Smashing Comfort Zones – Client Spotlight: Jessica

The best part of my job is seeing people grow and change before my very eyes. It’s seeing people look fear dead and the eye and tell it to go f*ck off. We all know that f-e-a-r is really just false evidence appearing real, don’t we? It’s the shit we tell ourselves when we project into the future. It is not reality. Many of the people that I work with are paralyzed by fear, and many won’t even work with me because of it. I wish that more people had the courage to tell fear to take a hike.

Then there are a few rare clients that just keep coming back for more. They look at fear, they move past it, and they grow. Today I wanted to highlight one of those people in this week’s blog. Meet Jessica.


Day Trip to FLYWHEEL in D.C.

I first met Jess about a year ago when she started coming to my spin classes. She was always in the front row, and she always worked hard. She was also a straight-shooter, which I admired and appreciated. Our relationship grew when she decided to take the plunge into macro-counting, and we went from client-coach to friends. Recently we have been meeting at the gym on Sunday mornings at o-dark-hundred so that I can teach her some new strength training exercises. She is not typically a “weekend warrior” when it comes to the gym and prefers to workout Monday through Friday, but after seeing some weekend patterns that she wanted to change, she embraced the motto “nothing changes if nothing changes” and has adjusted her routine to fit her goals.

I interviewed her recently because I am continually amazed at how much she continues to push past her limits and continue to grow.

Here is her experience with macro-counting, 2017 goals and working with me as a coach.

  • When did you first start macro-counting?

“I started my macro journey in May 2016.  I decided to try this program with a bunch of girlfriends from the gym.”

  • Why did you decide to try it?

“I had been following Mary’s blog and fitness Facebook page for a while in addition to taking cycle / RPM classes from her at the gym.  I admired Mary and her fitness and was curious to see how eating what you wanted and looking fabulous was possible.  I was especially intrigued to hear that counting macros would change my view of food altogether.”

  • What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen physically since you began?

“I do not have a small frame and would not consider myself skinny by any stretch – think thick soccer legs.  I have struggled with my lower abs (3 kids later) and hips/thighs/butt.  After counting macros for around 6 weeks, I noticed that all of these areas (including the rest of my body) began to lean out.  While the scale showed a modest ROI, my body shape told a different, very satisfying, story.”

  • What mental changes have you noticed in the way you view food now?

“Mary always preached that with counting macros I would no longer place foods into defined categories of good vs bad.  Being a decade in the making carb-phobic, it was difficult for me to allow myself to eat carbs without guilt and worry.  But of course, I listened to my “Jedi Macro Master” and stayed the course by “eating ALL the food”, hitting my goal numbers daily, and was delighted to see that good things were starting to happen and I wasn’t deprived of ANYTHING.  I was even eating REAL WHITE BREAD and WHITE RICE!  I now view food as fuel and am aware of what foods my body needs to look and feel my best.”

  • What are some common misconceptions that people have about macro counting?

“In the beginning as a busy working mom of three, I, like many, was skeptical of how I would find the time to faithfully do this logistically.  Buying a food scale?  Weighing and documenting every bite? Eating out?  Feeding my family too?  No way would I have the time or patience for this mess.  Well, here I am – just another true believer.  In the beginning of the program, there was a lot of foreign territory to navigate.  Many things were intimidating.  But Mary was there all along, holding my hand and available to answer the silly questions from me and our group.  It was nice to start out with a bunch of friends too – we all had some good quality laughs about our fumbles early on.  But with anything, practice makes perfect.  It took about 2 weeks to really get the kinks ironed out and build a comfort level with My Fitness Pal and the scale.”

  • What is one of your favorite meals to eat that wouldn’t be found on a typical diet?

“Like I said before, I have been beaten into thinking that carbs are the devil for so long that really any recipe with pasta, rice, potatoes or bread is such a treat.  Having a lean beef burger on an ACTUAL bun WITH NO GUILT WHATSOEVER is an amazing feeling for me.  My husband is still floored by how much food I am eating and how much my happy, toned body is loving every bite.”

  • What is Mary like as a coach – what is her style and how would you describe her ability to support her clients?

“I have been coached by other fitness professionals in the past.  My experience was that most were very similar in style, had physical fitness knowledge, but in the end, none ever REALLY inspired me. Mary is different. She starts out from a place of true generosity.  As you would imagine, she is of course a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all things food and fitness.  She is attentive to individual needs of her clients.  But what sets Mary apart from others in her field is that she is willing to pull back the curtain on her own struggles to show that we’re all human, we all stumble, but it’s how you recover and improve that makes you a success.  I don’t think I have met someone more genuinely invested in helping others be their best self.”

  • What is one thing you’ve done in 2017 that is outside of your comfort zone that you are proud of?

“I used to be the one in cycle class that would pretend to put on resistance becae I was worried that I wouldn’t be strong enough to make it through the next drill.  Well, a year later I have retired Jessica 1.0.  The new and improved me (Jessica 2.0) can honestly say that through this journey that started with macro counting in 2016, I am a lot less afraid of my own fears.  I now lift weights in the scary part of the gym that intimidated me many months ago.  With Mary’s tutelage, I try new weight lifting exercises and lift heavier than ever before.  The new me is now cranking the resistance in cycle class, because as a wise woman once told me “you should always try the hardest resistance – if it’s too much to finish, you can always take some off”.  I am proud to say that I rarely take off that extra gear and I am stronger than I thought.”

I hope that Jess’ story inspires you to step outside of your comfort zone more this year and try something scary for the very first time. The exciting part of the future is that you can help design it with your decisions. Way to go Jess!


Jess performing stiff-leg deadlifts


Jess performing banded glute exercises


"She has a following of the most amazing group of people that are motivated by her and everything that she embodies."

Being a former Division One Lacrosse player, I thought I knew what health and fitness was all about, until I met Mary. My collegiate fitness programs were nothing compared to her boot camps. Not impossible, but discovering that new challenges equal change. I also became an avid participant in her competitive and sold out spin classes, which is always so much more then just a class. You learn you must ” earn your seat,” and in return you leave with a feeling of accomplishment and an ultimate high that makes you want to keep coming back for more. Eat. Sleep. Ride. Repeat.

She has a following of the most amazing group of people that are motivated by her and everything that she embodies. From recipes to workouts, you have the best of both worlds: Your own fitness coach and your biggest supporter.

Sophia P.

"Her personal approach builds structure without feeling like a 'one size fits all' program."

“Getting your fitness confidence back post baby can be a difficult journey. Mary has helped to make my journey an adventure! Her personal approach builds structure without feeling like a ‘one size fits all’ program. Mary has coached me through spin class, multiple Insanity sessions and even the grocery store! She helps me build a “strong” pantry to support my strong fitness goals. Mary is passionate about her work and cares about your personal fitness growth which inspires me to keep focused on my health.”

Anna T.

"Her constant support has been invaluable."

“Mary has been a true inspiration for me. Not only is she one of the nicest people you will meet, she is also one of the most motivating! She helped both my husband and me set fitness goals for ourselves and get our eating on track. Her constant support has been invaluable. Whether you need a complete fitness overhaul or minor tweaking, she is the woman for the job. I couldn’t recommend her more!”

Jenny D.

"Mary always starts her classes by saying: No matter how your day has been so far, it's about to get a lot better. And it always does."

I went to grade school with Mary and recently reconnected when I moved back to the Annapolis area about a year ago from Washington D.C. I was looking for a challenging workout with a limited amount of time. Mary suggested I try her boot camp and spin class. I was immediately hooked! Not only because they are such challenging classes but more so because of Mary’s positive and infectious energy. I love being in a class where Mary teaches! She has a special gift to inspire others to push themselves past their perceived limits and does so without fail each class. I always leave Mary’s classes with the best feeling and now matter how hard it was, I can’t wait for the next one! Mary always starts her classes by saying, “No matter how your day has been so far, it’s about to get a lot better.” And it always does.

Colleen F.

"…she has taught me so much about the balance of eating right and indulging when I've earned it."

I first met Mary back in the beginning of 2013 about 6 months after I joined the cycle bandwagon. She took over the Wednesday morning cycle class I attended, and since that day, I’ve never been the same!

She pushes me to places I never knew I could go, and she has taught me so much about the balance of eating right and indulging when I’ve earned it. I’ve become a stronger person since meeting her, and I’m grateful for the balance of heath and fitness I have gained from that. #teammary

-Kelli H.

"I now plan my entire workout schedule for the week around Mary's spin classes."

I met Mary in 2012 when she was just starting to teach her spin classes….you have come a long way baby! I now plan my entire workout schedule for the week around Mary’s spin classes. The level of “positive push” I feel, I get from no other class. As a motivator in fitness and life Mary brings the reality of two friends supporting each other as opposed to a “coach” and a “client.” The tips, recipes, practical experience and challenges have stepped up my own personal fitness goals while enjoying it so much along the way. Mary is not preachy or judgmental but she has become that little voice in the back of my head that I need. Getting healthy is not about just food or just fitness, it is both. I feel that Mary is able to combine 2 of her biggest passions in a realistic but motivating way that is a great match for anyone that is inspired to make a change.

-Cindy H.