VICKY // Healthy and Fit

From childhood through college, I was always somewhere in the middle with physical fitness. I was coordinated, but not athletic. Up, but not active. Relatively thin, but not strong.

In high school and college, it hadn’t bothered me; I was decently active just by doing the bare minimum. But strength and good health became really top of mind for me after I graduated from school.

Diabetes runs strong in my family, and after a series of major family health issues that culminated in my grandmother’s death early last year, I was suddenly confronted with how little effort I had put into taking care of my body. I bought myself a scale, and was shocked to see that I had gained almost 30 lbs after graduation, due to laziness, emotional eating, and poor self care. I finally admitted to myself that I was weak--I got fatigued walking up the stairs, and took weeks to fully recover from a small cold. People around me always thought that I “must be in shape,” because I play taiko (Japanese drums), which involves a lot of movement. Little did everyone know that behind closed doors, I was the heaviest I’d ever been, I didn’t fit into my clothes, and I was more self-conscious about my body and energy levels than ever before.

Diabetes runs strong in my family, and after [...]my grandmother’s death early last year, I was suddenly confronted with how little effort I had put into taking care of my body [...] I had gained almost 30 lbs after graduation...People around me always thought that I “must be in shape,” because I play taiko (Japanese drums), [...] behind closed doors, I was the heaviest I’d ever been.

Vicky-before

I wish I could say there was a definitive moment when I knew I would have to make a change, but there wasn’t. Instead, I had a good friend, Kelli, who had gone through a fitness transformation of her own with Imago. She regularly encouraged me to think more about my health, and made fitness seem more approachable. Seeing her dramatic progress in weight loss, nutrition, and overall spirit made me think again about my life’s priorities. I decided at the end of 2017 that it’s never too soon to take a chance on something. I set up an appointment with Imago.

When I came in for my first session with Sarah, I remember barely being able to lift 8 lbs with each arm, even after years of beating on giant drums. It was a reminder of the shame and imposter syndrome I felt about my strength. I also struggled with getting up early for cardio, sleeping through a ton of my alarms when I first started. And when it came to social gatherings and meals, I had a hard time with self-discipline.

Vicky-beforeafter

But Sarah encouraged me to keep trying even when I wasn’t able to execute perfectly at the beginning, and she and Kelli didn’t let me make excuses for myself. Over time, things became easier and more routine, with additional support from my friends, relatives, and new Imago family. I met others at the gym who had gone through similar struggles, who are still learning every day, and who are such strong examples of the positive opportunities that appear in our lives when we are happy, healthy, and determined to take good care of ourselves.

Somehow, it’s only been a few months since that first personal training session. Today, my clothes fit better, I feel lighter on my feet, and I end each day feeling balanced instead of exhausted. Amazingly, I also now:

  • Lift weights. Past Me would never have had any idea how to do that, and wouldn’t even have tried it. This week, I did a weight workout by myself, and the 8-lb weight felt like nothing! It’s so motivating to be able to see my own progress, and the Imago family is always there to celebrate it with me.

  • Wake up early for fasted cardio. It’s possible, y’all - this chronic night owl transformed into a morning person, through the supportive/persistent nagging of the world’s best gym buddy, Kelli, and trainer, Sarah! Kelli and I now share a workout schedule on Google Calendar, and we plan out our workouts a week in advance. I’m so amazed at myself--who even am I?!

  • Cook my own meals. Another shocking change! I’ve avoided the kitchen my entire adult life; I was always that person who would sooner DoorDash dinner and wait 40 minutes for junk food delivery than break out a cooking pan. I grew up surrounded by amazing cooks. Imago’s transformation program helped me realize that this whole time, I was insecure about my pathetic culinary skills in comparison, which is why I avoided cooking altogether. Today, I make my own meals and choose my ingredients carefully, and I have learned to have a lot of fun with it. My dishes aren’t the prettiest creations, but I am determined to take baby steps. My mom is ecstatic :)

I used to read this blog myself, and think that all of these testimonials were coming from people who are inherently different than me, more disciplined than me, or have more time than me. I know it sounds cliche, but I really, truly believe that if I could do it, anyone can.

I never thought I’d be here, writing about my successful transformation journey on a fitness blog. I used to read this blog myself, and think that all of these testimonials were coming from people who are inherently different than me, more disciplined than me, or have more time than me. I know it sounds cliche, but I really, truly believe that if I could do it, anyone can. And let me tell you: it feels amazing to be able to see your little muscles grow, and feel fantastic in your own skin. I am so thankful for Imago, and all the beautiful people I’ve met here. I am so excited to continue my fitness journey, and can’t wait to see how I progress with each new day!

VICKY

OVERALL INCHES LOST: 11.75"

vicky-12weekphoto

TRACY // IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO MAKE A CHANGE!

Four months ago, if I asked my “former” self the following questions, it would go something like this:

  • Could you make the changes needed to lose over 20 lbs.? “No, I don’t have the discipline.”
  • Would lifting weights be something you would even try? “Nope, I’m not even remotely athletic or interested in doing anything which involves sweating.”
  • Does exercising everyday sound even possible? “EVERYDAY?  Who has time?”
  • Do you dream of going down from a size 14 to a size 8?  “Nope, not even in my dreams! Ha!”
  • Could you ever be the weight you were in your early 20s, before you had kids?  “I’m 50 yrs. old, that was a lifetime and 2 kids ago. Definitely not happening.”

Now, I’m generally a pretty positive person, but when it came to my health/appearance/body, I had just come to accept that I’m middle aged, and getting healthy and strong was just too hard for me.

My “turning point” came when I returned from a European vacation not able to keep up with all the walking.  I was miserable and tired the entire time.  I realized that the way I was living – what I ate, the lack of exercise, working too much – all of that was literally “killing” me.  I needed to make a drastic change.  I needed help.

I prayed about it, and remembered Sarah from church.  She told me her story about her transformation and how she’s living healthily and so much happier, so I reached out to her.  She told me about Imago’s transformation program.

The past 4 months at Imago have been absolutely wonderful.  There is no magic pill or potion.  The program involves changing your diet, exercising, and lifting weights – and a lot of hard work!  Coach Huong and Sarah provided all the guidance, support, and encouragement I needed to make changes.  

  1. First was meal planning and portion control.  I stuck with the meal plans, and never felt starved.  Coach would incorporate suggestions I made for any flavors I was craving – Mexican, Thai, Japanese.  I learned to prepare meals in advance and store them in single serving portions.  This greatly ensured I always had a healthy meal to eat, and would not just grab whatever was convenient.  
  2. Second was incorporating exercise into my schedule.  I learned to wake up at 5am every morning to workout.  I’m not a morning person! But now I look forward to my workouts because when I’m done, I feel I’ve accomplished something right at the start of my day – it sets the tone for being productive the rest of my day.
  3. Third was not being afraid of lifting weights.  The personal training sessions really taught and showed me how strong I could be.  Sarah and Coach showed me proper technique so I wouldn’t get hurt.   They also encouraged and pushed me past what I thought I was capable of – I trusted their expertise and was pleased with how my body got toned, and my “shape” actually changed!  I always thought my body shape was “out of my control”.  Some people just got the genes to have a better shape.  But lifting weights opened my eyes to see you can literally change your shape.  Whoa!  What a revelation!

With these changes, I saw results every week during my weigh ins.  When you follow the program, you see results!

TRACY12WEEK

 

Now that I’ve completed the transformation program, I couldn’t be happier!  Coach and Sarah were the answer to my prayers!  I’m literally in the best shape of my life… all 50 years of it.  Even when I was young, I never felt as strong or disciplined.  With what I’ve learned from being at Imago, I am equipped to continue healthy living for the rest of my life.  Here are the lifestyle lessons learned:

  • You can still enjoy food, going out, parties – you don’t need to starve yourself.  Just eat appropriate size portions and make healthy choices.
  • Keep moving with something you can maintain and enjoy.  For me it’s exercising on the treadmill with my favorite playlist.
  • Keep challenging body – incorporate new moves or use different weights.
  • Healthy living lowers my risk for heart issues, diabetes, hypertension, and knee problems which all run in my family.
  • Most importantly, IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO MAKE A CHANGE!  Four months is such a small amount of time to make a permanent change in your body and life, no matter your age!

Tracy

OVERALL INCHES LOST: 16.75"

OVERALL WEIGHT LOST: 21.8 LBS

Jen Z // A Transformation from Struggle to Strength

I’ve always struggled with my body shape and weight, I never felt comfortable in my own skin. In 2016, I had a particularly tough year at work and began eating everything in sight. I used food for every situation: stress, anger, sadness, and as a reward. I felt like I “deserved” to put unhealthy foods into my body, but these foods never made me feel happy. 

My weight slowly creeped up to numbers higher than I had ever seen before while I tried to ignore my pants growing tighter and tighter. I told myself it was okay that I unbuttoned my jeans as soon as I got in the car after work or that I had to peel them off once I got home. I tried making better choices in my diet and occasionally taking a spin class, but I wasn’t seeing any results. I finally gave in and bought the next size up in jeans. That was the day I realized I needed to make a big change in my life. 

I tried making better choices in my diet and occasionally taking a spin class, but I wasn’t seeing any results. I finally gave in and bought the next size up in jeans. That was the day I realized I needed to make a big change in my life. 

I had heard about Imago Fitness Studio from one of my spin instructors, but I was always too scared to pull the trigger and sign up. I saw all these ladies’ amazing results on the blog, but I was worried that I’d fail like I had so many times before. I never imagined that I’d end up a success and would be sharing my own story on here. 

 

When I first joined Imago, it was a huge adjustment. I went from hardly ever cooking and always ordering the unhealthiest item on a restaurant menu to meal prepping all my meals 7 days a week! It was hard to say “no” to food in social situations but I’d just order an iced tea and no one was phased. 

To me, there are two things that make Imago really special - the community and the customization. 

Community: When I first started my program, Coach Huong and Sarah told me that I was joining a family, but I felt like such a newbie that didn’t fit in around all these strong women. Little did I know that these women would be the ones I cried to when I was going through personal drama and asking for advice on how to perform certain lifts. Honestly, I can’t wait to get into the studio to see these ladies and they keep me accountable and excited to keep pushing. 

Customization: Your transformation program will be totally customized for YOU. My trainer, Sarah, noticed that I had a weak core and needed to strengthen other areas, so she is working with me to build it up during my 12-week program and beyond. Sarah and Coach Huong will work with you to target the areas that you need. The same goes for the diet plan: don’t like kombucha? - they won’t put it in your plan again (I’ve learned to love it though!) Traveling? No problem! Imago will work with you to adjust your plan.

I first walked into the doors of the studio feeling my absolute worst - stressed with work, hating my body, and just feeling bad about myself all around. Thanks to Imago Fitness, 12 short weeks later, I walk into the studio feeling strong, healthy, happy to see my Imago network of friends, and with a new job! I can’t wait to continue this fitness journey and to see where the next 12 weeks take me. 

 

Thanks to Imago Fitness, 12 short weeks later, I walk into the studio feeling strong, healthy, happy to see my Imago network of friends, and with a new job!

A huge thank you to all the Imago babes who supported me through the start of my journey! <3


Jen Z

OVERALL INCHES LOST: 10"

OVERALL WEIGHT LOST: 17 LBS