We had the good fortune of connecting with Abby McQueeney Penamonte and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Abby, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
It was almost 2 years ago that the gym I worked at as a Registered Dietitian Nutrition Coach + Personal Trainer shut down for what would be 3 months due to the Pandemic. When I learned I would no longer have the same leadership position (and compensation plan associated with it) I decided to go all in on myself.
Sometimes God closes doors because it’s time to move forward. He knows you won’t move unless your circumstances force you.
2020 was a rough year for many.
BUT it wildly opened another door and led me to start my own online Nutrition + Fitness Coaching business. To be honest, I was really scared about starting my own business. Terrified might be a better word. I wanted to start my own nutrition coaching business over 6 years ago but wasn’t in the right head space so I quit before I even started. I am thankful everyday that I listened to my heart (and my husband, Jason) about entrepreneurship, jumped in, took imperfect action, and started!
I quickly learned that the safest job to have is the job you create for yourself. And you know what? I haven’t looked back.
After 12 years of working to build someone else’s dream I am building my own dreams AND I get the opportunity to serve and impact more people. I personally spent almost a decade struggling with disordered eating (chronic under-fueling) + overtraining (I used to run 100 mile ultra-marathons, and competed in PowerLifting Nationals) and it’s my mission to help others avoid the same mistakes I made. My team of badass Dietitians, Client Attraction Manager, and myself, coach active women to fuel their bodies to look good, feel good, and set PR’s. Our desire is to impact others and improve their relationship with food, fitness, and their body image.
Starting my own business has been so rewarding and fulfilling. I’m beyond grateful to my clients that let me in to their lives and allow me to use my God-given gifts to inspire, motivate, and serve. I am truly honored to be a part of my clients health and fitness journey.
What should our readers know about your business?
I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer. I got my passion for working with athletes from my experience as an ultra-runner. I started running at an early age and then got involved with endurance running, racing, and road marathons in my 20’s and 30’s. When I moved to Colorado, I started trail running and even went on to compete in several 100-mile mountain races.
Over the years, I used running, food restriction, and a low carb diet to feel like I was in control of my life. In addition, I tried to achieve the lowest body fat, erroneously thinking that it would support my training. That all worked until it didn’t and I was forced to step away from running completely. Abusing and depleting my body led to insomnia, thyroid issues, blood sugar imbalances, hormonal and adrenal issues, and non-existent menstrual cycles. I had taken running to an extreme and my body said “No more!”
I knew the chronic cardio training would put me in the grave if I didn’t do something different. I stopped running and gained 15-20 pounds. It sucked, but I knew it needed to happen in order for my body to heal. However, it was one of the hardest things to deal with and it left me with body image issues, a lack of confidence, and a feeling of insecurity.
Eventually, I discovered strength training and it saved my life! As I started to get serious about lifting, I quickly learned that my low carb diet would not support my nutrition and fitness goals. That’s when I started to introduce carbs into my diet and hired my first nutrition coach (the best decision ever!).
Working with my nutrition coach, I learned:
• How much food I needed to support my goals,
• Not to fear or restrict food, and
• How to fuel my body to be the best powerlifter I could be.
Over 3 years, I put on about 20 pounds of muscle. I started to focus on how much weight was on the barbell vs. the weight on the scale.
When I hurt my back in practice over two years ago, the injury forced me to fully step away from competing. But, I believed God was on my side and really pushed me towards something greater … recovery and living a life with 100% balance. Being a competitive athlete was simply no longer serving my mind, body, or spirit.
Experience is often life’s greatest teacher. Though the path hasn’t always been easy, I’ve learned:
• There’s no need to stress about my nutrition or body image.
• I love my body for what it does and NOT because of what it looks like.
• The number on the scale does NOT determine my self-worth.
• Tracking macros is healthy for me because I’m prone to under-eating.
• All foods can fit (even chocolate!) with the right nutrition plan.
• It IS possible to eat more, exercise less, AND love my body!
My experiences have fueled a passion within me to help others avoid the same mistakes I made. I want to help other women escape the prison of over-exercising and under-eating.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, I’m a giant nerd and don’t get out to party much 🙂
I’m however a hiking fanatic and have hiked thousands of miles in Colorado.
My husband, Jason, and our little yellow lab, Molly, are on a mission to hike as many 14’ers as possible (14,000 foot peaks in Colorado). After being a highly competitive athlete, my goals have shifted and I’m now more excited to see Molly get as many summits. She is up to 18 (out of 58). There are some mountains that are too technical for Molly (and me), so I know we won’t get them all. But there is so much satisfaction and reward in the struggle to get to the top of the peak and to see all of Colorado’s beauty.
We often times will camp out the nite before our hikes or do multi-day backpacking trips. Some of our fave destinations are Leadville and Aspen (4-Pass Loop).
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
In business and in life surround yourself with an incredible coach/mentor and an amazing team that supports and encourages you and always challenges you to be your best. Everyday.
I’m thankful for my coach Tony Stephan, Lauren Sharpe, and my Dietitian Nutrition Coach Mentorship group. This group of professionals have really allowed me to live out my dreams and create more impact with my nutrition coaching business
Other: Private Nutrition + Fitness FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NEWFitFuel/