Staci Ardison

If you’ve spent any time on Nerd Fitness, you may recognize Staci as the woman in our instructional videos, and one of the women in Nerd Fitness Yoga. She’s been a part of Nerd Fitness since 2010, and helped build the Nerd Fitness Academy from scratch.

But while she’s always been a nerd, she hasn’t always been fit. 

In fact, Staci didn’t start working out until she was 26 – after years of gaining 10-15lb a year, and finally decided that it was time to make a change. She wanted the confidence to wear shorts in public, wanted to stop making excuses to not go to events because she might have to wear a bathing suit, and wanted to start dating again without the fear of getting naked in front of anyone.

But she didn’t know what to, so she joined a gym hired a personal trainer. After one session with the personal trainer, who said he would “take it easy on her” because it was her first time, she was so sore that it was a good 5 days before she no longer needed to use the handicapped stall in the bathroom to help her stand up.

It was so embarrassing, so she didn’t go back. She just forfeited all of her sessions because that seemed less embarrassing than admitting what that workout had done to her. A few months later, after gaining more weight, she mustered up the courage to go back to the gym, but instead of going back to the trainer, did the only thing she knew how to do: the elliptical. 10 minutes became 30, 30 became 60, and 60 became 90. It wasn’t long before she was doing the elliptical for 60-90 minutes at a time up to 3 times a day.

Nutritionwise, she knew she needed to eat less, so she slowly reduced calories, but when she hit 900 calories a day she stopped seeing progress. But she was so hungry all the time, and had no energy at all, so would end up binging and then feeling guilty about it, so in order to get rid of the feelings of guilt, she started purging.  She wanted to be skinny so bad that she was willing to do anything to get there, including compromise health.

Her entire life revolved around how to get skinny, and her entire self worth was tied up in the number on the scale in the morning. If the number was down, it was a good day – there was hope. If the number was up, I would crumble into a ball of depression and struggle to even make it to work.

She was miserable, and slowly killing herself. She finally hit rock bottom, and got up her 20 seconds of courage to go to the doctor and admit to what she had been doing, and worked on a plan to start to heal. She started educating herself about nutrition and exercise, and started strength training. She focused on baby steps, celebrated small wins, and was making great progress.

Soon after she started my journey upwards, she joined Nerd Fitness, and she found her family. That was in August 2010.

She suddenly had a home, and a place that she fit in and belonged, and Staci was one of our first success stories back in 2011 (you can read that here).

She found that if she focused on performance, fueled her body properly, and worked on habit building and other mental aspects of fitness, she’d end up with the body that she wanted (even if it wasn’t the body she thought she wanted when she started). She learned to not only feel comfortable, but confident in her skin, and how to have a positive body image.

Since her initial success story, Staci hasn’t stopped working towards getting better. She’s gained about 40 lb of muscle, and has achieved a few big personal athletic goals she never would have imagined possible, like competing at CrossFit NorthEast Regionals and USAPL (USA Powerlifting) Raw Nationals.

She can do 5 strict muscle ups in a row, and can deadlift 430 lb. She weighs more than she’s weighed in a long time (160 lb), but she’s learned that the number on the scale doesn’t matter (here’s a picture of her at 160 lb – 50 lb heavier than her all time lightest).

She’s now been smoke-free for over 6 years, and has reclaimed her life from the grasp of eating disorders. She haven’t even thought about binging and purging in over 2 years (and haven’t purged in over 3), which she considers her biggest accomplishment to date.

Staci joined Nerd Fitness in 2011, and joined the coaching team at a CrossFit and Powerlifting speciality gym, where she also did the programming for the entire gym and taught 1-on-1 and group classes in everything from CrossFit to general fitness to Olympic Lifting, and worked with clients ranging from ages 15 to 87.

Staci is now the Lead Women’s Coach here at Nerd Fitness – and wants to help you achieve your goals the right way, focusing on not just workouts and nutrition, but the mindset aspect too.

Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?

S: Star Trek 

Favorite video game of all time?

S: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Ocarina of Time is likely a better game, but LttP was the first Zelda game I owned and got me through a lot of hard times in middle school.

If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be, and why?

S: The ability to heal (myself and others).