Christy Van Vliet is one of the hardest working women I know. She is the proud mother of 3 boys, a super active fitness instructor and is always pushing herself to reach her goals. She uses fitness and health to inspire others and is not afraid to back down from a challenge. I decided to feature Christy in this article, as I wanted everyone to get to know this smart, hardworking and motivated mother. I hope you all enjoy!!
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi! I’m Christy. I'm a personal trainer, fitness instructor, nutrition coach, run coach and a mom extraordinaire of 3 crazy boys! For fun I love to play volleyball, snowboard and run. I’m an extremely social person, so anytime I can be around people doing something fun I am there!
Have you always considered yourself to be athletic?
I’ve pretty much always loved playing sports, was always on multiple teams throughout junior and senior high, stayed somewhat active after that but really redeveloped a love for fitness after having my kids!
How did you find out about OCR initially?
A friend basically dared me to sign up for a Spartan Sprint. I literally had no clue what to expect but am not one to back down from a challenge!
What was your first race?
My first running race was a 10K race for pancreatic cancer. It was my first year as a runner and I just wanted to challenge and push myself. That winter a friend challenged me to join her at a Spartan Race in Edmonton (Rabbit hill!) and I couldn’t say no to the challenge even though I was completely unaware of what I was getting myself into! I nearly threw up waiting in the starting chute, but I finished the race and felt insanely badass and went home to sign up for 2 more Spartan races that year!
What has been the hardest physically and mentally challenging race you have done so far?
Physically I think the hardest race I have done was a road marathon (I did my first two in 2017 and I learned a LOT about what to do and what NOT to do!) Mentally I would say the most challenging race I’ve done to date was the Sun Peaks Beast 2017. This was my 4th beast, and my 3rd Sun Peaks beast. I have to say that in 2017 they really took it up a few notches from the races I’d done previously, and I was stretched physically and mentally beyond what I had done before, and beyond what I thought I was capable of. I found it even more challenging than when I did a Beast/Sprint weekend!
You have your own training/nutrition business?
After I got passionate about racing a few years ago, it developed into an overall passion for fitness and self-betterment. At first it was me coaching friends for fun (and free), and after a while I decided I should change career paths (I was previously a Chartered Accountant) and pursue something I would LOVE doing every day! Now I can say that I LOVE my job, and I am working in my strength zone daily.
Do you find that teaching others motivates you to stay fit and healthy?
I feel that when others look to me for inspiration I definitely want to model what I encourage them to do. I strongly believe in balance – living an enjoyable life full of both treats and good choices, and an appropriate amount of rest and work. I like to push and challenge myself, but at the same time keep my goals reasonable so I can maintain balance in my daily life. I would never ask someone to do something I wouldn’t be willing to do myself!
When planning your race season, do you plan ahead or sign up for races on the fly?
I do a bit of both. My “A” races are chosen first, and then many other races are added throughout as they fit into my training or overall plan 🙂 I get bored easily and love to try new races, so when given an opportunity I love to try something new or different!
What is the one most challenging obstacle you face on a race course?
I find that usually my biggest obstacle is mental. If I can stay in a positive mental space I find I can conquer almost anything!
What is one of your more prouder racing achievements?
Conquering a rope climb was epic the first time I got it. I struggled with that for many years and I felt like a million bucks the first time I managed to get it! More recently I achieved a huge time goal of mine when completing a marathon in 4:10:53 🙂
As a parent, how do you keep a good work/life training balance?
It was more challenging when my kids were younger, working around their schedules and squeezing in whatever I could. It made it easier once they were all in full-time school to get in the training needed to complete the longer runs I’ve done in more recent years. I try to get as much of my training in while they are at school as possible, I’m lucky to have a job with some flexibility that way!
What is the one specific skill or mindset that you have developed during your racing career?
I would say that the most important thing is to have a commitment to your goal. We often lack motivation (motivation is based on feelings, and feelings can be quite fleeting), but when we are committed to something we show up regardless of how we feel and get done what we promised ourselves we would do.
Is there a specific nutrition or training tip that you are comfortable sharing?
One major tip I have – never try something new on race day!!! Always test all of your gear and nutrition/hydration prior to race day so there are no unnecessary complications when your big day comes!
On course, what is the one item you cannot do without?
I would say that I’m generally pretty thirsty when racing, so I definitely couldn’t do without some sort of hydration on course!
Please share with us your future racing plans/goals
My next big race is the Grizzly 50K ultra (my first ultra-marathon) in October 2018. I’m excited and nervous! Once that race is done I will start to evaluate more about what races I want to do next, but I’m more recently considering working on increasing my speed and decreasing the distance to change things up!
Is there anything else we should know about you?
Things I LOVE avocados, coffee, sarcastic humor, Netflix and traveling. My happy place is on a beach somewhere hot!
What is the best way on social media to find you?
on Instagram at @iamfitnessyeg 🙂