Today on the blog you are going to meet my friend Natalie! Natalie is one awesome lady + a true spitfire. I met her through a life group that we are a part of, and I’m so glad I did! She is one strong, successful, and sweet lady. We just had dinner together last night, and I cannot say enough about having quality friends in your life…it’s the best! I’ll let her tell you more about herself!
Natalie: Thanks Ames! 🙂
Ames: Introduce yourself + tell us about your job.
Natalie: Hi everybody! My name is Natalie. I am 28 years old and live in Verona, WI (just south of Madison, WI). I grew up in a great little lake town, Angola, IN. I went to Purdue for undergrad (where I met my husband, Ryan, playing co-ed softball!) and went to Belmont for grad school. I got married on August 24, 2012 to Mr. Ryan Marshall and feel so blessed by this man each and every day. I am a doctor of physical therapy and work in an outpatient clinic (Capitol Physical Therapy at Associated Physicians in Madison, WI) treating orthopedic and women’s health conditions. I am very passionate about helping people and feel very lucky to be able to do that for a job!
A: I know you love being a physical therapist. What is your favorite part of your job?
Natalie: I DO love being a PT! I love treating all types of patients. But, anyone who knows me knows that my true passion is treating the women’s health population. To put it simply, women’s health PTs treat everything below the breast bone and above the knees which can encompass anything from: urinary or fecal leakage, urinary frequency or urgency, constipation, tailbone/coccyx pain, vulvar and vaginal burning, pelvic pain, pain with intercourse, abdominal pain or weakness following a C-section or other abdominal surgeries, vaginal pain after tearing with delivery, back and hip pain with pregnancy, etc. These are all very common conditions that are not normal but are treatable with PT! So many women are told, “that’s just part of being a woman.” And, I am happy to tell women that statement is simply not true! A: I love this answer Nat.
A: You have talked about your passion for women’s health PT. Tell us why you love it so much.
Natalie: Empowering women fills my soul and makes my heart smile. So many patients come to me and are at their breaking point. They have usually seen between 5 to 7 other healthcare professionals before finding me and some expect me to “pass the buck” once again. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” A: Yes, perfect quote for nursing too! If my patients only understand one thing from their first visit, I hope it is that I care so much and am truly passionate about helping them! Honestly, my FAVORITE part of my job is seeing a patient smile from ear to ear because they were able to have pain-free sex with their spouse the night before, or the patient who was able to have normal bowel movements after being constipated for months, or a tired mother of 3 who can finally laugh, jump, and run with her kids and not pee or poop their pants! To help women overcome such personal issues is so gratifying!
A: Let’s talk fitness. What does your workout week look like?
Natalie: I like to mix it up! It’s all about muscle confusion and a good mix of lifting, cardio, and flexibility training. I do hot yoga, barre, spin, lift weights, and walk or hike. If I don’t feel like getting out of the house to work out after a long day, I do a variety of exercises in my living room with 10 lb weights, exercise bands, and a Swiss ball or put in a TurboFire DVD! Chalene is my girl! She is so inspiring!
A: Does your knowledge gained from your education and career influence the way that you train?
Natalie: Knowing the physiology behind exercise is very beneficial. I probably take it for granted most of the time. But, I also read a lot of fitness blogs (like BalancedAmes!) I have a few basic tips that I stick to:
- If you are going to lift and do cardio, you will be most effective and have more strength and energy if you lift first (to burn glycogen) then cardio second (to burn fat).
- Doing 1 set of exercises will not get you results. Lift heavy with shorter reps if you want to bulk up and lift light with longer reps if you want to tone out. Either way, you should be fatiguing your muscles! If you are lifting weights and it feels easy, lift heavier weights!
- Make sure you drink enough water (gold standard=body weight/2 in fl oz/day) and eat enough of the proper nutrients (protein and fruit to help your muscles recover and grow (ideally within 15-30 minutes after your workout). A: Yes! Water is key.
- Listen to your body. If something hurts or doesn’t feel right, don’t push through the pain with a “no pain, no gain” mentality. Your body’s defense mechanism is to signal pain to tell you to stop doing what you are doing…be good to your body, you’ve only got one!
- Buying organic for at least the “dirty dozen” is very important! When I tell people that you are filling your body with toxins if you don’t choose organic I typically get the response, “But organic is SOOO expensive!” My response, “Pay now or pay later!” A: I need you to talk to Drew 😉
- Being and looking your best is 80% nutrition and 20% fitness. If you aren’t fueling your body with good food and right portions, you will likely hit a fitness plateau. But, at the end of the day, focus on progress, not perfection!
A: Best tip you can give for people that have trouble getting themselves out the door for a workout?
Natalie: Sometimes I tell myself, “Okay Natalie, let’s just go to the gym for 10 minutes.” But typically once I’m there, I never want to leave! I LOVE the high of working out! If patients have a hard time getting themselves to do the exercises I have them do, I say, “Tell yourself that your body and having pain is not important to you. If you disagree with that statement, GET MOVING AND DO YOUR EXERCISES!”. The same goes for working out! A: I’m right there with you! If I can just get myself to the gym or out the door for my running/track workouts…I’m golden and going to get it done!
A: You have a pretty great husband! What have the past few years taught you about marriage?
Natalie: I have THE MOST AMAZING husband!!! I often ask God how I got so lucky. I fall more in love with him every day. Don’t get me wrong, marriage is a lot of fun but also takes a lot of work and has its challenges. My dad told us some great advice around the time we got married, “Invest in each other, the dividends are forever.” It’s easy to want to invest in each other if both people understand that marriage isn’t easy and you need to make a conscious decision every day to make your marriage work. I would say that above all, if you can agree about faith, finances, and sex, you have the foundation for a strong marriage. A: Yes.
A: We met through Soup Group, our super awesome “church” group through Blackhawk. Tell us how faith influences your life.
Natalie: Faith is everything to me. Our existence is because of God, our creator, and our destiny is determined by a choice to believe and follow Him. I know I’m far from perfect, but I sure love my God. The best way I feel like I can love Him is to love others and extend grace to them. I feel very thankful to have a husband who is a man of God. This is such a crucial foundation to our marriage.
Our life group through Blackhawk is sooo incredible! It’s a wonderful community. I love the people we have met through it and the relationships we have formed. Gregg and Nancy are the wonderful hosts of our “life group”, which we have coined our “soup group”, because Nancy cooks dinner for us every week and it’s typically some delicious soup! This group is really my “home away from home” and I feel so lucky to be a part of it.
A: We agree on a lot of things. Two that stick out to me are: working less (enjoying life outside of work to the fullest) + empowering women. Can you speak to these topics?
Natalie: Working hard, making a living, and helping people are all very important to me, but working is not everything. Having a good work life balance is so important. The modern day woman typically tries to “do it all” by overextending herself in every area of her life. This is not only unhealthy, but it’s not sustainable, and it takes years off your life. Life is about dreaming big, having fun, and being able to spend time with the people you love and cherish. I believe that you can have it all by taking a step back and understanding what balance works best for you, then making your life work for you! It’s all about balance, right Ames?! 🙂 I’ve touched a little on empowering women when I discussed women’s health PT. Above all, I think it is SO important for women to support other women. Talk about how you feel and what you are going through. Why do we hide from our insecurities and flaws? Own it! You are who you are and chances are, when you let your guard down, you will be more vulnerable to get support and in the future, help someone through something similar. Be strong, be confident, be BOLD!!! You are who you are- embrace it!
A: Is there ANYTHING that embarrasses you? 😉
Natalie: I used to get embarrassed (mostly in middle school and generally by my parents). My mom would sing (off key) really loud in church and my dad would always come into my games (I was a cheerleader) doing spirit kicks yelling “Go Jackets!” A: hahaha.
But today, I can’t think of anything that embarrasses me. I love and embrace the uniqueness and weirdness of myself and would rather laugh at myself than try to hide my true personality.
A: Take it from me, she truly embraces + lives by this…and we love her for it 🙂
A: Favorite healthy meal + snack?
Natalie: I would say my healthy meal would be grilled chicken (with Ryan’s special marinade) with a side of broccoli, asparagus, or brussel sprouts (I LOVE veggies!!!).
As for a snack, does red wine count??? haha 🙂
I love fruit for a sweet treat, hummus (my new fave is Trader Joe’s White Bean and Basil) and veggies for something savory with a crunch, hard-boiled eggs, a handful of almonds to hold me over and boost my energy, or caffeine-free Yogi tea (honey lavender is my new fave!) if it’s late at night.
A: Favorite indulgence?
Natalie: Aaaaahh, here’s where I can say red wine! (better yet, with dark chocolate, fruit, and aged cheese!) What’s life without a little indulgence every now and then?! 🙂
A: Favorite restaurant in Madison?
Natalie: I have too many favorites! You know Libras are indecisive, Ames! 😉 Okay, top 5 (in no particular order): Red Sushi, Graze, Eno Vino, Tempest, and Jac’s. A: You are speaking my language! I just need to try Jac’s.
Thank you, thank you Natalie for the interview! I loved her answers and found tons of inspiration. I’m lucky to call you a friend.