Passion is a feeling of desire that gives life a sense of purpose and meaning. It’s that feel good energy, fueling you with the confidence needed to conquer another day of perseverance and growth. It’s a unique spark hidden deep within that exudes as a glow of inspiration to the outside world.
Passion is a part of who you are— and when you have it, you have it— so trust me when I say, this girl has “it.”
Meet Andrea Arnold, better known in the running realm as, Fit Andy.
Andy is a badass marathon runner with a passion in life to inspire others on their pursuit of an active lifestyle. In fact, this girl has so much fire in her, just several months after recovering from a car accident, she was running full marathons faster than ever before.
Her determination captured the hearts of big time brands, and now, Fit Andy is able to share her passion for running while using her voice of motivation as a Finish Line Brand Influencer.
Andy is quickly making a name for herself in the fitness world because — A. She’s badass, and B. She’s glowing with a genuine passion for life.
So, without further a due, allow me to introduce to you December’s Mermaid of the Month, Andrea Arnold.
+ Introduce yourself
My name is Andrea Arnold and I LOVE anything related to health and nutrition. Currently, I am a Lifestyle Educator at Kaiser Permanente – Positive Choice Wellness Center and part-time student working toward becoming a registered dietitian. I want to educate, empower, and inspire others to live a healthier and fitter lifestyle.
+ How did your passion for running begin?
Living in San Diego for the past 2 years has opened up my eyes to being more conscious to live a more healthy and active lifestyle. I started paying more attention to what I was putting in my body, as well as finding physical activities that kept me engaged. Running caught my eye and before you knew it I was running full marathons!
+ What gave you the motivation to run your first marathon?
I was in a car accident a year and a half ago and I wasn’t able to do anything physically strenuous. I went to a chiropractor for several months and during that time I took up yoga and swimming because I was going crazy! It killed me not to run during that time, and I promised myself that when I am able to run again I’d run a full marathon. I wanted to prove to myself that I was physically and mentally strong. So, I signed up for the Santa Barbara Full Marathon 4 months prior to the race and then joined a running team one month into training. I worked on speed, cross training and long distance. I set a goal of sub 4 hours and I got a 3:56!! Crossing that finish line was the best feeling ever 🙂
+ How did you recover from your injury and overcome the obstacle stronger than before?
Recovering from my IT Band injury took 6 months. I wasn’t able to run or do any physical activity with impact. I was devastated, angry, and couldn’t stop asking why this happened to me. After a few rough weeks I had enough, I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and do something about it. So, I went to a physical therapist 2 times a week. We focused on building strength in each leg individually, glutes and hips. PT was a big eye opener, I learned that I needed better shoes, work on my running form, cross train more effectively, and most importantly STRETCH!! The biggest take away from this experience was that I used my injury as motivation. I turned my negative situation into a positive! And the best part was 4 months after recovery I ran another full marathon and beat my past time by 3 minutes.
+ Who is your biggest inspiration?
My parents are my biggest inspiration…I know it sounds so cheesy but it’s true! My Dad worked his ass off to support our family of 7 and always found time to take us kids on family adventures. I thank him for my wild and adventurous side, my love for hikes, and the hustle in me…oh and my college degree! My Mom always made sure we had all of our meals home cooked, taking me to soccer practice and being at every single game of mine. She taught me to cook and to always put family first.
+ Why do you feel it is important to develop an active lifestyle?
2 years ago I ate very different and wasn’t as active. I knew nothing about portions, cooking, or grocery shopping. But, the only way to get better at it was to continue practicing, and that is exactly what I did. What inspires me to live a healthy lifestyle is how great it feels. And how great it is to pass that feeling on to others. I look at food as a way to fuel my body; it energizes me and allows me to run marathons. Why would I want to fill my body with unhealthy processed foods that will only leave me feeling bloated, sick, and lethargic. I choose healthy every time, but always treat yourself now and then!
+ What music gets you pumped up for a run?
1. Loyal – Chris Brown
2. Don’t tell em – Jeremih
3. Let the beat build – Lil Wayne
+ Share some of your top training tips.
Stretch – 5- 10 minutes dynamic stretching before a workout and static stretching after
Cross train – Switch things up, get in the pool, practice yoga, or bike! But most importantly, continue building that single leg (prevent IT Band injuries) and core strength.
Running – Keep that back straight, hands in a loose fist, shoulders relaxed, good shoes, comfortable clothing and a positive mind. If you are running a race, break the race up into not so scary sections. (marathon tips: http://www.fitandy.com/marathon-tips/)
Massage therapy – You need to keep up with maintenance, especially if you want to be a long-term runner. Foam rolling and ART massage therapy (Active Release Technique) are my go-to. Take care of your body!
Ice baths – 20 minutes after a long run with help reduce inflammation, speed up recovery, and help with soreness.
Nutrition – Eat healthy, watch portions, and drink plenty of water. Strive to always have a plate full of good carbs, healthy fats, and lean protein. Fuel your body right!
Have fun! – No need to be so serious, just let loose and have fun! Don’t forget why you are running and whom you are doing it for, because we all lose sight of this and need to make sure to remind ourselves occasionally.
My training schedule: http://www.fitandy.com/fit-andy-runs-sf/
+ What is your quick fix to happiness?
Going on a run to clear my head or going to the gym to sweat it out. Oh wait, it has to be making a new breakfast recipe!! How about all three? 😀
+ How do you keep your body fueled during training?
I make sure to eat plenty of good carbs (brown rice, whole wheat bread, quinoa), healthy fats (avocado, almond butter, nuts) and lean protein (ground turkey, lean beef, chicken breast). I eat 5-6 meals a day every 2-3 hours. I feel like I am always eating, but that is the life of a marathoner and I wouldn’t want it any other way. My favorite post workout meal, breakfast of champions! http://www.fitandy.com/breakfast-of-champions/
+ What is your secret to finding balance in life?
I wish I knew!! I am always striving to keep that balance, and it is not an easy thing to do. I have so many things going on right now, I work part-time at Kaiser, part-time student, Brand Influencer for Finish Line, Blogger, and most importantly a wife. I have so many different roles and things to do. I get overwhelmed at times and have to sit back and get some perspective. I reflect on why I am doing these things, where are they going, is it beneficial/positive…I ask myself all of these questions to make sure I am heading in the right direction. Finding balance will always be something I am working towards, but I know as long as I am happy and healthy I will be just fine!
+ Where do you see your journey to wellness leading you?
1 year: Complete a Sprint Triathlon and work towards an Ironman.
2 years: Qualify for Boston (I need a 3:35), Masters program at SDSU
5 years: Become a Registered Dietitian, Start a family
10 years: Have my own business, Cook show/Cookbook
+ Share with us your Mermaid Mantra.
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan
Anything Michael Jordan says I love! He is an outstanding athlete and his work ethic is on another level. This quote speaks to me because I’ve always wanted things to happen for myself (health and fitness) and one day I decided I am going to do something about it and start making shit happen! I am strong, empowered, and inspired and that is what I want to spread to others.
+ What advice do you have for other mermaids?
Never stop dreaming because you can become anything you want to be! I never thought I’d be where I am now, but couldn’t be happier. It took courage and strength to change my life, but I followed my heart and that’s all that matters. I have had my fair share of struggles, but I turned them around and used it as motivation. Turn those situations around and know that everything happens for a reason.
To those of you that are starting out on your healthier lifestyle, don’t give up because the lack of results. Two things to remember: commitment and patience. Take those before and after pictures, buy cute workout clothes, and indulge now and then.
And to those that have been on this journey, keep it up! Don’t lose that motivation or commitment. Switch up those workouts, your body adapts quickly. Try boxing, indoor soccer, or join a running team. Continue setting goals and working towards them. You got this!!
See what I mean when I say, this girl has “it”?!
But that special “it” factor doesn’t come from running— “it” can be hiking, swimming, dancing, surfing, music, writing, yoga, painting or photography.
The “it” factor comes from your unique spark of passion and believing in yourself enough to stick with “it.”
Now as I begin the countdown to my marathon 3-peat, I will be spending the next 12 days creeping on @FitAndyy via instagram for some race day motivation. Also, be sure to check out her fitness blog, www.FitAndy.com, for some killer workouts, recipes and training tips to help you conquer any finish line.
xx Fins & Kisses,