Defender Fit & Fine: Crystal Wickliffe

1. Who is Crystal Wickliffe?

Age: 45

Occupation: Teacher, TLC Sales Distributor, Founder/CEO Strong4SickleCell

Education: Texas State University | Texas Woman’s University

Major: B.S. Healthcare Administration | MBA

Motto: FEEL: Fitness – Empowerment – Energy – Lifestyle

Unknown facts: “I didn’t start working out until I was 36.”

“Also, I am a first grade teacher. I absolutely love teaching and incorporating mindfulness activities like meditation, breathing and yoga poses. Regarding going back to school, there is no perfect response or solution on how to reopen schools this year. Everyone has to do what’s best for their family and give grace to leadership and teachers as we are navigating unchartered waters. We also must be understanding of other parents’ decisions to choose virtual or face-to-face. I miss teaching, seeing my babies and getting their hugs. This year will be different, but I will create a classroom culture of love, respect, learning, acceptance and fun because I am a teacher!”

Fitness start: “My start occurred when I put on weight from being busy with two young children and not taking care of myself. My neighbor invited me to a workout class, and I’ve been committed ever since.”

Fitness goal: “It’s hard to narrow it down to just one. For me, the most important fitness goal is body awareness and balance. Meaning, I want my overall physique to be lean muscle. I also want wider range of motion and flexibility.”

Fitness advice: “Be gentle with yourself, stay committed and trust the process. Take pictures to track your progress and be honest about your goals and the work you are willing to put in to achieve it. Don’t compare yourself to someone else – especially with people you see on Instagram. Nutrition is especially important. You have to get control over what you are putting inside of your body.”

Social Media:

IG: @cryswic | @f.e.eldaily | @strong4sicklecell

2. Nutrition: My diet is high in lean protein.

“My breakfast consists of steel oats or potatoes with four to five egg whites. For lunch, a salad with lean meat like salmon and a complex carb is typical for me. At dinner, I’ll generally have a veggie, lean meat, and a complex carb. My snacks include Matrix protein shakes from TLC, apples, yogurt and veggies.”

3. Physical: Weight training and yoga are my go-tos.

“Any fitness activity can be effective if they are aligned with your fitness goals. For me, I want lean muscle, so I lift weights. I don’t do a lot of cardio because I don’t want to lose muscle. I also completed 100 hours of BLM Rocket Yoga Training and will begin my next 100 hours later this month.

“When I work out, it’s full beast mode. It’s me and my body controlling the weight and my mind. Pain and fatigue are temporary, just keep pushing.

“During the coronavirus quarantine, I stayed in shape by exercising at home. Many gyms and apps offered free or low-cost virtual classes and I took advantage of that. What motivates me are the women who post their fitness journey. It’s not easy, but I know that exercising is one of the ways I practice self-care. Staying committed to agreements I have with myself is self-love.

“My daughter, Addison, is also a motivation for me. She was born with sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder. I started Strong4SickleCell last year to raise money to send children with sickle cell to camp. Addison is now 11 and has been going to camp for the past three years. Our mission is to use the fitness platform to bring awareness to this disease, get people moving and raise money for camp.

“We have an interest in partnering with organizations to help raise awareness and money for sickle cell disease. This disease disproportionately impacts the Black community and I would love to be a part of an effort to support this disease that has been largely ignored by the medical community until just recently.”

 

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TBT memory of Addy going to camp 2 years ago. No Matter where she goes, “Big Ears” goes with her. She received Big Ears when she was transported via ambulance to the Texas Medical Center over 7 years. Back then, the hospital near us was not prepared to care for children with Sickle Cell Disease. Addy was having a pain crises and needed a morphine drip. EMS gave her Big Ears to cuddle for the ride and she had not let go since. When people with sickle cell have a pain crises that can’t be controlled with over the counter or prescribed pain remedies, they often have to be admitted to the hospital where they receive a morphine drip to help ease the pain. For us, they can come out the blue with no cause, after her body had been fighting a cold or other normal viral infection or dehydration. In our family and at school and most activities that she’s involved with, Addison is the only one with Sickle Cell Disease. At camp, almost everybody is just like her, even the counselors. The feeling of belonging and understanding and not feeling like you can’t be like the other kids or do what they do is PRICELESS. Help us allow other kids to enjoy camp by making a donation. Thank you #strong4sicklecell #sicklecellwarrior #sicklecellfamily #sicklecellcamp #walkacrosstexas #sicklecellawareness Cash me: $crystalwickliffe Venmo:@crystal-wickliffe

A post shared by Strong 4 Sickle Cell (@strong4sicklecell) on

4. Mental: Balance is key.

“Mental health comes with staying balanced. Balance is something I really have to work on. I’ve discovered that balance comes from the foods I eat, fitness routines and other practices like meditating and journaling, being in nature and reading. I am aware when I am not balanced. I’ve learned to breathe and be still to find out what I need in that very moment.”

5. Spiritual: Prayer and meditation help center me.

“For me, prayer, reading the bible, meditating and journaling help to keep me centered and spiritually connected.

“This may sound cliché, but love motivates me. Love for myself, my sisters and brothers and humanity are so important to me. There is so much physical and spiritual healing that we need to do as a people. I have a passion for health, wellness, and fitness. I am designed that way for a reason, and I want to be part of helping to motivate others find what works for them.

“Fitness was my saving grace. I was going through life trying to live up to an idea of what I should be. I put myself in a cage of expectations that weren’t attainable. Fitness was one of the ways I got out that cage. More than anything, it has taught me the power of the mind. That’s the first and hardest battle, every time you try something new or challenging. You have to train your mind and let go of negative thoughts and attitudes about yourself. Another thing it has taught me it to set goals and share them. As soon as you do, God sends someone or an opportunity that helps you get there. You have to do the hard work but there is always someone there to motivate you. Fitness is my thing; it’s not anybody else’s responsibility and you have to protect it. You must respect yourself and honor your body.”