerves went into overdrive. I can't quite explain what was happening in my stomach at that moment. I began reciting Scripture in my head, "You were made for such a time as this." and "Nothing shall in any way harm you."

When they unlocked the gate to let our group in, to my surprise, you had to go over an obstacle just to get to the start corral. It was a 5 foot wall, which I pitifully attempted and failed miserably at. It was humiliating and I wanted to cry, run and hide, and die all at once. Casey said, "Really?" and boosted me over. That is when dread set in, not just fear or nerves, but dread and terror. For 5-10 minutes while waiting in the corral with everyone else I fought an overwhelming urge to run into the woods and vomit repeatedly. Oddly for me, the shame of quitting scared me more than the fear of going through with the race. There was a guy at the head of the line with a microphone and he must have been saying something motivational because everyone was cheering and shouting. Then the crowd of racers began chanting, "Aroo, aroo, aroo!", a gunshot sounded and we were off!!

**This is not my photo but one I found on Google of the same race. 

I took off after my brother at a decent paced jog and at about 200 yards in I was already tired of running! Bahahaha!! You see, I thought that all the cardio I had done in my super awesome workouts like P90X, Les Mills, Combat, and T25 had prepared me enough so I never bothered with any running training. The first obstacle was The Steeplechase. It was a series of low fences preceding knee deep mud pits which you had to jump over and into which ensured muddy shoes from the get-go and for the remainder of the day. Running became even more enjoyable after that. <insert sarcastic smirk>

I no longer remember the exact order of the obstacles after that but there was a series of over-unders, a very long and low crawl-under obstacle that we opted to roll under which made it so much easier, and a slanted inversion wall to start with. The slanted inversion wall was awesome. I was so proud of myself having the strength to pull myself over that wall! Early on were also the giant mud pits. The pits were about 8 feet deep and half filled with mud so that when you slid down into the pit, you were waist deep in freezing cold muddy water that you then had to wade through to find a rope to pull yourself up and out the other side. There were 3 of these to get through. My favorite part of this obstacle was when, after climbing out of the 3rd and last pit, the guy next to me turned to look back at the obstacle we had just overcome and said, "That was fun!" Something sparked in me and, at that moment, I could feel the Holy Spirit smiling in my own spirit. 

**This is not my photo but one I found on Google of the same race. 

There were more walls, traditionally called Hobie walls, each time getting taller, 7 foot, 8 foot, and finally 9 foot. Casey and Steven boosted me on all of them. I wouldn't have been able to do it without the two of them. There was more running, steep climbs up and down, sometimes in deep mud. And there was mud, lots of mud. Deep mud, slippery mud, sliding mud, crazy mud. When I started feeling weak and tired on the trail I would recite Scripture to myself. On the slippery sharp rocks in the creek and the mud slides going downhill it was, "He makes my feet as the hind's feet." When I hit a wall of exhaustion it was "He renews my energy and I mount up on wings as eagles."

The spear throwing obstacle was the first one we all failed and had to take the 30 burpee penalty. Let me just say that 30 burpees when you're already exhausted is brutal. The Herculean Hoist was so FUN!! The sandbag is about 50 pounds and is attached to a rope and pulley. You have to hoist the sandbag to the top of the pulley and then lower it back down without letting the sandbag fall or land hard. It was hard and it totally wasted my forearms but I rocked it like a beast! Immediately following was the bridge obstacle which happened to be the bridge we entered the race grounds through when we arrived that morning. The nearly vertical climb to the top of the bridge was on widely spaced, narrow, wooden boards. It should have been fairly easy for me but with my forearms shaking and weak, it was not at all. The top is made from the same widely spaced boards. No room for error at all and nothing to hold on to. It was just high enough that I felt queasy getting across. Next up was the traverse wall which was another team fail and 30 burpees each were paid. At this point you believe you're almost done because you've already come approximately 3 miles. Wrong! 

The trail continued back into the woods for more trail running. At one point, the trail wound along the edge of a cliff that looked over a beautiful valley and I literally stopped to admire the amazing view and praise God for the gift of it all and for encouraging me to go out and play in it. 

One of the next obstacles we came to was called The Choice. You could either climb a 500 foot sheer cliff face with nothing but a cargo net or you could run to the top following the trail the long way around. The guys chose straight up so that is what we did. I walked up to the net and began to put one hand and foot in front of the other, focusing only on my hand and foot placement. I never looked up, down, or back and became quite oblivious to the others around me. I was terrified. Once I became aware that I was at the side edge of the net and realized that I was very high up with nothing to catch me if I was to fall off that net, except about 20 other Spartans behind me, lol. Others around me caused the net to shake and wobble and the cliff face curved inward where there was nothing to hold onto BUT the net. Again I started quoting Scripture, "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me." and "Nothing shall in any way harm you." I could hear Casey calling down to me from the top. When I finally reached the top and climbed over the edge of the net to safe ground, I dropped to my knees nearly in tears, completely overcome with emotion. But...ever onward. There was still more racing to do. 

**This is not my photo but one I found on Google of the same race.

After that I had new passion, new oomph! I ran with more speed and more energy. We ran up for what seemed like forever and the scene reminded me of Band of Brothers when they climbed Currahee up in Toccoa, GA. When we came to the sandbag carry, I grabbed my sandbag, slung it over my shoulder, and continued the upward trek. Casey came up beside me and we commiserated over sore muscles for a moment before I suddenly felt inspired and shouted 'Currahee!' and picked up the pace, finally heading back down the trail and jogged past the guys. I heard one of them wonder out loud, "What the hell is she doing?" Hahaha!

I opted out of the rope climb after watching all 3 guys fail out and imagining myself breaking an ankle, so I gracefully (or not) paid my 30 burpees and headed over to the slippery 10 foot inverted wall. You have to use a rope to pull yourself over. I started out well until I was about a foot from the top when I slipped and fell down dangling from the rope. I couldn't get any traction but was so wasted with exhaustion that I was chanting, "No! I can't do more burpees!!" About that time, Steven popped up from the other side and gave me his hand! I was able to throw my leg over and got to the other side. Whew!

The next and almost last obstacle was a mud crawl/swim almost a quarter mile in length under barbed wire. It was slow, cold, slimy, and painful as there were sharp rocks (and other things) in the shallow mud that you had to slither through. But it was awesome!! The guys were waiting on the other side for me and we jumped over the fiery logs and fought the gladiators (basically dudes in costumes hitting you with giant marshmallows, lol) and....crossed the Finish Line!!

When I crossed that finish line, the one that actually says You Will Know at the Finish Line, I nearly broke down in tears. And when the cute muddy girl came over to me and put my medals around my neck, I did break down in tears. I will never be able to accurately describe that feeling with words. There are no words for that amazing feeling. I may have been that girl walking around collecting my banana and protein drink, muttering "I did it! I really did it! I finished! I didn't think I could and I did! I really did!" I cried again when I wrote that in my journal and I'm crying now typing it here. What an overwhelming accomplishment for me. 

And I completed my journal entry that day with these final words:

"And it's over now. Thank God!! I'm a Spartan!!!"


Chrissie Bader
The amazing Team I am privileged to be a part of is currently holding their leadership development class, Coach Basics (training for new Team Beachbody coaches). I am re-taking the class as well because I have new coaches enrolled and I like to be part of the training with them. It's a really wonderful "boot camp" for new coaches because the first part of the training really helps to guide them through all of the basics of their new business and get them off to a great start. Day 2 of the training focuses on the development of a strong, emotional WHY. If you have ever been through a goal-setting class or done much professional development training, you will know this is a common theme in anything to do with personal achievement. If the reason you want something is strong enough and there is some deep emotional component atttached to it, you are more likely to reach your goal than if you didn't really have much thought invested in your goal. We teach very much the same thing to our fitness challengers. You have to have a deep, emotional reason for wanting to lose weight, get healthy, or get in shape or you won't be serious about sticking with your fitness and nutrition plan through the difficult times.

So, my WHY has pretty much always been the same but seems to intensify as time goes on. So, tonight as I was preparing my assignment, I realized I have never publicly shared my WHY for doing what I do. Yes, I believe it is my calling to help women learn how to regain their self-esteem and God has provided many avenues for me to do this: Esthetics, Electrolysis, my various social media sites and groups, and now my challenge groups via Team Beachbody. What a blessing!! But my much more personal and emotional. It is the driving force behind everything action I take each day. My WHY is the big picture behind each goal I set. So, I want to share with you what I shared with my leadership group because I think my WHY is the same as so many other moms out there who may not know there is a better way. There IS a better way. I can show you a better way


My 'WHY' as a Team Beachbody coach is a collective of many mental images but can be summed up in one word: Freedom.

I have always had a difficult time coming under authority but it all came to a head after my first daughter was born in 2004 and I had to return to work when she was only 6 weeks old. Everything inside of me rejected the idea of spending 8 hours a day inside a tiny, windowless cubicle shuffling papers for a man whose wife got to be home with her kids while my sweet baby was being raised by a stranger. I spent my lunch breaks in the restroom sobbing. In desperation, I signed up as a Mary Kay consultant, my first exposure to Network Marketing. That amazing company introduced me to the wonderful notion called personal development. I began using my 8 hours to listen to endless training and teaching tapes by the most phenomenal and inspirational women in Network Marketing. I basically filled my head with personal development for 40 hours a week for months on end. It was then that I began to see what was possible. I could see that there was freedom outside of my cubicle walls. And I wanted it very badly!

It wasn't until Team Beachbody was introduced to me that I discovered the perfect vehicle for that freedom. The word freedom here embodies many different types of freedom for me. Freedom from the dead weight of a dead-end paycheck-to-paycheck job, freedom from a nightmarish traffic commute, freedom from mediocre, average, and ordinary, and freedom of location. Financial freedom is a BIG one! Freeing my family from the debt of student loans will be a dream come true for me. But the really HUGE freedom, the one that hits the emotional hotspot for me is FREEDOM FROM REGRET.

Let me tell you something. I have memories of my oldest daughter in her infant to toddler years playing dress up and singing and dancing in the living room. I have memories of her wearing her Little Mermaid swimsuit, wearing giant water wings, posing in her favorite sunglasses. I have all kinds of memories.

I have memories of my 2 year old son's fluffy cloth-diaper butt pushing his dump truck up our driveway as fast as he could, chubby legs flying out to the sides.

That little girl is about to be 10 and my son's legs aren't chubby anymore. My youngest daughter is about to turn 3. 

The pain that I feel at the thought of missing any part of what little remains of their childhood just about kills me. That pain is called regret. I refuse to regret missing out on the shortest, yet most vitally important part of their lives. I want to have those snapshot memories. And I want to have them while being free from debt and obligation. I want my husband to be free to choose whether or not he wants to work away from home. I want to be free to take my family and make new snapshot memories on the fly. I want FREEDOM. I want it for my family. 

I know so many of you reading this can relate to that sinking feeling. That overwhelming sadness at having missed out on something that you can never, ever get back. If you can relate, this is what I want you to know: There is a better way. And even if you don't find it through Team Beachbody, go find it. Go find it!

Chrissie Bader

The beginning of another year is always so exciting to me! It's a blank slate, a chance to start over and do better, a fresh opportunity. I have been very busy the last week or so making plans for my 2014; writing down goals, saving photos to paste on my dream board, journaling my wishes and desires for my family, my self, and my two businesses. What I haven't done much of is reflect on the previous year. At the most, I have marvelled at what I have accomplished (as it is quite marvelous, if I do say so myself). Those are things such as finally getting my health and fitness back on track, sticking to a fitness program for longer than a few days, getting out of my comfort zone and beginning to build a successful business, and standing up for myself in a variety of other ways. I have come to know "me" on a deeper level. Those things are great testimonies!

But there are some struggles that linger, that I'm still dealing with. I've made a lot of progress but I haven't arrived. One of these struggles is with postpartum-turned-chronic depression (since I'm not sure I can, technically, still call it postpartum now that Kinley will be 3 next month, lol). Fitness and nutrition have, without a shred of doubt, helped to put those horrible, agonizing days behind me. I owe so very much to Team Beachbody for giving me the tools I needed to climb out of that deep, dark pit. What I'm left with are the dirty rags of shame and guilt that I'm assuming will take a little longer to shed completely. But I'm getting there and that's what is important to remember. 

I'm currently reading Joel Osteen's I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life. It's a wonderful, empowering 31 day devotional journey. Today, the passage I read caused me to look back over my journey with PPD and my eyes are opened to see the grace that was extended to me to get through such a harrowing time. You see, there were days when I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, the whole world was dark and cold. I believed, at times, that I couldn't survive it and, even others, when I didn't want to. It's hard to understand if you've never experienced it but I believe PPD is a deeper, darker, lonlier place to dwell than a more common clinical depression. It has too many other faces and they all hide behind or get lumped under the name Postpartum Depression. 

Today's passage said that God gives us the grace and favor we need for the time we are in. He does it one day at a time and that is how we live through it. It's easy, looking back, to wonder how I ever made it but the truth is that I survived each day, a day at a time. And it's only looking back, collectively, that you can say, "I have arrived." But we all have to do it one day at a time. I'm sure this may not be a great revelation for some of you, and that is fine. It is such a blessing for me to know that, though, it may appear to some looking in on my life that I went from Point A to Point B but I'm still on this journey. The train is still rolling and I'm still walking out the changes in my life. One day at a time. Sometimes I go through valleys. I'm going through one now in the days following the death of my grandfather. But experience has taught me that I'm gathering what I need from this experience and carrying it with me so that I can share what I have learned with others who follow. And that, I believe, is part of God's purpose for carrying me through the valleys vs. transporting me out of them completely, though He certainly has the power to do so. Had I not gone through the level of pain that I did, I would not have had the courage or knowledge to take hold of someone else's hand and walk with them out of their valley. And it is now my blessing to watch these transformations take place and know that my misery served a higher purpose.

So, my goal this year is to help as many people as I can to see their potential and reach for it! I'm not only talking about through Team Beachbody and my incredible accountability groups but my children. This year I will embark on another humbling, pretty scary, but exciting journey to homeschool my 3 kiddos. It is not something I ever considered or thought myself capable of doing but I feel called to do it and I know He will give me the grace and Wisdom to do it His way. There are a number of reasons I could list for why I feel called to do this but this is the one that keeps coming out on paper when I journal about this subject. God gave these children to me and my most important job as their mother is to lead them back to Him, to help them see their God-given potential and give them the tools to reach for it. 

Yes, I know that 2014 is going to be an amazing year for my family. I can't wait to see what God is going to do!! Happy New Year to you all!

What are some of your goals for this year? I'd love to hear them! You can comment below, email me, or message me through Facebook if you'd rather not share publicly. 

**If you're interested in learning more about one of my upcoming accountability groups, email me at or send me a message through Facebook. :)