After her divorce, Samantha Hillis was suddenly thrown into the role of single mother. After taking control of her lifestyle, she lost an amazing 80 pounds. Samantha is proud to lead by example and she’s now enjoying activities with her young son that she never thought would be possible.
More from Samantha in her own words –
Tell me when your weight struggles began. I have always been overweight. Growing up I was the only overweight person in my family. I had tried to lose weight many times with pills and meal replacements, but I didn’t change my diet so nothing seemed to work.
What habits specifically led you to gain weight? When I got pregnant I gained 80 pounds! I went from staying between 200 and 210 to 280. After having my son I lost about 50 pounds, but my diet still wasn’t on point. I ate fast food every day, and when I did cook at home we would eat fried foods or a ton of pasta. I would rather sit on the couch and watch the Food Network than go for a walk.
What caused you to realize you needed to change? Nothing ever fit right, and I was never able to share clothes with friends or my sisters. I hated going shopping because I didn’t want to believe that I was in a size 18/20. When I got divorced last year I went to the doctor. I almost cried when I saw the number 248 flashing on the scale in front of me. I had gained 15 pounds in ONE month. That’s when I knew I needed to get healthy for my son.
Posted on November 9, 2022 by Dani Stone
Personal trainers are supposed to be the cheerleaders of the gym. Their role is to guide us through our weight loss journey by challenging us to work harder, demonstrating proper technique, answering questions, and giving the all-important pep talk. Unfortunately, they can also be overzealous, insensitive, inappropriate, and downright rude.
If you have a bad experience with a personal trainer but love your gym, it can seem like an inequitable fitness divorce. The personal trainer gets to keep the house (gym) with the pool while you sulk away with your bag of funky sweaty towels and workout clothes.
The Bored Trainer
After the birth of my second daughter I joined a local YMCA to get back in shape and eliminate my “bingo wings.” I was a tired mama looking for a beacon of weight loss hope. Instead, I was introduced to my personal trainer, the apathetic chubby lady babysitter. I talked about my goals. He yawned. I didn’t know how to turn on a stair climbing machine. He told me to get on, pushed all the buttons for me, and then watched Judge Judy on the gym TV while I tried not to pass out. (more…)
Posted on September 25, 2022 by Dani Stone
Shelly Jones lives by the motto, “Keep moving forward.” After losing 57 pounds, she was waylaid by knee surgery and other external forces beyond her control. Though she’s been frustrated by the lack of movement on the scale, she knows there are other methods to chart her success including the way her body feels, the healthy choices she makes and in the way her clothes fit.
When Shelly went swimsuit shopping this summer she said she almost started crying. “I realized how much smaller I looked in the mirror and how much better I feel.” Regarding the picture below, Shelly admitted, ” That girl in the first two pictures, while happy, was miserable.”
More from Shelly in her own words:
Tell me when your weight struggles began. My weight struggles started when I was a child. Many of my fondest memories have food in them. I am not sure at what point I became fat, but I can recall being made fun of as early as 3rd grade.
What habits specifically led you to gain weight? God created me a little on the sensitive side with a flare for drama and these emotions were handled with food. They still are to this day. As much as I showed my emotions, I covered them up inside, calorie after calorie.
What caused you to realize you needed to change? I have always known I needed to change, I just had difficulty making it happen. I do not want to pass down a legacy of bad food choices, dependence on food, or an unhealthy body weight or image to my girls.
Posted on September 7, 2022 by Dani Stone
Ben Affleck was a brief topic of conversation the other night when Jennifer Lopez stopped by the Bravo TV Clubhouse to chat it up with host, Andy Cohen. Among the dish was an assertion by J Lo that she helped Ben with his fashion choices during their two year relationship saying, “I did kind of like say, ‘you need to be, you know – You’re a movie star! You should wear a suit. . . ‘
Oh, Ben is going to wear a suit alright, a BAT SUIT! And by the look of some recently leaked photos, he’s going to fill it out nicely. My goodness. Is it warm in here?
When director, Zack Snyder, made the announcement that Ben Affleck would play the iconic role in the upcoming Superman sequel, Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the interwebs wasted no time declaring that the actor best known for roles in Armageddon, Good Will Hunting, and Argo, had no business playing a super hero.
Ben shrugged off the bat-hate and then went out and just got ripped, you guys. Though no details have been released about his prep for the movie, we do know that he’s working with celebrity nutritionist and natural bodybuilder, Rehan Jalali, who also helped him get cut and chiseled for the 2023 movie, The Town.
According to Jalali, Ben’s previous diet consisted of six to seven small meals per day with a focus on lean protein (wild salmon) carbs (sweet potatoes), plus essential fats (almonds). In a Twitter Q&A session this spring, Jalali would only say, “the training is very focused and intense. We’re going for a real-life super hero look.”
Posted on June 25, 2022 by Dani Stone
If you’ve decided that working out on your old elliptical machine while re-watching Breaking Bad episodes on Netflix isn’t helping you achieve maximum weight loss results, maybe it’s time to get out of the basement and join a gym. While some fitness centers offer bare-bones equipment for an affordable price, others offer a wide variety of amenities, but you’ll definitely pay to play.
Before you get out your wallet, decide what’s important to you in a fitness center and what you’re willing to pay for, then choose a gym accordingly. Below is a brief overview to help you make your decision. From Mild-Mannered to Big and Fancy, what do you need for your workout experience in 2023?
Mild Mannered $ – Planet Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Curves, Blink
- Low membership fees and no-hassle contracts mean you can get in shape without taking out a 2nd mortgage
- Often cater to first-time gym members by discouraging intimidating behavior like grunting, growling and gun-showing in the weight room
- Easy-to-use cardio and strength equipment, so you actually spend your time working out, not punching buttons and reading the user’s guide
- No children allowed and no child care. Is that necessarily a bad thing, though? Time away from the kids is OK, especially if you’re getting healthy
- No high-end amenities like juice bars, tanning beds, steam rooms, or swimming pools (more…)
Posted on January 3, 2023 by Dani Stone
Exercise trends typically come and go but some fitness fads have real staying power. Here are some of the most popular fitness trends from 2023 and a look at what trends we expect to see more of in 2023:
The Best of 2023
1. CrossFit: There’s little doubt that CrossFit dominated the fitness scene in 2023. The number of CrossFit gyms continued to grow exponentially and the numbers of participants registering for that CrossFit Games more than doubled. I predict that CrossFit’s popularity will continue to rise in 2023, despite its (many) critics.
Posted on January 2, 2023 by Lauren Martin
High intensity workouts like CrossFit, Insanity and P90X were a phenomenon this past year and now, according to the American College of Medicine’s Sports Fitness Journal, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), is expected to be the top calorie-burning trend of 2023. While the popularity has increased, so have subsequent injuries.
The HIIT workout is one that centers around high intensity exercises immediately followed by a short period of rest or limited activity. For example: A one-minute sprint on the treadmill followed by a 90-second recovery period or jump rope for three minutes followed by a 45-second walking lunge with alternating hand-to-hand kettlebell exchange. Repeat!! Some HIIT workouts can be completed in as little as 20 minutes.
While the variety of exercises and short time commitment can be tempting to those seeking something besides the boring treadmill routine, these workouts aren’t for everyone. We asked certified personal trainer, Jessica Smith, to give her thoughts on the CrossFit craze. “A good, safe fitness program should be scalable to meet the participants’ fitness levels,” she said. “I’ve seen some programs that do that, and others that really can’t adequately offer modifications that meet all participants needs.”
Posted on November 18, 2022 by Dani Stone
This is a story about a 64-year-old retired teamster from Louisville, Kentucky who has the body of an Olympic weight lifter.
His name is Robert Durbin, but you can call him “Rock Hard Papaw.”
Why Robert is not a viral video star is beyond me, but the old man—who was once overweight after a series of ankle injuries and a heart aneurism—regularly publishes videos of himself pulling off feats of strength on his YouTube Channel.
Robert works out three hours every day, his regimen a combination of strength training, CrossFit, and yoga. “I do 150 pull ups a day and 400 push ups a day,” he said. “It’s a mad operation.”
Mad indeed, but the Rock Hard Papaw isn’t fading away in the twilight of his life. “I feel 45. I’ve never felt this way. I know I look old, but I don’t feel like it.”
Just five years ago, Robert needed canes and walkers to get around, and was fitted with metallic braces on his ankles to help mobility. “Then I had an extended aortic aneurism. My health was going downhill fast and I just wanted to be able to do stuff with my grandkids,” explained Robert. (more…)
Posted on November 7, 2022 by Patrick
Before I actually became a member of a CrossFit gym, I heard all the cautionary tales of injury, over-training, and the crazy way of training “THEY do over there.”
Was I apprehensive? Of course, but I approached this NEW experience as I have done others in the past and that was to find out what it was really about by seeing it with my own eyes and experiencing it for myself.
I’ve come away with three things that you can use for yourself and apply to ANY new (or old) fitness experience to keep yourself safe, too.
Know Your Body
You know your body better than anyone else, so if you are asking your body to do something it truly is incapable of, it will let you know. If you work your body into the ground over and over again, without giving it proper rest and nutrition, it will shut down. It doesn’t take a CrossFit class to do this; it can happen with Pilates, yoga, or even regular weight training. (more…)
Posted on October 18, 2022 by Carol
Here in the States, we not only like to keep up with the Joneses, but also the Juans in Mexico, the Martins in France, and the Satous in Japan. In other words, we don’t like to be left out or behind even on a global scale.
This is the case with food – whose is better? – and fashion – who looks the best? But it’s also the case with fitness. Just as every other aspect of our lives differs culturally, you can believe that’s the case when it comes to working out, too. Grab your gym-going passport and take a look at what’s popular beyond our borders. You may be inspired to try something new!
The carefree lifestyle of the Spanish seems to translate to their approach to fitness, too. As a whole, they don’t seem to worry themselves too much with getting in to the gym. Their inherent lifestyle does a body good! “The majority of them eat a healthy enough diet (Mediterranean diet at its finest) and walk almost everywhere (if they live in a big city), so obesity isn’t that big of a concern,” said Kelsey Murray, an American teacher who travels to Seville to teach English. They certainly don’t give exercise the chore status that Americans do, as it’s naturally just a part of their lives.
These Euros are also not sweating out their evenings in the gym, rather they prefer to get out en plein air. Translation: They enjoy the outdoors. And why wouldn’t they? Beautiful scenery from nature and architecture provide an inspired background to walk, run, cycle, or even row. Because they are “discreet but effective,” Mireille Guiliano, author of the French Women Don’t Get Fat series of books, told Yahoo! that isometric exercises are very French. With a straight back, contract your abs for 12 seconds, hold, release, and repeat. You can do this on the subway, in your desk chair, in your office, or even at a fancy dinner date. (more…)
Posted on October 17, 2022 by Natalie K
It’s been a while since I’ve written about my breast cancer journey, so I thought that since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it would be an appropriate time to check in.
First and foremost, I’m doing awesome! This past July marked my two-year survivor anniversary. In the past two years, I’ve been through five major surgeries, countless “minor procedures,” six rounds of chemotherapy, and am now on hormone therapy for the next 3 ½ years. If it seems like a lot to read, imagine going through it. But…I’m here, alive and well and thriving.
Although I’ve been through a lot, I attribute my success and ability to cope to three things:
- My Faith in God and His awesome power
- My husband, Alvin; my family, friends and followers standing by me all the way and pushing me to keep fighting
Without these three elements firmly entrenched in my life, I shudder to think what kind of shape (physical, emotional and mental) that I would be in right now.
Faith and family, I’m sure you can relate to how important these are to you when you need them most; but exercise?
Let me explain. This is not just any old type of exercise, but serious, vigorous, out-of-breath, leaves you crawling exercise. I first heard about how important exercise is to cancer recovery from a guest on my radio show. She was diagnosed with Stage IV Lymphoma and survived. While on the show she said that she attributed her success to vigorous exercise. This point stuck in my mind and when I was faced with a similar situation, I put my plan in motion. (more…)
Posted on October 10, 2022 by Carol