8 Weeks to Greatness – 2017

Ashley Maximuk

Week 1
As I have mentioned, I have definitely stepped out of my comfort zone by starting 8 Weeks to Greatness. I have always considered myself a pretty healthy eater and have done a moderate amount of exercise….when I have had the time to do it. If I am being completely honest though, it was never a priority. Over the past year, I have noticed that I have really had to work a lot harder to try to maintain my body so that I feel good about myself. It was time for a change and when I saw the post about this program, I thought and thought about it and was finally inspired by a friend who was going to start.

The personalized meal plan and creative cardio component gave me just the motivation I needed to begin this journey. After two weeks of clean eating and getting in my cardio every day, I feel so much stronger and can already feel a difference in the way my clothes fit. I am so grateful for this opportunity!

Week 2
Although I do not enjoy getting up early, I have been getting up at 6:15 every day for the past two weeks to be at the gym so I can get my cardio in. Between running my kiddos to camps, meeting up for friends for play dates and tutoring, I know this is the only time I am guaranteed to get it in. It’s amazing how great I feel each day when I am driving home from His & Her Fitness. I have also made it a priority to meal prep on Mondays so that I am ready for the week ahead. I have my meals and healthy snacks ready to go so I am not tempted to snack on unhealthy choices.

I am down 8.2 pounds and have lost 6 inches overall. More importantly, I have more energy and am feeling stronger! I started my personal training sessions this week and I am definitely sore but it is so worth it!

Week 3
After finishing my third week of strength training, I am really beginning to see the hard work paying off! I feel more toned and fit and I have really begun to see some definition in my arms and shoulders.

I have gotten into a routine of going to the gym every morning between 6:00 and 6:15 and it feels awesome! I am NOT a morning person so this is a big step for me! The mixture of training, creative cardio and mindless cardio are the perfect combination.

My numbers were motivating this week as I was down another 3 pounds and 7 inches. Meal prepping and eating every three hours have become a part of my every day routine. I am no longer tempted by snacks here and there or quick restaurant stops because I have what I need when I leave the house!

Week 4
I was a little anxious about trying to keep on track while on vacation for 8 days but I did it! I was able to get my cardio in by visiting the fitness center at our resort a couple of times and doing creative cardio on morning walks with my family. The kids actually enjoyed setting the stopwatch for me! Once again, meal prepping was the key to success. I had already prepared my list for the grocery store and packed a small cloth cooler and ice pack so I could have my snacks with me when I needed them. Upon my return to the gym, I was pleased to see that I had lost on the scale! The hard work and commitment is paying off!

Week 6
After 6 weeks I can honestly say that I have made a lifestyle change and it feels SO great! For over a year and a half I have battled stomach issues on a daily basis. I was never an “unhealthy” eater, I just wasn’t fueling my body with the right combinations. I now feel much less hungry and am no longer fighting an upset stomach after I eat. Before I leave the house, I grab the food I will need to eat during the time I am gone and throw it in a tiny cloth cooler. This has eliminated grabbing a quick snack or just skipping eating altogether. My family is enjoying some of the snacks and meals as well! Both of my kids are requesting my spinach salad at dinner! 

The results from strength training are awesome to see and I LOVE doing the Creative Cardio classes with other participants and friends. I was down another 2 pounds this week and almost 7 more inches. My husband and I have a couple of events coming up and  I was so excited to go shopping for a new dress. IT was even more exciting when I realized I had gone down a size and felt great in it! 

Week 7
This week was a big one for me because I really feel like I am so close to my goal. I have gone down 2 sizes overall in my shorts and lost 2 more inches off my waist and legs. We spent a weekend on the Plaza with friends and I prepared my breakfast, lunch and snacks. I knew dinner would be difficult but I asked Christina for advice and the restaurant was more than happy to prepare my meal accordingly. I even visited the hotel fitness center while we were there. I am feeling so motivated and energized!

Week 8
This week we went shopping for the photo shoot and it was so much fun to try on dresses. My waist and hips are much smaller and I was able to try things on that I wouldn’t have even looked at before. My shoulders and arms are actually toned!

The results this week were motivating again. Although I only lost a pound on the scale, I lost another 2 inches and have lost 17 total pounds. I feel amazing!

Ashley Westhoff

Week 1
Huge life changes are taking place! First big change is planning and prepping food! The reason I got to 200lbs in the first place was because I didn’t plan ahead. I ate quickly (if at all) by driving through with the kids for fast food on our way to another activity. Christina put me on a meal plan and explained why protein + fiber + starch was important for every meal. No skipping meals. No skipping workouts. This is an ALL IN program with a required 100% commitment in order to reach success! Creative cardio alternated with mindless cardio 6 days per week + a meal plan + accountability from a team of trainers = 7 1/2 inches lost and 9 lbs lost on the scale!

Week 2
Started strength training! I continue to alternate creative cardio with mindless cardio and I can feel my body getting stronger. Clothes are fitting better. People are noticing the changes and it feels amazing. I slipped up on Father’s Day and I forgot to pack my food for an all-day excursion. I’ve always struggled on Father’s Day since my dad passed away and I could tell immediately in my energy and focus. I know that I’m human and that’s going to happen, but I forgave myself and got right back on track. Also feeling an enormous amount of support from the other 8 weeks to greatness contestants and I’m excited to see where I’ll be at the finish line if I already feel this good!

Week 3
Loving my strength training 2 days per week. Also love coordinating with the other contestants to do our creative cardio together! I look forward to my cardio every day and enjoy breaking a sweat. I feel so good when I go to sleep at night knowing that I did my best and brought myself another day closer to my goal.

Week 4
I am 4 weeks into this lifestyle change and I admit it still does not come naturally. I’ve been working really hard to make permanent lifestyle changes. Small changes are actually huge – starting with the first wedding I’ve ever attended (since turning 21) where I didn’t drink a single drop of alcohol. It’s easy to isolate yourself and stay in your healthy bubble. It’s a lot harder to be around your friends and family who are all eating what’s on the buffet, drinking the free beer, and enjoying a slice of cake at the end of the evening. My reality is full of temptation and challenges and I’ve personally benefited from the support of other people going through it. We left on vacation halfway through the week and Ashley M was just getting back from a week in Orlando. She shared how she successfully traveled with a big family and stuck to her plan. She gave me advice based on her experience. I took what she told me and made sure I set myself up for success. No eating out. No cheating. No skipping meals. Even when my whole family is playing cards, drinking beer and eating popcorn after a long day at the pool, I’m drinking water and re-learning how to participate without indulging in those old habits. I’ve been really proud of myself and my family is too. There are pitfalls and saboteurs at every turn – like homemade blueberry pie on the 4th of July. And a table full of potluck dishes that smell amazing. But I have learned to bring my own food and refill my water bottle to get through the day. It’s not impossible but sometimes it’s hard. Carving out time for yourself is hard. Resisting temptation is hard. Putting yourself first is hard. Walking away from your family so you can get your cardio in on vacation is hard. But that’s what I’ve been learning to do. This process is about learning where my pitfalls are so I can avoid them in the future. Learning new habits and changing the old ones. I’m excited to get back from vacation and get measured and see my results. I’m ready to rock these last 4 weeks!

Week 5
Vacation with the family was an overall success. In past years I would have happily indulged in a cheeseburger and fries from the drive-through on our way home. Instead I packed sliced turkey and sliced red peppers to eat on a tortilla for lunch and protein balls for a snack. I even packed sandwiches for my husband and the kids to encourage healthy eating habits for the whole family.  No drive-throughs! The kids have definitely noticed a change in my “mom body” and especially enjoy my new confidence to join them in the pool. They enjoy making protein balls with me and we have lots of lively discussions about healthy vs unhealthy food. As their mom, it is important to me that they understand good nutrition so they have energy to play and grow. 

I returned to the gym on Monday with renewed energy and focus to finish out my 8 weeks strong. Returned to my week one meal plan and saw instant results. I’ve completely turned a corner in my mindset this week and set out to truly succeed for myself. I was making a lot of excuses and feeling sorry for myself when it got hard rather than pushing through. This journey isn’t over but I have learned so much about what motivates and discourages me along the way. Putting myself in the right frame of mind has allowed me to tune out the negative and refocus on why I’m really doing this. 

Emilie Haynes

Week 1
If I’m honest with myself, I don’t think I have been healthy since I was 25 and even then I wouldn’t call it healthy. After high school and before my children, I didn’t work out regularly and I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. My son was born in 2002 and my daughter in 2009 & I have been overweight and out of shape ever since. I never had the luxury of my body “bouncing back” let alone from the first pregnancy and definitely not from the second. For years I have been the person looking online and in magazines to see what the latest trend is in diet and exercise, but for some reason just reading about them never helped. I have tried personal training before and found that it was too expensive and some of the trainers even made me feel worse about myself and my health, which in turn made it very easy to quit! After following my friend Meredith Simmers Dubill’s journey last year, I was definitely inspired!! Her success with #hisandherfitness and the #8weeks_to_greatness program was a real eye-opener and I could finally relate and see a true before and after picture of how amazing she looked, which also radiated from inside her and you could see how amazing she felt inside and out!!! When you know someone and it’s closer to home it is easier to see that your dreams can become a reality. I know that I, as well as many more people, have always made excuses like, “my kids come first” or “I have to work” but at some point you have to start taking care of yourself and for me that time is now. Thank you so much to H&H for this amazing opportunity, to all the wonderful trainers, my friends who encouraged me and most of all my family that helped and held me accountable. Being completely transparent through social media has really helped me to get this done one day and one pound at a time. When you believe in yourself and others believe in you then it is true that you really can achieve anything!!! Good luck to all the participants this evening, no matter who is selected, we are all winners!

Week 2
This week I met with the His & Her Fitness team to work on a cardio program designed specifically for me. I also met with Christina to go over my food options and menu, again designed exclusively for yours truly! I get to eat three meals and two snacks a day which is more than I was originally eating and I’m already seeing results this week. I have so much more energy and I’m feeling awesome! I am no longer up until 2:00 in the morning watching shows or on Pinterest looking up unhealthy snack recipes. I am up at 5:30 every morning looking forward to getting in my creative cardio! As someone that has tried and failed more than once this program has been the easiest for me to follow and easiest to stay on track with because of the quick results I’m seeing (and feeling). Meal prep is a real lifesaver and key component when it comes to the day to day grind that is life. You literally don’t have to think about what you are eating because you already have it ready! I never thought I would be a person who could eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week but, now that I’ve been doing it and seeing how well it works, I’m a believer! I am ready for next week and ready to keep this rocking!!!

Week 3
I’ve added strength training 3x a week to my cardio. My clothes are much looser and the cardio is getting easier on this out of shape body. I’ll be honest a few times this week I had some self-doubt about being able to keep this up. I have had a few days where cuddling with my kids in the morning seemed like a better choice than 30 minutes at the gym. I had to talk myself into going just this morning! I’m so proud that even on my worst days that I’m pushing myself to be stronger mentally and physically. It’s easy to quit and walk away. I have to push myself and know that I can in fact do this. With every little bit of progress I see each day it is a positive reminder that I’m moving in the right direction. I can’t let the girl inside of me that quits win! This time I don’t want to lose even on my bad days!!!

Week 4
Week four came with some challenges for me. We take our annual family camping trip to Colorado over the 4th of July. Thirteen hours in the car each way with a small dog and an 8 year old meant frequent stops at gas stations. Being bored was a great time to eat snacks for me when we traveled. Stopping for breaks meant more sweet treats. This time I made sure to have everything I needed packed and ready to go. Even though the temptation was there I was able to say no. Over the trip I stuck to the plan Christina laid out for me. No s’mores this time, no little snacks here and there. Having friends there to keep me on track was awesome but knowing that things have changed for me was a big factor in staying with my plan. Food prep saved me this week!! Creative Cardio was a challenge in the mountains. The altitude and the extremely dusty camp site was discouraging but I pushed through. Slowly but surely starting to believe in myself. Having the His and Her Fitness team behind me each step of the way is AWESOME!!

Week 5
This week has flown by! I will weigh and measure on Monday and after having a little bit of a disappointing week last week, I’m ready to show that scale who is boss. This week I was able to comfortably fit into a pair of jeans I bought two winters ago because they were on sale. I have been the person for a very long time that hates the dressing room. Trying things on there that were on the mannequins always left me looking in the mirror and thinking no way this looks terrible. I was to the point where I would just buy things and then wait until I was at home to try them on. The jeans I’m talking about were a very distant goal that maybe one day they would fit. I never thought by starting the 8 weeks to greatness challenge it would come so quickly. Not only do they fit but they will very soon be too big. I’ve also had some time on my short drives to and from work to reflect on my journey so far. I’m no longer the person that hates the gym. My relationship with food has changed. Yes I called it a relationship. I have been in the hospitality industry for 20 years. That leads to weird but long hours as well as constantly being around food. I literally would wake up on my days off from work planning where we could go to lunch or dinner. My plan for Sunday always included brunch with friends and family. I never felt like I was really eating anything super terrible. Never massive quantities or lots of desserts. I was definitely not eating enough. I would sleep as long as my kids would let me then hang around the house doing laundry, watching TV and cleaning. Never making time for breakfast and planning on a very late lunch or early dinner. That would be my only meal for the day but it was always wonderful because I started planning where we would go the night before. Not only have I not done that in the last four weeks but I haven’t missed it. The way I feel is so much better than a lunch or dinner somewhere. Trusting Christina, Terrilyn and Adrian has been a game changer for me. They have given me the skills to become stronger not only physically but mentally. The weight didn’t come on overnight and it’s not going to disappear overnight either. Some weeks will be better than others minor setbacks in the past would be my chance to run and give up. It was my excuse to quit!!! This time is different and it feels AMAZING!!!!

Week 6
Week 6 has been a great week for me. Everything is really coming together. I look forward to getting up and going to the gym every morning. If I don’t go I can’t imagine how I would feel and that is very unlike me. Or the old me I should say. The food is a total no-brainer I don’t even crave or want anything I shouldn’t have anymore. Sure sometimes things look really good but is it worth it to eat them? No. Jeans that I could only wear on good days you know the kind you have to put on and then squat down to stretch them out a little more and then wear with a loose top are now too big for me. Getting on the scale continues to be exciting. The advice and information I get from the trainers at His and Her Fitness is kind and encouraging. I’m honestly feeling a little sad that I’m on the downhill slide. I know I will still see them all of the time but having them there has been wonderful. I do know that I have been given the tools to continue on my own and be successful in living a healthy and fit lifestyle. Having other people that I don’t know, but workout and train with at H&H, tell me that I’m looking good and that they have seen such a big change, is a huge reward. I can see it myself in the ways my clothes fit but hearing it from others feels amazing!! 

Week 7
I’m coming into week seven with full force. I can’t remember ever feeling this good. At last week’s weigh in I lost 7lbs!! I’m in a size medium clothing and my large shirts are looking way too big on me. This process has taught me to take control of my life and to take responsibility for the choices I make. I have found that going to His and Her Fitness makes me happy on the inside and looking good on the outside. Most of all it has taught me not to procrastinate. Why put something off until tomorrow when I can do it today. It’s time for me in my life to focus on the decisions I’ve made not the ones I haven’t. I’ve been blessed with my health and it is something not to be taken for granted. The change in the way I feel and my energy level has afforded me more time with my family and out in the world doing things that I love. I am no longer the stay in and rest type. Life is too short not to get out and do things. Not only for myself but for others.

Marie Woltering

Week 1
This has been a heck of a week. Weight training was tough but it did make me feel more energized when I was done! The day after was the true test, I was sore and wasn’t sure I could work out. I did some creative cardio which helped easy the muscle soreness and at the same time gave me a sense of accomplishment. I have over indulged for years, now I have started to make a conscious choice of what I put in my body and how I treat it. Every day is a challenge but I’m going to keep pushing forward to make this day better than the day before. I’m grateful for all the support and the words of encouragement whether it be in person, Twitter or Facebook, as we all know it takes a village.

Week 2
This week started out great, I did some meal prepping with my girlfriend Karen.  Our trip to Walmart was interesting I must say.  I was glad we had each other to keep in “check” because as we all know it’s easy to get off track with food. With Christina’s approval, Karen made great muffins for our breakfast which was a switch up from my normal 4 egg whites with peppers.  Accountability is so important in everything we do, but clearly I have never been accountable with food.  My weight training was better this week, I felt a little stronger and I was determined to make each rep count.  Every day is a step toward my personal goal of becoming healthier and stronger.

Week 3
I have to say I was nervous about the 4th of July holiday and all the eating that surrounds it.  I struggled this week because I felt like I wasn’t making any changes with my weight which I am sure showed on my face every time I walked into the gym to work out.  I let myself feel negative and of course like anything it affected everyone around me. I was proud of myself for passing up dessert and not even tasting it, because you can never just take “one bite.”  Weight training was hard for me this week because of my attitude.  I felt like I was watching myself go through the motions without even being present. Getting on the scale and losing 3 pounds was just the boost I needed to get re-energized and mentally back in the game.  I felt happier and looked happier which led to a better workout.  Having a positive attitude is what I need to bring every day to be successful and stay on track.

Week 4
I felt great this week. The support I have been getting from everyone has been incredible and it helps me get through the day.  I finally feel like I am getting my rhythm down and I am more energetic.  My food prep continues to help keep me balanced and it makes my day at work run much smoother.  Because of my food prep I don’t have the temptation that I normally had when I would go to the cafeteria.  I can tell that my body feels better, my skin looks better and I am not tired in the morning.  For the first time it feels good to have a little soreness from my weight training because I know I am building muscle and toning.  Christina always reminds me to trust the process because it works and she is right.  Results come from sticking to the plan with meal prep, creative cardio and weight training.  The hardest part is wanting instant gratification like I use to get from food. I continue to tell myself “it took time to put this weight on, so it’s going to take time to get it off.”  I am really working on being in the moment, listening to my body and slowing down.  I am reminding myself that this process is a life-long one and nothing happens overnight…it’s a lifestyle change.

Week 5
I felt a little under the weather this week but I pushed through and continued on. In the past I would have used this as an excuse not to work out.  The weight training continues to be a challenge. When I look in the mirror I think “I am getting stronger” and I also realize that I have a lot more work to do.  I tend to complete things quickly, so Emily reminds me during my weight training to slow down and focus on the movement. I am trying to remind myself that losing weight is the same, I need to slow down the thought of wanting to lose weight quickly and focus on what I am doing to get there. Creative Cardio with Terrilyn has been great. This 30 minute class challenges and exhausts me at the same time, I feel so good when I am done. There are days when I am not sure I can do this, but that doubt is also what makes me try every day.

Week 6
What a great week, I lost 4 pounds!  Christina will say “trust the process” and she is right. It was an incredible feeling to see the weight go down on the scale. My clothes are starting to fit better so I know I am on the right track.  Food prep has been my saving grace.  When I do this, my mornings start off good and my day runs smoother, it becomes routine and my body knows what to expect. My energy level is good, and I am finding that I am no longer tired in the afternoon because of this. Weight training is still challenging to me.  I am using muscles that haven’t been used in years and it takes a lot of work, but I do feel good when I am done. Creative Cardio for 30 minutes has been my rock, I love the pumped up music and the time goes so quick. Terrilyn and Adrian make it challenging and fun. One of the things I have felt most proud about is my commitment to working out weekly. It has become a routine for me, I don’t need to think about it, I just do it.