Transformation by Hitch Fit Transformer Amber Hanton at Hitch Fit Gym in Kansas City!
I have not come across many people with as much drive, tenacity and conviction as Charlene Graham!! She committed herself to the process, doubted nothing and gave it her all every step of the way. No matter how intense the workouts were she took everything I threw at her with No Complaints and then asked for more. I saw her whole personality change from a shy, and unsure woman into a outgoing, confident woman ready to take on the world!! Once unfamiliar to weight and resistance training, Now training for her first half marathon and making more agressive health and fitness goals!! She truly has made a Life Style Change and is loving it!! I couldn’t be more proud of this lady!! Thank you Charlene for letting me be apart of your journey!! I know you will inspire many!!! – Amber
Charlene’s Story:
“No pizza for 4 months. Yep, I gave it up. There were benefits to this (atrocity 🙂 ) that far outweighed the difficulties…. And now the idea of a week without pizza doesn’t seem that bad. Here is my story….
As you may have guessed – I was not a fitness nut prior to Hitch Fit. I never participated in school sports, I took pride in avoiding exercise and my aforementioned pizza habit didn’t exactly improve my overall physique. My entire life revolved around food… it was a comfort. I loved to cook. I loved to eat. I was a chunky kid and an unhealthy college student – ate whatever I wanted and rarely worked out. Needless to say, my body fat was probably pretty high.
I took a job as a consultant and started traveling every week. My go-to food was the free stuff in the concierge lounge … fried goodness that I would gobble down like no tomorrow. Working out was a joke to me, I was busy and everything was fast paced, including my weight gain. Two years out of college I had gained fifteen pounds and was now up to 147. I told myself I still looked good enough and didn’t do anything about it. I eventually quit my consultant job and started with another company where I continue to pack on the pounds. One day I stepped on the scale and the NUMBER was there – the one I thought I would NEVER see… 160. (And to be fair it was 160.5, and all you girls know – that totally makes a difference).
The next week I started working out with a local trainer. I lost 16 pounds and got down to 144. Unfortunately, about that time, I ended up in the hospital and then on bed rest for over a month. I halfheartedly tried to eat well during this time, but the weight started to trickle back on. I continued with my trainer for a while but ran out of motivation and quit. The drive to actually make any sort of full-fledged life change just wasn’t there.
I gained another 10 pounds. I was disgusted with myself. That didn’t keep me from running to McDonalds and grabbing a 20 pack of chicken McNuggets and finishing it off with a double cheeseburger. I was spiraling due to poor life decisions and horrific habits that I couldn’t seem to control. I still wasn’t ready to make a true change.
Fast forward a bit … In addition to my love for pizza, I also have an extreme obsession with Groupon. I found the Hitch Fit Groupon for two sessions and purchased it randomly. After buying it I checked out the website and thought everyone’s after pictures had to be fake. I couldn’t see how in the world people could have such amazing transformations in such short time frames – I mean seriously, it sounded too good to be true. I don’t think that I had made any real decisions at this time to make any changes – I was still in search of some magic sequence that could get my life back on track and my weight under control. I called in and made an appointment with Amber.
I had looked at all the trainer online pages and I was pretty much terrified of them all. Everyone looked hot and I felt horribly self-conscious of the chunk that I had become. Amber seemed slightly less terrifying since she had a transformation herself. Regardless, I was still freaking out when I met her on my first visit. She came bouncing in with her happy attitude and she could immediately tell I was nervous. She settled me down a bit by telling me more of her own story. The more I heard the more I felt a little part of me starting to get excited…. I wanted this. I wasn’t sure what “this” was yet… but the more I talked with Amber the more I knew she had it.
Then came the glorious moment of the before picture. Hello Buddha belly. It was kind of my secret… I looked decent enough in clothes and to have it all hanging out there was just flat out embarrassing. Amber was great though – I started to protest the whole removal of my shirt thing and she grabbed her own before and after pictures for me to look at and said if she could do it, I could do it. She said it with so much conviction I believed her. Maybe I actually COULD do this. I didn’t wait for the next Groupon session; I pulled out the checkbook and purchased 3 days a week personal training for 16 weeks. I didn’t care what it cost – I was going to do this for myself, I saw enough of a glimpse into the life of someone who had made the change to know that I wanted it for me.
I got in my car after our first meeting armed with a meal plan and my calendar filled with workouts. I closed the car door and made a vow to myself. I was going to do this with everything in me. I wasn’t going to cheat… I wasn’t going to deviate. I was going to take word for word what that happy woman had just told me and I was going to turn my life to a more positive direction. It was game on from that moment forward.
The first several weeks were brutal. I hadn’t worked out for a while… and I hadn’t worked out like this EVER. Everything was foreign to me – it wasn’t about getting specific reps in as much as going to total failure on each exercise. But I worked my butt off. Was it easy? No – it was still an emotional and physical battle. I will never forget one of the first check-ins we did. I was terrified… I had such a low opinion of myself I figured all my hard work would be for naught… and then with a little smile Amber told me I had lost 4% body fat. I literally burst into tears. Victory.
From that point forward…it was something bigger than losing weight to me. This was a complete lifestyle change. My mindset had to change from incredibly food centric to thinking of it more as fuel. I went from never running at all to running regularly in the mornings. I started to get STRONG… and I loved it. It was like the whole ‘being thin’ thing became secondary. The most important thing for me was to get my head screwed on straight and be healthy inside and out. My new chocolate cheesecake was getting through a killer set of obnoxious burpees. My new favorite pizza slice was atrocious Tabata squats that made me feel like freaking Hercules. I was getting stronger, losing body fat at a ridiculously awesome rate… and the best thing – I was FINALLY starting to become happy with myself.
Another struggle was the meal plan. It was completely foreign to me. I had never eaten 6 meals in a day… and it was hard to get used to the schedule. At first I thought there was no way to make it work. I felt like a grazing cow. Somehow eating thousands of calories in junk food didn’t seem like as much food as my 6 sensible meals… but I stuck with it. I complained to Amber and she told me the magic of food prep. I started making all my lunches on Sundays and freezing them for the week for a quick lunch at work. It made my life SO much easier than cooking each day. About the third week I realized that my body had totally switched to wanting my meals and snacks right on schedule. I kept rice cakes in the car, at work, at home, brought them to my mom’s house when I visited… I was a traveling crumb factory but it kept me on track.
About the fifth or sixth week I had started to get in the groove with the meal plan and was starting to adjust to working out more. My body fat loss started to slow and I started to get discouraged. Amber switched up my meal plan and she told me I had to start doing the cardio. (I was supposed to do it from day one, but while I was doing it a couple times a week, I wasn’t getting in as much as I needed.) She started adding more high intensity stuff to my workouts – lovely burpees and other weird things that I learned to love more than I hated J The result? The next check I was down another 2% body fat!
At the end of the 16 weeks, I realized I wanted to keep going. I wanted to be under 20% body fat and I was holding pretty steady at 22 % – Still a 12% body fat loss mind you, but I wanted to be under 20%. In my head I really wanted to be 18%, but I thought that was probably not possible. I bought 4 more weeks and I started killing my cardio. I was lifting heavy and I was starting to become obsessed about the muscles poking out everywhere that I had never seen. Freaking sweetness.
My final check in was epic. I can’t even write about it without tearing up. Amber kept smiling while she was taking all the caliper measurements, and I was constantly yapping and asking her if it was bad or good. I knew I had improved, but I wasn’t sure if I had met the 20% goal. She put in the calculations once and gave a big smile. Then twice… The results? 17.6%. Tears. Screams. We hugged each other and I honestly think she was almost as happy as me. I had dropped over 16% body fat and almost 30 pounds in 20 weeks. I was no longer obese, heck I was in the “Athlete” body fat range for the first time in my life. I had stuck with the program – did whatever Amber told me to do and not only did it work, it exceeded my goals.
My journey with Hitch Fit was exactly what I needed physically, emotionally and mentally. During my transformation, I removed all the negative influences … be it food, people, situations… everything out of my life and filled it up with only the good stuff. The result was an amazing life change that I can’t even begin to describe. There is no comparison to the positive vibes felt when walking into Hitch Fit gym. The entire team of Hitch Fit has the most amazing energy of any group I’ve ever been around. Not only do the trainers care about their personal clients, they care about ALL of the clients. Amber became more than a challenging trainer, but a confidant, a mentor and an amazingly inspirational friend. Another perk? My husband ended up training with Amber’s husband James at the same time. Having my husband’s help and encouragement was key in keeping me on track. We now work out and make our meals together so we can motivate each other. We do things that I never would have done before and are happier and healthier as a couple because of our shared goals.
I sincerely thank God that I found Hitch Fit and Amber. I honestly believe they saved my life. What Hitch Fit gave me surpassed just losing weight and eating healthy, it gave me an insatiable desire to never be satisfied with ‘good enough’. I’m no longer the girl that compares herself to others, always coming up short. I instead compare myself to me, knowing that I kicked a heck of a lot of butt to get where I am today and now have the tools I need and the mindset to never, EVER quit.
And that far surpasses the fleeting joy from a gooey slice of pizza :)”
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