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Kristin Bartz’s Y Story #yilovemyy

On October 24, 2022, I started my weight loss Journey. We all think it’s too hard, “I can’t do it.” Or we give up on ourselves. Well did you know that popular belief is that 21 days makes a new habit? That is what I kept telling myself. I can do anything for 21 days. Then on day 21, I said let’s try for another 21 days. Before I knew it, I was getting up every day at 3:30 A.M just to go to the YMCA to work out. It was habit.

Everyone always asks me what made you decide to finally lose weight. Well, for one, it wasn’t the insistent pushing or comments of family members to lose weight; it wasn’t the stares or quiet comments of strangers or not strangers. It was the fact that I felt that I needed to do it for me. Not for anyone else, for me. I had gone to the doctor because I started falling again. She said something no one ever told me. That for every pound on my joints it was 8 pounds of pressure. This made me think, wow that’s a lot of pressure. So, I asked her to help me. And, she did. She set me up with a Wellness Coach (kind of like a personal trainer) and Dietician, who I see once a month. She also told me that walking in the water was helping, but I needed to walk and walk fast. So, I went home and put the harnesses on my two German Shepherds and said let’s go. And, for the first time ever, I let them, walk me.

That first month, I lost 25 lbs. I came to the YMCA every morning (Monday-Saturday) and walked in the river then went home and walked my dogs 1.5 miles and walked them again at night for 4 miles. After the first month, the lazy river wasn’t hard enough anymore and I just so happened to be walking with Jill Steinich, the Assistant Aquatics Director one day, who said,
“come over and work out with me in the morning.” Little did she know that she was starting something. We now have an entire group of us that do water aerobics at 6:00 AM every day for 1 -1.5 hours depending on the day and our schedules.

About 2 ½ months in, I knew that my wellness coach was going to tell me I had to venture upstairs to the YMCA weight room. So, I headed upstairs at 5:00 A.M. I put blinders on and I had complete tunnel vision and only saw the treadmill. I would walk on that treadmill for 45-50 minutes every day before going downstairs to do the water aerobics. We were in the middle of winter so when the weather was really bad, I would put on a YouTube video (either Walk Away The Pounds or FIIT) and I did try Yoga, but the entire breathing and stretching thing was a bit over the top for me.

By 3 ½ months, my fitness coach told me I had to start lifting weights (what weights, there’s weights up there?). So, I asked one of the other YMCA members to show me how to use the machines. The people up there are absolutely wonderful. I try to do leg machines 2x a week. I still hate them, so if I don’t, I don’t beat myself up over it. Twice a week I go workout with a friend of mine up in Lomira at Quad. There I walk on the treadmill for another hour before she gets there, then we do arm exercises with weights and machines.

Recently, I moved into my new house I built on the Horicon Marsh. Saturday and Sunday mornings my dogs and I have been exploring the marsh and the surrounding area. My weight workouts have been replaced with yard work, which includes moving rocks, gravel, dirt and digging. I can still be found upstairs at the YMCA every morning at 5:00 AM, unless I’m too sore from the yard work, then I’ll be downstairs swimming. At 6:00 A.M every day you’ll find me doing water aerobics and the last 10 minutes I’m at the YMCA, I try to swim. At night you’ll find me out on The Horicon Marsh walking my two beautiful German Shepherds. Mid-June I’m supposed to try Yoga, so maybe you’ll see me there. I don’t have good balance so this should be interesting.

I want to add that I could not have done this without the support of all of the people I have met and call friends here at the YMCA. They have all been a huge support, from the encouragement to the knowledge they share with me. Also, a huge thank you to Jill Steinich, Assistant Aquatics Director for getting all of us all into water aerobics. Not just me, but we can all tell the difference.

As of today, almost 7 months later, I have lost 133 pounds, no surgery, just food and exercise. And, because I get asked this all the time.. Yes, I still eat all the same foods you do. No Keto, no fasting.

Kristin, we are all inspired by your story to make a new habit, completely changing your life for the better. We completely believe in you and are so proud of you! 21 days, followed by another 21 days, on repeat, for your health, just FOR YOU!

- Your cheerleaders, your YMCA Family

Ben’s Ironman Story 

What inspired you to do the Ironman? 

The Ironman 70.3 or 1/2 Ironman was a big undertaking for me. I had been listening to a few podcasts on running and ultra-runners who had completed very long distance marathons (50+ miles) and was amazed at what the human body is capable of. I wanted to complete something like that for myself but was very out of shape. I started running and working out again at the Y and in 2021 I saw a sign for the Tri at the Y and decided to give it a go. It was a short race but a lot of fun. I was 37 at the time, now 38 and wasn’t getting any younger. The Ironman was always in my mind as a life goal and I decided to stop making excuses and sign up for the Wisconsin Ironman 70.3 in September of 2022. This gave me just over a year to train. 

What is the length of each swim, bike, run? 
The Ironman 70.3 is a 1.2 mile swim, followed by a 56 mile bike ride and then ending with 13.1 mile run.  

What has your training plan been like? Describe your protocol? Or a typical day? 

I bought a book recommended by many triathletes called “IronFit Secrets”. This book contained a training program for the 1/2 iron distance triathlon. I used this book as my training bible for over a year now. I used its competitive training guide which has a building phase, training phase and a taper phase just before the race. In the peak of training, I was doing around 15 hours a week of swimming, biking and running. It was very difficult to adhere to with a full-time job and a family of 3. It meant a lot of mornings of 5 a.m. swims or runs, along with biking before or after school and kid’s sports. 

A typical week of training during the heavy phase of workouts was as follows.

  • Monday: an “off day” or a makeup day for any workouts missed in the previous week. 

  • Tuesday: 1 hour to 1 hour and 15-minute run, which was around 6-8 miles. 

  • Wednesday: a brick day of 45 minutes on the bike and immediately jumping off and running for 30 minutes. 

  • Thursday: 1 hour and 15 minutes on the bike. 

  • Fridays: 1 hour and 15-minute run. 

  • Saturdays: long bricks of 3–4-hour bike ride immediately followed by a 20 - 30 minute run. 

  • Sundays: 1.5 hour - 2 hour run and later in the day doing a high rpm 1 hour bike ride. 

  • Swim days were usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays either in the morning or the afternoon depending on my work and life schedule on top of the normal workouts as well. The swim workout usually was around 30 minutes to 1 hour and were from distances of 1500 yards to 2800 yards depending on the work out.

Have you done any races prior? 

Prior to this race I’ve only done a mini sprint (Tri-At-The-Y 2021) and 1 sprint triathlon for preparation. I also had to do as many open water swims to become more comfortable in swimming in a lake instead of a pool. The differences between the two can be very intimidating. 

How long have you been a member of the YMCA? 

I’ve been a member at the Dodge County YMCA for 2 years or more and it was a vital tool in getting swims and runs in on bad weather days. 

I am very excited and nervous about this undertaking, but I know I’ll be proud of myself no matter the outcome. Fingers crossed all will go well on Saturday.  

Your Y Family couldn’t be prouder of you, Ben! Mind over matter on Saturday! You got this and we believe in you. We’ll see you on Monday to use the hot tub! wink