A Challenger's Victory

I’m not the sort of person who signs up for exercise challenges, let alone completes them. I once walked out of a boot camp before the first class even started. I would have never thought I’d sign up for a five-week challenge, let alone successfully complete it, but I am so glad that I did. And the fact that I managed it is testament to how great It’s Working Out is.

The challenge begins with a full body scan and a sit-down chat with a trainer, in my case Ashley. The body scan shows your body in three dimensions: every bump and wrinkle. The scanner uses algorithms to get really accurate measurements of your body, which you can then compare as you go on. Firstly, my scan was disgusting. But something about seeing yourself in blobby grey form is a great motivation; you can’t hide behind Snapchat filters and work your angles as a blob.

Everyone is given the same binder with recipes and meal plans, but Ashley helped me create realistic personal goals for myself for the challenge. Things like exercising three to four times a week – for me that meant coming to two rowing classes, one challenge class and then taking a mile walk with my dogs and upping my daily steps on that fourth day.

My husband did all the meal prepping and cooking, which was awesome.  It also really helped having him eating the same as me. There was never a day that I was hungry; some meals I preferred more than others and we’d swap them around. The meals themselves concentrated on clean eating; proteins, vegetables, fruit. No dairy, processed sugar or gluten. The meals were varied enough to stay interesting and Ashley was always available if I had a question or wasn’t sure what I could swap in for something I couldn’t eat. Although the diet was strict, it did come with a cheat meal once a week where you could have whatever you wanted, within reason.

There was also a challenge private Facebook group where all of us participating could chat and share tips. I used it for accountability when I went on a work trip to Chicago, posting pictures of everything I ate so I wouldn’t slip up.

I think my main struggle with exercise routines is usually time. As a working mom of two young kids, time is not something I have to spare. Juggling baseball practice and games with speech therapy and a travel for work is hard enough, throw in an hour of exercise three or four times a week and it’s even harder but It’s Working Out is conveniently located for me so I found the time. It also helps that the trainers give you circuit training plans you can complete at home if you genuinely can’t get there for a couple of days

The further I got through the challenge, the stronger I was getting and my Fitbit was telling me I was burning more calories week on week at classes. The rowing classes were great for me as the classes have multiple waves, so you aren’t getting bored. The challenge classes were similar in that we spent one or two minutes at each of five stations before we’d move along. 

There wasn’t ever there a point where I felt like I couldn’t walk or that I’d gotten my butt kicked. Yes, I could tell I worked out, but the trainers weren’t just hammering the same muscles over and over again. Personally, I don’t want to feel the burn, I just want to see results.

At the end of the challenge, I was rescanned and I definitely saw results. I lost a whopping 13 inches around my middle, was down 4% body fat and 23.5 pounds. The real proof was in the second scan.

Even my posture was better. Now the challenge is over I have moved away from 100% clean eating, but am still making better choices and have kept up a good pattern of regular exercise. I honestly never thought I’d make it through without “cheating” or just giving up but the support from my challenge team mates, Ashley, Kristen and the other trainers was amazing. There’s a reason the studio is called It’s Working Out; because it definitely does.

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