Member of the Month

May MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Sarah A.

What got you started with Plates on Plates Fitness?

Before coming to plates on plates a couple years ago, I was a mom of two toddlers and getting in workouts at home. But of course, uninterrupted time was limited so creativity was key. Something was better than nothing though! Then friends and I came across the groupon and I decided to try it out! There’s been no turning back. My workouts are more intense and more effective at POP than I can pull of by myself.

What’s your motivation?

I am motivated to stick with POP because God gave me this body and I want to steward it well. I feel good when I exercise. It is a great hour for me to clear my mind and push myself to work hard. Regular exercise also influences my diet. I’m less likely to make unhealthy choices when I am caring for my body through exercise in this way.

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting?

I have definitely grown stronger since being at POP. In fact, about a year into POP the scale showed that I weighed more than I ever had, but my same clothes still fit. I’ve put on muscle and I don’t have to let the number on the scale throw me off. POP also gives me opportunity to not only to discipline my body but my mind. That is beneficial both in the gym and out!

What’s your biggest tip or piece of advice for a Plates on Plates newbie?

I know it’s cliché, but consistency really is key! Plan to go to the gym 5 days a week if you can- once it’s a regular part of your routine it feels weird to miss and you don’t want to.

February MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Alexis D.

What got you started with Plates on Plates Fitness?

I was going on a trip to Mexico for presidents club at my old company. I wanted to FEEL better not just look better so I started going with my friend Rylee one to two times per week.

What’s your motivation?

My motivation is to change my life. It was just once a week, then twice, then three by myself and now FOUR a week. I’m so proud that I am able to go by myself. I think back to when I could barely walk my dog for 20 minutes once a week. Here I am working out for 40 minutes, FOUR times a week. That routine has turned into motivation! ❤

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting?

There use to be things that got in my way… like: my hair is straight, I’m meeting friends after work, I don’t want to get sweaty, I don’t have enough energy, it’s raining, and the list goes on. I was constantly getting in my OWN way. Running was dreadful, walking seemed like a puss workout, Zumba was far, and planet fitness was like a dreaded zombie planet. I DON’T FEEL THAT WAY anymore! I genuinely want to go, break up my day. I look forward to seeing Sarah and talking about my week and day with her. I feel more energized, I feel proud, and accomplished once I get my class in. Also, I know when I look at myself and start the negative talk about my body that I am TRYING. It a work in progress and I’m doing what I can to better myself.

What’s your biggest tip or piece of advice for a Plates on Plates newbie?

Stick with it. Its hard at first, you’re sore and sometimes can’t sit down by yourself…. But you eventually learn to like the soreness. Pushing through it the next day makes it feel better… You feel stronger and get lower on your pushups- higher on your situps. You can do more burpies and try to race other people in the class. The more you go, the better you feel and the more friends you meet there.

January MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Jonathan W.

What got you started with Plates on Plates Fitness?

A couple of my co-workers, Phuong and Raquel, got me join. They were looking for a gym to join. I had been wanting to join a gym as I had gained a lot of weight after having graduated from nursing school 10 years ago, but just I would often go run on the treadmill for a little bit, then lift some weights, then leave. I was not that motivated to go, so I would stop going after a few weeks.

What’s your motivation?

During that first month, Phuong and Raquel kept me going. They held me accountable to show up as I did not want to let them down if I didn’t show. Without them, I probably would have quit.  Now I also go to hold myself accountable, to do more reps and lift heavier weights and I enjoy the workouts even thought they are still as hard as they were when I started. The morning coaches, Mackenzie, Juston and Sarah are always pushing me to do 1 more rep or to pick up a heavier weight next time. They have been awesome in helping to give me that extra bit of motivation.

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting?

The biggest change I’ve noticed is on the weekends. When I’m unable to attend a class before work, I don’t have as much energy and it takes longer to get the day started.  It has also made me change my eating habits as well. I used to just grab fast food or order take out all the time. Now I meal prep because I know that all the hard work will be for naught if I don’t also eat healthier.

What advice do you have for someone who is scared to start their fitness journey?

My advice would be to keep coming to class. The workouts are never easy, but if you keep working at it, it will eventually be part of your routine.

December MEMBERS OF THE MONTH: Kate N. and Victoria P.

What got you started with Plates on Plates Fitness?

Kate: Vikki and I met in college. We’re actually a big/little pair in our sorority, but hadn’t spent a lot of time together once we moved apart after college. I moved back to Austin in March of 2017 and we both signed up for ClassPass to hang out together while being active after work. Trying something new and not knowing anyone, basically a normal first visit to a studio, is basically my worst nightmare. Having Vikki committed and excited to attend these classes made me more comfortable and much less likely to back out of a class. We went to cycling, pilates, and yoga classes and then I (jokingly) suggested the Plates on Plates because it wasn’t like anything else we’d done. She was on board immediately, so we attended our first class on a weeknight and loved it so much that we each got a membership that week!

Victoria: Kate, honestly. I immediately moved to Austin after I graduated college and barely knew anyone in the area. Her moving here was the best thing that could have happened to me. I packed on more than a few pounds my last couple semesters of college and was not in a good place in my life. Once Kate finally got settled in, we used working out as an outlet to catch up, hang out, and release frustrations of growing up. Little did I know that joining PoP I not only flourished my friendship with Kate, but I also grew a little fit family.

What’s your motivation?

Kate: During class my motivation is to keep up with Vikki! When we first started I looked to Vikki for help because she has experience with power lifting. Now I’m just trying to get as strong as her! Outside of our friendly competition, I just want to feel the best that I can. I can safely say I’m stronger and more confident than I’ve ever been before. There’s something about lifting a barbell over your head that makes you feel like you can do anything.

Victoria: Currently, my motivation is using my past achievements to guide me to be better. I doubt that I could get back to those glory days of being 110 pounds powerlifter but I now what I was capable of and I want to build my way back to that heavy weight.

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting?

Kate: Physically, I feel better than ever and just want to keep that going. PoP is perfect for me because I can continually work to be faster and lift heavier than before (more like coaches Sarah or Chad will push me!). I’m finding my groove and loving every minute of it. My biggest changes were mental and emotional. I’m a pretty emotional person and would let the stresses of everyday life drag my mood up and down every day. Since making PoP a regular part of my routine, I’ve been much more balanced and happier overall (my husband can attest!). PoP has changed so much about my everyday life. I actually pay attention to how hydrated I am and what I’m eating, I make sure I’m stretching and getting enough sleep and am just two weeks into successfully meal-prepping for breakfast and lunch every day. When I started in March, I had none of those changes in mind. I just wanted to sweat a little and catch up with my friend. PoP continually challenges me to be better in all aspects of my health and for that I’m so thankful.

Victoria: I was almost 170 pounds when I graduated. I was not happy with body and was stressed to the max being thrown out into the world of adulthood. I knew that I needed to work out but did not want to because I felt intimidated and self-conscious. Since I started, I have lost 20 pounds. I first it started to notice the change with my thighs thinning out (thanks to the lunges and burpees). It wasn’t until a coworker of mine came up to me and asked if it was rude to say that it looked like I have been working out to realize that changes were being made overall. I am bummed because I am no longer in the distribution list of what take out the department is going to get for lunch because I have declined so many times, but I no longer crave fast food during the day and I want to eat more quality food. (Don’t get me wrong… I love me a bacon cheeseburger and/or meat lovers pizza!) Mentally, I feel the need to workout. I feel sluggish and unproductive if I miss a day. Mind you, this was only supposed to be a Monday &Wednesday thing ONLY…. Now its part of my daily routine. When I gained all my college weight, I felt intimidated and lost all desire to work out.

What advice do you have for someone who is scared to start their fitness journey?

Kate: Start small. When we first started, our goal was to attend twice a week, maybe three times if we were in town on the weekend. That’s drastically changed though. Right now, we’re pretty good about going 4-6 times a week and we’re starting Advanced Weight Lifting classes next month! Plates on Plates is great because it truly caters to all fitness levels. Over Thanksgiving break, we had a great Saturday workout with my dad, stepmom, husband, sister, and Vikki’s mom. Everyone was doing different weights or reps, some had modifications, some made things harder, but at the end we all did the same workout.

Victoria: Come early to the classes and chat it up with some of your classmates. Everyone is super friendly and inviting. Kate got me into the doors, it was the people that made us stay. Also come to Saturday workout and eat Tacos with us after! (Tacos are quality, I promise)

November MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Emma M.

What got you started with Plates on Plates Fitness?

I got started at Synergy a few yrs ago—My health was not that great & I as I turned 40 my body was going south (if you know what I mean). I had been eyeballing the gym on Groupon & finally had the guts to make the purchase & it was the best decision EVER!! Kristina was my first coach & I remember when I first started, I would look at her & shake my head, like “OMG, this shit is hard” I found out that the workouts are STILL hard, but now I have more strength & endurance to go heavier & faster. I was not consistent when I first started, only coming to class 2-3 days out of the week, missing weeks of boot camp, but now that has all changed. I go to camp 4-5x a week!

What’s your motivation?

There are a lot of things that motivate me.. Touching my muscles & feeling the progress Asking my friends & family “Have you felt these?”, flexing my arms & giving them a squeeze J Music—I love dancing while I work out—gives me an extra pep to my step & I entertain others Knowing I’m turning 45 this year & kicking it in the ass!! Showing my 11yr old daughter to be fit & healthy is achievable, hard work & fun—at any age! And lastly, the folks in my 5:30AM class—there are some amazing ladies & gentlemen in the class. We support & motivate each other. It is truly a great community!

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting?

POP has truly changed my life—I have more energy & endurance, not only at boot camp, but in my life. The energy & endurance to LIVE LIFE & NOT JUST SIT ON THE COUCH! The energy & endurance to walk around during music festivals, such as SXSW. The energy & endurance to go to a rock show & jump around & dance. The energy & endurance to not only go to boot camp & do my thing, but to come home & go play volleyball/basketball with my daughter.I will be turning 45 this month & that has really messed with my brain, as I definitely do not feel like I am 45.Some of my body parts are looking like they are 45 yrs old, but I am fighting back!

What advice do you have for someone who is scared to start their fitness journey?

My biggest piece of advice for a POP newbie—If you have a bad eating day/week, don’t quit. Put it behind you & move on! ALWAYS go at your own pace. Keep your form. Come to class. Strength & endurance will follow…

October MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Nikhil G.

What got you started with Plates on Plates Fitness?

I was originally a gym person- I’d spend hours in the gym, running on a ‘dread’mill and picking up weights. Unfortunately with all this time and energy spent, I wasn’t seeing any significant results. This got to a point where I was losing hope of ever getting fitter. I started with PoP on a trial basis after a fun class that I attended through Classpass. The 45 minute workout beat anything i’d have done in the gym for two hours. The creative exercises and focus on all major muscle groups got me excited to take on a long term membership.

What’s the biggest improvement you’ve experienced since starting?

I had a lot of body fat when I started and not that much in terms of muscle mass. Over the past 9 months I have transformed my body by gaining a lot more muscle and losing some hard to drop fat. A big accomplishment for me is the amount I’m able to lift / number of reps I’m able to do since the day I started. Another big change has been my focus on diet – talking to the trainers and other members has educated me on a lot of poor dietary decisions I had been making; I can definitely attribute some of my transformation to my improved eating habits.Besides the external differences, I also feel a lot more confident and energetic since the day I started.

What’s your favorite part about working out with Plates on Plates?

Being in a group is a big motivation for me to push myself more. PoP has a fun and friendly atmosphere which I really enjoy. My regular trainers – Chad and Sarah are a big part of our workouts – They’re always pushing and motivating us to outperform.To me, what differentiates PoP from other places is the community feeling I get from the members and trainers. So no matter how long a day I’ve had, there’s always de-stressing with my PoP fam to look forward to.

What advice do you have for someone who is scared to start their fitness journey?

Honestly, just be regular. Once working out is part of your routine, you just feel better everyday. You’ll have a lot more energy during the day and will tend to focus more on being healthy. It’s only the initial plunge that takes some effort.

September MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Meredith B.

What got you started with PoP?

“As long as I can remember, I have enjoyed being busy and physically active. Growing up I played multiple sports, was active in the marching band, and eventually joined the triathlon team in college. After graduation I taught a variety of group exercise classes while working full-time as a massage therapist, so I was constantly moving! Fast forward to starting a new career path and going back to school: before I knew it I was using my free time to eat and sleep, and the thought of exercise no longer appealed to me because my joints relentlessly ached, and I was embarrassed at what I could no longer do due to prolonged inactivity. I had been friends with Mackenzie since our high school band days, had followed her journey that led to PoP, and I finally decided to become a member. However, I had an unhealthy ‘all-or-nothing’ approach to exercise because of what I had been able to do prior to my weight gain, which led to an exacerbation of previous injuries. I finally decided in January 2017 to workout consistently with a more realistic approach, and start over with my ‘new normal’. In March I decided to participate in the PoP Fat Loss Challenge, which involved tracking my macros based on my body fat % and staying within the ranges Kristina established. It was eye opening to see that food I would think was healthy was actually full of sugar or fat, and that I was not consuming enough protein to fuel my body for workouts! By the end of the 8 week challenge I had dropped 3.5% body fat, and was the winner! This progress has continued, and I have lost almost 20 pounds since January, gained muscle, and no longer avoid taking pictures with friends due to being embarrassed of my appearance.”

When you’re feeling un-motivated, what keeps you coming back to PoP?

“What keeps me coming back to PoP, even when I’m not feeling motivated, is knowing what my improved strength and endurance will allow me to accomplish outside of the gym. As a physical therapist assistant I need to have the energy to motivate my patients, and the strength to help them exercise or with bed mobility throughout an entire day. If I am feeling slow, weak, and sluggish, I know my patients won’t have the confidence in me to help them succeed. Back in January my doctor was concerned with my bloodwork and unhealthy weight because the health complications combined with my family history were leading to a diminished quality of life. In August my doctor was thrilled with my new bloodwork results and BMI, and I truly feel my personal best, both physically and mentally!”

What’s your favorite PoP meal and why?

“I have a major sweet tooth, especially with Reese’s, so any waffles, chia pudding, or muffins that involve peanut butter and chocolate make my day! I also love the Jalapeno Popper Chicken and Beef Chili, and Chicken Enchilada bites (my stomach growled while typing this answer!).”

What’s your favorite part of working out at PoP?

“My favorite part of working out at PoP is seeing my potential. My joints no longer hurt constantly, so I’m able to satisfy my competitive nature by pushing myself to lift more and complete more reps than before. I also love the sense of community, that despite our varying walks of life and physical abilities we can all sweat it out together, laugh, and share our dislike for burpees and “Sally” haha!”

 

August MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Alysha B.

 

What got you started with Plates on Plates?

“It’s kind of a long story! I had gotten into fitness for a while in college, but senior year got busy and fitness was one of the things that fell by the wayside. I spent two years after graduation halfheartedly trying to rebuild the habit, but I wasn’t very motivated and I was struggling for most of that time with low-grade symptoms of depression. Fast forward to summer 2015, and a cluster of crises made my depression symptoms much more severe very rapidly: within six weeks, I ended a toxic 4-year relationship, I got laid off with no savings and a maxed-out credit card, and I found a new job the same week my grandfather passed away. By the end of it I was overwhelmed and suicidal, occasionally fantasizing about self-harm, smoking half a pack a day and binge drinking several times a week to cope. Not good. I opened up to some friends who had dealt with depression before, and they all told me the same things – get into therapy, eat as healthy as I could stand, and exercise. I sought therapy right away, and promised myself that as soon as I paid off my credit card debt I would get back into a gym. To close the exercise gap I used workout videos on Youtube. I paid off my card that November (the same month I broke my smoking habit) and signed up for Classpass in January 2016, which is how I found PoP. I fell in love after the first class and I signed up here that April.

By the time I signed up, I had made enough progress in therapy that I was thinking of my depression as in remission, so of course I hit another roadblock right away: that same month, I got diagnosed with ADHD and started medication. That kicked off 8 of the most challenging months I’ve ever had with my health. Stimulant medication is HARD on your body – favorite side effects include reduced appetite, disrupted sleep, upset stomach, and an elevated heart rate that skyrockets even more during aerobic exercise – and it took a lot of tinkering with my meds and working with a nutritionist and primary care doctor to get my body to a place where I could push harder in class without literally feeling like I was going to pass out. I turned the corner in January of this year (after taking a month off to rest and handle a final medication change), and it was like a switch flipped – I finally started to make real progress. I can’t oversell how cool it felt, after spending all of 2016 stuck using the 20lb kettlebells, to be experimenting with using the 35lb ones for kettlebell swings by this April or May, and if you’d asked me this time last year I would have laughed in your face if you’d told me I’d start taking the advanced weightlifting class this summer. I have never been this strong in my life.”

What keeps you motivated and coming back for more?

“I’ve lost momentum and slowly dropped out of my fair share of gyms. I think a lot of what keeps me coming back now is that my reason for exercising has changed. I’m not primarily here to get thin (my old reason for exercising), I’m here to keep my head screwed on straight enough that I don’t feel tempted to hurt or kill myself. I realize that sounds very dramatic, but I am definitely the type who thrives on having a Very Dramatic Reason to be consistent at this. I can’t exactly recommend depression, but if you struggle with motivation, try to identify a Very Dramatic Reason to go to the gym! It helps.

The other big factor is the community. My coaches know me and care about my progress, and I know from Kristina’s posts on Instagram that I’m not the only one here who has struggled with self esteem, bad relationships, and unhealthy coping mechanisms. It makes a huge difference to be in a gym where nobody is pretending that it’s always easy to be healthy or shaming people for struggling, and where the coaches are reinforcing positive body image and encouraging you to do your best. Plus, nobody tell Juston I said this, but the workouts really are fun.”

What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed since starting?

“One of my friends told me recently, “you are so in tune with your body. It’s really amazing.” I hadn’t stopped to think about that before she pointed it out, but I think that has been the biggest change. Doing workouts as intense as PoP’s demands that you learn how to listen to your body. Everything I do in class, whether it’s learning how to stay active while healing from an injury, correcting my form, or concentrating on activating a certain muscle during a movement, has taught me how to tune in and strengthened my mind-body connection. The way I related to my body when I signed up here is so different from the way I relate to it now. My attitude is much more compassionate, and I think of what I’m doing here as nurturing and growing instead of disciplining or punishing. I’m not the thinnest I’ve ever been as an adult, but I’ve never felt so grounded and at home in my body.”

What’s your favorite part about working out with PoP?

“Progress is addictive. The sense of accomplishment I feel when I find out what I’m really capable of has had me walking out of the gym on cloud nine so many times. We tested our 1-rep maxes on the first day of the advanced weightlifting class, and when I realized that just from bootcamp I had become strong enough that I can deadlift 165 lbs, I felt like Wonder Woman.”

What advice do you have for someone just starting their fitness journey with PoP?

“Consistency is everything. The most important thing is to just show up to class regularly. I’ve noticed it’s common for people who are just starting out to believe that if you can stay motivated you’ll stay consistent, but motivation tapers off pretty quickly for everyone, and it’s not realistic to keep counting on it to get you over the hump and into class. The real trick is to make the hump smaller so that you need to work up less and less motivation to keep going. Even the tiniest changes can help. I started setting out my gym clothes before bed, because hunting for a second sock at 6-something in the morning is The Worst, and hitting the snooze button once before I go to class never stops feeling like I’m getting away with something. If something about getting to the gym is The Worst, figure out how to get that thing out of your way. If the hump is something big (hello chronic health issues), find one way to make one part of the problem easier on you and do just that one thing. No step in the right direction is too small to be worth it. Obstacles will always pop up, and the people I see achieving the most at the gym are the ones who expect them to be there and persist in finding ways around them.”

July MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Casee L.

What got you started with Plates on Plates?

“I started at Plates on Plates Fitness (POP) in late November 2016 knowing that I didn’t want to suffer through another winter just like I always did — gaining weight and being depressed. I already knew that exercise made me feel amazing, and I felt pretty darn fit from softball. However, it physically pains me to be in the cold, and since September my exercise had declined and my weight was creeping up. I looked all over the Austin area for a gym that would fit my needs: 1. nearby my work, 2. Available/open after work hours, 3. indoors, 4. classroom style session where i could make friends with other regular attendees, increasing my accountability, and 5. instructor-led so I wouldn’t wimp out before seeing benefits. I found the POP Groupon special. After one week, I was hooked on POP. After one month, my psychiatrist had noticed a big improvement in my satisfaction with life, and he wrote me a Letter of Medical Necessity for my insurance. This Letter of Medical Necessity stated that exercising at POP was part of my treatment plan for the following year, and I was able to pay for a year’s membership with my pre-tax FSA dollars.”

What keeps you motivated?

“I am motivated to keep attending because: 1. I am on a strict budget and I already paid for this gym, 2. I feel strong and I look strong, 3. I feel beautiful and I look beautiful, 4. I have friends in POP, and Kristina is my friend, 5. Knowing that I am steadily succeeding in my goal of being strong, fit, and healthy, it makes me feel like I can meet any goal, even if I totally suck at it at the beginning.”

What is the biggest change you have noticed so far?

“I can see muscle definition in my arms and quads. Other people comment on my muscle definition, too, and they ask how much weight I’ve lost. I can do pullups for the first time in my life! I feel like a badass. My clothes fit, and sometimes they fall off. I have to tie my shorts on real tight just to ensure I don’t moon my teammates. And I am so focused on my fitness, because it makes me feel soooo good, that I now tell all my dates that I am not available until after 6:30 because that’s when I leave the gym. :)”

What advice do you have for someone just starting?

“I highly recommend signing up for Kristina’s 8-week nutrition counseling. If you aren’t completely on top of your eating habits, you need to be in order to see results from all your hard work in the gym. Why pay all that money for the gym without covering your home habits, too?  I’ve signed up twice for Kristina’s 8-week plan and I needed it both times. Getting my nutrition in check is what has allowed me to see the muscle gains I have. If this class makes you feel good in any way at any time, please come back the next day. And the next day. The class is always hard; it’s hard for everyone! But if you were strong enough to make it through, even part of it, then you are strong enough to keep going. If you are like me, these exercises are kicking your ass and it’s depressing to watch everyone else be so much better than you. Fuck that! If you feel like your body worked hard, then that’s what you want. That’s how you improve.”

June MEMBER(s) OF THE MONTH: Sean and Melissa

Sean and Melissa are leading examples of “relationship goals.” 😉 The inspire, support, and encourage each other inside and outside of Plates on Plates. Check out what they have to say about their fitness journey together.

Melissa’s Story

“Sean is what got me started with boot camp workouts. We had been together for about a year and I had started going to Golds gym to do some of the classes. I was 44 years old and had never worked out in my life! After a month of these workouts Sean suggested I reach out to Kristina and start doing HIIT camp. I thought he was nuts but here I am 3 years later, in the best shape of my life and I love it (which is what keeps me motivated to keep coming back.) I love working out with Sean because knowing he’s there makes me work just a bit harder. My advice for other couples that aspire for a fit and healthy lifestyle is to just do it! There are days we really just want to go home after work, but we push each other to go to camp and we are always glad we did. Kristina and PoP are a huge part of my life and from the bottom of my heart I thank you for helping me be a better me!”

Seans’s Story

“POP keeps my wife and I connected on all levels, and it’s a lifestyle we’re committed to.  There’s nothing sexier than being in great shape! Working out together also gives us topics to talk about over dinner. My advice to other couples would be to make the commitment to be healthy. Meal prep together, and plan your entire week out in advance (dinners.) Also make sure you have one free meal a week and live a little! Set realistic expectations, including short-term and long-term goals.On a side note, I started boot camp workouts with Kristina almost 5 years ago, and I weighed 247 pounds and showed minimal results after a month of working out 5 days a week.  Kristina put me on a meal plan, and within 90 days I was at 205, 13.8% body fat.  I’ll be 50 in a little over 6 months, and I can say that I feel better today than I did in my 20’s. My wife and I live a clean, healthy life style and it’s all been possible because of Kristina.”

May MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Lori S.

Huge congrats to our MAY MOTM, Lori Scott. Lori is the definition of strong. Not only has she made awesome progress since starting with PoP, she genuinely cares about her PoP fit fam. She encourages them to do their best on a daily bases, and has a positive attitude that is infectious. Read below for Lori’s story!

I was doing triathlon and half marathon season for about 9 years, and as my race distance increased (70.3 Ironman, full marathons) so did my training time, minor injuries, and time away from my husband and our two little girls. I wanted to stay super active and not spend as much time away from my little tribe. So during the off season, I was going to try Plates on Plates for the summer.

This summer it will be two years and here I am! I go to the 5:30 am class and I am home by 6:30am just in time to wake up my girls and get their day started on the right foot. One of the biggest changes I have seen is challenging my food mindset. I did paleo for about 5 years before coming to Plates on Plates: I was perfectly good or perfectly bad. Kristina has changed the way I see food, she guided me in the right direction, convincing me carbs are not the devil and to keep striving for that balance. I am still striving! I want to be positive role model to our girls. I know they will do what I do not what I say. I brought my little one in to meet Mackenzie and I told her that her and her best friend built this business together – she was in awe, as am I! Mackenzie pushes me everyday to keep my butt down and chest up; yes I still want to hit that next level. I push my self everyday to operate at 100% so I can give the people I love & this world everything I have got! All you have to do is show up!

April MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Cassy W.

Just 3-months ago, Cassy was in a car accident that almost took her life! It’s been absolutely incredible watching her transform mentally, emotionally, and physically. Her positive attitude is inspiring in so many ways, and we are proud to have her as our April MOTM! Read below for Cassy’s story!

Prior to the accident, I had a pretty pessimistic outlook on life in general, and let the little things bother me. I would overthink a lot, which would sabotage any goals I had set for myself. The biggest obstacle I had was not being able to return to my ‘normal’ immediately. I was impatient with my progress, and wanted to be better immediately. I learned to be patient with myself and not force anything too quickly. After the accident, the one thing that kept me motivated was having to learn to walk again. After having to do that again – I knew anything after that would be easy. Throughout this, my attitude improved tremendously. For anyone who is suffering from an injury or a limitation, stay positive and adjust your self-talk to a positive narrative. You’re your own best friend in that kind of situation. Also, make sure to ask for help when you need it. Pushing yourself will only further frustrate you when you can’t do what you used to right away.

I’m no longer stuck in a constant negative narrative. The picture on the left was truly remarkable at the time. Walking without a walker, with balance, moving my arms, going up the stairs. Focus on your progress in life. The positives. Trust in Him. You don’t need an experience that shakes you, you can enjoy every aspect in life even in it’s imperfect state. All you have to do is focus on the good things instead of staring at the things that aren’t right. Surround yourself with people who share in your triumphs. Shift your thinking and focus.

March MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Molly H.

 

Congrats to our March MOTM, Molly H! Molly is currently a mother-to-be, and we are so proud of her efforts to have a fit pregnancy! Check out what Molly has to say about what keeps her motivated, exercising while pregnant, and her advice for mothers-to-be!

I’ve been doing boot camp style workouts now for almost 5 years. Initially I was looking for something different besides a gym membership that would keep me motivated and accountable for working out on a regular basis. I enjoy knowing what areas of the body we will be working on each day, as well as knowing that I can get a really great workout in less than an hour. I know I personally don’t push myself as hard when I’m at the gym, versus when I’m working out during boot camp, so boot camp is also a good way for me to know I’m getting the best workout I can. It’s also great to have the motivation of a coach while you work out to not only make sure you’re doing the exercises correctly, but also for that extra push.

Research has continued to show that working out/staying active during pregnancy is great not only for pregnancy, but for childbirth, as well as bouncing back after pregnancy. I’ve asked my doctor at just about every doctor’s visit questions regarding working out, to ensure that what I’m doing is safe. I’ve needed some modifications, but overall as long as I feel comfortable with the exercises I’m doing, I’m good to go!

I also want to make sure I stay in shape as best as I can while pregnant. Pregnancy is an interesting time in your life where gaining weight is actually healthy and required. That being said, I definitely want to gain weight appropriately and in a healthy manner, and not pack on extra unnecessary pounds that will be that much harder to get rid of after the baby is born. Being active and working out while pregnant will hopefully continue to help me maintain this goal!

I’ve been in generally good shape most of my life, but I definitely feel I’ve gotten more toned and defined since being in boot camp. There are some days that you just don’t want to work out…. usually because it’s just part of my daily habit, I still find my way there, and I’m never upset at the end of a boot camp session for having gone and worked out. Some days I’m more glad than others to be done and over with my work out, but I’m never mad at myself for having forced myself to go to boot camp.

Since I’ve gotten pregnant, obviously the major physical change is that I’m getting bigger, not smaller. I think having been in good shape before I got pregnant has definitely helped me to gain weight appropriately. I also have felt great throughout my pregnancy. I know some of that may be genetics and luck, but I think being healthy and physically active has definitely played an important factor as well. There have been some days during boot camp where I have definitely noticed that I am unable to push myself the way I was before, or I will get out of breath a lot quicker than I ever did, and that has been a change I’ve had to get used to.

I think the most important factor for me mentally and emotionally during pregnancy is staying as healthy and as active as I can to ensure I’m doing the best to keep my baby as healthy as he can be. There are some days you’re just not mentally in it to work out, but even those days just getting there is usually the hardest part.

Pregnancy is so different for every woman, but that being said being active or staying active during your pregnancy is so important. Ask questions regarding working out at your doctor’s visits. They will give you good guidelines for what you can and can’t do, and from there you are able to modify and adjust exercises to where you feel comfortable. Most doctors won’t recommend pushing beyond what you’re already used to, but being able to maintain your current fitness levels (or somewhat close to current fitness levels) is generally very safe and beneficial to you and baby! There’s a few different things during boot camp that hadn’t been addressed with my doctor, but your body will know when something just doesn’t feel right, or if something feels uncomfortable, it’s important to listen to that and adjust/modify. Kristina has been great with helping me modify or change activities when needed, and I’m sure all of the coaches would be just as helpful!

 

February MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Amanda B.

 

I started coming to POP shortly after they started the free saturday class (with my friends Sharon and Emily). Saturdays quickly became my favorite day of the week, but I wasn’t quite ready to make the financial commitment of a membership. I was already spending $30 a month on another gym I hadn’t been to in a few years.

I was also really stressed out due to a new job and having to buy tons of new professional clothes because none of my old clothes fit me anymore. I’m not sure why, but I was holding on to all those “skinny clothes” for that day I’d magically lose a bunch of weight.

I had to get a physical as part of the new job and found out I was the heaviest I had ever been, I had high cholesterol, and I was pre-diabetic. I also have PCOS, which was out of control at the time. That appointment was sort of a slap in the face. I realized I felt hopeless, and in a lot of ways I sort of didn’t like myself. This was a really hard for me because as a therapist, I have spent years trying to empower girls and teach them self-love, but I was not showing myself the same love. After I got the call with my results, I went home, donated all the skinny clothes, and signed up for a membership at Plates on Plates, so everyday could feel just as good as my Saturdays.

Since then, my ever growing workout crew and the positive atomosphere have kept me on track with my journey to self-love. The set up of the classes (with short intervals) allows me to stop all the negative self-talk (I can do anything for 40 seconds). If for some reason I feel like I can’t do something, I turn the station into a dance station.

Now, there aren’t many things I can’t do. I feel stronger everyday, and regularly push myself to pick up the heavier weights for each exercise, usually trying to out-lift the guys in class. I’ve lost 35 pounds, and suddenly have muscles in places I didn’t know I had them. I’ve had to buy more skinny clothes since I’ve droped from a size 24 to 14. I no longer have high cholesterol and I’m not pre-diabetic anymore. I also feel like a self-care ninja and regularly get comments at work about my postive mood and energy. I would highly encourage anyone to try out Plates on Plates. Find a buddy to bring with you to help hold you accoutable, and if you can’t find someone, come anyway. I will work out with you, and so will everyone else! Also, if it is the money that is holding you back, just remember, you are worth it!

January MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Jade D.

 

I decided to start working out with POP to look and feel better. I couldn’t fit a lot of things in my closet and no longer liked shopping for new clothes. Additionally, I, like a lot of people set the New Year’s resolution of losing weight, but found it hard to commit to it. I knew that for me to commit to working out and losing weight, I had to do what works for me, and that is group workouts.

My motivation to stick with boot camp has been how good I feel afterwards. Even though I complain…. A LOT, I never regret going to boot camp. Beyond how I feel afterwards, comparing my performance currently to a week ago keeps me motivated (ex: doing more burpees, getting farther on a ladder workout, adding more boxes for box jumps). Additionally, taking progress pictures helps a lot when I feel like nothing is changing.

The physical changes are the easiest to spot. Since starting POP, I’ve lost about 35 lbs. Additionally, I’ve gotten stronger, faster and my endurance has really improved. However, beyond the physical changes, I feel happier (which is priceless), and I think the motivation I’ve gained while working out has translated to other aspects of my life too! I don’t put limits on what I can do anymore.

My advice to anyone new is to stick with it! I’m pretty sure I felt sore from the ab roller exercise we did on my first day for an entire week. It won’t get any easier **looking at you double floppy burpees** but you will get better at it. Also, It’s refreshing to come to work out and people know your name AND know if you weren’t here last week. It keeps you committed.

December MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Andres Z.

   

I never imagined myself writing my own fitness success story. I wish I could write a whole book about my fitness journey to be able to motivate and reach out to those who think there is no hope. BUT HERE IT IS….

Throughout the majority of my life, I have struggled with my weight. Back in my middle school years I remember going to Wal-Mart and shopping for the biggest size of jeans, biggest size of shirts, and biggest size of belts. I was 8 years old, 175lbs, and wearing XL shirts and Husky Jeans. Of course my self-esteem was very low, always worrying about what people would think of me. In my high school years I joined the soccer team and that helped a lot. I would also workout at home after school, and sometimes run in the mornings. I was at a point in my life where I actually felt good about the way I looked. My junior year in high school I thought I would take it step higher and start doing P90X. I was really excited to begin this program. Three weeks into the P90X program, I faced one of the scariest moments of my life. One day while playing soccer, I tore my left knee ACL. With no financial way to afford a surgery, my well being went from being super confident, to dropping out of college and going through depression. Two years went by until I was finally able to have my surgery. Even after going through countless therapy sessions, physically I did not feel the same. I gave up on trying to re-gain muscle mass and strength in my knee. Not only did I gain weight, but my self-esteem was at its lowest.

Before getting married I tried to lose weight on my own. I managed to lose a few pounds, but it was definitely not permanent. A few months after getting married I put on 25lbs. I’m not tall by any means.. I’m 5’8 and was weighing in at 205lbs (the before pictured below). This is the heaviest I have ever been and felt.

My wife, sister, brother-in-law and his sister, and myself decided one day to join POP. Wow, let me tell you, BEST decision I have ever made. We all went in with a goal in mind. Mine was to challenge my self, but most of all to get out of my comfort zone. This will be my 20th week of attending POP, and definitely not my last.

August 1st was our debut at POP. It is now December and I have managed to lose a total of 34lbs and feel extremely happy and so much stronger! Thanks to the AWESOME coaches at POP, I am now living a better and healthier life. I noticed a massive transformation in the way I see my life. I am now dedicated and motivated to continue my fitness journey. I am not where I want to be yet, but definitely closer.

There is HOPE! My biggest piece of advice that I can give is, don’t expect to see a big difference in such a short time. Don’t weigh yourself every night; because it doesn’t work that way …trust me! Just stay committed, keep pushing yourself to get out of your comfort zone, and challenge yourself! It works for me, I’m sure it will work for you. HUGE shout out to our 7:30 pm coach Sarah! To our once in a while (hilarious girl Kim) coach, and the one and only, our first coach that started it off Kristina 🙂 . WE LOVE YOU GUYS!!! Couldn’t have asked for better coaches.

Andres Z's Progress