So the saying goes and I strongly confer,
“HARD WORK BEATS TALENT THAT DOESN’T WORK HARD.”
– (BY AN UNKNOWN AUTHOR)
This weeks #Tamily tale features a warrior princess. Agata Antoniuk embodies inner passion, drive, mystery, and pureness of heart. To me I feel her loyalty and her inner warrior and so I share her tale.
All of my love,
I believe there is an incredible spark that occurs when a group of women come together to support each other in a common goal. This spark of support and inspiration can occur on a small scale like coming together to cheer a girlfriend up after a breakup, or on a large scale like rallying for women’s rights or joining together to promote positive body image. My nature is to gravitate towards people with colorful personalities, because they fill my life with color, happiness, and liveliness. So when I found a group of strong, colorful, supportive women, I knew I found home.
I’m a mother. That’s one of my most important roles. My sons are the best part of me. They are my greatest teachers. They fill my heart with hope and love everyday. I am in a happy, healthy relationship with a wonderful, loving man for the past 23 years. A man who finds me beautiful in the wee hours of the morning and we all know that, that is not always a pretty sight. He is the best father to my sons I could have ever wished for. I have a successful career, which I love, especially because I get to serve the people of my city. However, since I can remember, both, at home and at work, I am surrounded by men. Because of this, I’ve always searched for strong friendships with women; women who understood me and could relate to me on almost all levels.
Some of my earliest memories depict my admiration for strong relationships between women. As a six year-old girl growing up in Poland, my mother left me in the care of my relatives while she earned a living for our family. As her only daughter, I formed an unbreakable bond with her. When she left, I yearned for her girly presence in my life. Even my toys, hand me downs from my older brothers, seemed to lack femininity. At that stage of my life, I missed my mother dearly. I remember staring in a mirror, recognizing the sadness in my eyes, and making a memorable wish – I wished for my mother presence, I wished for girlfriends since I didn’t have any at that time, and I wished for strong relationships to fill the void she left me with.
I carried this intention with me throughout my life. My mother and I were eventually reunited and our relationship developed throughout the years. We became wonderful companions sharing a living space in NYC, learning English together, and trying to “make it” in the big city. Fulfilling my wish for strong connections with women, I found an amazing group of girls in my high school and college years that I am great friends with still, friends who continue to be there for me, who support me in all my life’s adventures; girl friends with whom I could be myself and flourish in a space of truth, a space free of judgment.
During these formative years, my relationship with my mother also further developed. She supported me and respected the woman I was becoming. Our bond took a big hit when my mother was diagnosed with a chronic illness. It was then that my role as a daughter significantly changed. I became a caregiver, a mother to my own mama. There was no time for friendships, no time for socializing, no time for me.
The moment I lost my mama, I felt exactly like my six year old self staring in a mirror, recognizing the familiar sadness in my eyes, and longing deeply for my mother’s presence. The sadness of losing a mother never goes away. However, I’ve learned that you need to move on and somehow create a “new normal” to lessen the sadness. The valuable connections I have made with TAM Family have become my new normal. This community of women has filled the void I felt after losing my mother. They have exceeded any expectation I have had for a group of supportive, understanding, inspiring, colorful women, and I am so grateful to be part of the TAMILY.
SOME #TAMILY MEMBERS WORKOUT IN THEIR LIVING ROOMS IN IOWA, OTHERS ON THEIR BALCONIES IN ITALY. WHEN AND WHERE DID YOU START #TAREALTIME?
After giving birth to my older son in 2003, the skin on my stomach was stretched like a deflated balloon. Although my son was one of life’s greatest gifts, but the pregnancy left my body in dissatisfying state. I am not quite sure how I stumbled upon Tracy Anderson’s Post Pregnancy DVD, but I did, and I completed the workout 6 days a week for 6 weeks. My stomach never looked better. I did the same routine after having my second son in 2008. Once again, it was pure magic that my stomach went back to its original state. In April of 2015, I picked up the 90 Day Metamorphosis and I realized right away that there was no going back for me. It was love at first workout.
In April of 2015, I completed my first TArealtime on a teddy soft carpet on my living room floor in my small modern home in NYC. My sons were sitting on the couch, fussing that my exercising got in the way of their cartoons, but that didn’t seem to matter- I longed for a connection. A connection with my inner self. I do Meta Continuity on days that I barely have any time to exercise. On the days that I have more time to devote to myself, I enjoy an hour of TArealtime.
WE ALL FACE CHALLENGES WHEN IT COMES TO BEING OUR HEALTHIEST SELVES—INSIDE AND OUT. WHAT HAS BEEN THE HARDEST PART OF YOUR JOURNEY?
Sugar. Processed sugar is my greatest challenge. I crave sweets in an indescribable way. It has taken me a long time to realize that sugar, in all its delicious forms, betrays my body. Although the sweet molecules may tickle my taste buds momentarily, my body reacts with longer lasting effects including fatigue and headaches. It’s a daily struggle, and there are days when I lose the fight.
HAS BEING PART OF THE COMMUNITY OF #TAMILY WOMEN HELPED YOU TO OVERCOME THIS? HOW SO?
TAMILY is an invaluable source of connection with inspiring women. I spend weekends with them. We exercise together. We cook together. We have beauty spa days together. We FaceTime each other. We reach out to each other for support if we need to. TAMsisters are always there for me, no matter the time of the day. I can call Erin @mini2283 at any time for advice and comfort. She is someone that has been always available and provided me with advice I have yet to turn down. My friendship with her has blossomed beyond my wildest expectations. I look forward to all of my TAMsisters posts because of their genuineness, inspiration, and motivation. TAMsisters share struggles, failures, confidence, and successes and in seeing these, I feel that I am not alone on my TAMILY journey. It is brave to share experiences on such a public forum and in such a raw manner; the bravery of TAMILY members inspires me to be my most authentic self because I know the community of TAMILY women will love and accept me in my purest form. Not everyone understands the wonders of the TAmethod. That’s why the relationships I have with TAMILY members are so important. They understand what I am going through in my roles as a career woman, a mother, a grieving daughter, a woman focused on being healthy; in turn, I understand who they are and where they are coming from. As a result, we’ve become part of each others journey to healthier lives.
ONE OF THE COOL THINGS I LOVE ABOUT THE #TAMILY IS HOW IT CONNECTS WOMEN ALL OVER THE WORLD. HOW ARE YOU INSPIRED BY OTHER WOMEN? WHO IN THE #TAMILY INSPIRES YOU? HOW DO YOU CONNECT WITH OTHER WOMEN IN THE #TAMILY BOTH ON INSTAGRAM AND IN REAL LIFE?
This is not a fair question. There isn’t enough words and space in this Tam Tale to mention everyone. The truth is, I am inspired by absolutely all of my girls on Instagram. I know some TAMsisters a bit more than others. Here is just some, out of hundreds, that make my soul shine brighter each day. @mini2283 Erin, inspires me with her loyalty, dedication, and motivation. She always supports me in every workout and every Insragram post. She teaches me consistency and determination. @Lorettasfitnesslife Loretta, wakes the inner pop star in me and gives me hope that I too can dance! @Emery5 Emery, sparked a desire in me to become a health conscious cook, and to step out of my comfort zone and experiment in the kitchen. @Ek4tam Elise, thought me that there is no excuse not to work out. She is such a great mother to her boy and that alone is enough for me to adore her. @Lochness28 Vanessa, provides me with daily reassurance that I am special, especially in moments when I need it the most. It must come naturally to her since she is a nurse at heart. @Belove.behappy.bfit Molli teaches me how to write from my heart a bit more often as well as be more poetic. I just love that so much.
LIKE MOST WOMEN I KNOW, YOU ARE BUSY! WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR FITTING WORKOUTS INTO A HECTIC LIFESTYLE?
Do it whenever you can. I do not have a set time or routine for TArealtime. I usually jump into a workout whenever I see an opening in my day and this could be between laundry cycles, before I make breakfast for my sons or at the end of a long day at work. I simply just get it done. I need it. I want it. I deserve it.
ONE THING THE #TAMILY HAS IS STYLE. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE OUTFIT TO EXERCISE IN?
I believe that what you wear has a powerful effect on your mood. I dress up for my workouts because it prepares me for an energetic and colorful TAM session. Also, I am a strong believer in rewarding myself and my hard work by dressing well. My reward almost always consists of a good pair of leggings. Because of that, some TAMILY women have referred to me as “the legging queen.”
Many of my TAMsisters @Ggjtam Gwen, @Andi4tam Andi, @Erinsfield Erin, @Latam34 Jullian, @Tiffaney_ann Tiffaney jumped on my legging bandwagon with me, which makes my legging obsession even more special. A good pair of leggings just does the body good. I am a fan of @Candidamariaus , @Liquidoactive leggings not to mention a great pair of leggings from TJMaxx. Even when I’m drained from a long day of serving others, my leggings that feel like baby’s skin and conform to the curves of my lower body, remind me that I deserve to dedicate an hour for my own health, body and mind.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TA MOMENT?
The first thing that comes to mind was meeting one of the TAMILY members, @MelissaRigdon Melissa She had flown into NYC for the vitality week. We had never met in person but we spoke on the phone a number of times. When we saw each other, we ran across a busy NYC street into each other’s arms, as if we’ve been friends our entire life. Things have never been the same, our friendship will last a lifetime. I’ve had moments just as wonderful with TAMsisters in NYC on another occasion. It was then that I met many of them in person. They came from all over the globe and I had the honor of spending time with @gilliancory @ Monica_duarte_tam @Shanmasters @catynasr @shaina4tam @wisperingwilll @JSherman811 @Jdoak15 @nadineandrea13 @silvercontinent @morgenschick @Emm4tam, @Clinsay @ Kathryn_mpls and many more special ladies. That was one of the most magical weekends ever.
IT’S ALL ABOUT BALANCE. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PRE-WORKOUT MEAL? FAVORITE INDULGENCE?
Tracy’s Restart Vanilla Shake is my favorite meal pre and post working out. Along with my leggings, it boosts my energy at the start of any workout or replenishes my energy after I’ve devoted my all to a session. Favorite indulgence: Nutella. Enough said 🙂
HOW ELSE DO YOU FIND BALANCE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE?
I love going on early morning walks while the streets are still empty and I can hear birds chirping. It’s when I am at peace with my soul. I get to reflect on my life and my goals. The crispness of the air helps me clear my head and focus on what is really important- my family and my health. It is during these little moments that I remember how grateful I am for my amazing partner, my sweet sons, and of course, the TAMILY.
In the evenings, I enjoy spending quiet time with my sons. We lay on their bed together and talk about anything that comes to mind like scooters, soccer, video games, yesterday’s math homework. Our little chat sessions fill my heart with so much content and often end in a peaceful and restful night of sleep.
ALL RIGHT, HERE’S A FREE PASS TO BRAG: IN ADDITION TO THE SUCCESS OF STICKING WITH IT, WHAT PROGRESS HAVE YOU MADE SINCE YOU STARTED #TAREALTIME AND BECAME PART OF THE #TAMILY, BOTH PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY?
I feel more confident, accomplished, and sexy. For the first time in my adult life, I love the shape of my body. Partly because of the hard work I put into it and partly because of the self-acceptance TAMILY has helped me to achieve. I’ve tried it all. I’ve attempted going to the gym, practicing yoga, Pilates, running long distance, and cycling. Although all of these activities kept me in great shape, I feel the most attractive and feminine when I complete TArealtime. One tiny aspect of the program that is so great is Tracy’s taste in music. It energizes and motivates me to give 100% of myself throughout the entire streaming session. More importantly, no other exercise program feeds my soul the way that the TA method does. No other exercise program promotes the peace I’ve experienced in my heart with the help of TAMILY members.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR BODY?
I love my collarbone. To me it’s one of the most feminine aspects of my body. Also, I love the way my mothers’ old necklaces lays on it.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR INTERNAL SELF?
I appreciate my desire to care for others. I’ve always had an instinct to express care and love to those around me. I think this characteristic is evident in my career, and my family life, including the love I provide to my partner my children and the love I had for my late mother. Something I was never very good at was caring for myself by promoting self-love and paying attention to my own needs. Through the TAmethod, I have been able to acknowledge the importance of devoting one hour a day to myself, one hour in which I can promote my own health and wellbeing. I have realized that if I am not my best self for me, then I am not my best self for the people I love. TAMILY has allowed to me to provide support to others while at the same time, teaching me to love and care for myself for a change. This is a lesson for which I am forever grateful.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR WOMEN WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH THEIR HEALTH AND BODY IMAGE?
I want women to know that you are not alone in the struggle of health and body image. Sometimes we do not feel like we are enough but it is important to recognize that this body is yours and it’s beautiful, before the work out and after. This body is all that you have, and you have no choice but to nourish it. But you can do better than this. You can find a meaningful connection with your body by appreciating every strong muscle, every working fiber, and every beautiful curve that helps you to stand tall. Take care of your body. In return, your body will take care of you.
ALL PHOTOS PROVIDED BY AGATA. FOLLOW HER ON INSTAGRAM @AGIKONWALIA
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MY FAVORITE SALAD
2 cups of mixed greens (lettuce, arugula, spinach)
2 tbsp cottage cheese
Fresh ground pepper
On a plate of mixed greens, place diced cucumber, diced tomato, chopped red onion followed by sliced avocado and cottage cheese. Sprinkle with some sea salt and ground pepper. Enjoy!
FAVORITE CURRENT QUOTE:
“YOU’VE GOT TO LEARN TO LEAVE THE TABLE WHEN LOVE IS NO LONGER BEING SERVED”
– NINA SIMONE
FAVORITE ALL-TIME QUOTE:
“I’VE LEARNED THAT PEOPLE WILL FORGET WHAT YOU SAID, PEOPLE WILL FORGET WHAT YOU DID, BUT PEOPLE WILL NEVER FORGET HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.”
– MAYA ANGELOU
ALL-TIME FAVORITE BOOK:
The Thorn Birds by Coleen McCullough
ALL-TIME FAVORITE MOVIE:
ALL-TIME FAVORITE MOVIE:
Gladiator; I named my sons after the characters from this movie: Maximus and Lucius.
ADVICE AGATA WOULD PASS ONTO YOUNG WOMEN THAT SHE WISH SHE HAD KNOWN EARLIER ON IN LIFE:
Love yourself now. There is no point in wasting time hating your body. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Live your life without focusing on the judgment of others, or worse, your own self-criticism. You only have one shot at this. That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. In fact, it’s the imperfections in you that make you so special. The greatest lessons in life will be born out of your mistakes. Try to be kind to yourself when falling short of your goals. Mistakes, failures, struggles- that’s how we learn so make them part of your journey. Oh, and please wear sunscreen.