Back when Pamela Crawford was a teacher, she had been praying for something different in her life — a pivot.
That pivot came when she started her online boot camp, Evolution U (also known as Pamela Crawford’s Bootcamp).
“I didn’t feel like my heart was in the educational system,” Crawford said. “So I kind of took a leap of faith at first and thought it was just a one time thing I would do, and people loved it so much they continued to ask for more and more.”
She started her personal health journey in March 2018 after realizing her issues were related to nutrition, she said.
“I had four kids, and they were pretty much back-to-back,” Crawford said. “So I was dealing with a lot of health issues. I grew up very fit and in shape just naturally, and after having children — and the impact pregnancies, especially back to back, have on your body — and just growing up and aging, I definitely had to get stricter with my nutrition, and my eating habits were not the greatest.”
She said she was an emotional eater and wanted to work on that first.
“Mine was really centered around trading out my emotional eating habits for a relationship with Christ,” she said.
She originally shared her stuff on Facebook for free for about a year.
“It became such a passion that I didn’t want anyone else to feel like I had felt,” she said. “So I just wanted to share the gift of health with anyone that wanted to listen. I had a friend tell me that she really thought I should do something kind of like a Facebook boot camp group ... and that’s really where it began.”
The boot camp offers almost 250 low-carb recipes focused on whole foods, meats and healthy fats and generally low-glycemic carbohydrates; an online workout library of recorded workouts and also live workouts each week around your own schedule; devotional videos twice a week; weekly accountability (Crawford and her team check in with you); and challenges and giveaways, which usually include kitchen gadgets or fitness equipment.
Crawford, who has a personal training certification, said a lot of the camp revolves around lifestyle coaching.
“A lot of times in health and fitness, it’s like you know we’re given ‘eat this and do this,’’’ she said. ‘‘But there are a lot of habits that are connected to our thought processes and just being able to come up with things that help everyday people — habits and strategies. I have so many strategies that I have just made up in my head, you know. I’m a mom of four, and it’s like, ‘OK, we’re at ballgames all day so how can I eat healthy?’ And what’s a good strategy? And I just kind of make up little strategies that help real mamas that are doing real life that are still trying to make good choices. We always kind of focus back on simple is best and don’t overthink it.”
Crawford also said walking is “highly encouraged.”
“I had my own revelation that there was a lot of things that I could be doing that I wasn’t doing,” she said. “And I remember thinking how I just needed to run, and the reality was I wasn’t even walking. So I’m a big supporter of walking.”
The boot camp is $100 for a six-week session. She offers those sessions five to six times a year, and her first session of 2023 starts Jan. 16.
Crawford said she made a vow with herself that she would never increase the price of the camp, no matter what is added.
“When I first started it, I only had $100 for myself for groceries,” she said. “So it was like, ‘OK, how am I gonna feed my kids and us on $100?’ And that was back to when I was teaching, and money was tight, and time was tight. I bought a lot of canned chicken and we ate a lot of pickles and cucumbers, and I fed my family off of very little. And when I very first started this, I knew I didn’t want a price point that was unrealistic. I didn’t want mothers to choose between feeding their family and their health.”
Though mothers were her motivation behind the camp, she also has men and people of all ages, from teenagers to 70-year-olds, in her sessions, she said.
“And that’s the cool thing about it is you can modify everything,” she said. “Everything is doable for all abilities, all ages. That was one thing, too, with the health and fitness area is it’s easy to compare. I wanted to make health achievable for anyone who has little to nothing or a lot, can’t do much or can do a lot. I want it to be doable for anyone.”
Starting this boot camp has helped her gain empathy for people, she said.
“It’s almost like I can feel their pain,” she said. “You know, when people reach out, sometimes they’re at the bottom of their barrel and they have nowhere else to turn, and my heart breaks for them. I have learned to have an extreme sense of empathy for people and what they’re going through. And because of that, I try to develop content and tools and resources that help people of all walks of life.”
She said this experience and journey goes back to her relationship with Christ.
“Because the very day I woke up ready to change my life with my food habits was the exact day I woke up and surrendered my life at the same time,” she said. “So for me, it all points back to Christ and it all points back to my relationship. And that’s my why. That’s my passion.”
Having self-discipline is part of living a godly life, Crawford said.
“So I connect a lot of my stuff with my relationship with Christ and I try to share that with people,” she said.
To sign up for Crawford’s boot camp, go to facebook.com/pamela.crawford.50.