Amy Wolff was injured again.
First it was running, then cycling. Now it was high-intensity training for martial arts. And this time the mother of two felt like it was more than just another injury. “I was kind of broken,” she told us.
Amy was always active – she played team sports through high school, and later, she found joy in competing against herself in individual pursuits like running and cycling. She loved to set tough goals for herself, and she would push herself as hard as it took to achieve them.
“It was — let’s see how fast we can go!” she said. But eventually, she’d always end up injured in some way.
“I used to be active purely for me,” said Amy. Then she started a family and everything shifted. Suddenly she saw her fitness as more than just a fun and challenging hobby.
“I want to be healthy for my family so that I can be there for them.”
For Amy, keeping her body strong and capable became an act of love for her two sons and her husband. But despite her best efforts, her body was broken. Or maybe because of her best efforts.
“The things I was doing were not working, and the harder I tried to make them work, the more they didn’t work… Physically, things were not going where I needed them to go.”
And the physical cost was only the half of it. The emotional cost was just as hard.
“You know, you’re working really hard, following advice that seems to work for the masses, and it doesn’t work for you. That can put you in a bad mental state. So it’s this vicious cycle of brokenness where nothing seems to be working and you can’t get your head around it because you think you’re doing all the right things.”
Amy took some time off to recuperate. She longed to rebuild her physical confidence, but after so many cycles of effort and injury she was afraid that she’d just start another cycle.
That’s when she discovered our Floor One program.
Its focus on slowing down and working systematically toward new skills was different from her usual ‘push harder’ training approach. But at that point, Amy needed something different. So she decided to give it a try.
The process wasn’t easy but it paid off big time.
Amy’s Humble Beginnings
Diving into a completely different athletic pursuit after years of training was brave. And hard.
“When I started Floor One, it was very humbling,” she said. “Because of my athletic background I was used to achieving the goals that I set in my athletic endeavors.”
The program gave Amy a number of skills to work towards. One of them—the Double Arm Lever—was so preposterous that she wrote it off completely.
“I remember thinking it would be impossible to try to do, particularly within the length of the program,” she said.
But the program also gave her a system of progressions to work on. And despite the impossibility of some of the goals, she started to appreciate the process.
“Starting F1 and learning how to swallow my pride and my ego and just do the movements at my level was a life changing approach to kind of who I am today,” said Amy, “and to my fitness for sure.”
How the Impossible Became Possible
Near the beginning of Floor One Amy started working on rolls and cartwheels. “I hadn’t done those in 20 years before starting the program,” she said. “I was able to do those quicker than I thought I’d be able to.”
But nothing in Amy’s past training had prepared her for a skill like the Double Arm Lever.
“Any movements that required skill and coordination and core strength, I had a complete disconnect,” she said. There was no way to just ‘push harder’ into it.
But she diligently followed the structure of Floor One training. She slowed down and focused on being mindful of her movements.
“What I liked about the program is that it did expose my weaknesses, and it would have been very easy to run from that. But I was very intrigued by this kind of internalization of adopting movement in a mindful way… And probably the biggest thing was ‘Slow down!’ It totally changed my approach to what fitness is and what being healthy is.”
With Amy’s consistent practice, the Floor One system slowly changed what her body was capable of doing.
She built new strength, new coordination, new body control.
Then one day near the end of the program she tried the “impossible” Double Arm Lever — and nailed it! “In 12 weeks of the program, to be able to do a double arm lever by the end was really cool,” she recalled.
It’s Not (Just) About the Skills
Amy went into Floor One hoping to get physically strong, capable, and healthy for her family. And it worked. She came away with some impressive new skills. And more importantly she improved her core strength, coordination, and agility.
But the biggest benefit was something she didn’t expect, something she didn’t even know she wanted.
“The most surprising benefit for me was learning to approach fitness from a personal level,” said Amy, “from a point of ownership and experience, rather than total outcome.”
This put an end to the “vicious cycle of brokenness” Amy had been stuck in, and transformed her approach to training.
Where her old approach was about more speed, more effort, “now it’s ‘What can I do with control, and how can I be aware of what I’m doing?'” said Amy. “It was absolutely a process of slowing things down and becoming more aware, paying attention to the details of a movement, rather than the outcome of a movement.”
And through slowing down and paying attention, Amy was not only able to overcome the cycle of injury she’d been in, her renewed physical confidence also allowed her to improve her mental and emotional states as well.
“My training tests my body physically, but it’s a mental appreciation too. If I can clear my head by learning more about myself, it helps me be in a better mental state for my family and the people around me, so I can be more engaged with them. It’s meditative.”
It’s not just a healthier body that Amy is bringing to her family – it’s a clearer, more engaged mind, too. She is more present and more capable to take on adventures and challenges with her two boys and her husband.
And even beyond her family, Amy wants to “raise the common denominator” of her community.
“We all rely on each other for our own safety,” she said. “You have to own it so those around you don’t have to pick you up. You can pick them up.”
In the end, says Amy, it’s about “ownership of me, so that I can be a better part of my family and my community, so I can give back to them.” This whole process is about so much more than just building skills. But the skills she gained along the way helped make the process smoother and more enjoyable.
What Would Amy Do?
Since going through Floor One nearly five years ago, Amy’s accomplished what was once unimaginable to her. She’s mastered the pistol squat, and got her handstand down. And at one point she did a total of 48 pull-ups in one workout session.
“It all started with F1 and learning that it’s not about the numbers or the level of the skill, but it’s about learning about yourself and it’s a continuous journey and a daily practice.”
Yes, Amy’s achieved skills that most people never even dream about, but for her, that success has always come back to using a physical practice as a means of self-discovery.
“If you’re on the fence about doing Floor One, ask yourself how well you know yourself. If you have a physical challenge and you put yourself up against it, F1 is a great start to do that because it asks you to do what you might think is very simple. One of the true goals of ‘making it pretty’ by doing a two-minute routine and achieving each element of that routine in a flow is to teach you a lot about yourself. If you want a physical challenge to learn about yourself while staying physically fit, F1 is the building block for that.”