It is hard for me to put into words what this fitness journey has meant to me. I have thought about what to write for a long time, and what keeps coming to mind is the word “gratitude.” I am deeply thankful for the things I have learned about myself and about strength training. I have never been what I would call an athletic person. I was very shy as a kid (still am a bit), and as such I was very nervous about doing things that would result in people noticing me. Gym class intimidated me, and knowing I was not talented in this area, I was scared about disappointing my teammates and never had the confidence or desire to join a sports team of any kind. I was chubby throughout my childhood, and I remember being teased by my peers because of it. My parents and siblings always made me feel loved and valued, but looking back, I can see how much a part of my identity my negative body image had become. After high school and into my twenties, I enjoyed personal fitness, endeavouring in running, spin classes, and other aerobic activity. However, in spite of these efforts, I could never get rid of my pear shape, and I honestly thought I never could.
One year ago, my sister-in-law participated in the transformation challenge at Trench, and she had nothing but positive things to say about her experience. However, what struck me the most was how much she was enjoying herself. Feeling inspired, I bought a gym pass at Trench and began meeting with a personal trainer, first Kristin Grebe (before she went back to Germany) then John Odgers. Not having ever done any weight training in my life, the learning curve was steep, but I quickly caught on to the exercises and fell in love with the sport almost immediately. The Trench environment was so welcoming that it felt easy to put myself out there and try something completely new. Next, I signed up to do my first 12-week nutrition program with Erika, and it wasn’t long before I started seeing remarkable results. Not only did I see the pounds starting to melt away, but my physique started changing shape before my eyes, and I felt more energized and clear headed than I had in a very long time.
These positive changes in my life were incredibly encouraging and motivating, so when the advertisement for the 2018 Transformation Challenge came out, I became very excited about the idea of entering. I thought the challenge would be a great way to round off a full year at Trench and to see how far I could push myself. I have given the challenge my all since the first day, and the experience has been very rewarding. My trainer, John Odgers, has taught me a great deal about how to improve my lifting technique, has patiently answered my questions about muscular anatomy, and has pushed me to better myself all while making me laugh and feel comfortable with and proud of my individual progress. Erika has also been a consistent source of encouragement. She created challenging workouts that were motivating and fun to do, and I have found the knowledge she has been teaching me about nutrition to be invaluable. As a result, I have been blown away by the change in my body composition that I have seen over the past 12 weeks.
Other things I have learned throughout the course of this challenge include: 1) Patience and perseverance are essential when working towards physical fitness, and exercising these qualities will result in achieving amazing results. This has been a powerful lesson for me, especially since I once thought that my body composition could never change; 2) Physical fitness is truly a crucial component to overall health and wellness. I have struggled with burnout, and I can honestly say that buying my gym membership at Trench a year ago and making a commitment to complete my workouts each week as done a world of good for my overall mental health; and 3) Consistency is everything. Physical fitness is about committing to a lifestyle and choosing a mindset that is focused on health and wellness. In other words, gimmicks and quick fixes won’t get you anywhere.
This past year I have lost a total of 25 pounds (10 of those being over the past 12 weeks), 2.5 inches on my waist (1.4 from the past 12 weeks), 5 inches on my hips (2.5 from the past 12 weeks), and I have gained a boatload of confidence! I want to say a sincere thank you to Erika and John for all of the help they have given me and for motivating me to do my best.
Here’s to a lifetime of health and fitness!