James

“by being in great shape, healthier in mind and spirit as well, my self-confidence was very high”

  1. What were your reasons for accepting the Lean for Life Challenge?

I started because a smart, well dressed and attractive women, as a friend, asked me to hold her accountable and enter the challenge with her.  Who could say “No!” to that.  Coincidentally, I was really looking for an excuse to step up my game, to see if the challenge would focus my competitive drive for even better health changes than just the normal boot camps.  Game On!

  1. What were your successes, obstacles, life changes, etc. during the Challenge?

Successes:

My whole life I tend to do things that others say are unobtainable:

  • Don’t jump solo out of a plane, it could kill you.
  • Don’t borrow money to go to Notre Dame, the payments will eat you up.
  • Don’t be a bank CEO, the stress will kill you.

Even

  • Don’t work too hard in the boot camp because it’s all 20 year olds and the workouts will kill you.

All of those people were wrong, except one: the workouts do kill me, but they also make me stronger, focus my energy on goals, and encourage me to “finish strong”.  I get through the workouts because I know “I will pass out before I die.”

My first month’s goal and success was to just show up.  By being there consistently, I believed I would improve faster both physically and mentally.  More importantly, showing up helped me set goals to improve from the week before. One step or should I say one squat at a time.

My second goal (success) was to improve my form; I asked Toby to make sure he corrected my form as we all tend to get a bit lazy when we are exhausted.  Toby helped me with positive feedback during class, this helped me gain strength and confidence.  Concentrating on form exercised my brain a bit more, ultimately helping me advance to higher levels on my workouts.

My third goal and success was hit the tabatas  hard and  do something extra.

I set goals in pushups, run and touch, and jump rope.

I improved in all three and looked forward to each one as another chance to improve or up my game:

  • Pushups went from 10 toes, 15 knees to 25 toes, 7 knees.
  • Run and touch went from 12 to 14.5.
  • Jump rope from 152 to 188.

I hate planks most of all – core days are my biggest challenge; so I started plank parties at the end of almost every class I attended. No one wanted to do planks, but after a while, people in class would look over and nod at me that they “were in “and willing to plank for an extra 2 minutes.  I added pushups before and after class as it is such a simple but rewarding exercise for upper body and core.

Obstacles

My mom used to sing to me: “Sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening, sugar at supper time.  Be my little sugar and love me all the time.”  I love sugar:  cheese cake, chocolate on my ice cream, and candied peanuts.  I will devour any kind of pie.”  The first 6 weeks of the challenge I cut back, but could not give up sugar.

I began watching you tube videos about healthy eating and the harmful and addictive nature of processed sugar.  With a little encouragement from a friend, positive tips and encouragement from class, I finally gave up all processed sugar.  My energy levels jumped, and the weight around my waist fell off.  It was the final hurdle for me.  I even made it going home to my mom’s 95th birthday, full of homemade cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies, fresh strawberry – rhubarb pie, and cup cakes without touching a one.

Life Changes:

I lost my job during the challenge.  But by being in great shape, healthier in mind and spirit as well; my self-confidence was very high.  Kicking the sugar habit, which I did not think possible three months ago, added to my confidence and optimism. I knew something else would come up.  Sure enough, laid off on a Friday, and a new opportunity on Monday.  Fitmania helped empower me mentally and physically and the hard physical workouts helped relieve stress.  A very important and stressful life changing event became just another day, no big deal.

Before & After

Multiple Challenge Results