Barrie, Ontario, Canada – Meet Debbie E., a member who was quite unhealthy for the longest time. You may ask yourself, what makes a 49-year-old woman suddenly change her relationship with health and fitness? Was it someone else’s idea? Was it something that happened? Why the change? Why now? Well, much like the beginning of a grand novel in which our protagonist is unaware of life-changing self-discovery laying ahead, it started off as a day like any other… Our story starts in September 2016, when Debbie went to watch a group of friends participate in the Toronto Tough Mudder. Simply walking the spectator course nearly did her in! Eventually, the course was completed and the group of them were able to sit together and celebrate – and that is when it hit her. As if the world around her suddenly stopped, Debbie looked up and in a moment of craziness or clarity, Debbie announced that she wanted to complete the Tough Mudder the very next year.
The teamed looked around in disbelief; shock across their faces, before shouting a resounding “Game on!” And so the story begins.
Debbie describes herself as having always been a strong-willed person, focused and determined with an all or nothing attitude. However, she never seemed to apply that attitude directly to herself. After a few false fitness starts later, a friend asked Debbie if she would like to join a gym with her. Me, in a gym…Ha!, she thought. But, with the goal of completing the Tough Mudder still gnawing at her, Debbie decided to make the move and join. She realized she really had nothing to lose except weight and bad habits. The physical and emotional efforts of years of unhealthy living were finally getting to her.
A Nervous Heartbeat, A Chance Taken
Walking through the doors of the gym was one of the most intimidating things Debbie admits she’s ever done. Yet she knew it was the beginning of challenging herself, and the start of a whole new way of life. Consistency became her new best friend. She set small goals along the way which helped her tremendously. At one point, Debbie began identifying one thing every day that was a marker of a positive change, whether that was climbing a flight of stairs without stopping, doing one more rep at the gym, walking someplace instead of driving, or choosing veggies over chips.
In an effort to continue along the path of success, Debbie started working with a trainer who walked her through workouts step by step, answered any questions she had, and provided tips and strategies that helped hold her accountable.
They say change doesn’t happen overnight. Learning new things and letting go of old habits can be scary, but it can also be exciting and empowering. Being patient can be frustrating, however patience is essential if the journey is to be enjoyed.
Like every heroine in their journey to success, there were times when Debbie felt like giving up. She recalls days of sitting in the parking lot thinking of all the reasons why she could or should leave. There were days she really wanted to give in, but with the steadfast support of those around her, she pushed through. Through those trying times, finding guidance from the right sources was essential. She notes that “There have been many who have come along with me and pushed me. It was and continues to be helpful to find like-minded people who have been there and are continuing to work at it.”
Debbie E. and Pro Results® trainer Ian W.
Debbie’s Typical Workout Routine Cardio – Treadmill or Stairs – 45 -60 minutes /day Weights Workout /Machines – 45 – 60 minutes /day- Push / Pull/HIIT-Core rotation.
My trainer has taught me that the basis of a successful training program relies mainly on resistance training with compound exercises, supplemented with core and accessory work as well as cardiovascular training. Form is priority number one, with intensity being a close second. We continually switch up the program and focus on constant progression, but allow patience when it comes to managing injury or illness and when life gets in the way.
My fundamental workout goal remains to get to the gym every day. I stay the course, enjoy the process, push past challenges and celebrate the successes.
My final words to those who are just beginning their journey are that you should never be afraid to try new things and don’t ever think it’s too late! I have achieved more than I ever would have dreamed possible, and I have a whole new lease on life because I dared to take that first step.
Be brave and make a change.
The Moment of Truth On August 20th, 2017, 8 months after joining LA Fitness, Debbie completed the Tough Mudder Toronto course with the support of an amazing team and trainer. She climbed, ran, pushed, pulled, fell, rolled, swung, carried and swam through 10 miles of mud and obstacles. Debbie describes the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment as being unparalleled to anything she had ever felt before. For Debbie, the overall experience has been transforming. She’s noticed that as she sheds the pounds, she feels stronger and more capable physically, mentally and emotionally. She’s also been better able to manage the juggling act of work and home. The changes have brought her a newfound sense of confidence and she knows she has added quality years to her life.
…But The Story’s Not Over
Debbie wants more of what a healthy life brings and to ensure this, her work continues! She continues to train a few times a week with her Pro Results® trainer, Ian W., and maintains the structure and routine that has led to her success. She’s also begun trying new things like Zumba® group fitness classes, and she waterskied for the first time in 30 years this past summer. In September 2017, Debbie made it to the top of a mountain that had previously done her in (she had only made it ¼ of the way before) 3 years ago, and she enjoys clothes shopping more than ever!
- To become as strong and healthy as I can, and to minimize the risks of age-related health concerns. Aging is inevitable. But I believe that being as fit as possible will help me to look and feel my best.
- To become the best version of myself, inside and out. I want to be an amazing role model for my children, my family, and my friends. I want to be an inspiration to others who are also on the journey of fitness. Now that I know what it is really like to feel healthy and good about my life choices, I know that I could never go back. I want to show people that if I can do it – anyone can!
- To continue to work with my trainer to develop new skills (and muscles). There is nothing like the sense of accomplishment you get when you are finally able to do something you never dreamed you would be able to do! I will continue to evolve and challenge myself while maintaining an active fitness program.
- To continue to use fitness as a way to combat mental and emotional fatigue. I have found that taking your frustrations out on the treadmill works better than anything else I have tried, and leaves you feeling much better than other less healthy coping methods.
Left: December 2016 | Right:January 2018
Debbie’s Diet She follows a meal plan that emphasizes balanced and healthy eating, focusing on lower carbohydrate intake. This was a huge change for her and over the course of 14 months, her diet has helped her lose over 175 lbs. and 48.5 inches (from a size 26 to an 8). She now eats smaller portions 6-7 times a day and includes vitamin supplements. She’s learned that food is fuel and that she needs to properly fuel her body so that it can perform how she wants it to.
A Special Message to LA Fitness Staff from Debbie E. Of special note, all the staff at my LA Fitness deserve a huge thank you and recognition for what they do and how they do it. Whether they know it or not, reflecting on my experience thus far, they have played a large part in why and how I kept going and keep coming back. They have been the smiling faces when I enter the gym (when I’m not so sure I was in the mood to smile back), they have offered words of encouragement and listened, they are knowledgeable, approachable and professional. I owe them all a tremendous debt of gratitude.
Do you have a fitness goal you’d like to share with us? What are you working towards? How do you plan to live out your life story? Commit to being fit today!
This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.