Body Transformation: Beast Mode

Carrie couldn't stand to watch her children at taekwondo class anymore. She had to get in on the action. That initiated her version of 'Beast Mode' and drove her to start weight training!

Name: Carrie Sandoval
BodySpace: carriesand

Carrie Sandoval Carrie Sandoval
AGE 39
155 lbs
AGE 42
129 lbs

Why I Decided to Transform

I vowed to stay athletic and fit when my husband and I decided to start a family, but things didn't go as planned. I struggled to become and stay pregnant. At age 30, after five years of heartache and many treatments, we finally brought home our healthy baby. Two years later, we brought home a set of twin girls. I didn't gain too much weight, but definitely let go of my athleticism.

My children were now my focus and I figured why bother to get fit when there is nothing I can do about the excess "twin skin" and diastasis. By age 39, I was in the worst shape of my life from sitting at my computer too long and enjoying McDonalds too much.

I enjoyed watching my kids' taekwondo classes and expressed my urge to the master to get out there and kick and punch the heavy bag. He invited me to join the adult martial arts fitness class. I was skeptical, but went the next day and was immediately hooked. I was sore for three months. I didn't plan on this. It wasn't a resolution. A switch just went off in my head and "beast mode" was on.

I didn't have an extreme transformation in mind, but I made gradual changes. I set new goals as old ones were met. I enjoy activities with my children and love being a positive influence on them so they stay active and lead a healthy lifestyle.

How I Accomplished My Goals

I lost 15 pounds (155 to 140 pounds) in three months by exercising and eliminating soda. As I neared my goal weight of 135, I hit a plateau and knew I had to work on my nutrition.

With guidance from my martial arts instructor, I started eating extremely clean on a plan he learned from old school bodybuilding and nutrition guru, Bud Ravenscroft.

In three weeks time, I easily lost the last stubborn five pounds and five more. That was my math lesson in nutrition; 20 percent gym and 80 percent kitchen. I felt amazing. Eating right is the biggest lifestyle change I've ever made.

I enjoyed my martial arts conditioning so much that I entered Hapkido classes too. About a year later (one and a half years into my new lifestyle), I became curious about weightlifting. I always steered clear of the weight room because I knew as a child gymnast that I built muscle easily and I didn't want to be bulky. I know better than that now.

I wanted to embrace what I was given. My weight trainer has always been supportive and complimentary. He often encouraged me to compete, saying I was genetically gifted (he finally accepted my "no thank you").

Now we look forward to getting as strong as possible and looking good in a tank top. Weightlifting with good form, heavy weights, full range of motion, and time under tension hasn't made me bulky at all. As I get leaner, I love seeing the muscles I create.

What Aspect Challenged Me the Most

Because I sincerely love every exercise I do, it would have to be the diet. A goal of eight percent body fat is challenging when you don't have a show date to stay on track. I have been hovering between 9-10 percent body fat for the past three months, but I can't seem to stick with it long enough to make it to eight percent. In my defense, we were amid the holiday season.

My Future Fitness Plans

I'm not 100 percent sure. I've only made short-term goals so far, and that is working for me. I'm not tempted to compete, but as a photographer, I would be interested in modeling. I can also see myself entering CrossFit competitions. Perhaps I can prove that a background in old-fashioned weight training can be beneficial, even in a fast-paced version of it.

Suggestions for Aspiring Transformers

Love what you do, do what you love. I know it sounds cliche, but how many times did I try to be a runner in my out-of-shape years? Many! I hate running. Now I wake up excited to work out every day.

Reset your palette with a cleanse. You will discover what real food tastes like and you won't crave dips or dressings. Everything will taste amazing without it. Eat more veggies and then eat more veggies. Seriously, you can't eat too many. Set short-term goals that are easy to attain. Once you get there, make another.

How Helped Me Reach My Goals

I came to because it had great prices on Beverly International products. The shipping was super fast. Then I got hooked on tracking my progress on BodySpace. Everyone is supportive and it's encouraging to see others make progress.