Andrea is well-known in her community, and a role model to the hundreds of clients within her studio’s circle. She was one of the first women to teach me that ‘keepin’ it real’ is the best way to be an example as a fitness professional. I hope you will agree, both her commitment to her self-care and wellness, and her honesty about the struggle, are inspiring.
Andrea Ferguson, Life Designs Fitness Studio
Children: two, ages 12 and 8
Marital Status: Married
Occupation: Life Coach, nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Owner of Life Designs Fitness Studio
What are some healthy habits of which you are proud?
“Most recently, I am trying to come from a place of balance and mindful restoration,” Andrea says. She says the first step was recognizing the value of mindfulness and spirituality in her life. “Recognizing how when I don’t have it, I get headache, and tension. I don’t manage stress well unless I have it.”
“I fit in exercise, but I’m not exercising as much right now. I’m really enjoying having more mindful restoration,” Andrea says. She has “given herself permission” to be less physically active – a big step for a fitness professional! “I have had to almost do a transition and lean into that, but I would like to add a little bit more activity now.”
“I eat well. I eat mindfully and enjoy everything in moderation. I am not super strict. I have days where I am not strict at all and let it all go out the window and I am totally OK with that,” Andrea says. In fact, she says that is actually the habit of which she is most proud. “What I do or don’t do with my fitness or my food is not a reflection of my value as a human being.”
Andrea Ferguson and her family
What do your kids think of those habits?
“My kids think I’m healthy,” Andrea laughs. “They are hilarious when they describe me: ‘What is mom’s favourite food?’ ‘Vegetables.’ They know that I’m conscious about it, but I frickin’ love cupcakes. They know that about me and see that I’m about balance, too.
“They bug me a little bit about my mindset stuff. They joke about the stuff I share about spirituality because that’s new for me but I’m O.K. with that.”
Do you have a habit of which you are not proud?
1. “Coffee and Sugar would be my go-tos if I was stressed. I really love coffee. I could easily drink it more than I should. I will crave those things. I have times in my life when I am eating too much sugar.
2. “The busier I get through stages of life, sometimes the structure of my meals goes out the window and I will eat out too much.”
What does your workout schedule look like?
Personal training sessions twice a week for 60 minutes each – Andrea’s trainer, Teresa Bayne, incorporates both cardio and strength through a full-body workout. “Sometimes I will participate in my own fitness class that I teach, depending on how I feel,” Andrea says. She admits that fitness is her weak point right now, but she is totally O.K. with it: “It was my strength for many years…I am shifting the angle of why I am doing it,” Andrea says. “You always have to connect to the reason why you are doing it…I am like everybody else. I can get disconnected from my ‘why.’ My ‘why’ has to come intrinsically, it can’t be external pressure or reasons.”
Yin Yoga class every Saturday morning for 75 minutes
“I try to meditate, even if it’s for five minutes, most days of the week and then usually one day on the weekend,” Andrea says. “For at least a couple of hours, I will read and practice mindset stuff. If I’ve got stuff that’s not working, I recognize that how I perceive it and how I view it will determine how I move through it. I often have a book that I have on the go that will be relevant with what is going on in my life at that point in time.”
How do you ensure that all of that stuff happens?
Andrea says she has to schedule her workouts and “have people who hold me accountable.”
“That’s why I do personal training – it helps me stay accountable,” she says. “There are a lot of things competing for my energy and time so the schedule is critical to making it happen. And I meditate because I love it. I take such comfort in meditation. If I’m able, I get the kids off to school, come home and have 5-20 minutes where I try to meditate once everybody’s out of the house. It might be before bed if I’ve got a moment.”
How do you make time?
“I have made it a top priority. I have to say ‘no’ to some things. I used to over-schedule myself and say ‘yes’ to everything. I really value having nothing to do on the weekend, almost to the point where I don’t want to do anything on the weekends. Some days I spend the entire day in my pyjamas and I don’t feel guilty about it!”
Do you have a support system?
Andrea Ferguson and her kids
Andrea says she has a “really good partnership” with her husband, Cory. “But we had to work on that. It didn’t just happen,” she says. “There have been times of resentment and things not being balanced and things feeling crazy and chaotic. One day I just asked him to play to our strengths. My husband is amazing with routine and structure and time management, which is great for the kids’ stuff. I have different strengths, so we have a very atypical relationship. He does all the cooking and laundry right now. He’s happy and content doing all that stuff, whereas I am in the main provider role right now. We both need to be on the same page with that. When he’s working more, we reverse and don’t worry about what society’s expectations would be or what I should or shouldn’t be doing. I have been caught in that before.” She says she has judged herself “for not excelling at some of the things that I perceive a ‘good mom’ would do. I used to try to do it all. I loved having a career and a business. At one point in time, I thought that meant I had to do it all. That led me to be freakin’ exhausted, saying ‘yes’ to everything and saying ‘no’ to nothing.”
Is there anyone in your life who is not supportive of your health goals?
“That battle is with myself. It’s always the battle of my own expectations – the balance between good mom, good business owner, good partner, and then trying to fit in Me.”
Top 6 Healthy Habits in Order of Priority:
Mindfulness/Spiritual Practice (Without it, the rest of it is harder to manage.)
Body Care (chiropractor and osteopath)
Do you ever feel judged for making any of those things a priority?
“I really set up a support network and have people in my life who believe in me and support me, so I don’t feel judged. I am more likely to judge myself.”
In what area of your life do you struggle or feel like you sometimes drop the ball?
“When I am feeling overwhelmed or stressed, the value comes down to the mindful restoration piece, so I will prioritize that over the fitness piece. It’s always a fine balance between what is truly right for me. Sometimes I drop the ball on the fitness piece, but that hasn’t always been the case. When there is a load of pressure, I often slip into wanting to get the tasks off my plate so I can easily slip into work and let go of the fitness and nutrition. But I know that if I make fitness a priority, I can manage all the tasks better, so I try to manage the number of tasks that I have. But sometimes you can’t.: Sometimes it’s January in the fitness industry.”