Wow, time really flies by. I started weightlifting in college to be in better shape as a cheerleader. It helped immensely to meet the demands of the sport in terms of both stamina and strength.

Missing the camaraderie and choreography of cheer along with the athleticism and training upon graduation, I found different high intensity, high energy fitness classes offered at gyms. I took conditioning classes taught by former NFL players and Army cadets, rebound classes, weight focused classes, the list goes on. I loved it.


Then things changed. I was out of breath going down the sidewalk. I was avoiding stairs because I needed to sit down by the time I got to the top. Which was hard to do living in Manhattan.  Something was wrong,

Group exercise classes were not something I was attending anymore, for my own pride and to spare the person next to me. My breathing was so heavy, and I would cough uncontrollably. However, I loved working out so much, I wasn’t willing to give it up.  I needed to adjust to my current situation. I needed to be able to go at my own pace, with rest breaks in between each exercise.

Finding Bodybuilding

I started doing more research into training and styles of training. This is when I found bodybuilding. I had never seen competitive bodybuilding before, and I was so intrigued. The competitors had insane physiques, physiques I had been working to achieve through my group exercise endeavors, but hadn’t been able to achieve. The research into the training, nutrition, and science behind both began.


Meanwhile I was going to countless doctors, trying to figure out why I couldn’t breathe. Finally, I was referred to an otolaryngologist, who told me I had Idiopathic subglottic stenosis (2014). Which, causes the trachea to narrow, leaving me with an airway the width of a straw to breathe out of. I had a balloon dilation surgery to open the airway. Unfortunately, this is not a one-time fix situation. The trachea repeatedly narrows requiring repeat dilations or steroid injections (as of the current research). So, I am continually coming to the point of breathing difficulty.

While it makes things challenging, I have never let myself use it as an excuse to not be able to do something. It has changed the physical level as to where I can now push myself, particularly at times when my airway begins to narrow again. But I have found a style of training with low intensity cardio that is suitable for my body and where I thrive.

And it turns out since I am not training for the Olympics, only to be in the best physical health and body for me, science agrees weightlifting and a nutrition plan to match are the two key pieces for results.


What have I been up to these past 7 years with ISS? I have been living life! Yes, it was stressful in the beginning, not knowing what was causing this trouble. Going in for injections is a pain, literally, who wants a scope shoved down their nose and a needle in their neck, and I am anxiously awaiting more discovery to be found for a longer-term treatment plan. But until then just like with so many things we want to get through, we make a plan and execute.   

Since 2015, I have been doing yearly in office steroid injections as an alternative to surgery. These remove the buildup of scar tissue, which causes the narrowing of the trachea and difficulty breathing. These are typically done in a series of 5-6 spaced out 4-5 weeks apart. 

But life overall pretty much looks the same; I haven’t cut something out of my life due to this diagnosis. I enjoy doing everything I can until it no longer works for me than I find something that better suits my situation. At one time competing in a bodybuilding competition was challenging and fun, another time a century ride was what I was up for and lately, a walk in the neighborhood is more my speed.


It’s like our diet and training; our body adapts. So even our maintenance numbers will need to be adjusted over time for us to actually maintain.  Are we exercising more or less, working longer days or, (maybe) aging? All these contribute to changing our caloric needs and it’s important to factor all these in when in our maintenance phase.


This is where coaching and accountability can make the difference of your success. I am stubborn, I know this. It is typically my family who says they don’t want to listen to Darth Vader anymore when I make an appointment for a round of injections. They hold me accountable.  

Knowing where you need accountability and having them in place is key. Accountability is part of the foundation of Kellie Kristine Fitness. If you are looking to rid the fat and reveal your dream body, reach out HERE for your consult.

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