Name: Nicole “Nikki” Anita McKeon
Location: Locust Valley, NY
How did you find out about Girls Gone Strong?
I believe it was when I read an article in STRONG Fitness Magazine two years ago. I was impressed by the message and vibe Molly Galbraith had, and I had to find out more about who she was.
What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
It is about breaking free from the past mindset of not being ever (good) enough to be happy in my own skin. My life has completely taken a different track since I found GGS. It is about pure, solid intention to empower all other women with love and support. It feeds the soul and heart, and great for the muscles too!
What do you do?
I am an ER and Army Nurse, as well as a CPT.
What else do you do?
I love being outdoors, running and playing sports. I have an interest in nature and animals. My favorite hobby though, is people: I love connecting with others, forming and nurturing friendships, and meeting new people from all different walks of life — I am fascinated by their stories.
How were you introduced to strength training, and how long have you been training?
When I was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, I met a fantastic trainer, who also became a close friend. Lila is a very dedicated CPT who devotes a lot of time doing research and making very individualized plans with her clients. That was eight years ago, and I have been hooked on weights since.
I love the deadlift!
Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym or in your gym bag:
Water, music, and a positive attitude.
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
I like both; to mix it up. The past three years, due to time constraints and the need to have more flexibility, I have been working out in my garage gym. I enjoy going on my runs solo because I like to feel in the moment and enjoy the movement. Ultimately, I prefer training with others — I like that team feeling.
Best compliment you’ve received lately:
My husband Tom thanked me for doing such a great job taking care of the family while he was gone for work. He has to travel a lot, and he let me know what a good mom I am and how lucky he felt to have me.
Most recent compliment you gave someone else:
When I found out one of the moms from my son’s preschool was pregnant, I felt moved to tell her what wonderful parents I feel she and her husband are, and that God knows exactly what He is doing. I had been thinking about her recently; she has three small girls who are all so sweet and kind; just like their parents. When we moved into the area last year, she and her family made us feel really welcome. I wanted her to know how special I think she is.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
Being outdoors; listening to the sound of the wind rustling the trees, being in nature. Anything with purple glitter is also guaranteed happiness!
First things first…
Three words that best describe you:
Thankful. Curious. Compassionate.
The Lord of The Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.
What inspires and motivates you?
I love hearing about other people’s stories: their struggles, what they have been through and what they have worked for. I am often inspired by my children, and how they take the time to notice the things in their presence and appreciate them. They remind me to be humble, and to slow down.
Describe a typical day in your life, from waking up to bedtime:
Oh boy! The funny thing about it, between my husband’s and my work schedule, is that a lot of times we don’t know what is going to happen day to day! He is a pilot and in the Marine Corps, so he can be gone at a moment’s notice.
What we have learned to do is to be very flexible. We keep the kids and dogs on as regular as a routine as possible, while also helping them build up that inner peace and staying grounded. Relying on each other for support when needed is the common denominator that gets us through all of the changes we encounter. Certain parts of our day don’t change, like saying I love you, saying our prayers, and talking to each other.
When did you join Strongest You Coaching? Why did you decide to join and what helped you make the decision to join?
I filled out the form about being interested in SYC, and a few months later, I received an email from GGG asking if I would like a slot in the next group. It came at a perfect time, because I was in-between civilian jobs, trying to find employment and feeling down on myself for not doing so quickly enough.
It was in January, and I really needed a boost, so I felt like it was just what I needed at the time: something self-caring and that didn’t involve the kids, or anyone else. It made me excited and motivated. I was also training in my garage by myself, and wishing I had time to train with other people.
What has been your biggest challenge in the Strongest You Coaching program?
My biggest challenge was a goal I set for myself as part of the SYC goal-setting piece: I ditched my scale. That piece of metal with the numbers used to dictate what kind of day I would have, my self-worth, what I ate and did not, my mood, and how I treated my body.
The new world that opened up, just parallel to mine, was amazing! My coach was very supportive, and I thought that if she did it and was so positively affected by eliminating the scale, I could do it too, and so I was willing to give it a try, and trusted the process.
What has been your biggest success in the Strongest You Coaching program?
My biggest success is how I feel about my body today.
I spent many years in therapy working through an eating disorder, and even though I have been able to maintain a steady healthy weight and have been in recovery for years now, I was missing something. I knew it could be better, and I found it with SYC.
I’ve just had a baby in October, and love my body, extra belly and weight and all, for the miracle it just created. I feel thankful, connected and respectful of what it had went through. I don’t have that urge to “get my body back as fast as possible”, as I had with my previous pregnancies: challenging myself — and torturing myself — to see how fast I could lose the baby weight. Deprivation and overtraining, regardless of how little sleep I had, were my MO. I was so disconnected with myself: I only saw the outside and how to “look better.”
Today I love my body and am nice to it, celebrating the woman I am on the inside and out. And there is no scale in this postpartum journey!
What is your “BIG” goal you’d like to achieve by the end of Strongest You Coaching?
My big goal right now is to make this the best postpartum journey ever. I don’t want it to be about “losing that weight” (and I won’t step on a scale).
I want to treat my body with respect at every stage, and appreciate what it does for me. I want to let my body naturally go to the place it feels best, and let that happen mindfully. I believe there is a lot in store for me during this process, and I can’t wait to see what happens!
What is the habit you’re currently working on most?
Right now, that would be getting adequate rest. Having a newborn, plus three other small children under the age of eight, not to mention two dogs, is a lot to care for. In the past, I would sacrifice sleep for “perfection”: having a perfectly clean house, hitting all my workouts regardless of how tired I was or how they had to cut into what little sleep I already had. I’m learning to let some things go and prioritize rest, so I can show up for life and put my best foot forward into my day.
How has Strongest You Coaching changed your life?
It has allowed me to trust myself and listen to my body and what it needs. I feel that mind-body-spirit connection I didn’t have before.
I stress less about working out and focus on the quality of my life as a whole. I enjoy my workouts and look forward to them!
What do you like best about the Strongest You Coaching community?
I absolutely love the support, love, and lack of judgment.
Here is a place where every woman can feel welcome and recognized for how special she is. It’s the “other side of the fence” from the fitness industry. Worth the leap over!
What would you tell a woman who’s nervous about joining Strongest You Coaching?
I would let her know that it’s completely understandable to be nervous about making a commitment to something new, and I would reassure her that if she places her trust in her coach, teammates, and in the process, she will be guaranteed a change that will last a lifetime.
It’s exhilarating! It’s not a diet plan, or any other rigid “plan” that sets us up to feel “less than” if not followed to a T, or one that pulls us on a chain. It’s freedom, and has been the best thing I could have done for myself. The results will last forever. I want to help pass this message, and the Girls Gone Strong philosophy, on to other women, and to my daughters.
You can connect with Nicole on Facebook!