2016 Spring Transformation Finalist
*Results not typical
When I originally signed up for the 90-Day Challenge, I wasn’t looking, nor did I have any idea that the challenge existed. I was looking for a couple of personal training sessions to help revitalize my motivation. I teamed up with Justin Klotz, a Personal Trainer at the Novi, Michigan location. The competition fit in with what I always wanted to do, but never took the initiative to do; attempt to lean out and see if I could withstand 3 months of consistent work.
Justin helped me set realistic goals by developing a steady routine and incorporating positive changes. It started off small with a cardio session once a week, eliminating processed foods and getting to bed at a reasonable time of 9 p.m. After years of going to bed at 11:30 p.m. – 1 a.m., and having to be up at 5:30 a.m. for work, this alone was quite a feat that really started my rejuvenation.
My initial goal for this challenge was to hit 6% body fat. I started small, only eating unprocessed foods that I cooked myself. I started losing weight by simply changing what I ate, while not counting calories. It was a slow transition, taking small steps to develop a diet that was not only suitable, but something I could stick to over the course of the competition. Even when I had a set diet, it still wasn’t perfect. I had exactly what to eat, portion sizes and even timing. But it wasn’t the diet that was difficult, in fact, that was the easy part. It was developing the self-discipline to acquire everything I needed, cook everything ahead of time and measure everything I consumed. Between the week 4 and 5-weigh in, my body fat increased from 10.1% back to 11%. I had made mistakes in my diet and I fixed them immediately, no longer allowing myself any extra meals or snacks. I slowly started reducing weekly after that. By week 10, I broke past my initial 6% goal, which fueled the rest of my journey. I set my sights on being on top of the leaderboard, so I gave it everything I had, every single day. In the last month of the challenge, I was at Life Time almost every single night.
My biggest supporter and motivator also happens to be the smallest, my daughter Emily. There were many times where I thought about giving up, but simply gazing at her gave me the drive to push forward. You should always lead by example and being a parent is no exception. I pushed on day after day with my daughter by my side. She enjoys Life Time’s child center, and I always feel comfortable with her in their care. Emily has seen the changes I have made both physically and habitually, and we are both in a better place because of it. We eat healthier, get more sleep and have been spending more quality time together as a result.
Accountability was the final key to my success. Life Time got it right when they incorporated the weekly weigh-ins, and if that wasn’t enough, the local and national leaderboards. I was always motivated, but the final month of the challenge truly lit a fire inside. I was routinely calculating my body fat loss as soon as I weighed in and checking my rank as soon as the leaderboards updated. Even with everything going on in my life, getting called in to work at odd hours, picking my daughter up from school, stress and just being overly tired, I never missed a workout. When the time came to do cardio every day as part of my routine, I never missed a session. I had a target to burn a minimum of 300 calories every time I got on a treadmill after weightlifting, or 600 calories on my “rest days,” and I hit those numbers every single time. There were days where I thought, “That’s probably good enough,” or “I probably worked hard enough at work to make up for this,” but it didn’t matter. I wanted to push past what was possible and anything less might have been good enough for the competition, but it wouldn’t have been enough for me.
I needed a change in my life, more than I could have ever imagined. I’m in better shape, and I make better decisions daily. I’m no longer ordering large quantities of fast food and falling asleep at work. I’m more productive, my concentration is much more centered and I’m more attentive to my daughter. It’s the small things that remind me that I’ve matured. Thinking about what I’m going to cook for dinner vs. what I can grab quickly. I’m preparing for the future vs. procrastinating hard work. I’m sneaking a piece of lean chicken that broke off in the pan compared to sneaking pieces of chocolate. My productivity and motivation for life has never been higher, and that’s something I’m very proud of.
Like many other transformation competitions, this isn’t really about fitness at all. At the very core, it’s about changing the way we think and pursue short and long term goals. It requires dedication and sacrifice, and if you’re willing to fight long enough, you can achieve anything. Everything you learn from a transformation challenge can be applied to everything else in life; the body is just a physical representation of ideology at work.