Role Model: Allison Senkarik

This group has served as such an inspiration to me – I can’t thank you ladies enough for your kind words and inspiring posts. I’m so proud of each and every one of us, from the women who have achieved the body of their dreams to those posting their start date photos as they gingerly begin to tread down the road to fitness, we are all lady beasts! For the women who are just starting out, you are my hero! Seeing your beautiful, raw, unfiltered posts exposing your fears/struggles and watching the fire ignite within you as you begin to work toward crushing your fitness goals is so fantastic! The best part is seeing so many of us setting new goals, reaching for new levels of happiness!
My name is Allison Senkarik, nicknamed Ally. I’m 29 and I live in Gainesville Florida. I am currently a Fiscal Assistant II at the University of Florida, Dept. of Liver Research. I am at a height of 5’7″ with a weight of 144 lbs.
Before I had children, I was a cheerleader in college and fairly active but did not start seriously pursuing fitness until I was 25. I started lifting weights with a friend, then was introduced to HIIT training through a local running club and fell in love with how working out made me feel. I ran my first Obstacle Course Race in 2014 and have run many more since!
I have one son who just turned two in May. I gained 31 pounds from my pregnancy. During my pregnancy I craved a lot of spicy food, especially Mexican food during my pregnancy and prior to having my son I was not a fan of spicy food! My husband is an avid hunter so we ate a good bit of game meat too; elk, deer and alligator to name a few and those always sounded great. I also loved fruit while I was pregnant and treating myself to ice cream became my usual because of the heat here in Florida!
I was very active during my pregnancy. I worked out at least 4 days a week. I also participated in a HIIT class the day I went into labor (class did not induce my labor, my water broke several hours later). I ran the stadium up until 22 weeks pregnant but continued with some jogging and lots of weight lifting throughout the remainder of my pregnancy. I also ran the Warrior Dash at 6 months pregnant but skipped any obstacles that could hurt me or the baby.
It took me around 8 months after my pregnancy to reach my pre-baby shape again. I had a hard time running again after having my son; my hips took a while to shift back to their normal place. A big part of why I love to work out is the camaraderie shared within our running club so it was important for me to be able to get back out there with them again and have fun while working up a sweat!
At 6 weeks post-partum to giving birth I started training and dieting. I didn’t start seriously watching my food intake until after I went back to work at 13 weeks post-partum. I don’t actually like the term “diet” and chose to try to eat clean and plan out my meals to keep from slipping up, especially since it can be hard to find a healthy lunch on the fly.
I breastfed but had major supply issues. My husband and I did formula supported tubal breastfeeding until my sun was 8 months. At that point he began to refusing and since my supply was only a handful out ounces per day it was time to wean.
I don’t count calories, instead I try to eat clean and meal plan during the week. I relax my diet on the weekends and only consume alcohol on the weekends. Meal rep includes lots of protein, veggies and whole grains. I also try to time myself at work for snacks/meals to ensure that I’m not just eating out of “boredom” and try to consume at least 75 ounces of water at work each day. It’s very easy to eat when working at a desk job so I make sure to wait until certain times to eat, hydrate and take walking breaks.
Mostly weight training at first, but as a team leader of Running Man Club ( RMC), I started attending some of out shorter runs and HIIT workouts at 8 weeks post-partum. I trained for and completed a Spartan Trifecta in 2016 which was huge for me mentally and physically. I have also participated in several other OCR/mud run events, GORUCK events, as well as a few road races. I find that signing up for events really helps me stay focused and train toward a specific goal. In October I will be running my first Ragnar and 25K trail race, Gate2Gate San Felasco, a few weeks later! And yes, I’m slightly terrified but I truly believe it’s important to journey outside your comfort zone.
My husband is extremely supportive of my fitness habits. He’s a disabled veteran and while he cannot do the same kind of training, he is also fairly active, adapting a lot of activities based on his injuries. Two of my most important training sessions are on Saturday and Sunday mornings, he is very good about taking care of our son to make sure that I can get my workout in with RMC and then he typically will work out later or will take our son out on “ruck marches” where he pushes the stroller while wearing a heavily weighted ruck sack on his back. We also do family ruck marches together that way we can all get outside and Barrett enjoys riding in the stroller.
My Top 5 tips for moms who want to get in shape:
1- Be patient! Many of the women we see on social media who “snap back” after babies have other things factoring in that we are unaware of. We can’t judge our own successes/failures based on the lives of others. It’s not worth it to starve yourself into being skinny, let your body take its time to readjust. It took me much longer than expected to get back to my pre-baby weight but I did it the healthy way and have had better long term results.
2 – Hydrate! Much of my snacking I used to do was because my body was truly thirsty. If I want a snack, I try to drink at least 8 ounces of water before eating to see if my body was simply looking for water. It’s helped my snacking a lot as well as my energy levels.
3 – Lift weights and lift heavy! To the women curling 5 lbs. dumbbells in the gym, “Your purse weighs more than that!” Stick to 6-8 reps of a weight that challenges your body. I have become so much more toned because of weightlifting and just hit a new bench press PR of 135 pounds without looking manly or too muscular. 😉
4 – HIIT cardio is your friend! By driving your heart rate up, you help your body achieve a higher caloric burn for the rest of the day. Wasting away on an elliptical for an hour is boring and ineffective. Plus as busy moms we just don’t have time for that!
5 – Your body is stronger than you think it is! Before getting into shape, I suffered with severe food issues, depression and lack of confidence. I have pushed my body far beyond what I thought I was capable of. Mental grit is a powerful tool that has helped me to become a more focused, driven woman.
My favorite motivational quotes are
“Physical strength will get you to the start line, but mental strength will get you to the finish line.”
“The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you.”
“Better 2gether” (The motto of RMC, the running club I exercise with)
Vanessa Lynn Campos has been a true inspiration to me because she’s done a little bit of everything, from weightlifting to Spartan races, she is a fantastic example of functional strength. She is also a great voice of reason on the NEM forum when women are making less than favorable choices, especially with calorie restriction.
My favorite cheat meals would have to be pizza, tacos, or sushi. Random yes but I love food! I also believe that food should not be treated as a negative influence, balance is key to being able to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
My favorite “diet” meal or clean meal would have to be roasted bell peppers and onions, chicken and steak, fresh sliced avocado over brown rice. With lots of hot sauce!
Game of Thrones is my TV show.
I came across an online article about Maria Kang one day and I was drawn to her openness and honesty about her fitness journey. Being a No Excuse Mom means being able to realize that in order to take care of your children and set a good example for them, you must take care of yourself. As mothers we have a tendency to put everyone else first. But it’s okay and actually pretty wonderful to carve out an hour to yourself to train. My NEM training time is the only time of day I can just shut my brain off and focus on nothing but the exhilarating feeling of pushing my body past what I thought was my limit. Those moments spent drenching in sweat, huffing, puffing, and cursing allow me to process all of my pent up stress, depression, and anxiety. When I work out I’m free. And I know that the time I invest in myself only helps me to be a more relaxed and happy Mom to my sweet boy. The best part is seeing him pick up healthy habits, a few months ago we videoed him doing burpees with me, such a great memory to share with him for years to come!
A goal I have for the future is to complete another Spartan Trifecta and push myself for time and obstacle completion. My hope is to run a Rock n Roll half marathon in 2018 and to continue to find new fitness goals to crush!
Thank you Allison for sharing your story! You can follow her on Instagram here: @asenkarik