Want to lose 20 pounds in one week?
Want to drop 4 dress sizes in time for that special event?
Want a magic pill that has NO negative side effects and will help you burn fat fast without exercise or dieting?
Okay, who doesn’t want those things? But we all know there IS no magic pill. No matter how much we want to lose weight and shape up, we need to accept the fact that it’s not going to happen overnight. Or even in a week. And, it’s not going to happen without some hard work, dedication, and consistency over time. Fitness and health are habits, not phases.
Today, April 8th, is the two-year anniversary of my joining Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping (FXB), so it’s prompted me to reflect on where I was then and how far I’ve come. (New to FXB? Check out this post from my one-year anniversary at FXB back in April 2016 where I talk more about the program itself and my initial 10-weeks.) When I signed up for the 10-Week Challenge at FXB back in April 2015, I was looking for a quick fix. Every year I gained and lost the same 10 pounds even though I really wanted to lose 20. I was a master dieter, but never seemed to stick with anything longer than a few months. FXB was going to be just the next short-term fix.
The 5 a.m. class was the only one I could fit into my schedule, and I was barely able to pry my eyes open those first few mornings. As long as I was going to get up that early, I decided I might as well go all-in and completely revamp my nutrition and start drinking more water – after all, it was only 10 weeks, right? It was hard, but with the incredible support and encouragement of my FXB coaches and new friends (not to mention the awesome kickboxing workouts, which are fun and surprisingly cathartic!), I stuck with it. Although I only lost a few pounds during those first 10 weeks, I was definitely transformed: I lost a lot of inches, my body fat went down, and I found myself fitting into clothes I hadn’t worn in years. Best of all, I was stronger, faster, more energetic, and I felt great! After that initial 10 weeks I decided to keep it up a little longer to see if I could keep things moving in the right direction. Here are my “before” and “after” photos from those first 10 weeks. Oh, and try to ignore the weird faces I was making in the “before” photos. I felt so awkward, nervous, unsure, and overwhelmed at my FXB orientation. But do note the much more confident smile in my “after” photos just 10 weeks later!
Flash forward to today and things are still cruising along in the right direction. My original fitness and weight loss goals have all been achieved, and the funny thing is, weight loss has become an afterthought. I no longer force myself to keep plodding along on that treadmill or subject myself to the latest diet trends. In fact, I no longer worry about gaining or losing weight at all: my focus now is on becoming stronger, healthier, and more energetic each day.
In the spring of 2016 I became a kickboxing and resistance training instructor at FXB so I could help others achieve their goals just as everyone in my amazing, inspiring FXB family has helped me achieve mine. I’m now a Level I certified instructor teaching several classes per week (which ends up paying for my membership fee plus a little) and my goal is to be a Level II certified instructor in the next six months and then attain Level III certification the year after that. Instructing pushes me beyond what I thought were my limits: when I’m in front of a class, I have to make sure my form is perfect and I’m a living example of pushing myself to my Level 10 every time. This motivation has really helped me stay on course with my nutrition and fitness: it’s hard to justify falling off of the nutrition and fitness wagon when you have to be up in front of a class of people encouraging them to work their hardest and stay on track. Nobody wants to be seen as a hypocrite, right? What started off as a 10-week quick fix has transformed into a whole new lifestyle, and I truly love kicking each day off to a great start at FXB.
One thing that’s kept me excited about FXB for the past two years is the fact that there’s always something new: a whole new crop of 10-weekers four times a year, different exercises and circuits, and best of all for us “Fit Members” (10-weekers who choose to stick around for the long haul), there are several Fit Challenges throughout the year. These challenges offer prizes that range from Go Pros to Yeti Coolers to T-shirts to my own personal favorite: cold hard cash. The last challenge I did really pushed me to the limit and I loved it! I dropped nearly 10 pounds and lost quite a few inches in just 6 weeks. Check out my results:
- Weight before: 155.2 lbs — After: 145.6 lbs (down 9.6 lbs)
- Body Fat % before: 30.5% — After: 27% (down 3.5%)
- Chest before: 35.5″ — After: 34″ (down 1.5″)
- Waist before: 32″ — After: 29″ (down 3.0″)
- Upper arm before: 12.5″ — After: 11.75″ (down 0.75″)
- Thigh before: 22.25″ — After: 21″ (down 1.25″)
- Hips before: 40.25″ — After: 39.5″ (down 0.75″)
I wasn’t the big winner of this particular Fit Challenge (someone else had bigger improvements than me), but I really do feel like I WAS a big winner. It’s like our coach Bianca always says, “If you feel like you have transformed enough to potentially be the winner, then you are already a winner.” Right on, Bianca! Here are my before and after pictures from this pre-holiday 2016 6-week Fit Challenge. And, uh, just ignore the weird facial expressions again. Not sure why I can’t look normal in these. :-/
FXB doesn’t produce the exact same results for everyone. Michael from a FXB franchise across the river from the one I go to lost 150 pounds in a year and was the winner of the $10,000 one-year challenge! Totally amazing transformation. He is an instructor now, too. Brittany who goes to the FXB where I workout has lost 40 lbs in about the last 10 months and looks fabulous. I can name 20 other people who have lost varying amounts of weight and inches, the best thing is how much more fit, energetic, and healthy people are who stick with FXB.
I work very hard at both the fitness and nutrition components of FXB, but my weight loss has been slow. I have one of those types of metabolisms that holds onto flab for dear life as if there’s going to be a famine any minute now. I guess I have always been a control freak planner Type A personality, so why should my body be any different? Always ready with a backup plan. I’m okay with that, though: my whole mindset about eating, health, and fitness has completely changed. I no longer diet: I fuel my body to perform whatever tasks I need to do for myself, my students, and my family. I no longer workout to lose weight: I workout to stay strong and healthy.
In my two years at FXB I’ve had so many improvements BESIDES losing 20 pounds and a lot of inches. Here are the things I’ve gotten from FXB that I never even knew I wanted back when my goal was weight loss:
- My joints have improved! I used to have a lot of problems with achy joints and easily-injured knees, wrists, and shoulders. I still have a few issues with them, but they are far stronger and more stable than they used to be.
- My cholesterol is down! Even though I’ve never been grossly overweight or technically obese, I have always had a cholesterol level that hovered around 200. Now my cholesterol ranges from the 130s to the 140s range.
- My energy levels are through the roof! I will admit I was exhausted during that first 10 weeks at Farrell’s, but over time I’ve grown to feel like I’m bursting with energy most every day now. I fall into a deep sleep the minute my head hits the pillow at night and, don’t get me wrong, I’ll fall asleep during a boring TV show or movie in the evening if I’m sitting still long enough, but I have energy galore to get through my day teaching.
- My cellulite is diminished a lot! Even though I’ve exercised on and off my whole life, I’ve always been prone to cellulite. I will say since starting FXB, it has really receded a lot and even though I still do have it, it’s not nearly as noticeable as it was before.
- My clothes fit! And I had to get new ones! This one was so, so, so fun! I loved it when formerly tight jeans started to fit, and even beyond that, began to get too big. It sure is fun buying clothes and not hating the way you look in everything. Some of you probably know what I’m talking about there. If you don’t, that’s good and I hope you never lose that positive attitude.
- I don’t really want to eat junk anymore! For real. I used to get irritated with people who said things like, “I don’t really want that cookie.” They were just showing off, right? Turns out, maybe they weren’t. Over the past year in particular I find that I’d really rather have a big juicy pear or some almonds than candy or a cookie. Now that being said, I do still have my “fun food” day on Saturday where I can eat anything I want. What I’ve noticed though is that whereas my “fun food days” when I started FXB were choc-full of sugary and fatty foods that I loved, now my fun food days are not all that different from every other day. I might have a meal out at a restaurant or I might have some cake or french fries, but for some insanely awesome reason, my body doesn’t want as much of it and really doesn’t care to have 2nd or 3rd helpings like it used to. You go, bod! In fact, when I do overindulge in sugar or fried or salty foods, the next day I don’t feel very well and I’m not all that keen to repeat the experience. I used to be able to down sugar, fried, and salty foods pretty much exclusively back in the day — in fact, I much preferred that stuff to healthy foods. Not anymore, Jack.
- I can’t drink soda anymore! This is kind of a big one, and it’s one I definitely never intended. My whole life I have been a huge fan of Diet Mt. Dew. I probably drank at least one can or bottle a day on average between the ages of 16 – 43. It’s what I’ve always had with my lunches at school as a teacher, and I used to really, really look forward to drinking them. During the first 10 weeks at FXB, you give up soda and coffee (and alcohol, but I have never really liked the taste of alcohol so I don’t drink that anyway). I was going to pick right back up with my glorious Diet Dew once those first 10 weeks were done. Well guess what? Although I’ve tried several times to drink soda since those 10 weeks, I can’t choke it down! All soda tastes like chemicals to me now that I’ve been exclusively been drinking water and tea (both brown and green) for so long. I used to worry about whether it was harmful to drink diet soda because the research coming out always seems so contradictory. Now, even though I still don’t know if it’s harmful, I guess I really don’t need to worry about it.
So that’s where I am after two solid years of transformation. I like to think I’m still a work in progress: right at this very moment although I’m still following my clean eating and 6 small meals a day regimen, I’m probably a pound or two heavier than I was in December because I haven’t been as strict with the proportions of those 6 small meals as I should be. We had spring break last week and that threw me off a bit. But luckily another Fit Challenge was just announced, so I’ll be snapping back to business hard core pretty soon. And the weird thing is, I’m looking forward to it!