Crystal Honeycutt- Founder of TDF, Empowering Women across the Country
In September of 2003, Crystal found herself, literally, at the bottom of a hill. Her son wanted to look out of a lighthouse at the top of a hill in a park, but Crystal realized that she was so out of shape that she would have to wait at the bottom of the hill. As her husband and son raced to the lighthouse, she stood by waiting with tears streaming down her face.
That day, Crystal embarked on a journey to lose 100 pounds. She had missed out on a moment with her son because she had allowed her weight to overtake her. Crystal had gained 100 pounds during her pregnancy, and developed a binge-eating problem. Her tearful experience at the park led Crystal to never to miss another moment in her son’s life and thus started her fitness journey to lose 100 pounds, a goal she reached in 5 years, 3 months, and 3 days.
Her motivation was her son; he was more powerful than the extra pounds, and more powerful than the food addiction. Crystal worked hard for those 5 years, and continues to work hard every day. She was determined not to be the “girl with the pretty face” and not to be defined by the number on the size tag or the scale. Crystal worked hard to define herself, and not be the girl waiting at the bottom of the hill. Along her fitness journey, she discovered that she had a gift; she could inspire others to embark on their own journeys and write their own stories. In 2010, she became certified to teach group fitness classes. In 2012, she earned her personal training and sports nutrition certifications.
Crystal is the owner and creator of Train Dirty Fitness, a place where people of all walks of life, in different stages of their own fitness journey, come together to offer encouragement, humor, and a lot of sass. At its inception, Crystal could not have imagined that Train Dirty Fitness would reach to all of the corners of the United States! Through her journey, and encouragement, Crystal has helped thousands of “TDFers” reach their goals or take that first step to climb their own hills.
The girl, who 10 years ago stood at the bottom of a hill, waiting, today undertakes several hours of group fitness classes and personal workouts each day.
We are proud to introduce you to Crystal Honeycutt…
1.) Tell us what your mission is with TDF and what inspired you to start?
My mission is to reach every woman and teach her that she is #goodenough how she is, has always been good enough, and is worthy of loving. I was inspired to create TDF after I realized that the feelings of being unlovable, unworthy, and never being good enough were all feelings that many other women felt. As I pushed further with this idea of TDF, I grew to realize how many women have had their spirits broken over time and began to believe in their hearts that they will never be enough. That is not true though, we are all worthy and good enough as we are.
2.) What was the process like getting started? How did you go from just an idea to (now) a hugely supportive community of women who are united by this movement?
Ironically it was NEVER intended to be what it became. I started with just and teaching group fitness classes 6 years ago. As time progressed, I started offering more support to women online who heard about the format I taught and wished they lived closer to me. I never dreamed it would become the vast community it is or the empire known as TDF. I think the change happened when I took myself out of the equation and made it all about “them”. I used to work in the fitness industry under the name Crystal Honeycutt Fitness in 2013, I relaunched as Train Dirty Fitness, the judgement free fitness community, and took this time to take “crystal” out and put them in. That seemed to be the “aha” moment when it all spread like wildfire.
3.) Its clear you have a strong passion for what you are doing, have you had a clear vision from day 1 or have things evolved as you learn what your community needs?
I think Ive always had a clear vision on the good enough mentality and wanting to teach women they are worthy. My first group of personal training clients, I sent them all a letter of thanks after their program was over to express my gratitude. Six years later, one of them still has the card and it says on the card “you are worthy”. I never changed or altered my vision for TDF. It has expanded and grown far past what I anticipated, but it has always been to teach women their self worth isn’t dictated by their weight.
4.) What has been the most memorable or rewarding experience in your career with TDF?
My answer is probably not what people expect. I get asked this question often and I always hope I never let anyone down with my answer, because it is not what I think many would assume. My first magazine cover was October 2011 and the following spring my son came home from school with a picture he had drawn of that cover. I asked him why he drew me on his homework and he said: “Mom, we were told to draw a picture of someone who inspires us. I drew a picture of you because you told me I could be anything I want to be and this picture of you on a magazine proves you are right. I want to be a NBA basketball player and you give me hope that I can do it when I grow up.”
5.) Who inspires you?
There are so many people who inspire me!! I could never pick just one, but I can give you an idea of who they are and why they inspire me. I love to follow the success of another woman, a woman who made her dreams happen without compromising her morals. I follow and admire any woman who has created success (not necessarily monetary success) by standing true to who she is, without sacrificing anything she believes in to make it happen.
6.) How do you balance family life and work life? You seem to have a very full schedule with many different obligations, any tips as far as getting organized and executing your goals?
Im honestly not sure that I do! My biggest downfall has always been that I work nonstop. I hate to think that someone in my community either online or in person, needed me and I wasn’t available. That often means I work 6am- midnight 7 days a week. I am however working on getting better with balancing, delegating, and asking for help. If I could offer any tip to a woman who is just starting out in this business: please learn from where I failed. Family has to come first! Do not put them on the back burner while you work 24/7. They deserve more than that.
7. Has there ever been a time where you felt like giving up on something but didn’t? And how did you work through that?
YES! 3 different times I almost walked away. There is so much stress, pressure, and anxiety often in this line of work to ensure everyone has what they need of me! Some days, I feel like I fail or fall short of what I am expected to be. I always lean on a first small circle of best friends that I have but more so, I lean on my husband. Every time I have debated on quitting, he reminds me that I can’t. If I quit, then who will my followers depend on? Who will step up to the plate to help them? When I can’t answer him, he always says: “Exactly. They need you.”
We all have those days when it just seems easier to walk away, but easy is not what life is about. All the great things in life, we have to work hard for. I believe having a strong foundation of support is vital to keeping strong during tough times.
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