Member Jennifer Bruno shares how she found community at FFC East Lakeview and learned the power of accepting help when it’s offered.

What made you decide to join FFC East Lakeview in July 2019? 

At the time, I had been a member of another gym for about two years. I first joined in 2017 after deciding I needed to make a change. At first, I was very excited to start a workout routine but after a while, that excitement disappeared and I found myself going back to old habits. In June of 2019, a friend of mine joined FFC and highly recommended it so I thought I’d give it a try. The first time I went in for a workout at Lakeview, I immediately felt welcome. The trainers and staff were excited to have me. They always greeted me by name, even before I knew some of theirs.

Even now, every time I walk in to FFC, I’m welcomed by an entire staff of people that make me feel like I belong, like I’m part of the crew. They ask how I’m doing and take an interest in what I’m working on that day. It makes me so happy when I can tell them I’ve lost another pound or mastered a new workout. The encouragement I get from them is priceless. My old gym didn’t seem to think these minor details were important, but it’s made all the difference for me.

Since you’ve become a member, you’ve lost 50 pounds! What did you do both inside and outside of the gym to achieve these results? 

Inside the gym, I work with a trainer [Kate Malcolm] twice a week. We’ve worked together since the first week I was a member and without her, I wouldn’t be where I am. She’s kept me motivated and encouraged all this time, and I still feel the same excitement for my future that I felt on day one. During our sessions, we do strength training using weights and machines. Three to four days a week, I work out on my own which usually consists of cardio, using the treadmill and elliptical. Every workout is an hour long, sometimes more when I can.

Related: Short on time? Try this quick lower body workout

When I started at FFC, my health was at a low point. I decided to make it my number one priority, and while there are several distractions that come up in life, my health is my main focus. Therefore outside of the gym, I connect what I’m doing to the efforts I put in at the gym. I try to get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and eat foods that give me good energy. Most of my meals consist of a good bit of protein and vegetables. Possibly the biggest food change I made was a 6-month commitment to not eat pasta or noodles of any kind in the last half of 2019. Back in July, it seemed unlikely that I would actually see it through but now that I’m on the other side, it’s easy to say no. I don’t crave my old favorite pasta dishes anymore and don’t really have any interest in eating it, possibly ever again. That’s saying a lot for someone who used to eat it several times a week.

You train with Master Trainer Kate Malcolm at FFC East Lakeview. What is the biggest takeaway you have from working with Kate? 

Something Kate has said to me several times is to “trust the process.” Every time I felt like this wasn’t working, she’d prove to me that if I just kept trying, I’d see results. I’m confident in saying if it wasn’t for Kate, I would have given up long ago. She’s been my biggest supporter and teacher of all things fitness. Having someone in my life who’s as committed to my progress as I am is so helpful in motivating me to make good choices even when no one’s watching.

Personal training has without a doubt changed me. Sure, I’ve lost 50 pounds so I look different, but this change is not just physical. Training has changed the way I think. It’s taught me the importance of exercise, and how pairing training with the right foods and adequate rest results in an increase in energy and confidence and more effective workouts. These are things I already knew but somehow took me years to understand.

Tell us about your experience using your Myzone heart rate monitor. What role did it play in your weight loss journey? 

I started using the Myzone belt a couple weeks after joining FFC. Myzone seems more accurate than most other monitors since it sits in the middle of the chest. I use it to monitor my heart rate during workouts and get an idea of what moves are taking the most work for me to do. I also use it to compare workouts so I can see how I’m progressing through the weeks. Kate and I joke that she can keep an eye on me on the days we don’t meet using the Myzone app. But all joking aside, it is a good way for her to see what I’m doing when I’m on my own so she knows how to tailor our workouts together.

Related: Here’s What Happened When I Tried Myzone

One surprising thing I’ve noticed about Myzone is the crazy battery it has inside of it. We’re going on seven months of use and I have yet to charge it. When I opened the box, it had about 70% battery and it’s still at 50% now. Come to think of it, I’m not exactly sure where the charger is right now but luckily, I probably have a good 10 months to find it.

What advice would you give to someone who isn’t seeing results yet from their efforts? What motivates you to continue to work toward your goals? 

Be patient, refocus as often as you need to, and most importantly; don’t quit! The fact is, it’s hard to push yourself to make lifestyle changes. Every day is a struggle. Every workout hurts. Every meal is an internal battle. But it can be done and it’s absolutely worth it. It’s worth the struggle, the inconvenience, the sore muscles, all of it. You’ll feel better. You’ll share in activities you couldn’t before. You’ll open a whole new world of experiences to yourself. All I’m saying is try. Try sticking with it and you might be surprised where you end up.

There have been several times where I wasn’t seeing a difference despite my hard work, and it still happens now. My process has been to reevaluate and adjust. Add more cardio here, maybe less queso here… To be honest, it happens a couple times a week. I mess up, but the beautiful thing is every new day gives me another chance to get up and try again. It takes time but eventually those good habits stick and consistency pays off. You will see results if you keep working. I can promise you that.

As far as the motivation to keep going, it really comes down to just having a desire to be better. It took years to figure out, but I’ve realized that where I was six months ago is not what I want. I want to be healthy and fit. I want to feel good in my own skin, to walk through this beautiful city without pain. Exercise is the way to get those things. So I show up. I work hard. I make better choices. But maybe most importantly, I accept help when it’s offered. We all need help when we’re starting out and most people are happy to help. The trainers at FFC have dedicated their professional lives to that very thing, and I’m grateful to them for their encouragement, support and knowledge these last six months. I absolutely wouldn’t have made it this far without them.

My time at FFC and with Kate has taught me more than I could have imagined going in. My only wish is that I had done this sooner. But there’s no time for regrets. I’ve got another 50 pounds to lose in 2020 so going forward, my focus is on staying the course, putting in the work, and as Kate would say “trusting the process.” And anyone reading this can do it, too.

Post written by FFC Member Jennifer Bruno.