A Single Moment Can Change Your Life by Liz Balmer

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A Single Moment Can Change Your Life by Liz Balmer

It’s funny how a single moment can change your life forever. For me, that moment was a few weeks after I turned 40, when I was driving home from dinner at a friend’s house. I was at a stoplight when I was suddenly rear-ended by a man who was experiencing some sort of diabetic episode and hadn’t recognized that the traffic in front of him was stopped. He slammed into the back of my car going approximately 40 mph.

At first, I didn’t think I was hurt, and I was even able to drive home from the scene (my car sustained $8500 in damages, but somehow was still drivable). But as the normal aches and pains of whiplash subsided in the days that followed, pain in my lower back began to increase. It was eventually determined that I had torn one, if not two, lower lumbar dics, which meant that the discs were not only inflamed and bulging, but also leaking fluid that felt like battery acid on my spine. And structurally, my alignment was thrown off, causing more inflammation and pain in my right sacral iliac joint and hip.

I underwent four separate epidural injections and months of physical therapy, but the pain was persistent. Activities of daily living became extremely difficult for me, and instead of trying to move more, I responded by moving less and less and less (which I now know is the exact wrong thing to do for back pain). And I had to begin cutting back my hours at work until eventually I had to quit my job altogether. For the next few years, I grew weaker and weaker, life with chronic pain became my new normal, and I became mentally and emotionally depressed and exhausted.

And then one day I woke up and decided that I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I knew I had to do something, but I hadn’t exercisedLiz Balmer Success Strory since my mid 20’s and had no idea what to do or where to start. So I simply began walking on my treadmill. In those early days, I was lucky to walk for 15 minutes at a very slow pace before experiencing total exhaustion. But I kept at it every day, slowing increasing my time and pace and slowly feeling stronger and stronger.

After about a year of walking, I knew I needed to progress to something more, but I knew I couldn’t withstand any pounding movements (running or jumping) on my spine. So I began searching for “low impact” video workouts online, and that’s when I stumbled upon Cathe Friedrich.

I ordered one of her Low Impact Series videos – Cardio SuperSets – and couldn’t even get through it the first time I tried. But somehow Cathe made me feel safe, and I liked her, and so I kept trying again and again until it became achievable. And then I bought a few more of her LIS videos and did the same with those. And as I began to see progress and feel myself becoming stronger, I ventured beyond her low impact videos to other series and just kept going. I looked forward every day to my date with Cathe!

And during this time something magical happened – I began to see myself as being stronger, braver and more capable than I thought I was. I really wanted to start pushing myself out of my comfort zone and see what I could do – and each time I found that I could do more than I ever thought I could. This was revelatory mentally and emotionally, as well as physically, and allowed me to finally begin reclaiming my life from years of constant pain — it was like a dark fog lifted! As I continued to progress in my workouts over the next few years, my personality became more pleasant, my self-esteem grew, my marriage got stronger, my life got better. And, of course, I lost weight, reshaped my body, and over time gained a significant amount of strength, power and flexibility.

A single moment that changes your life forever… Well, for me it’s now two moments. The moment of my car accident, and the moment I found Cathe. I’m not sure I would be where I am today without her. She made me feel safe when my world was upside down, she motivated and encouraged me to keep going when I didn’t think I could, she taught me the fundamentals of exercise and proper form and progressions, and she instilled deep within me a passion for the transformative power of fitness. And since we are the same age, she has always made me feel that if she can do it, I can do it! And all that from a lady on my TV screen!

I live a life now that is mostly free of pain. At 50, I am stronger and healthier than I have ever been. I’ve attended several Road Trips to work out with Cathe in person (a true honor and highlight in my life!!) and am constantly encouraged and blessed by all my friends in the Cathlete community. I’ve also obtained certifications in both personal training and fitness/sports nutrition, and I love nothing more than to motivate others to get moving and discover that they, too, are stronger, braver and more capable than they ever thought they could be.

Thank you, Cathe, for being my moment!

Liz Balmer

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14 Responses to “A Single Moment Can Change Your Life by Liz Balmer”

  1. Avatar for Jodi
    Jodi February 28, 2016 at 1:44 am #

    Love this! So inspirational!

  2. Avatar for Karen
    Karen February 28, 2016 at 9:43 am #

    Wow…impressive and inspirational. Your accident and the way pain crept into your body afterwards is exactly why even if you feel OK after an accident, you should go get checked out at the ER as annoying as that might be. I am so glad you found your way through all this with Cathe….I too workout with her and workout in general because I have degenerative osteoarthritis…many places in my body and my mother was crippled with it. My Dr has told me only way to fight it is to lift weights and workout…Cathe is my pill too….I am now 60 and still going strong and I will until I am unable.
    You are an amazing inspiration and that is an excellent testiment!

  3. Avatar for Pamela Grow
    Pamela Grow February 29, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    Thank you for sharing your story, Liz. SO inspiring.

  4. Avatar for melissa
    melissa February 29, 2016 at 11:08 am #

    Bravo Liz BRAVO! I feel exactly the same way about Cathe and you should be so proud of yourself! 🙂

  5. Avatar for Renee Allen
    Renee Allen February 29, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    Wonderful to read, Liz! <3

  6. Avatar for Jennifer
    Jennifer February 29, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

    Such an inspirational story, though I’m sorry this happened to you I am glad you found your strength and turned yourself into a Cathlete! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Avatar for Nita
    Nita February 29, 2016 at 6:29 pm #

    I read every.single.word! Thank you so much for sharing this, because I have gone through something akin to your experience ( my infant daughter was in the truck, and a suicidal driver decided to take us out). I ended up hitting a house! Anyway, THIS is what I mean about the mind/body connection and that the body will heal if allowed to. I’m so happy for you!

  8. Avatar for Carrie
    Carrie February 29, 2016 at 8:28 pm #

    Your story is amazing and inspiring! And although I have not had an accident or life-changing pain event to deal with, your words “And all that from a lady on my TV screen!” are so true. I think all of us who love Cathe and owe her so much even though many of us have never met her have the same feeling. I envy you the road trips, and one of the few things I look forward to about my kids someday leaving the nest is that I will have the freedom to go on one of those trips! I just want to be one of the thousands who thank Cathe in person some day. Congratulations on your journey, and maybe we will meet some day at a future road trip!

  9. Avatar for Deb
    Deb March 1, 2016 at 10:00 am #

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I found it so very encouraging. While I’ve never experienced all you went through, I have discovered the power and importance of moving and not giving into the pain. I suffer from spinal stenosis which causes me lower back pain and in the past has caused pain to radiate down my leg. I was getting epi injections on a regular basis to manage the pain up until last May. Since I started walking 5-6 miles a day the pain has not been severe enough to warrant any epi shots and I haven’t had an epi since last May. So I second the importance of moving when all you want to do is sit around and feel sorry for yourself. Again, congratulations, and thanks for sharing.

  10. Avatar for Abigail
    Abigail March 3, 2016 at 6:52 pm #

    You are AMAZING! Cathe changes lives, for sure. But you made it happen- stuck to it and did the work and you look smoking hot, by the way. I’m so happy you are living pain free and strong. Also, thank you for the motivation to keep with my own workouts. I recently went back to work and when I get home it’s hard to find the motivation. I’m working through Ripped with Hiit two month rotation currently.

    Excuse me while I reread your post… it was just so good.

    LOTS of love your way 🙂 Abigail

  11. Avatar for Liz L.
    Liz L. March 23, 2016 at 2:10 am #

    Stories like this are the definition of awesome! This was the most inspiring read I’ve ha in quite awhile. Thank you so much for sharing your journey here, Liz.

  12. Avatar for Chiquita M.
    Chiquita M. May 2, 2016 at 10:01 pm #

    This story made the tears roll down. You are truly an inspiration because I have those really low times as well and I’ve never been in a serious accident. So I applaud you on your special achievements in spite of the circumstances. Also, Cathe is one truly awesome lady!

  13. Avatar for Lesley Barta
    Lesley Barta July 22, 2016 at 7:51 am #

    Liz, what an inspirational story! You have really accomplished so much! KUDOS! You should be so proud of how far you have come. Cathe has always been my inspiration and BEST motivator as well! See you at the roadtrip!

  14. Avatar for Stephanie
    Stephanie August 1, 2016 at 10:44 am #

    From one cathlete to another, you are truly amazing! Keep on pushing yourself and hopefully at age 90 we will still feel this good! It was great meeting you this weekend.

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