img_8123-2Over the past 9 months Vicky Schultz has achieved one of the most amazing transformations we have ever seen. She lost over 50lbs while completely changing her body-composition at the same time. Her original plan was to make this huge lifestyle change to prepare for her wedding, but as you will read in her blog, it became much more than that by the end. Congratulations Vicky!

“I started my weight loss journey several years ago. It started with a calorie restricted diet of 1200 calories and an all cardio work out plan. Fast forward 6 months and I lost a total of 60 pounds. Surprise, surprise shortly after returning to my regular diet I gained the majority of the weight back. In June, 2014 I broke my ankle, which really accelerated the whole process. I was only able to participate in very minimal physical activity and the recovery was slow. Soon I was back at my heaviest weight plus 15 pounds.  In December of 2014, I decided to get back into shape. I worked with personal trainers, attended boot camps, ate healthier and participated in a variety of different exercise classes. I did lose some weight (usually about 10 pounds or so) but shortly there after, I would gain the weight back. 
In 2016, my partner and I made a “mutual decision” to get married. We planned the wedding for that summer. I definitely did not want to walk down the aisle at my heaviest weight. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to lose weight and become a healthier version of myself. The new year came and went with no change in the scale. Hitting yet another dead end I knew I needed to do something different. Something with a little more structure and accountability. After searching google for options of what Regina had to offer I stumbled upon the Trench website. What specifically attracted me to the website was the transformation testimonials, shared by regular everyday people.  I knew my Monday diets weren’t doing the trick and my wedding was coming up. I signed up for Trench Fitness and began my first 12 week nutrition and training program at the end of March 2016. 
hr-0278-vicky-golden-jbp_1193When I met with my coach, Neil, he asked how I was feeling about the 12 week program; I believe I said that I was “dreading it”, which was the truth. I knew how much work it takes to lose weight and I wasn’t feeling up to the challenge. What really stood out for me is at the first meeting Neil talked about maintaining the weight loss and long term goals. I was hopeful this wasn’t just going to be another quick fix which was really appealing to me because I did not want to do it all over again in another 5 years.
Initially, the nutrition plan took me a few days to wrap my head around. The term macro (referring to proteins, carbs and fats) was a completely foreign concept to me. Once I became familiar with the program, I felt like I was doing a puzzle to determine which foods I could eat in order to consume the appropriate amount of macros into each day. What I found very surprising about the program was that I could really eat almost any food I wanted, as long as I could fit it into the daily amount of macros. I began cooking mainly at home, but I still have the luxury of enjoying the odd meal out. 
As I mentioned above, I had tried multiple different exercise programs in the past  so I was no stranger to the gym. Weight lifting on the other hand was a completely new area of the gym that I had not ventured too far into. I was a little skeptical that I would get bored of the weight training process because I would be doing the same exercise for 12 weeks. My past experience at the gym consisted of me switching up my routine all of the time, but that obviously hadn’t worked for me in the past so I agreed to try something new.  I started off by purchasing 10 personal training sessions, as suggested by Neil, to learn how to properly execute the exercises. I was paired up with Tyler, one of the trainers at Trench. Tyler was a consistent support that not only made sure that I executed the exercises correctly, but also motivated and pushed me to new personal records. Furthermore, he was always there to answer any questions that I had related to the program. 
Needless to say, the 10 sessions soon multiplied into more. I plan to continue with the personal training sessions, and have no plans to stop, even after completing the nutrition and exercise program. An important lesson I have learned through this journey is you cannot judge a workout by how hard you are breathing, or sweating. Weight training can be hard work, but it is important to know that you do not have to push yourself to the state of complete exhaustion each time you are at the gym to get results. 
img_8125-2The nutrition and exercise program has assisted and supported me in my successful weight loss journey. When my coach, Neil told me that many people sign up for multiple cycles of the program I can remember thinking, why would anyone ever put themselves through this more than once? Well turns out I have joined the crazy train, and continue to participate in the program today. After my first 12 weeks, I was down 30 pounds and felt more motivated than ever. After another 12 weeks, I lost another 20 pounds. On my wedding day, I was able to walk down the aisle 50 pounds lighter. I felt great and had a sense of confidence that I had never imagined.  It truly felt amazing to put on my wedding dress and look in the mirror, seeing all of the hard work I put in over the last 5 months reflecting back at me. Since my wedding, I have signed up for an additional 12 weeks. I had a minor surgery on my ankle and my recovery went better than expected. I was able to quickly return to the gym and continue to work toward new personal records. I have now lost another six pounds. After three 12 week cycles I am proudly down a whopping 56 pounds. 
img_8124-2A few things that have attributed to my success with the program include:
  1.  I have made this program a priority in my life. Each week I have made sure to fit in all of my weight lifting and cardio sessions. (The only time I did not get all my sessions in was the week of my wedding and the week of my surgery). I also made meal prepping an important part of my day. I have spent many late nights in my kitchen getting all my food organized to ensure that I have all my meals ready to go for the next day and no excuses to eat poorly.
  2.  I have put complete trust in Neil and the process. At first it was hard for me to increase my macros as in the past as soon as I increased my intake the scale would increase. My caloric low was 1390 calories per day. I am now up to 2180 calories a day. I am doing less cardio than before. I started with 3 weight training sessions and 2 cardio sessions a week.  Slowly I moved up to 4 weight training sessions and 3 cardio sessions. Now I am currently at 4 weight training sessions and 1 cardio session. Surprisingly with increasing my macros and decreasing my cardio I am maintaining my weight and recently dropped another pound.
  3.  I have open and honest communication between myself and my coach Neil. I still enjoy some meals out or a weekend away of not tracking. I clearly communicate my plans to Neil and he makes adjustments as needed for the rest of the week to my macros.
  4.  I plan ahead of time. Planning helps me stay organized which allows me to stay on track with the program. If we are leaving the city I will bring all my meals for the day. If we are headed out I make sure to fill up on and pack healthy snacks rather than eating unhealthy options that might present themselves.
  5.  I have made changes to old habits. Eating meals out is a treat not an everyday occurrence. I make healthier choices in what I eat. If I am out of the city for any period of time I do not use it as an excuse not to workout or eat healthy. This means finding gyms in other cities so I can get all my workouts in. It also means packing a cooler of food to eat when I am out of town.
Challenges I have experienced and how I worked through them include:
  1.  Social situations. As I previously mentioned, my past consisted of eating out frequently, and often indulging in some beverages. I have definitely decreased these habits, but still do like to have fun . This is where planning ahead comes in, as well as open communication with Neil. This allows me to still enjoy the odd meal and drink out. I have also come to accept the fact that socialize does not have to include food and drink. I can eat at home and still join the group to socialize after.
hr-0105-vicky-golden-jbp_0447  2.  Haters. It is very interesting how many people feel obligated to comment on people’s weight loss. I can’t even tell you how many times I have heard, “I hope you are not planning on losing anymore weight.” But yet, when I was gaining weight not one person commented or told me I was getting too big. I am still fine tuning how I reply to negative comments. I usually educate them on the program I am following. I have many wonderfully supportive people in my life that have positively supported me on this journey. Also the staff and other patrons of Trench have been extremely supportive and encouraging. I try and surround myself with more love than hate.
I found this blog about losing weight for my wedding very hard to write. I think one of the reasons for that is because the wedding was only a part of my weight loss journey. The wedding definitely got me motivated to start the nutrition and exercise program but the wedding was a short term goal. After all the hard work I put into this process I wanted the results to be for life. With confidence I can say at the age of 30 I am in the best shape of my life. Soon we are planning to bring tiny humans into this world. It makes me proud to enter this next stage of life as one of the healthiest versions of myself. Thanks so much to all the Trench team for guiding and supporting me through this journey. This process is definitely not complete but rather,  just beginning”