“I got fit thanks to a personal trainer.”

After years of struggling with her weight and not exercising, Debbie Sorensen joined a gym and worked with a personal trainer to achieve her fitness goals

Source: Best Health Magazine, March/April 2009

Growing up in Calgary, Debbie Sorensen was always active and didn’t experience weight problems. After moving out on her own, however, everything changed: her lifestyle and her weight. By incorporating exercise into her routine, she was able to lose the extra pounds. But after her pregnancy the cycle started again: "Even though I continued to exercise, I also continued to overeat. I was slowly putting on more weight." In February 2008, Debbie’s company closed, but she didn’t let that get her down: She used her newfound time to get back into shape.

The breaking point

“I ate more fast food and my exercise habits were virtually non-existent. I didn’t pay attention to my gradual increase in weight until a friend commented on how much I had gained.”

The challenge

It was an uphill battle: My biggest challenge was not a physical one, as my body adapted quickly, but a mental one; self-doubt truly made me my own worst enemy.

The plan

Last June, my gym announced an 11-week body makeover challenge that included help from a personal trainer and a nutrition expert. I signed up. During our first meeting, trainer Brett Swindells took my measurements, weight and the dreaded ‘before’ photos. Then the work began.

Three times a week, we met to do weight training and cardio exercises, and, on his advice, I did cardio workouts an additional three times per week on my own.

The biggest obstacle

As my body changed, I became even more driven to continue my quest. I had to believe in myself and know that I could accomplish anything I set my mind on. In the meantime, nutritionist Dawn Hart helped me develop an eating plan based on the foods I enjoyed. My former diet was basically healthy, but my portions were out of control and I loved potato chips and beer’those had to go!

The results

By the end of the body makeover competition, I had lost 25 pounds and a grand total of 15 inches ‘back to the body I had 17 years ago’and I was the winner! Now I have lots more energy and more zest for life. Exercise and healthy eating are my lifestyle, and I can’t see myself ever regaining that weight. It was working with Brett that really brought me to my goal. I still work with him three times a week, as I won 52 personal training sessions as part of my prize. But I also plan on training with him regularly once the free sessions run out.

The tips

‘ Put yourself first
"A time comes when we need to put ourselves at the top of our priority list. We all have the power to succeed if we stay focused on our ultimate goals."

‘ Switch it up to keep it challenging
Working with a personal trainer forced Debbie to push herself: "He constantly challenged me by increasing the weight I was training with and showed me new exercises that kept me from getting bored."

‘ Don’t do it alone!
Having a friend or trainer to motivate you when you’re feeling tired or unmotivated can make all the difference. It’s easy to get sidetracked and frustrated when you work out alone: "I started out by going faithfully to a gym, but began skipping classes when I didn’t see results quickly enough."

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