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How I Stayed in Shape without Exercise

How I Stayed in Shape without Exercise


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kristin shaffer

Years ago I thought the key to an incredible shape was spending hours and hours in the gym. I was single, in college, without too many responsibilities, and had a lot of time on my hands. I was in pretty good shape for someone who ate a lot of cheeseburgers. But now that I'm a LOT older, have a demanding career and a beautiful family to take care of, I simply don't have that kind of time anymore. So how can you get and stay in shape as a busy person like me with a crazy busy life?

4 weeks before the Masters Nationals competition I was hit with a huge personal challenge. It was one that disrupted my schedule, caused sleepless nights, pulled me away from the gym, and increased my stress levels to levels not seen in many years.

As we all progress through life we constantly have to choices that either are in line with our values and priorities or arenít. And with only my family on my mind, training and the competition took an appropriately huge back seat to what I needed to take care of at home.

For 4 weeks I got next to no sleep.

For 4 weeks I made it to the gym possibly 6 times.

For 4 weeks my stress levels were off the charts.

Then, just a few days prior to stepping on a plane to attend the biggest competition of my career, I tried on my suit and needed to make a decision.


Or not.

I looked in the mirror, and while I wasnít as in shape as I wanted to be at this stage of the game, I was pleased with what I saw..

I knew I needed to be a bit fuller.

I knew I needed to be leaner.

I knew I hadnít practiced posing AT ALL.

And I knew my head was not in the game.

But all in all I looked pretty decent considering what my life had been like for the previous month.

So - I stepped on the plane and flew with my family to Pittsburgh, stepped on stage with 13 of the top masters bikini athletes in the world, and placed 12th.



Iím happy.

Iím happy because the one thing I pretty much stuck with through that very stressful 4 weeks was my diet.

I didnít fall in self-sabotage.

I didnít binge on sugar even when parts of my life were not where I wanted them to be.

I didnít fall into self destructive old patterns that only make things worse in the long run.

And because I pretty much stuck with my diet, my shape didnít completely fall apart.

Could I have come in tighter, fuller, and worked on my posing (even a little!) to place better in my class?


My booty was not as tight as I wanted it, my muscles were a bit flat, and my posing stunk.

But considering I barely trained and did next to no cardio in the month that led up to the competition, itís proof that diet truly is the overriding ingredient when it comes to achieving and maintaining our sexiest self.

Had I not continued to stay with my clean eating, preparing my meals for the week and toting them with me, I certainly would not have looked as good as I did under the circumstances.

So I hope my story inspires you:

- to create a lifestyle that allows you to eat clean most of the time

- to remember itís the tortoise, not the hare, that wins the getting into and staying in shape game

- to love yourself always, staying aware of self defeating behaviors that only sabotage your journey

Whatís your story?

Do you have an example where despite life circumstances you stuck with your clean diet and continued self love?

With love,


Author: Kristin Shaffer

Member Comments

Hi Everyone, I don't have a huge story, but my husband has been driving me crazy for two months now (ha, right when I started eating clean/working out to train for my first Figure 40 competition next year) with wanting to move (just him and my 15 y.o. daughter) to Seoul, Korea. A couple of times, again since starting this lifestyle in June 2013, I binged like I did in my old ways -- but my body did me the favor this time and it made me SICK to go back and eat the sugary foods! Thanks to also joining FAB Univ. in July 2013, I'm learning Kristin's way to combat emotions so I can remain on track NEXT time he or other events in life get to me (and stay on the plan). Thanks for reading!

Great story in the sense that there's always hope for rebounding. I've had personal setbacks since April (as I shared privately with you). Hoping to get back in the gym soon. Have gained some weight back and haven't been 100% clean in eating.

Glad you went to your competition. :-)

This is an inspiring story. Good for you for sticking with your diet and not throwing the baby out with the bathwater because you couldn't exercise! I think the most important thing you talk about in this piece is the self love. It is so easy to talk negative to ourselves when things get ugly in our lives. I have a habit of doing that and sabotaging myself.

I recently had to undergo surgery on a Friday. I normally do meal prep on Sunday, and I knew that I would not be cooking the Sunday following surgery! So the Sunday before, I made about two weeks' worth of meals, and for the dinner plan, (I try to eat with my family, and the same things, at least a few times a week) I made sure it was easy enough for my husband to do. So I would have easy things like salad with tuna on it (pretty easy for husband or even me to manage...can of tuna, plate of spinach,1 T each oil and vinegar)or a healthy, easy thing like grilled chicken and veggies, with some extras like whole grain bread or pasta for the kids.

This is not to say that I am perfect. Recovering from surgery was harder than anticipated by me or the doctor. I felt totally betrayed by my body and did end up bingeing a couple of times on unhealthy food about two-three weeks post surgery. It was giving up the self love, and giving in to the sabotaging thoughts that did me in!

Vonni that's wonderful! Good for you sweetie and thank you so much for sharing. You're an inspiration!

Joan your dedication is admirable. You love fitness so it will always be part of your life in some way - that I know. :)

And Missymoyo that's AMAZING! What a great idea to prep your meals for a few weeks when you have a big thing like surgery to deal with. Now THAT'S commitment! And each of us is not perfect. That's what makes us so beautiful. :)

With love,


To Missymoyo: For you to even have the mindset and ability to prep meals two weeks out before surgery was/is amazing! Any type of surgery is TRAUMA to the body and we should be thankful to even be able to survive surgeries in today's world (not knocking medicine, but it's a blessing when a mishap doesn't occur)

I agree with Kristin. :-). There's no way anyone is going to be or appear stage ready or bikini ready after any sort of surgery. However, the body can and will heal itself over time. :-)


Kristin, you look amazing. Not only physically but your inner beauty and confidence is radiant. All you ladies never cease to amaze me! Thank you for sharing your stories

Wow! This is truly an amazing story and really puts things in perspective for me. I have been trying to gain lean muscle for a long time now and am finally feeling more tight and toned but I can't seem to shed off these extra few layers that I need to see my definition in abs and I do eat clean and eat wonderful for 6 out of 7 days of the week. I have one cheat meal on Sunday night and then work it off (i think) in the gym on Monday, I have tried just about everything I feel and I can't find what works for my body type. I gain all my weight in my chest and abs and not so much in other areas.... When I started my journey in January I was at 27% Body Fat and weighed 127 lbs... Now I am at 18.9% Body Fat and weigh around 130. My goal is 10% Body Fat and around 134 in weight. It's inspiring to know that it's possible to stick to diet. I've gotten to a place where it is all about priorities, but I am just so frustrated with whatever I'm eating is just not working.....

Allinsfitness why don't you send me an email and we'll chat about your diet.

Thanks so much for your kind words!

With love,


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