On the Platform with Heidi Cullen

A month back I saw a video of this woman crushing a 295lb deadlift. This just so happened to be over a double body weight lift by the way.

I’ve seen her around before but didn’t really know who she was.

One day I saw her in the grocery store and thought to myself…I need to introduce myself. This woman needs to know that she is so strong and it is appreciated. So after some internal debate I decided to hunt her down in the grocery store and introduce myself.

After a short, awkward introduction (because that’s how I roll) we got busy talking about how she was able to get to that deadlift with ease. I knew I needed to sit down with this woman, so I asked her if I could chat with her a bit.

We sat down and had one of the most refreshing, authentic conversations.

Heidi has always been an active person. Growing up she was a gymnast and a diver. Lifting definitely took place but it was to keep her current strength…not to get stronger. At the time the mentality was very much “lifting makes you bulky”. Hindsight her thoughts are now “if only I knew what getting strong could have done for me when I was competing in college… I can’t imagine the athlete I would have been.”

After Heidi had her 2nd child, she decided that she wanted to get back to feeling like Heidi again. She has been lifting seriously for 2 years now.

“I just needed to get back to me. This is something I can do for me. Not for my kids, my family, etc.… for me”

Heidi runs her own wedding videography business in addition to being a mom to two beautiful children and a wife to her husband Jon.

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“What can I do to be Heidi?”

She made a decision that she needed to get her identity back. She knew that she was more than just a wife, mom, and entrepreneur.

It is so easy for moms especially, to identify themselves with the many tasks that come along with their role. The problem is that when the kids are off on their own, mothers don’t know what to do with themselves because their kids and/or their job has become their life.

It’s amazing to hear that with two young children, Heidi is trying to create her own identity outside of those roles.

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Although Heidi appears to be the modern day wonder woman, she still has struggles. Balance is the biggest struggle she encounters.

“I strive to keep family time, family time and work time, work time”

She goes over her lunch breaks to the gym and is able to get there up to 5x in a week. This doesn’t always come with ease though. Work matters become pressing and it is really easy to push off the gym to get the work done.

The thing that I admire about Heidi the most is that she values her “me time” so much that skipping out on that hour really isn’t an option. Sure sometimes work just has to be done and she has to skip a day… big deal. Her mindset is in such a great spot about it that she doesn’t let it be a snowball effect in to the next day. She accepts it for what it is and presses on.

Being an entrepreneur, Heidi has a creative mind and doesn’t limit her workouts to just the gym. When she takes the kids to the park she is practicing pistol squats and the like. Why? Because she knows that in order to get better she needs to practice. This takes a lot of repetition and dedication to get this to become a 2nd nature habit.

It doesn’t matter if it is vacation, busy at work, or -40 winters in MN… this woman places a high value in her self care…something so often left last for so many mothers.

“Since I’ve started taking this “me time” I feel like I am able to give more to my family. It has made me a better mom. A better wife. Better at my job. Interactions just become that much more meaningful and appreciated.”

12674860_10102823490524228_342326904_o-2Self care as a mother is so much more than just for her…. It is for anyone directly in contact with her. Because Heidi places such high value on this she has been able to become a beautiful role model for her kids.

It is one thing to tell a child…” go outside and play… you need to get some exercise” as you sit in the recliner and another to actually go outside with your child and “play”. Do you have to actually play with the kids the whole time? No. But by being present, taking time to be active WITH your kids, and enjoy yourself doing it speaks VOLUMES!

Creating this lifestyle post pregnancy years, didn’t come without resistance…

“I grew up the athlete, not the weightlifter.”

Lifting weights as an athlete growing up just comes with the territory. It’s what you do to get better at your sport. But now as a grown adult, mother, wife, and business owner…

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What would you need to do that for?

What are you trying to do going to the gym so much?

Do you want to get…big…manly?

You’re going to get hurt!

Why would you want to look like that?

Heidi’s beautiful response to this is:

“I’m not doing it to look a certain way. I am doing it because of the way it makes me feel! Gaining muscle is just a side effect.”

At this point in the journey to better, it can make or break a person. When someone takes charge in their life to make positive changes… it doesn’t go unnoticed and with out criticism. Humans are creatures of habit and don’t like change (even if it doesn’t directly affect them).

If you have enough self respect and dedication like Heidi, you push on. You continue to do YOU.

We can each have our own “thing”. Isn’t that the beauty of being an INDIVIDUAL?

Heidi has been able to combat the criticism with ease by being confident in herself and her choices. It is what it is. This is what makes her happy. Makes her feel alive. Makes her feel…Heidi!

Who can’t respect that?

There needs to be a paradigm shift that lifting weights is not just to be better at a skill…but better at life!

“The benefits of lifting trickle over in to other areas of life that there really is not reason not to.”

When Heidi started to take her lifting more seriously she started doing research as to what she should be eating and she learned some spot on information:

She wasn’t eating enough! Not enough calories and not enough carbohydrates.

GASP?!?!

Aren’t we supposed to try to eat the least amount of food and treat carbs as the devil in order to notice body composition changes?!

No.

Minimum effective dose right? In a society of living in excess why do women decide that starving themselves is the key to getting the body they want?

When Heidi threw out the old school mentality with nutrition she noticed that when she woke up she was hungry due to revving up her metabolism, her lifts started to feel better because she gave her muscles the “goods” they needed, and her body started changing by becoming leaner, more defined.

Was this her goal? No. It was a side effect to giving her body what it needs.

Women sit and wonder why they can’t lose weight…

”I’m only eating 1200 calories and my weight won’t move!”

Heidi’s advice? “EAT!!”

Heidi has accepted that not everyone will be on board with her lifestyle choices… and there is nothing wrong with that. Over time, people will become more curious because they start to see a glow about her. There is a presence when she walks in to the room that says…” I’m ok with me as I am.”

The skeptics will be asking…Just give them time.

Heidi has been able to offer such nuggets of wisdom and personal experience throughout our chat. It warms my heart to know that there are women out there that are willing to spread this powerful message.

I am going to leave you with advice Heidi would give to women out there because there is no need to sum it up:

“If you’re thinking about lifting, do it! You don’t have to lift a lot. Just lift. It is so beneficial for you bones, muscles, and confidence.

Make time for yourself… once you do your family will understand. You become a better mother, a better wife… because you take time for yourself.

You develop an identity outside of the obvious roles. This advice is not just for the working moms… this is even for a stay at home mom. They need to take time for themselves too. Just because they are home doesn’t mean they are not busy.

Once I started taking time for myself, I was able to give more to the rest of my family. I became to shine more!

Strong obviously is the new skinny. Not just on the outside, but also on the inside.

I see women start in the gym shy and timid…. but then they get some consistency in. When they hit that lift they are just beaming!

It is hard to describe the feeling in words. All I know is that it is contagious!

When you get to see other people succeed and help them along the feeling is just as sweet as when hitting that personal record.

It’s empowering!”