Q: Denise, first off, please tell the readers a little bit about what you do, your background with regards to exercise, anything else that you'd like to share that could be helpful for the readers in understanding the magnitude of your transformation.
A: As a kid and through high school I was always very active and never had a problem with my weight or figure. After getting married about 3 years ago, between working at a desk and going out to dinner on a frequent basis, I started gaining weight. Over the course of 2 years I picked up 30 lbs and people didn’t recognize me. After work all I wanted to do was eat and drink, I was always tired and self-conscious. I became so self-conscious that I constantly wore a jacket and avoided social situations. It was a nonstop burden, and uncomfortable carrying around all that weight. I cried when I had to buy bigger clothes.
Q: So we're approaching the two year mark of training together and it's truly been a 180 in terms of what you're accomplishing in the gym and how your physique has changed but the truth is that it really wasn't until after your first year of working with me that the weight started to come off. In that first year you certainly got a lot stronger and were more physically fit but explain to the readers why at that pivotal moment in time the weight finally started to come off.
A: It takes your body time to adjust. During the first year I gained strength but I had not fully mentally and physically committed to really getting into shape. After about a year I started to change my diet, thanks to your help. I also started enjoying work outs more and looked forward to the endorphin rush. After working out, I felt great and I felt proud of myself.
Don’t expect results overnight, it takes time and dedicated. Your entire mindset and attitude towards working out shifts. Once I started losing weight I felt much better about myself and it was somewhat addictive. I finally could see result which encouraged me even more.
Q: There are a lot of forms of exercise that are out there: Various styles of yoga, spinning, kickboxing and other group fitness classes, crossfit, swimming, the list goes on. What is it that makes you gravitate towards weight lifting?
A: Personally I find yoga slow and tedious. I’ve tried spinning and kickboxing. I think that the type of work outs we do are much more aimed at specific results and incremental progress. No two work outs are the same, they’re always more challenging. Weight training enables you to see the progress you’re making. It’s an organized and precise way to challenge yourself physically.
Q: Your husband has also been training with us over the past two years. Was it a mutual decision to start working out?
A: Yes. We had both gained weight. My weight gain was causing depression and making him upset. I think my constant complaining and worrying about my appearance was a drag for both of us, but when we met you something clicked and we both felt like we could trust you to help us gain strength and lose weight. In addition, we have both learned discipline thanks to your ongoing encouragement and training. You set goals and showed us how much we could achieve by trying, a little harder each week.
Q: How important has it been to have him in your corner supporting you outside of the gym and right beside you inside the gym?
A: It’s great to have a cheerleader in my corner. There are times that I do not want to go to the gym and he talks me into it. He is a very dedicated person and encourages and inspires me.
Q: As a very successful businesswoman, your schedule always seems to be packed to the max with projects that you're working on. How do you find time to make it to the gym three times per week?
A: Three times a week is really not that hard. Saturday is a no brainer and during the week days I make work outs a priority. The work out relieve stress and get my mind off of work. Often times work that seems insurmountable before the gym doesn’t seem like a big deal afterwards. It definitely helps relieve stress and is a worthy investment in myself.
Q: I can imagine there are a lot of social settings such as business meetings and dinners that present temptations in the form of alcoholic beverages and poor quality foods. How do you resist these temptations when everyone else is taking part?
A: I still enjoy myself on occasion but I’m more aware of the body I have worked so hard for and the damage I’m doing by overeating or drinking in excess. Most people do not notice if you order an appetizer for lunch or don’t eat the bread. Also the urge to drink is not as strong because I’m hooked on the endorphin rush from working out.
Q: Of course your husband is a big supporter but how do you handle interactions with friends or other family members that just don't seem "to get" why it is that you choose to lead the lifestyle that you do and make the sacrifices that you do?
A: Oh I think they get it. My mom says I’m doing a great job by investing in myself and my health and I think she is right. As far as everyone else, I think if they just gave it a chance, they’d enjoy it and adopt a workout routine and diet.
Q: Denise, I just want to say thank you for everything that you've done these past two years and I'm sure the readers appreciate your firsthand account into your fitness journey. Is there anything else you'd like to tell people out there that are perhaps on the fence with starting an exercise regimen?
A: Just like during our workouts, sometimes you say to me, “Just start” and it resonates with me. Just get going, start moving and don’t expect immediate results. The discipline you will learn and long term health benefits cannot be quantified.
About the Author
Gym Owner and Personal Trainer, Keith Diedrich has a B.A. in Exercise Science and has been professionally involved in health and fitness in various capacities since 2005.
"My initial thought about Keith was that he seemed very casual and not as frenetic as other professionals. I quickly learned that he was gauging my stamina, movements, and technique. He wasn't after a fast burnout, but he wanted to exhaust every muscle every time. He said we were working on a "mind to body connection." With this connection I'd be able to gauge whether a set was 15 reps or 20 reps regardless of the initial "goal of 15!" I believe much of my gains came from Keith always seeing my potential even when I couldn't." ~ Saul "Mr. Biceps"