Winners / Araceli S

Araceli S.

The last thing I remember was that I wasn’t getting the results in my contortion training that I’d hoped for. My shoulders and hips were limiting me due to pain and tightness from past injuries or overuse. It had been over two years since I had shoulder impingement and bursitis, and most recently shoulder tendinopathy. I realized that many of my injuries were due to excessive overhead movement and from performing the same routine on the same side every time. I was seeing a physical therapist which helped me, but my shoulder never completely healed. I was frustrated because my training plateaued and not only was this affecting my progress, but my performance as a professional aerialist. I talked with my instructor, who also has shoulder injuries, and she recommended that I see her personal trainer because her shoulder pain and motion were improving. I was eager to see improvements in my contortion training again so I gave it a shot.

My personal trainer took time to evaluate my body and find out what I could do differently to experience less pain and no longer be at a plateau with my training. She found more muscular imbalances in my body than I was expecting, which could eventually lead to other injuries. I started feeling better immediately. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with resistance training and decide to become a fitness model.

One month later I found out Life Time was going to have a 60-Day Challenge, I didn’t think much of it at first. I didn’t believe I could make any significant changes within that time frame. I talked with my fiancé and after a few days of debating, he encouraged me to join and just give it my best shot and challenge myself. So I did.

I told my trainer about the Challenge and she was excited for me, so we got to work right away. She taught me how and what to meal prep, gave me exercise routines, and had me check in with her weekly. Not only did she hold me accountable, but my fiancé did as well. We went to the gym to work out together and helped keep each other on track and motivated.

I targeted my abs every day with ten minutes of ab exercises. I lifted weights 3-4 times per week, I did “boring” band work to target my glutes, and on week 3 I added cardio 6-7 times per week to my training. I meal prepped weekly and started drinking protein shakes to replenish and recover from workouts.

However, I faced several challenges from low confidence, discipline, time management, and also making healthy diet choices. At first, I was even afraid to go on the second floor and lift weights around a bunch of people, specifically muscular individuals and those with lifting experience. I didn’t want to be judged about how I was lifting or how I looked. I used a planner to write up the days I was going to resistance train, do cardio, meal prep, etc. I formed a support group for myself. With my mom, trainer, and fiancé I was able overcome the challenges. They helped me when I was low and encouraged me to keep going. There were days when I wouldn’t meet my goals, but I always tried to not let that happen and if something came up I would make up a workout on another day if possible.

Entering the Challenge showed me more than what I was expecting. This new lifestyle I am learning/developing is hard work but worth every second of it. I never want to stop resistance training; it has helped with my body imbalances, improved my confidence and my performance. I finally started improving in my contortion training with less pain than before. At work, I was able to accomplish a move that I have been struggling with for over a year and deliver it with grace. I proved to myself that I can be disciplined by meal prepping and making time each day to exercise.

There is still so much I need to work on, such as sleep. I will continue to work hard, manage my time, and be disciplined as it has positively affected my life. I will also keep resistance training and meal prepping to stay as fit as possible. Next, I will work on improving my sleep and in the near future I hope to compete in my first fitness competition. My goal as a fitness model will be to push my body’s physical potential and to inspire others to live a healthy, happy lifestyle.