For some people, their journey into the fitness world is not your typical adventure. Marie Lafreniere is a perfect example of this. Growing up she was always a larger girl and has memories of going to weight watchers meetings at the tender age of eight, weighing 108 pounds.
It wasn't really until she was 20 and started college that she realized just how much the weight was catching up with her. Naturally shorter at 5-foot-1 and big boned, adding even a few more pounds would really make a difference in her overall physique. Finally at the all-time high weight of 229 pounds, she decided it was getting out of control and something had to be done.
Starting Her Transformation
She came to the conclusion the answer for her lied in joining the local gym and spending large amounts of time on the elliptical cross trainer. Granted it was a good place for her to start since it would be low stress on her joints, eventually she started to grow bored of it.
Around this time she noticed her mother losing weight through running and decided to give that a try. Joining a running club she used this to fuel her passion for weight loss. It began working and she started seeing her image in the mirror shrinking.
At this point however she didn't have much concept on proper nutritional habits, nor on the difference between losing fat versus muscle. She was simply just thrilled to see the number on the scale decreasing.
As her weight continued to get lower and lower she found herself beginning to restrict the amount she was eating. There would often be days when her diet would consist of a Special K bar in the morning, a salad with fat free deli-style chicken for lunch, some hummus and tomatoes to try and starve off hunger in the afternoon and then either a skipped dinner entirely or only a small salad.
Needless to say her body was crying out for nutrients and she was losing a lot more than just fat mass - her precious muscle tissue was also being eaten away.
Compound that with the miles she was racking up during her running training and she was rapidly becoming a thinner version of her former overweight self. She had a tradition of weighing herself every Thursday and if the number on the scale was not 5 pounds lower, she would either increase the amount of cardio she did the next week or cut back on her food even further.
No one around her noticed that she was almost starving herself, probably because she wasn't at an extremely low weight as people are commonly thought to be who are anorexic. This is often a forgotten thing about eating problems, they aren't always obvious to the naked eye and can effect people of all sizes.
After 9 months of following this little food and too much cardio regimen she had lost a total of 105 pounds and was down to 124. It was then that she really got serious about her running training and decided she would do a marathon. Given that this training would require more fuel she realized she would need to eat more if she was to accomplish her goal.
Unfortunately however, while still not informed on proper nutrition, carbohydrates were her weapon of choice. She developed the mentality that since she was spending so much time running and burning massive amounts of calories, she could afford to eat what she desired. Regrettably this led to her regaining some of the weight she had lost until she was back up at 150 pounds.
After the marathon was over and she had just made a move to another city to begin law school, she became more interested in the weightlifting aspect of fitness.
Starting A New Goal
She found an online fitness forum and began making some posts in there, quenching her desire for more knowledge regarding nutrition and a sound training program. A few months later she decided she needed a new goal to work toward if she was going to continue to make changes in her body and decided a local competition was the answer.
She started working with a trainer and learned the importance of eating 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day, all of which contained protein. She was amazed at the difference it made in her body and how much better she felt. At the onset of starting with the trainer she weighted in at 147 pounds and 30% body fat.
Now a few months into her training, she is getting ready to enter the contest prep phase and is currently sitting at 139 pounds and 26% body fat.
Her current diet has consisted of eating clean 6 days out of 7, with one day left for a few cheat meals. She tries not to go crazy on this day however does allow some indulgence. During the rest of the week she includes lean sources of protein and carbohydrates with every meal and is allowed up to two pieces of fruit a day. Her calories averaged to about 1400 to 1500 daily.
Her workouts consisted of 3 sets of 6 reps using as heavy of a weight as she could, performing several different exercises per muscle group. She made it a point to go to the gym five times per week to get all of her weight training workouts in.
On the cardio side of things, she has been doing six sessions that normally last around 45 minutes each and she alternates between running and walking. Due to her passion for running, more often than not this is what she chooses.
Now she is getting ready to start entering her contest prep stage of her training where she will start working toward leaning down for her competition in June. Stay tuned for the next article in this series, as we follow Marie through her journey to the fitness stage.
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