Lisa Powers Wins 2012 Elite Ambition Challenge!

Lisa wasn’t going to be a victim of self-pity and plus-sized T-shirts. She battled through injuries, doubt and distraction to win the Elite Ambition Challenge!

How I Did It

One year ago, I was squeezing into size-16 jeans, wearing 1X-plus size shirts, and getting winded while tying my shoes. I was disgusted that I let myself reach that point. I desperately needed to salvage my image as a positive role model and Health and PE teacher. I couldn't start another school year fat. I wasn't always obese.

However, horrible foot problems, a chronic virus treated with multiple rounds of steroids, and tons of self-pity made me sedentary and left me 55 pounds heavier. I wallowed in self-pity for more than a year. I had a few false starts to a healthier life, but I was in such a negative mindset that I failed before I had a chance to feel some success.

In August 2011, I decided to end the pity party. Three weeks later, I partially ruptured my Achilles tendon. I still went to the gym with the huge boot on and did what I could for legs. I was self-conscious of being fat, but I was hoping the boot distracted from that. Eight weeks later, the boot came off, but I still had 4-6 months of rehab and recovery.

My trainer, Steve Poynter, had a small challenge within his team and I participated. I needed something to keep me accountable. I stayed true to my meal plans and workouts, and my body started changing.

Besides the ruptured Achilles, I strained my back, tore some intercostals muscles, re-tore them 12 weeks later—only worse—and dealt with an inflamed shoulder and biceps tendon. The difference in these last eight months to the year before is I didn't care what obstacles were placed in front of me.

I rested when needed and pushed forward when I could. The pain of all those injuries was nothing compared to the pain I would have felt if I remained obese.

Congratulations on winning the Elite Ambition Challenge! What inspired you to enter the challenge?

Lisa: Thank you! I'm so excited! I needed something to focus on. I made some amazing changes in the months prior and was happy about my progress, but I wasn't content. There was just this unspeakable drive within me propelling me forward. I still had unfinished business.

How surprised are you at the extent of your transformation?

I sat and bawled in the photography studio as the lady was burning my pictures onto a disc. I was so proud of myself. I was so happy to go from 205 pounds to 160 pounds in size-10 jeans. I actually liked myself again. I never aimed to be skinnier; I just didn't want to be obese.

At the end of my transformation, I was sitting at 135 pounds, 19.5 percent body fat, and wearing a size four! It was a surreal moment. I was overcome with emotion and cried each time I looked at my after pictures.

You obviously stayed motivated throughout the contest. Have any noteworthy or unique tips for our readers?

Progress pictures and clothes were a huge motivator for me. I loved seeing the difference in the pictures because I usually couldn't see day-to-day change.

I surrounded myself with positive, like-minded people. I shared my goals and successes only with people I knew would be supportive. Once I gained more confidence, I started sharing more no matter who asked because I was better equipped to handle any reaction.

Zig Ziglar said, "Motivation is like bathing. I recommend it daily." I have positive posters all around my house. I read positive affirmations every morning and evening.

I decided to work through discipline, not emotion. My emotions change often.

Were there any moments you wanted to give up? If so, how did you push through them and continue training?

At week six, I teetered on the edge of quitting. I was moments away. I had been pushing for many months and was losing sight of why I was doing it. I had already lost more than 50 pounds. What else did I have to prove? I hated every moment at the gym, but I still went out of discipline.

My first four meals of the day were solid because of the disciplined habit I created. However, after teaching all day and working out, I binged four nights in a row. I was losing it.

Negativity consumed me for almost two weeks. I hated everything. I hated my workouts. I even hated my hair. I was internalizing so much anger. I don't know where it came from, and I didn't know how to deal with it.

My trainer told me to take all of week eight off. I thought that was insane, and pretty much the stupidest thing he could have said. He assured me that as long I stayed on my meal plan, I would still be successful. I figured he had led me to discover success this far, so why would I stop listening to him? With 28 days left, I took seven days off.

What was the single hardest aspect of your transformation?

The hardest part was the mental aspect of change. I dropped 10-12 pounds each month. My weight loss slowed, but I was still progressing.
I had to change my mindset and remind myself that slow progress is still progress.

Have any helpful tips for readers who might be struggling with the same issue?
  1. Resign to the fact that it's going to be hard and some days are just going to suck.
  2. Resolve to keep fighting for your goals. It will be worth it.
  3. Let go of the guilt that led you to the place where you are today.
  4. Be honest with yourself. It's easy to justify eating something, or not working out. Excuses will only keep you down.
  5. Success lies with consistency.
  6. Know that you can do it and that you are worth it.

A lot of people are going to read this and think, "Nah, I couldn't do this. Not me." Tell them why they're dead wrong. When I started this whole transformation, I didn't know if I could do it. The future was so far, and my heart was so frail.

I put a lot of faith into my trainer. I just kept telling myself that if I stuck to the plan, I would be successful. At that point in my life, success was my only option. I didn't know if I could take another failure.

As I started seeing success, I started to believe in myself and began putting more faith into myself.

Now that you've tackled this fitness goal, what's next? Want to get shredded like cheese, ripped like paper, or climb Mount Olympus? Fight pirates? Build a fitness career, perhaps?

Participating in this challenge showed me a glimpse of my potential. I'm nine weeks out from a figure competition. There's also a powerlifting event and a hill climb competition that same day. I'm doing it all! I've never done anything like this. I'm so scared, but so excited.

Lisa's Fitness Regimen

Personal Nutrition Philosophy ///

I eat whole foods and stay away from processed foods. Simple, but effective!

Meal 1
Meal 2
Meal 3
Meal 4
Meal 5
Meal 6

Lisa's Training Regimen

Personal Training Philosophy ///

Work through discipline, not emotion. Go hard. Suck it up.

I like to train one body part each day. I like HIIT for cardio for 20-25 minutes most days of the week. I love to jump rope! I rarely specifically train abs.

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Quads
Wednesday: Back
Thursday: Biceps
Friday: Chest
Saturday: Hamstrings
Sunday: Shoulders/Triceps

Lisa's Supplementation Plan

Personal Supplement Philosophy ///

KISS: Keep it simple, stupid!

With Meal 1:
With Meals 2 and 4

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