Kelli J. – Chanhassen, MN
All my life I have been extremely fit and active, involved in many sports from basketball and cross country to rock climbing and wakeboarding.
I was a youth Boot Camp instructor all the way through my first pregnancy nearly 6 years ago. Two more babies followed closely with each pregnancy being more challenging than the one before. They were filled with many complications before, during and after, leaving my body at near breaking point. Multiple surgeries, bed rest, infections and carrying 3 nearly 10 pound babies had done a number on my body and left me in uncharted territory. I was lost. I had never had to work at being fit before. It was just a lifestyle for me, and nothing I was doing seemed to be working.
Now, my days were no longer my own. Instead, I was in constant “mommy mode.” I love being a mom more than anything, but I was also struggling with postpartum depression. I needed to find a healthy way to combat it.
I decided to turn to nutrition and exercise. I had been working out at a low intensity prior to the 90-Day Challenge, but the results were not there. When the 90-Challenge presented itself, I figured it would be the best way to be accountable to actual physical change. I needed SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) goals.
I sat down with a trainer and made a plan. I had some blood work done and started training once a week with him. On my own time, I would go to the gym and work out 6 times a week. I was feeling great, but not seeing the kind of results I was looking for. I was nearly 6 weeks into my transformation journey, and nothing had changed in the way of measurable goals. I was crushed. All my hard work did not seem to be paying off. I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into.
I met with the amazing staff in the personal training department to problem solve. We all decided that it would be best to start working with someone with nutrition training as well as a trainer who is an expert at cutting lower body fat percentages. Merrick Morlan, the MMA trainer, seemed to fit the bill perfectly. My husband, who is also in the 90-Day Challenge, had been training with Merrick since the beginning and was seeing amazing results. Luckily, Merrick was willing to take me on as a client with less than 6 weeks remaining in the Challenge.
When I met him, he said he was going to train me like a fighter (not intimidating at all) and that it was going to be different than anything else I had done before (no joke) and pretty difficult, especially considering our timeline. I agreed to do whatever he told me to do.
Now, MMA fighting isn’t even on my wild and crazy bucket list. I am not by nature an aggressive person, so the idea of coming into a fight shape class with no experience and being introverted…let’s just say I was in slight panic mode. At this point though, with no current results to speak of, I didn’t have much else to lose.
Every single person in all of my classes was so nice and welcoming, and Merrick was a quick teacher to catch me up. I quickly fell in love with the idea of coming to the gym and not having to spend hours lifting or doing traditional cardio. It was FUN! Merrick also drastically changed my eating habits.They weren’t bad habits, but they were just not conducive to what my body needed. I was now training and eating like a fighter which was no longer as intimidating as I once thought.
At my first weigh-in, one week after changing my routine, I had dropped 4% body fat! I did more in my first week of fight training than I had done my first 6 weeks of traditional lifting. I had finally found my personal equation to fitness success, which I have learned is VERY different for each person. Moving forward it was physically a challenge, but it turned into more of an emotional and mental challenge as the 90 days ticked further down.
It wasn’t always easy to stick to the meal plan. I found myself being hangry (angry because I was hungry for treats). It also wasn’t my favorite thing to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to get an early lift session in before the kids got out of bed for homeschooling and my husband had to leave for work, but I quickly learned it was worth it. Every. Single. Time. I was beginning to see all of the small victories I was making.
Joining group classes when my introverted personality wanted to hide in the corner of the gym, WIN. Trying new things that I wasn’t very good at (basically everything in MMA/fight class), WIN. Learning to tone down my perfectionism, WIN. Staying on track while out of town for 10 days over Easter, BIG WIN! Putting my kids’ goldfish crackers away without snacking on them myself, WIN! But mentally, pushing through the weeks of initial failure to find my eventual success was my biggest win!
It’s the little things that not everyone is willing to do that makes your life exceptional. I decided many years ago that I am not okay with a mediocre life. We only get one chance at this, and I want to do it with extraordinary determination! I have learned from this 90-Day Transformation journey that the best parts of life start outside your comfort zones.
I am grateful more than I can express, to the wonderful team of people who have helped me along this journey. Having strong support has made the seemingly impossible moments survivable. All of the sweat, tears and bruises have been worth it! I am excited to see what the future holds next because this is only the beginning for this homeschooling mom and wife.
A special shout-out and thank you to Merrick for his constant patience and tolerance of my numerous emails and questions. And especially for showing me just how much more I am capable of!