How I Did It
I'm 33-years old, have been married for nine years to my amazing and supportive husband, and I have two beautiful daughters, ages 3 and 10 months. I am a captain in the Air National Guard, where I serve one weekend a month and whenever needed.
I was introduced to fitness on a deployment to Saudi Arabia in 2001, but didn't get serious about lifting and nutrition until 2007. I couldn't afford a trainer, so pretty much everything I know is self-taught and mostly comes from what I read on Bodybuilding.com. It has been a valuable tool and the primary contributor to my success in getting fit.
Rachel: I was in pretty good shape before I got pregnant with my second daughter. When the Hyper Shred Challenge began, my youngest daughter was 5-months old and I was ready to build an even better body than I had before.
I'd been doing Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer for about a month at that point to build some muscle, but was ready to build even more and get lean. I have always wanted to take away the "I have kids, so I can't have a nice body" excuse that many women believe.
I'm very deadline-driven, so having a 12-week deadline to get back in shape was perfect for me.
Shocked. Honestly, I almost didn't even take my final photos because I didn't realize I'd made that much of a change. But I love the muscle I've built, and look forward to getting even stronger.
For me, it's all about accountability. I tend to lean toward laziness without accountability. Three things are a must: a strong support system, taking pictures and measurements, and keeping a food/workout journal.
My husband is very supportive and helps keep me accountable. If it wasn't for him, I'd have a hard time getting up to go to the gym in the morning, and a hard time not eating a whole jar of peanut butter every night. He understands my goals and wants to help me achieve them. I also found a wonderful group of women on Facebook.
There are about 60 of us who check in with each other almost daily, if not several times per day. We talk about our struggles, our victories, and everything in between. I know I would not have persevered if it hadn't been for those ladies and my husband.
I like to take pictures and measurements at least once each month to see my progress. If there aren't many changes, I get frustrated and work harder. If there are significant changes, I get excited and work harder.
Either way, they help me stay focused. I still weigh myself, but I've finally started to believe that number is just a number. If you don't realize that, the scale can be so discouraging because it doesn't account for changes in body composition.
The food/workout journal is a must, because if you don't know how much you've been lifting, how do you know if you are making progress?
I don't do the same exercises all the time; I like to mix things up, so it's impossible for me to remember how much I lifted last time.
With my journal, I just flip back, and there it is in black and white. Same goes for food: If I'm not leaning out, I can just look and see what I've been eating, and make changes based on that. With two children, I can't even remember what I ate for breakfast sometimes, much less what I ate last week!
Sticking with any program is difficult. Most people quit when the initial excitement wears off and the real work begins. I had plenty of days where I didn't eat right or had a lousy workout, but I didn't throw in the towel and let it get me down.
When I woke up tired, I drank my NO-Xplode-sometimes adding an extra scoop-and by the time it kicked in, I was ready to go. I went to the gym even when I didn't feel great because I figure even a not-so-great workout is better than no workout at all.
Having that discipline helped me build confidence in myself and realize I could actually stick with this program! I also only allowed myself one cheat meal per month and got right back on track. I'd done weekly cheats before, and for me, those don't work. I would overdo it and undo all the progress I'd made. It was frustrating and counterproductive; once a month works great for me.
Nutrition is always the hardest part for me. I think it is difficult for most people, but I know it's also the most important aspect. I still struggle to find the exact combination of macros that are right for my body. I'm a work in progress!
The biggest advice I can give anyone in regard to training and nutrition is to find what works best for you and stick with it. Our bodies and personalities are all different, so what works like a charm for me may be completely ineffective for someone else.
The most important thing is: Don't give up. It may take you a while to discover what works best for you. There is an overwhelming amount of information available, and sometimes it's difficult to sift through it all and make sense of it. But it's well worth the time and energy it takes to figure it out.
I'm not a superhero. I'm not perfect. I'm a busy mom with two children who doesn't have time to work out. But I make time to work out. I've chosen to get by with a little less sleep so I don't have to sacrifice family time to be fit.
I'm not extremely disciplined, nor do I have amazing amounts of willpower. I've just stuck with it long enough to learn what works and what doesn't. I'm stubborn and I refuse to quit. But I still don't have all the answers-I'm still learning.
Fighting pirates does sound fun, but since I haven't seen many pirates around here, I would love to do some fitness modeling instead. I'm a stay-at-home wife and mom, which keeps me plenty busy.
Being able to do fitness modeling on the side would be wonderful, and would also give me some additional accountability so I would have more reason to stay in great shape year-round!
I also want to help more people meet their fitness goals. If there is one thing I'm really good at, it's encouraging others. God has blessed me with many opportunities to help others. I like to sit down with people and help them take that first step in the right direction.
It's so rewarding to see the fear and excitement they are experiencing, and to see them just go for it. Many don't stick with it, but I am always there for them when they're ready to pick it back up again. It's just something God has placed on my heart to do.
Being fit does not come easy for me, so I really want others to understand that no, it's not easy, but it is so worth the effort. I like to help them figure out what works for them and encourage them to stick with it.