Meet Our March FitGirl!

I had been a member at Healthworks for a few years but was barely using the facilities. I would come in sporadically to do very lame incline walks on the treadmill and tell myself that I had “been to the gym”. I had an incredibly hectic schedule with a full-time clinical job, teaching as an adjunct lecturer, and also working on my master’s degree part-time. My husband had an equally hectic schedule and we relied heavily on take-out and snacking for sustenance. It is no wonder that we both gained an incredible amount of weight while building up our careers.

In September 2014, I got an offer from HW for a complimentary personal training session. I was skeptical as I had tried personal training twice before and both times, it had been an epic failure. But for whatever reason, I accepted the offer and I was assigned to one Joe O’Connell. As soon as I met with him I convinced myself that it was not going to work as he just seemed way too young and inexperienced. The InBody assessment showed that I was mildly overweight which was quite sobering. I agreed to the complimentary workout anyway and I was so sore the next day I could barely get out of bed. This was not the Jacky who effortlessly ran middle distance track in high school some many moons ago. I signed up to train with Joe twice a week on a trial basis and the rest is history.

We started from ground zero with simple incline walks for warmups followed by strength training. The workouts got progressively difficult but it was very gradual and I think this is what made the difference for me. I gained confidence as I slowly learned how to work different types of equipment and Joe was very patient in explaining even the most basic types of workouts. He asked for me to give my best on any given day, which meant that some days if I only had 70% in the tank, it was o.k as long as I continued to show up. We added a day for me to do “homework”, which helped boost my confidence even more as I could now workout on my own. I found myself really enjoying lifting weights and having goals to work towards. Joe is so tough and always pushing me to the limit but with his encouragement even things that seem impossible eventually seem easy. We added high-intensity intervals which I found brutal in the beginning but I stuck to the plan and trusted Joe’s methods as I was starting to see some amazing results. I also worked with Kelly O’Hara on a nutrition plan that has really helped me make smart food choices and avoid empty calorie traps without feeling like I am on a diet. My husband has also benefited from the nutrition plan as he has lost 50 lbs since I started working with Kelly.

So here I am, 18 months later and 20 lbs lighter. My percent body fat has gone from 31% to 20% and my lean muscle mass has increased tremendously. I ran my first 5K in 30 minutes flat and I am stronger than I have ever been in my entire life. I’m in the gym at least 5 days a week doing cardio, strength, and yoga. But what these numbers don’t show is the incredible effect exercise has had on my overall wellbeing and my plan is to continue to explore how much faster and stronger I can get. Thank you Joe O, Kelly O and all the other amazing staff at HW Coolidge who make it a very warm and welcoming space even at the ungodly hour of 5.30 a.m.

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