For about the past year or so, two of my friends have been trying to convince me to come check out the Fitness Asylum. I wasn’t a total stranger to working out. I practiced Bikram yoga and thought that I was fairly active. And I wasn’t terribly overweight. But I had always been the same size that I was…give or take 5lbs…but that number was creeping up and I lacked energy, exhausted all of the time. I thought I ate well but I really had no clue how to go about eating for myself, to use food as fuel. And after entering my 30s, my metabolism wasn’t getting any faster! The trouble was, just the term “Bootcamp” terrified me! So, as always, the excuses prevented me from actually doing anything.
My curiosity was piqued about the gym though and I found myself routinely looking at the Fitness Asylum’s website and Facebook page, daydreaming about making a change. I learned about the Beachbody Challenge and instantly wanted to sign up! Unfortunately, that Challenge sold out very quickly. In a way, it was a lucky thing for me. The fire had been lit. I NEEDED to get involved with the Fitness Asylum! I came across the original Bikini Bootcamp Challenge success stories.
Reading every single one, looking at the incredible transformations, I KNEW I had to join. Having never done a Challenge before, I asked Bonnie Lefrak for permission to join while I was on vacation. I was shocked when she openly welcomed me, even though I had sent her my laundry list of injuries (read: excuses) and felt as though I had been offered an extraordinary opportunity…a gift.
A little backstory…nearly 15 years ago, I was involved in a freak horseback riding accident. I was riding a supposedly quiet and calm horse that turned out to be a completely untrained horse that turned into a bucking bronco as soon as I got on (the owner felt this was a “test”) I landed on my head, my body crunching my neck as it fell to the side. My helmet bore a large dent on the top. I was left with a severe neck injury leaving me with a complete loss of range of motion of my head and loss of strength in my right arm/hand. Due to the neck injury taking precedence over all, the doctors missed the fact that my shoulder was also dislocated…and the tendons etc. were so stretched out that by the time it went back in, it wouldn’t stay in.
Life suddenly was divided into before accident and after accident. The injuries, the pain, the new limitations began to define me, to consume me. Months of physical therapy turned into years. I’ve lost track of how many doctors I’ve seen…I think we’re up to 15 or so. Two rounds of spinal injections, two shoulder surgeries, two bone anchors now holding my shoulder in its socket…my mantras became “I can’t.” Or “my shoulder this” or “bone anchor that.” In addition, I’ve fought with two herniated discs in my lower back and chronic ITB syndrome in my right knee.
But it was time to make a change and I wanted to try.
And try I did. For the entire 12 weeks of the Challenge. At first, I thought for certain that this would be a complete waste of money and that I would fall flat on my face at least within the first week. But I was reminded of a common mantra that I had learned through yoga: “do the best that you can with the body you have today.” And slowly but surely, the weight that I never thought would budge came off but more importantly, I gained strength, energy, and a renewed sense of self-worth. I went from barely being able to pick up any weights, to maxing out the weights on each station. From not being able to do a single push-up from my knees, to being able to even do ladder push-ups.
I remember my best friend (who has done numerous Body Challenges) telling me “Listen to Bonnie. If you follow the plan, you will lose the weight.” I could not have said it better myself. I have lost 27.5lbs in 12 weeks, gone down three dress sizes, have less back pain, less shoulder pain, and more energy than I had 10 years ago thanks to the Bikini Bootcamp Challenge!