Coach’s Spotlight: Tristy “Mac” Stephens

We are taking a quick break from our “Athlete of the Month” series, to give you a glimpse into the journey of your coaches.  We will do this periodically, to let you know that we’ve all fought a lot of the same battles some of you may be fighting right now. In the process hopefully give you the inspiration to continue fighting through the tough times.

You all know Tristy, as the kick ass trainer that makes you constantly stretch your hips in unbearable ways, doesn’t put up with you eating crap for breakfast, and won’t let you stop when the going gets tough in a WOD.  To us she’s an absolute rock, who is just as responsible for making this gym a success as either of us.  Everyone of you is blessed to work with Tristy, she is one of the most caring,  genuine people I’ve ever met, and has this silly habit of changing peoples lives on a daily basis. 

This is her story….

I have spent my entire life battling with my weight.  I have been overweight since I was in first grade.  There were even times in my life when I was considered “morbidly obese.”  In middle school, I hovered around 200lbs, and my mom started taking me to a doctor who specialized in weight loss.  Throughout middle school and high school, I tried almost every fad diet that was released onto the market.  I would lose a couple of pounds here and there, but nothing significant and it would never stay off.  I played softball, rowed for a crew team, and I also worked out in a gym as much as I could.   I wasn’t scared of hard work, so I tried to stay active, but nothing I did made the weight come off.

When I got to college, most of the friends I made were athletes at my university.  I was surrounded with people who were in fantastic shape, and it was a constant reminder of the changes I needed to make.  So, I hired a personal trainer, started rowing for my university’s crew team and started making major changes in my diet.  I was working out twice a day 5 days a week and once a day on the 6th day.  I started to lose a good amount of weight for the first time in my life.  I went from a size 16-18 to a 14 and I was thrilled.

Over the next 5 years, I traveled extensively and lived all over the world.  I managed to stay very active and almost always had a gym membership in the countries where I lived.  My diet was more difficult because it was controlled by my environment, but I tried to remain conscious of the things I was eating.  However, despite my best efforts, the weight started to pack back on.

At the end of 2007, I moved to the Austin area with my older brother, Shane.  For years, Shane has been very dedicated to his fitness and health.  He has always been a good influence on me in that aspect, but since I hadn’t lived near him in over 10 years, it was hard for his influence to stick.  When we moved here, the first thing we did was join a Globo gym.  We worked out daily, made meals together and did everything we could to be healthy.  After about 8 months, we started getting bored with our routine and started looking for something new.  Shane mentioned that he had heard of this thing called CrossFit, so we started doing some research.  We did our first CF WOD on our own at our Globo gym, and after we finished, although we were lying on the floor gasping for air, we both agreed we were sold.  We followed the CF main page WOD’s for about a month on our own, and then we started looking for a CF gym to join in Austin.  We knew that we needed coaching in order to get the full benefits of the program.

In Nov. of last year, I came across a website that was promoting CF Austin in South Austin, so I immediately emailed  them (ed. note: about 2 seconds after the website went up!) to see if Shane and I could come join the free workouts they were hosting.  I was so excited and unbelievably nervous to go to our first workout.  I had visions of a group of people with ripped ab muscles, bulging biceps and perfectly sculpted calves who could all run a 4 minute mile.  I knew I would be the most out-of-shape person there, and it scared me to death.  When, I found out that Shane had to work and couldn’t go with me, I let my nerves get the better of me and didn’t go.  The next day, Shane had to work again, but I was determined to make it to the free CF Austin workout anyway.  My stomach was in knots, but I went and met Wes and Boone and did the workout.  Shane and I continued to go to all of the free workouts that CFA hosted in the park and then, as soon as they let us, we joined CFA!

Since starting CF a little over a year ago, my life has changed dramatically in so many ways.  The most obvious change has been that I have lost over 60lbs, and I am officially half the size that I was at this time last year (I started at a size 16 and now am a size 8).  I see differences in my body composition almost daily.  The most rewarding part of the weight loss is that I know that it will never come back.  The lifestyle changes I have made are permanent ones!  I attended a CF nutrition certification in March of last year, which totally changed the way that I eat, but more importantly, the way that I look at food and nutrition.  The most significant change CF has brought for me has been that I have gained self confidence for the first time in my life.  Every day, I look at the WOD and think, “man, there’s no way I can do that,” and then I go in and do it, and it’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment.  This attitude has translated over into every aspect of my life.  I attended my Level One CF certification last month which is something that I would have NEVER had the confidence to do a year ago.  For 28 years I made excuses, and overcompensated in so many areas of my life because of my weight and lack of self confidence.  It is a wonderful feeling to finally not have to do that anymore.  I have a lot more work to do to reach my goals, but I am proud of the progress I have made so far.  CrossFit Austin and the amazing owners/coaches have helped me make the changes in my life that I was never able to do on my own! I am blessed to be a member of the CrossFit Austin family, and I am so proud to be part of a community filled with such outstanding individuals!

We love ya Tristy, keep up the great work!