Body Transformation: Clean Eating, Spotless Future

Nancy’s children were a handful, but with careful planning, she found time to exercise and strengthen her degenerating spine. See how she defeated the 'Turning 40' stereotypes!

Name: Nancy Reinhardt
BodySpace: fitand40with5

Nancy Reinhardt Nancy Reinhardt
AGE 39
160 lbs
AGE 41
118 lbs

Why I Got Started

As a senior in high school I was taught how to work out and from that I developed a passion for fitness. I went on to teach aerobics, train men and women, and manage health clubs. Many times though, this meant eating once a day, to maintain my "body!"

Well, by my early twenties I began to let life take over and all things fitness came to an end. Married by my mid-twenties and having my first child meant that my life was now about everyone else and not me, or so I thought! This pattern continued for the next 17 years, along with depression and anxiety.

With my last three children I was gaining upwards of 70lbs and after my last and 5th child, at 38 years old, I was topping 200lbs. Getting down to 155-160 lbs was what my "normal" had become between babies and what I thought being mom was about, giving up yourself and giving to everyone else first.

The mental and physical strain took its toll and at 39, I did not even know the person that I had become. Avoiding the camera so that I did not have to really see what was happening to me was becoming a full time job with 5 children and many things to be celebrating.

In November of 2009 my back started to give me lots of problems and had me in bed more than not. I later found out that I was suffering from degenerating discs. I was told that pain management was the only way to deal with what was happening to my back and that when I could not stand the pain anymore that surgery would be my next step.

These limited my daily life and life with 5 children was becoming difficult to manage. I could not even bend down or walk on some days, due to the pain and inflammation.

I began to eat better and by December of 2009 I was down almost 50lbs. I knew what I was capable of however, had the mind set that this might not happen at "40" and especially not after having "5" children. Well the drive to get rid of that "muffin" was fierce and to fight what would eventually be back surgery was not going to stop me and the fight began!

This is when I found what would change my life, clean eating and my life has never been the same. "40" was approaching and I was ready to fight, to be the woman I knew and not the woman that I had allowed myself to become!

How I Did It

We cleaned out all things unclean and I got back into the gym. Our diets consist of 5-6 small meals a day and lots of lean white meat protein, veggies, fruits, whole grains and little dairy. I knew that this was my only hope to get my life back.

We had to make many sacrifices for me to be able to get to the gym. Working out at home was not an option as mom needed some time for her and there is always some interference to referee with children that range from teens to at the time, toddlers.

The problem was that our only gym in our town has no childcare so this limited me with the times that I could make this happen. I took it upon myself to enlist the help of my older children to watch the younger children after school. Life as I knew it had to become a thing of the past and I was going to turn "40" a whole new woman. Never giving up, as my back was not strong enough to stand or walk for long, I just kept going! I knew that this was my only hope to get my life back.

Not able to sit for long, I started with 10 minutes on level 1 on the semi recumbent bike. As I began to lift again after an 18yr break, my back and core were not strong enough to withstand much. I knew how to lift and it was just a matter of starting to make that happen. Frustrating as it was I knew that I had to keep going. I just kept at it and slowly added more and more weight.

I tried to get to the gym at least 5 days a week but knew that if I obsessed over missing workouts that I would not sustain this lifestyle. I just kept an open mind and went with each day as it came. Life will always happen and with 5 kids you never know what each day will bring you.

Wearing a weight belt was the only way that my back could stand the pressure of lifting. I continued to increase cardio and my intensity and time, both increased. As my core became stronger I added more body parts to my routine. I landed back in bed often with pulled back muscles in an effort to save my spine.

Still not discouraged as I was getting stronger I kept going back for more. My body was responding and I was gaining a new sense of who I was. Last April I was down to 130lbs and although I never had a number in mind, this number pleased me greatly.

I bought my first string bikini in April of 2011 at the age of 41. Legs were the last thing to add back into my weekly routine this past summer and I still go very easy with abs. I am now lifting with the intensity and duration that I once knew and am free of the weight belt.

Pictures have kept it real for me and with each new photograph; I gain more motivation to keep doing what I do. Depression, anxiety and an overwhelming lack of energy are no longer a part of who I am and the inflammation in my back is now managed with a clean diet and not medications.

In my quest to gain mobility, get rid of back fat, a "muffin" and lose a pant size, I have lost 5! Never underestimate what your body is capable of. I am currently at over an 80lb weight loss since the birth of my 5th child and weigh what I did 22 years ago, at the age of 41! (42 this April)

This time it is the result of eating more and not eating once a day and lifting heavy weights, concentrating mostly on free weights and not machines. I now do 2-3 days of cardio on the bike or stairmaster as running is no longer possible and I lift so that I get a great cardio workout on the days that I don't do cardio.

I have never stopped and continue to workout and eat clean. I am a busy mom so reaching a "number" was never my goal. It was about being happy, healthy and fit both mentally and physically. I have accomplished all of them and nothing feels greater after this journey, one that I call, "A mental journey with physical benefits!" Keep eating clean and anything is possible!

I now coach others as an Online Lifestyle/Fitness Coach and am now living the life that had eluded me for years. All seven of us now live a "clean" life and my children, ages 16-3 years, have learned how to continue this lifestyle and for that I am proud! As I now say Rockin40with5!

Suggestions For Others

  • Eat 5-6 small clean meals each day with each meal containing lean protein and a clean carbs.
  • Make small goals and focus on single body parts and not your entire body. You still need to workout each body part but to stay encouraged, focus on parts.
  • Lose the cardio junkie mentality. You must build muscle to have that lean toned look, and to obtain that you need to lift weights.
  • You cannot change your past but you can learn from it and use your past as FUEL to change you life.
  • We can overcome anything we set our minds to. Everyone has to make choices each day to make fitness a lifestyle. It takes dedication and determination to make it happen but it can be done at any age and on any level. It is never too late to begin.
  • Surround yourself with like minded people who support you and your goals.
  • Lift on a 7 day split and focus on each muscle as it works. You have to visualize to materialize!
  • KEEP GOING and NEVER GIVE UP! You will get there with a positive attitude and an understanding that living this lifestyle is about knowing that life happens, it's what you do with it that matters!
  • You can get your life back after "40" and after having kids! You are WORTH it!