It’s time to report on the accomplishments, paradigm shifts and results regarding this year’s fitness challenge. While I held a similar challenge a year ago (when I was sharing gym space with other trainers) this year was the first I was able to more closely monitor the progress and individual stories of the success of the participants in my own private fitness studio. Nothing like having your own space .…
Realistically, a 6-week challenge is not designed to help you lose a ton of weight. Losing a healthy pound or pound-and-a-half a week is what one should expect, so if you lose more, it’s truly a bonus. What this fitness challenge did, however, was “quick start” the participants on a fitness journey making them capable of establishing new and healthy habits into their lives. That means most of them now regularly read food labels, analyzing every morsel they eat as if it were a pharmaceutical. This was accompanied by a very structured exercise and strength training regimen. That meant 3 workouts a week with me, and 2-3 cardio workouts on their own in between. If you’ve ever tried to keep up a fitness routine 5-6 days a week, you, more than anyone, knows how disciplined you must be. Exercise simply has to become a way of life.
But the way, eating fewer calories does not a healthy diet make. For instance, even if you cut out most of the sugar you eat, continuing to eat dairy (which turns in to sugar once metabolized) means you’re not making that much headway. Detoxing from sugar and dairy were among this group’s biggest challenges, along with cutting out alcohol. Why? My lovelies tend to enjoy their wine. This was truly a sacrifice for them, one of which I am extremely proud.
In order to get a better picture of what this experience was like for the 11 challengers, I asked a series of questions, including how I can be of even more help to them both during and after a fitness challenge like this. Here are some of their answers. I am heartened by their responses and pledge to keep improving the overall experience for them:
Did you reach the goals you set at the beginning of the challenge, and even if you did not, did you go a long way toward them? What were some of the more surprising results of this journey?
“I was able to reach 2/3 of the goals I set for myself. The only goal I have not yet accomplished is completing a half or full marathon. I will definitely achieve this goal before this summer 2018, though. In the very beginning of my journey I felt sluggish. I struggled with bilateral knee pain, lower back discomfort, I lacked strength and had zero stamina. Any attempt to exercise caused me to feel nauseated and sick. I started to grow impatient not seeing immediate results.
Late nights found me reading online articles, blogs, and sifting through forums on ways try to achieve quicker outcomes. Although these resources were helpful, there is just no easy way to do it. I knew I needed to stay consistent if I wanted to become a better version of myself. I worked out a full 5 days a week, trying my best to avoid all excuses. I also found it very important to incorporate rest in order prevent physical injuries. Although I have lost weight, gained some definition to my arms, stomach, and legs, I know I still have a long way to go!
The most surprising result for me was losing an extra 4 pounds. Prior to this 6-week challenge, one of my biggest concern was my stubborn abdominal fat. Even exercising 3-4 times a week alone was not enough. During the 3rd week out of the challenge, I saw fat starting to disappear in all the right places. I found that clean eating and exercise are truly the two most powerful ingredients in gaining muscle, losing weight, and achieving a healthier lifestyle.” ~ C.N
“I did increase my flexibility, but I did not reach my goal of being able to touch my toes. I worked hard toward my goal and got closer to it, however. I tried to stretch more and practiced yoga at least once a week during the challenge to help me reach that goal. I did reach my goal of eating better. I really wasn't expecting to lose any more weight, but lost 5 pounds anyway, along with 2 inches around my waist. That in itself was huge for me, since this is the body part that concerns me most. I have always felt insecure about my mid-section since having 3 children. The most surprising results of all this included how good I felt after eating well and eating clean. I was able to keep bloating and allergies at bay by not eating processed foods. This all made it easier to lose weight.” ~H.C
“I haven’t reached my goal as of yet. However, with all the tools, training and guidance that Tiara has given me, I am determined to get there. I realized how much the foods you eat make a difference in how you look and feel. I didn't know how much sodium fast foods really contained. This was the real eye opener for me. Good food choices make a huge difference in how you look and feel. .” ~A.M
“I may not have met my all my goals, but I made a lot of progress toward them. This was a big change for me. At the beginning of the challenge I had sugar withdrawals. I honestly did not think I would dream of eating Oreos and cookies, but I did! I got past that within the first week and during that time actually started to enjoy eating real foods (not processed food or quick snacks). The most surprising results of this journey were feeling more awake and energized. ~A.H.
Was there anything about this experience you would like to see improved on my part as your trainer?
~“You are a terrific trainer. The only thing I would find helpful is adding pictures in your recipe manual….”
~“No, you have been an inspiration to all of us and without your training, support and guidance I don't think I would look as good as I feel I look now….”
~“I think you’re an amazing trainer. You truly care about each and everyone of your clients. You take the time to get to know us on a personal level. You motivate people in a way that only you can. My only suggestion might be to help us have “accountability buddies” to help people new to this process so we can support one another in a more personal way.”
~”Food is my biggest challenge. I think perhaps having more group talks about what everyone a cooking at home or what they for their on-the-go meals could us more ideas. But in the end, loved everything about it.”
~”None that I can think of. You were on top with all the info and emails!”
In the end, a total of 78 pounds were lost, along with 66 inches. You can’t sneeze at that! I look forward to implementing many of these suggestions to improve next year’s challenge and am so proud of this year’s group, most of whom have now made habits out of better eating and more workouts during the week when they are not here under my thumb.
Following are a collection of photos from the challenge reception I held at my fitness studio, where we invited makeup artists, photographers, and a caterer to make the celebration even more special. Many thanks and credit go makeup artists Breezy Welderman and Summer Mcmellen, who did an outstanding job as you can see in the photos, and photographers Michael and Debbie Torres, who captured all those looks of accomplishment on my challengers' faces..
Fitness is always a journey and never a destination, since it’s something you must continue to embrace for a lifetime. Happy spring to you all, and keep up the excellent work!