It’s been 4 years since the sudden accidental passing of my healthy athletic 10-year-old little boy. He was the center of our lives. CJ was the youngest of 3 siblings in the house, but had the largest and most commanding personality in the house! After CJ’s passing every part of life became a challenge: eating, sleeping, waking up… I slowly started working out as a way of escaping the tragic and terrifying reality that was now my life. I’d never really worked out before but I wanted to challenge myself and not think about my horrible reality.
Shortly after my son’s passing my husband was in a terrible accident. He was ejected from his SUV just before it rolled several times! His injuries were stable but not great. I placed my fitness goals on hold and committed to helping my husband do simple things on his own such as walking, bathing, and climbing stairs. While recovering, we celebrated good news that was so desperately needed in our lives; we were pregnant! Our excitement was short lived when I miscarried a few weeks later. The emotional setbacks drew me closer to the gym. I was in need of therapy and the gym was it for me. I found it difficult to train on my own and bounced from trainer to trainer with an inability to connect with any of them. I felt untrainable and like a failure.
Later that year I started gaining weight! How could this be! Another setback! As frustrating as it was, I was blessed to find out we were pregnant again! Sadly, the closer I was to giving birth the farther apart my husband and I grew. At 7 months pregnant I moved out of our family home.
The birth of my little Elias was a light that shined through a dark cloud that hovered over us for so long. He had awakened me from a deep depression that I didn’t realize I was still in. I had gotten a second chance to live again! And I wanted to live for Elias and celebrate CJ!
After more failed trainer attempts I sought out highly recommended Adonnai Santos which led me to Life Time. After just 1 week with Adonnai I was beyond beat but knew he was the guy to help me reach my fitness goals with his compassion, extensive knowledge and experience! Adonnai suggested that I sign up for the 60-Day Challenge. I needed results so I agreed! I’ve always struggled with a huge gut so Adonnai suggested some nutritional changes and Life Time Fitness HCL supplement which I purchased the first day of weigh-ins!
After the Challenge started I met Shawn, winner of the last Challenge. He and I exchanged stories and were connected from our first conversation! I immediately fell in love with baby Zariah and her smile! Shawn’s encouraging words throughout this Challenge and his strength to keep fighting for his little girl has kept me going on days when I wanted to give up! If he can encourage me from Zaraiah’s bedside I couldn’t disappoint them!
This Challenge has challenged many aspects of my life! I’m not a morning person and always find excuses not to do cardio. For 2 months I was in the club at 5AM doing cardio finishing on the stairmaster! Using cardio zone I estimated my A.T. to be 182 but I stayed in zone 3 with an average heart rate of 178 during 45 minutes of steady state cardio which is a huge accomplishment for me! After 2 weeks I noticed I was on the stairmaster longer at higher levels, losing body fat but I was always sore post workout. Adonnai recommended the Life Time BCAA Recovery and Grass-Fed Whey Protein which I purchased at the LifeCafé, and the results were a delicious lifesaver. The LifeCafé staff were very helpful in making selections as I can be indecisive occasionally. I’ve tried various foods I’ve never had, such as Brussels sprouts and chia pudding which are from the Try-It Tuesday recipes and will continue to incorporate in my meals! The weekly emails from the coaches were encouraging and provided resources to keep us on track. During week 5 an inspirational story 1 Club 3 Winners came out that really resonated with me. I admire all 3 women but identified with Carrie the most due to her loss and struggles following her loss. Working out was a way for me to escape the unspeakable pain in my life. Although I continue to use that pain to push through workouts my goal transitioned to shedding my belly fat and being fit! Thankfully, I’ve learned the importance of having and maintaining a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally! Nutrition is one of the key elements with the biggest impacts on our health! Of course I want a hot body with a flat tummy but I had to change my lifestyle which starts with my mindset! I was a junk food junky at heart but now find myself enjoying a rice cake topped with honey and coconut oil! It hasn’t been easy by far. But it’s been worth it!
Since entering this Challenge I’ve found purpose and motivation, made lifelong friends, and conquered my fear of the STAIRMASTER! I’m not where I want to be but thanks to Life Time Fitness, my husband, family, and angel in heaven I’m far from where I was.