Weight: 183 lbs
Weight: 148 lbs
Why I Got Started
I reached a point in my life where I realized I had lost control. The controlling relationship I had forged with food had put me at the most I've ever weighed. I was digging a deeper hole day by day.
I lost most of any confidence I had and hid behind my black, baggy clothes. I remember at one point I could not find one shirt in my closet that was big enough to hide the fat rolling over my pants. I was starting to get farther away from who I thought I was and who I wanted to be.
One night in January, 2009, my boyfriend and I went to Chicago with our friends. I remember being down because I could not find an outfit and realized how each day letting go had accumulated to today.
This feeling negatively influenced my entire evening out. I was inside my own head thinking about how unhappy I was and how out of control I truly let myself get. I felt like I was living someone else's life. I was not living the life I wanted to live.
Looking at those pictures and New Year's Eve pictures of myself later that week I thought to myself, I can either keep doing the same thing I have always done; keep gaining weight, or I can decide to change. Something clicked.
It was different this time from any of the other times I told myself I would change. Maybe I had gotten to the biggest I would let myself get, or maybe I just couldn't recognize myself in my own thoughts anymore. From there, I began to take control. That is when everything changed.
How I Did It
I started by changing my mind. I put pictures up on my bathroom mirror and refrigerator of women's body's I admired. I got a lot of advice from my boyfriend who has always been health-conscious and fit. One day he sent me a link to Tiffany Forni's Transformation.
This was my first visit to Bodybuilding.com, which became a huge resource for me in the following months and to this day. Her transformation totally inspired me and from there I began looking at more and more transformations and how they did it. The release date every other Friday of a new transformation gave me new motivation.
For the next year, I would research anything and everything that I could wrap my mind around in the areas of health, fitness, weight-loss and muscle development, and I was happy to do it. It became a passion. Slowly but surely I began seeing small changes. This is when I realized how easy and selfish it is to put weight on and how challenging and self-respecting it is to treat your body right.
It is tough. My boyfriend once said to me as I was going through a tough point, "Ash, you gotta crawl your way back up. Life is tough and you have to be too." I literally equated that with digging my fingernails into the dirt, digging and pulling myself out of the hole.
After all, isn't that when you truly appreciate something; when you fall hard and then sacrifice and struggle until you've mastered what it was that made you fall in the first place? We rarely appreciate the things that come easily to us, and I believe it's that way for a reason.
- 1/2 protein bar
- 1 scoop of casein protein
- Dumbbell Step Ups: 3 sets of 30 reps
- Smith Machine Squats: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Dumbbell Rear Lunges: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Wide Stance Squat: 3 sets of 15 reps
- Dumbbell Lunges: 3 sets of 25 reps
- Cardio: 30 minutes on stairmaster
Wednesday: Abs And Lower Back
- Hyperextensions: 3 sets to failure
- Side Bends: 3 sets of 15 reps
- Barbell Deadlifts: 3 sets of 30 reps
- Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets to failure
- Butt-Ups: 3 sets of 1 minute
- Crunches: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Bent Over Barbell Rows: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Oblique Crunches: 3 sets of 20 reps
Thursday: Arms And Cardio
- Cable Curls: 3 sets of 30 reps
- Bench Dips: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Barbell Curls: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Triceps Pushdowns: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Cross Body Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Cardio: 40 minutes of low-intensity running
Saturday: Delts And Cardio
- Reverse Flyes: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Rear Delt Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Lateral Raises: 3 sets to failure
- Arnold Dumbbell Press: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Front Dumbbell Raises: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Cardio: 45 minutes of HIIT on treadmill or stairmaster
Sunday: Chest And Back
Click Image To Enlarge.
I Realized How Easy And Selfish It Is To Put Weight On And
How Challenging And Self-Respecting It Is To Treat Your Body Right.
Suggestions For Others
There is a quote I think about a lot in every area of my life: "Keep doing what you've always done and you will get what you've always gotten." Take charge of your life! There are not too many places in our daily life we are able to have full control over. This is one powerful exception.
Ask yourself what you want. Challenge yourself to do the thing you never thought you could do. When you find out you can do the thing you thought you could not, your confidence in yourself will take off. Nothing is unattainable if you set your mind to it and decide to do it! It takes time, like anything learned and conquered.
I took an Eastern Civilization class in college where I held on to this Taoist Proverb: "No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see." Life is constantly moving and we're all small little beings in it, trying to live.
It's easy to get caught up in what's easy, in what we know and in what everyone else is doing. You have to take a long, hard look at this part of your life and really decide what it is you want. You'll have to step outside of the box, and when you do, embrace all the feelings you're feeling, positive and negative.
Once you decide to do something, you are the only person who can stop you or take you to where you want to go. This is a life-altering experience. It is a way of life you have to choose for yourself. It is hard, but when you choose that you want it, you have to keep moving forward.
You will sacrifice much; it will be uncomfortable and difficult at first, but you will learn patience and discipline in the process. You will feel feelings of empowerment, self-pride, respect for oneself and accomplishment.
When you pass the negative feelings and begin to create those positive feelings for yourself, it will give you more than just a better body, it will create something much deeper. It will give you the confidence and the pride in yourself that we all deserve to own.
Click Image To Enlarge.
You Will Feel Feelings Of Empowerment, Self-Pride,
Respect For Oneself And Accomplishment.
Surround yourself with people who are consumed with the same thoughts; who are doing the same thing. Go to your gym as often as you can and feel the energy of other people working hard around you and use that as motivation to work just as hard or harder! Bodybuilding.com is a great resource. Begin a BodySpace and this will enhance your motivation in an entirely different way!
There will be ups and downs, losses, possible gains and plateaus, but just remember that hard work and unfaltering determination yield extraordinary results. Consume your thoughts with big, healthy thoughts.
Keep that vision of what you are going to look like in the forefront of your mind and live it. Wake up every day as though you already have the body you want, because you are training your mind, and that's what it's all about.
Only negative thoughts hold us back and keep us from living to our highest potential. Learning to control those thoughts and substitute them for positive ones will be an integral part of your transformation.
In life, you are the only person who will always be with yourself. Choose a healthy lifestyle for her, work hard at progressing, never stop getting better and you will give yourself the greatest gift you are able to: love for oneself. Life is short. Start being who you want to be now!
All Photos By Black Curtain Photography.