Laurel F. from Glendale, CA was Done Being Overweight

I met with trainer Ann because I was done, DONE, done -- done with being overweight.

I've carried extra pounds since I was an adolescent, at which time I stopped growing vertically but kept expanding horizontally... I was never morbidly obese, never had to seek out plus sizes. I was just solidly stuck at the top end of the clothing scale, wearing sizes 12 or 14, large or extra-large, sometimes dipping into the men's section.

My despair over my excess flesh undermined my attractiveness in direct and indirect ways. I never wanted to buy clothes since the shopping experience was so demoralizing -- very few things fit, and nothing looked "right," the way it should look if my stomach were flat. I told myself that it was a waste of money to buy clothes since I was going to lose weight, lose weight any day now, and so the garments would soon be too big. (Of course, that losing weight day never came.) My lack of fashion forwardness dissuaded me from tending to hair, makeup, or accessories. I'm sure this dragged down my overall "vibe" and diminished my apparent self-confidence.

I had worked with a trainer back in 2007 but my progress was modest. I got down to a size 10 and went no further. Lifestyle changes in early 2009 -- a new sunny California climate, a new job, a new relationship -- motivated me to consciously manage my diet and exercise. On my own, by means of lots of leafy greens and unsophisticated, daily runs, I got down to a size 8 or 6. Summer rolled around and I wanted to finish the job, take off the weight once and for all, and do it while I had momentum. I was afraid that I would become lazy and lose the ground I had gained (or lost, as the case may be). I was afraid that running would deliver diminishing returns.

I remember meeting Ann for the first time. She was so kind, and I was so hesitant. She told me to alternate the pace of my cardiovascular exercise so that my heart rate was forced to adjust. She explained that extended workouts at a steady pace were less effective than shorter, varied workouts.

I cried. I was upset that I had been running at a steady pace and evidently, calorie-wise, running in place. I was upset that I had to work even harder, vigilantly shifting the pace on ellipticals or stair machines instead of losing myself in mindless TV-and-cardio. I was also scared. I was afraid of the hard work that training would deliver to my already heaping plate, and I was afraid of failure.

Ann was calm and sensitive. In her quiet, respectful way, she assured me that I could do it. When I showed up at our session the following week and reported that I'd followed her orders, she did not treat me like the loon who'd shed tears in her office. She just smiled and congratulated me.

I've been working with Ann for five months and have dropped another two sizes -- I'm now a size 4 or 2. I've lost 3.5% of my body fat, 3 inches off my waist, and an inch off of my upper thighs. Perhaps more importantly, I've added significant tone to every muscle group and improved my flexibility and balance. Ann doesn't ask me to do jumping jacks anymore because my exercise pants, formerly form-fitting, are now too loose, and dangerously scootch down my tush with every bounce.

Ann is always prepared when I walk in the door, and doesn't remonstrate me when I happen to walk in the door 10 minutes late! She easily compensates for habituation, space constraints, and any injuries I may have incurred from off-site clumsiness by introducing new workouts and tools, such as challenging circuits, Bosu balls, and exercise bands. Ann patiently explains and demonstrates each exercise and tailors her instruction to my specifications, e.g., showing me only one thing at a time and letting me know how many seconds are left in a timed activity. She is also an expert at adjusting various machines to accommodate my height and strength, which adds to our efficiency.

Whenever I seek additional support, instrumental or emotional, Ann is there to provide it. She has recommended nutritious foods and eating plans, cardio routines, and dance classes. She has also welcomed me to text her whenever I feel challenged or have worked out independently, just for that little extra boost that her reply will provide. And when I experienced a rough patch in my personal life, Ann listened generously and extended above-and-beyond, incredibly meaningful emotional support. She even helped me out with a homework assignment when I was in a crunch!

Thanks to Ann and our work together, I have a new wardrobe, a new outlook on life, and a new friend. I am incredibly lucky to work with trainer Ann Moss and enthusiastically recommend her to anyone considering personal training.

24 Hour Fitness member Laurel F.
from Glendale, CA