Step Up to the Challenge

P90X®, TurboFire®, INSANITY® and MUCH more- everyone’s heard of these workouts, whether they’ve done the program(s) themselves, had friends who did, or even just have seen them as infomercials on television. The Beachbody Challenge is so much bigger than a 30 minute infomercial, though. The Beachbody Challenge is where I decided to take true control of my health, my fitness, and my life. The Beachbody Challenge is what took me from a tight size 16 down to my current size 4. I had seen those P90X® infomercials while flipping through the channels one day after college classes were out for the day. There I was, sitting on my couch, and in awe of the transformation pictures I saw before my eyes. I thought, “Could someone REALLY get that fit and in shape in only 90 days? Would an average girl like me, with more than 50 pounds to lose actually be able to complete the program, let alone ONE workout?” Bad memories of PE class in jr. high came spiraling through my mind, not being able to get through a single standard pushup. Definitely one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. Meanwhile, my classmates are easily pumping out 10 or more.

Curiosity got the best of me and instead of changing the channel, I got on my computer and did some research. More amazing before and after pictures came up related to the program. I was intrigued. Could I really change my body that dramatically doing this program, and if so, what would it entail? I was so fed up with Weight Watchers and my 9 month plateau that had begun sliding in the wrong direction, no matter HOW much I worked out or stayed within my Points. To say I was ready to pull out my hair was an udder understatement. I was thinking that I would remain big forever, that it was simply part of my identity and I wasn’t able to have anything more or better for myself. I was stuck.

That afternoon, a woman named Monica Gray added me on Facebook. I didn’t know who she was at first (and would later find out she was a cast member on Turbo Jam® and best friends with its creator, Chalene Johnson), but I just went for it- I accepted the request. Looking through her pictures, I could see that she was married, had triplets, and had lost over 50 pounds, thanks to Beachbody programs. WOW!

We began a conversation through Facebook messages and she found out I was in the process of losing weight and found out about my interest in P90X®. I told her I wanted to try it, but was worried that it would be just another scam or diet plan I couldn’t follow. She told me about a support group she was about to start, that would focus on nutrition (not just staying within Points or calories each day, but actually “here’s what you should eat to be HEALTHY”), she would guide me each day through the full 90 days of the program, check in with me each day to see where I needed help or had questions, and I would be with 4 other people, reaching our goals and struggling together. I liked the idea of community and having many pairs of shoulders to rely on. Monica was extremely kind and knowledgeable, and I could tell she was really inviting me because she CARED. She also mentioned something called Shakeology® that would help stabilize my blood sugar level, thus leading to an even source of energy, and would fill in any nutrient gaps I had each day. Lord knows I wasn’t taking time, sitting down, and figuring out how much more Vitamin A or Folate I needed to take in that day, but both were still crucial for my body to work at its ultimate. I was worried that it would taste like SlimFast or something like sludge. Boy was I wrong, and thank God! The chocolate flavor of Shakeology is crazy delicious and is so satisfying, you felt like you just had a sinful dessert.

And so it began. I’d be lying if I told you that P90X® wasn’t hard. Having thought I was in relatively good shape before starting (doing at-home walking programs), I was immediately humbled. I was sore from my nose to my toes for the first full 2 weeks straight, but it was an awful and wonderful sense of pain. My muscles, which I wasn’t sure really existed, were waking up for the first time ever. I was expecting a harsh diet plan or even more pre-packaged food, but the program focused ONLY on whole, from the source foods that you shop for everyday when you go to the supermarket: lean protein, fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats. With my height, starting weight, and activity level outside of the workout, the nutritional guide suggested I should be eating 1,800 calories each day– 500 MORE than I was eating a day on Weight Watchers. This fact BLEW MY MIND. I couldn’t understand the concept of eating that much more and actually losing weight, when I was just gaining each week on Weight Watchers and frustrated with the program, my “leaders” and my life in general. But I trusted it and decided to give it a two week trial. I loved feeling actually FULL after meals instead of that longing need to eat another 2 meals to feel satisfied. I know it had to be because I had a major diet overhaul. I was relying on zero processed food, getting in all of my required vitamins, minerals, protein, and something that sounded alien to me- probiotics, with Shakeology once a day with my breakfast.

The first two weeks came and went, I tracked my 1,800 calories very diligently, pushed play every day, stayed hydrated and lost 7 pounds those first two weeks! My plateau was broken, but even more than that- I was feeling STRONG, something I’d never felt in my life. I was just dipping my toes into this newfoundland of strength training, of eating clean foods, and boy was it paying off! I checked in with my coach, Monica, every single morning before I worked out and would ask any questions that I had to her, which she happily answered. I finally had a constant source of support, something I never truly had in my life. 90 days came and went and I finished my first round of P90X®. I lost about 15 pounds, but went down 3 full dress sizes during those 90 days. Looking at my before and after pictures, I was literally STUNNED. I was in better shape that I had ever hoped to be in my wildest dreams. I could do standard pushups now, and lots of them (from 10 on my knees to over 150 on my toes during a workout). I could even do a few pull-ups, something I thought that only men were able to do. This was just amazing to me.

Fast forward through another round of P90X, then Insanity, then Insanity: The Asylum, and I was down a total of 73 pounds and went from a size 16 down to a 4.

The hope, dedication, and tools that I took from my Challenge group with Monica, I took that and wanted to start my own. I began inviting family members and friends of my own, seeing if they’d want to follow my lead (and many did) and be apart of a Challenge of my own. It was like the ripple effect for me- I took that chance on both a new friendship and a new life and the risk was intensely worth it. Now as a Beachbody Coach myself, this is what I get to do everyday. I get to help others go from hopeless, helpless, frustrated, and pissed off from running in diet circles, transform into stronger, fitter, healthier people. Anytime I get a new email from someone having a celebration because they lost 3 pounds this week, or received new blood tests back from their doctor and their cholesterol levels are now in a healthy range because of Shakeology, my passion grows even stronger. My dedication and willingness to help others grows threefold. I can relate to them so well because I’ve spent so much time on that other side.

The Beachbody Challenge groups run 90 days each and each group only has room for 5 people total to provide that one-on-one support and guidance that everyone needs. Weight loss is not one-size-fits-all; everyone is different, everyone’s bodies are different.  I wanted to blog to share my story, but more than that, to reach out to you, my readers and invite each of you to participate if you’re curious, as well. What are your goals? What are your wildest dreams for yourself, for your health? You can have this, too. You deserve this, too. I have two new Challenge groups set to begin on the 13th and 20th of this month. Are you ready to make a change? Email me all of your questions and comments, I’m happy to answer all of them. My address is amez_sibs2007@hotmail.com

It all begins with you.

xx

A

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