Me in a gym?  I don't think so! Me loving exercise?  Not very likely.

Then, last year I had a small blip on my health screen and was heading to a life of blood pressure pills and possible diabetes. This was a shock I wasn't ready for, as I consider myself on the younger side of middle age. So on September 1st 2009 I declared it would be the “Year of Claudia”. I was going to be selfish for once and get my body back into its former glory.

I joined The Athletic Club after spending the summer researching the clubs in my area. I liked the location, pool, variety of classes and the multitude of before and after posters everywhere - they are what made me stop and pay attention.

I spent the first month hiding on the treadmill and taking a few exercise classes, but more importantly, watching some of the other members with their personal trainers. I knew I needed something more. I had my fitness evaluation and decided to sign up for the 12 week challenge and 32 personal training sessions. I chose carefully and found a trainer who I thought would give me the best results. My criteria being that this person had actually done what I wanted to do - lose weight and a lot of it. I found someone who fit that description and went to work.

My first session was a complete disaster! I think I lasted 20 minutes with my trainer before feeling like I was dying and almost vomiting. He was very good about it and without even so much as a snicker or eye-roll told me it could happen to anyone! What surprised me the most was his lack of concern about how awful I felt. I felt that I was a hopeless case. He then spoke directly and in a positive way and told me that he could definitely help me get out of this prison-like body of mine.

I made a deal with myself to give it my all for the next 3 months as I have always heard that if you can do something for at least 12 weeks, it then becomes a habit! This was a habit I wanted to get into. My trainer was very knowledgeable about both nutrition and exercise . I put all of my doubts, fears, and shame into the back of my head and decided to work hard and listen to everything this person said to me. He gave me his personal promise that if I followed his program I would get lean. It was this promise that kept me going throughout the 12 weeks of hard work, aching muscles, learning new ways to eat. 

My new goal and mantra.  JUST SHOW UP!

My trainer helped me to do things I never thought my body was capable of. For an entire hour three times per week he focused on me and my non-existent muscles. I learned the proper technique for each exercise and just how much I could do. I know I never could have pushed myself to the limits that he pushed me to, yet I always felt safe and secure that I was learning from a pro who knew what he was doing. I improved quickly and as I look back in my journal, I can hardly believe just how far I've come!

At the end of this program I have lost 25lbs and 25 inches of fat (8 of them from my waist). I've lost obese status and here's the big surprise - I have energy! I can do things in my personal life with much more ease. That was something I didn't expect. I was challenging myself, pushing myself and really, really enjoying it. The weight loss programs that I had tried in the past left me feeling deprived, sluggish and miserable. This is the first time that I've happily lost 25lbs. I have signed up for a long term contract with my trainer because I know it works - I know he can help me - and I know he won't break his promise. I won't break mine either.  It's no longer the “Year of Claudia”… it’s now the “Life of Claudia”.

Claudia Carlton
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