I’ve been a member of FFC Union Station for six years with varying levels of fitness success, but got soft over the past two years. I made all the excuses: travel for work, no free time for the gym, back surgery recipient… did I really need to be that fit? I was rapidly approaching my heaviest weight ever (from several years ago.) In the past I had made promises to myself to never get that heavy again. My gym schedule was two to three times per week with light cardio and weights; my diet was terrible; my mojo was down; and I was rapidly approaching 40. I needed to get fit.

The week before Thanksgiving I came in for my usual quick and dirty work out. It was chest day and I noticed one of the few machines I used was MIA. FFC Union Station trainer Shawn Hemmingsen was manning the front desk, and I asked him if the machine was moved or completely retired.Instead of just an answer, he was kind enough to walk me through three new exercises and to give me some advice on how to improve my workout. I had never worked with a personal trainer before. I thought I could get back into shape on my own and that a personal trainer would prove too expensive and probably wouldn’t dramatically improve my results. He made me an offer: come in tomorrow for a consultation, bring a list of your personal goals, and I know I can help you.

We sat down the following afternoon and I laid out my goals; get fit; down to a size 36, restore the strength in my legs I lost after back surgery, be confident on my friend’s boat this summer and maintain a diet and exercise program I could rely on after our sessions ended. Shawn looked right at me and said, “You’ll be a beast by 40!” With that, my “Beast by 40” action plan was in place and moving forward.

Related: how member Sal changed his life for the better with the help of an RD and a personal trainer and lost over 50 pounds.

Goals Set, Plan in Place

We met once a week and Shawn pushed me harder than I’ve ever been pushed in the gym. He laid out an action plan for the rest of the week including diet and exercise. I found myself really nervous coming into the first workout, but he proved such a good person and coach those fears melted away after the first set. I wasn’t fighting this fight on my own, I wasn’t pushing a rope– I found  another person  who  wanted me to get fit and succeed just as much as I did.

It wasn’t easy, but it was exciting. I was hitting new machines and doing free weight exercises I found too scary in the past. Each week promised new challenges and accomplishments. There were ebbs and flows; I could have been more consistent; maybe I could have met greater metrics, but without question, it was absolutely working.

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Seeing Success

Instead of gaining weight over the holidays, my body was rapidly transforming. After ten sessions I lost 15 lbs., dropped 3% of my total body fat and melted off 14.5 inches. It’s the best I’ve looked in years and I’m back to my old confident self. The best part of the experience is the action plan Shawn put in place for me to move forward. The pounds continue to come off, and “Beast by 40” is ahead of schedule!

Shawn continues to send encouraging messages and I’m sure another set of sessions will be in order to help me reach my college weight for the summer. And to think, this all happened because my old seated chest fly machine was put out to pasture. Thanks to Shawn and FFC for helping me achieve my goals. For anyone reading this, never give up, you can make the transformation too!

If you are interested in learning more, visit the FFC Union Station site here!

Post written by FFC Union Station member Kenton B.

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