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Zero to Ironman: Raleigh mom gets fit, launches Simply Small Sweets

Posted October 13, 2013

Finishing a full Ironman Triathlon - that's a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2-mile run - is a pretty spectacular accomplishment.

Then consider Amy Hambrick's story. Just four years ago, Hambrick was living a sedentary life after giving birth to two boys. The one-time competitive swimmer and runner, along with her husband, weren't even aware of Raleigh's greenway system. And she was overeating. She'd packed on an extra 60 pounds or so.

But as her boys, both grade schoolers now, grew older, Hambrick decided it was time to take control. She wanted to back in shape, but she also wanted to set a better example for her two boys.

She started running and joined some local running clubs. Her husband starting running too. Before she knew it, she was running marathons, including the Boston Marathon in 2012. And, in August, she completed her first Ironman Triathlon in Canada.

"I'm definitely goal driven," she said. Amy Hambrick Zero to Ironman: Raleigh mom gets fit, finds time to launch bite-sized business

And in the middle of all this, the former high school teacher launched her first business in January - Simply Small Sweets. It's allowed her to share her two passions - baking and healthy eating. She bakes bite-sized scones, cupcakes and small quick breads and makes Simply Energy bites, which are designed for athletes and anybody looking for a healthy snack on the go. Her kids even take them to school.

"It's just a healthy alternative to packaged snacks," she said.

The Simply Energy bites feature just a handful of ingredients - often dates and nuts. Flavors include hot chocolate chia, chai spice, chocolate espresso and chocolate fudge. They come in little bite size pieces, perfect for popping in your mouth during a long bike ride or run. I tried the hot chocolate chia flavor before a long run as I trained for a half marathon. They were delicious and kept me satisfied.

For her baked goods, which she calls Simply Treats, she looks for seasonal and unique flavors. In the summer, she offered root beer cupcakes and watermelon cupcakes. Right now, apple caramel scones are on the menu (and are, again, absolutely delicious. They just melt in your mouth). She does offer some gluten-free cupcake options.

After losing all the weight, moderation has been the goal for Hambrick when it comes to food. She found that extreme diets don't work for her and weren't something she could maintain for the rest of her life. What worked for Hambrick was paying attention to portion sizes. 

"For me, it's all about portions," she said. "I think the biggest thing for me, once you really pay attention to what a serving is, it's quite shocking."

"Everything is getting bigger, why not make things smaller," she said of her business feature bite-sized items.

The last 10 months have been a busy one for Hambrick as she prepared for the Ironman and started her business. She's learned a lot about sales, marketing, product packaging and baking. Someday, she'd love to be at health and fitness expos, selling her Simply Energy bites to athletes like her.

Considering that she was able to go from zero to Ironman in four years, I'd say be on the look out for Hambrick.

For more, watch my video interview with Hambrick and check out her website.

Go Ask Mom features local moms every Monday.


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  • readme Oct 14, 2013

    Wow, she's beautiful. What's your excuse? Get off the couch. I'll start.