The Biggest Winner Day 23: Last Chance Workout

Well, the title pretty much says it all. Today was really the last chance workout and I’m still sick. UGH! At least Jackson was a little nicer to me not getting my ass about everything since I was clearly not feeling well but still trying my hardest to push through everything.

So today we concentrated on strength with cardio. We started with a short warm up on the treadmill and then headed upstairs to the track area.

First up was a circuit with kettlebells (oh how I love thee). We did a a 3x rotation of timed moves.

  • Lunge with dumbbell rows (side) and lifts (front)
  • Squat press with dumbbells
  • Double kettle bell swings
  • Double kettle bell rows
  • Squat with bicep curls
  • Double Kettlebell swings all the way to the top

We did a lap after this circuit. Next we did another circuit with three moves. First it was weighted rope jacks, then weighted rope waves and finally weighted rope slams. Next was 30 seconds of jumping jacks, 30 seconds of mountain climbers and 30 seconds of push ups. Finally it was 30 seconds with squat jumps, 30 seconds of ski jumps, 30 seconds of speed squats.

And just when we thought it was time to stretch, Jackson took us down to the gym for another interesting twist. We paired off and he paired me with the toughest woman on our team (I love her dearly) and together one of us did a wall sit, while the other did 10 dips off our knees and ran the length of the gym floor and back to tag us out. Repeat 3x for each person. OH MY GOD IT HURTS! I hate wall sits and this was just kicking my ass!

I made it though. I’m sick. I’m miserable and I could have said screw it this morning but I made it! I’m proud of myself. While on one hand I’m sad the end of this era is tomorrow, a new chapter begins just as quickly I don’t know what chapter that will be, but something will occur. Work is starting to get insane so I need to focus on that right now it is my job after all and without it I can’t afford my gym or my training.


In other news, Happy Valentine’s Day. I love my husband so much. He was smart enough to realize that now that I’ve changed so much … jewelry isn’t necessary and chocolate is a bad idea. Instead he just gave me money to put towards my training because he knows that’s what I truly want! YAY!


5Ks and Colds

Oh I feel awful today. Like litearlly awful. I work up with a horrible sore throat. Not much more than that but enough to just make me feel BLAH!

Today would have been very easy to retreat back to bed. I did not meet with Jackson today (it’s our off day) so I could have very well thrown in the towel and slept a little longer, but I didn’t.

I crawled outo f bed, down the stairs and made myself some breakfast. Still not feeling much better though. Oh well, I’m still going to the gym.

Jackson challenged us to do 90 minutes of cardio today. I wasn’t sure how that would go over with the illness but I gave it a whirl. I made it through 50 minutes and that’s ok. I’ll try to do more later. My chest was killing me so I didn’t want to over do it. It was actually getting harder to breath.

Since we’re doing a 5K on Friday, I thought it would be a good time to do a practice run / walk – which I did. I was pretty happy that I finished in just under 50 minutes for the actual 5K. It’s an improvement over my time of 53:54 from October of last year. I’m getting closer.

I guess my point is that no matter how you feel, you can still do it. I might not have made it through 90 minutes but I’ll try to do more later today. I’m not done yet. Broken up 90 minutes is still better than none at all!

The Biggest Winner Day 21: I have a dream

Wow… 21 days and only three more workouts left. I can’t believe it’s almost over. I truly am thankful that I was able to take part in this amazing experienc.e Not only for the training, but the new friendsI’ve made along the way and the self-confidence I’ve gained from Jackson proving to me that I can truly do anything I put my mind to!

Today we started with a brisk warm-up on the arc trainer at a 25 resistance. I spent about 20 minutes (counting my pre-warm up) here.

At this point, we headed up to the track for some laps. We did a series of laps

Lap 1 – Kettle Bell speed walk (me with 15 pounds each hand)
Lap 2 – Run with a flight of stairs at the end

After about 30 minutes of fun, we headed over to the mezzanine for another kettle bell workout. This was a series of kettle bell swings, followed by a row and then push ups. All timed and all rough. We also did a series of 10 squats with a hold on the end for 10 seconds. We repeated the squats five times and the circuit with kettle bells 6.

We finished out the workout on the treadmill with a “push yourself” walk / run. Basically, seven minutes of going as hard as you can.

So you’re probably wondering about the story behind my blog post (there’s always a story). Well, near the end of the workout, one of the ladies of my group comes over and says… I had a dream about you.


Apparently, she had a dream about seeing me in Florida a few years after the program and I’m skinny as a stick wearing a thong bikini. Now, I don’t know about the thong but I’m gunning for the other two parts of this dream to be a reality.

It’s kinda funny though because if some of you remember back to my blog posts early on goals, my major goal in 2014 is to run a Disney Marathon … which is located in (naturally) Florida.

Perhaps she’s seeing my future. I really hope so because that would be awesome. If I get the body, I’ll totally rock a bikini!


Sexy and I Know It Finale: the end of a chapter, the continuation of a journey

I know so many of you who have followed me from the beginning of my journey have been anxiously awaiting details on last nights finale and I’ve been dying to tell you all about it, but I just haven’t had a chance.

Now that the evening is winding down and I’m enjoying some “Walking Dead,” I can finally start to put my thoughts on the last 24 hours together and tell you what’s happened.

Well, let’s start at the beginning of yesterday. I’m literally exhausted from the day. We started our day at 7 a.m. getting

2013-02-09 11.13.31


our daughter up, dressed, fed and out the door for gymnastics by 9 a.m. Gym ends at 10 a.m. , where we promptly went to Walmart so I could get a manicure before the event. Beautiful red nails (as some of you may have seen on Facebook). I choose a Shellac mani because I’m hell on polish. I figure at least this will last a little longer. It was so nice to have a mani after … oh hell I can’t remember the last one I had. Sometime in early 2012 I believe.

Anyways, after the mani, we went straight to the studio to get my after photos done, weigh in and get all the details for tonight.  I was trying to lose the last 4 pounds to get under 260 for the final weigh in. Per my scale … I was 1.5 pounds shy of making that goal. Yes, it sucks but I’m fine with it. It’s just under 2 pounds… I’ll take care of it over the next week. I FULLY plan on being under 260 for my Valentine’s Day Celebration with my hubby next weekend.

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So after the photos, we grabbed some lunch and it was off to the salon to cut my hair and style it so I could feel truly awesome for my big night. I haven’t had a hair cut since last summer so I was desperately in need of a little beauty treatment! Immediately after the hair appointment, I was off to a birthday party for my nephew and then it was time to get ready for the event.

So .. now the great details. First – the dress. As many of you know, I spent the better part of two weeks trying to find the perfect dress for the night. I bought four but this was the end result. I guess when you walk out and your husband is literally speechless in a good way – you know you found the right dress!

So I’ve been going over what I wanted to say on stage for weeks now in my head. Part of me wishes I wrote it down but part of me is happy I didn’t. I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants person.

Normally, public speaking doesn’t really phase me. I get a little nervous, but overall I ‘m just fine. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry but after the first girl went on stage and cried… I knew I was doomed.

The truth is …. this six month contest has meant more to me than just the 28 pounds it says I lost. I gained friendships. I found support and to say that I’ll never be the same is an understatement. There were 25 girls to start but only 11 left at the end. Each of us fabulous and deserving to win for different reasons. But the reality is, the prize didn’t matter. Not one girl went up on stage to talk about why she deserved to win…. we spilled our hearts about why we were grateful to be part of something so truly amazing.

These girls, my new friends, have battled some pretty incredible mountains in their journeys – myself included. From injuries to surgery to depression, abusive relationships and even breast cancer – we all have our stories and everyone shared. It was truly a moving night and I really did cry – many, many times.

For my speech I brought a photo – the photo that started it all from my brother in laws wedding. I wish I would have

July 2012 - December 2012

brought the second one for comparison but I stuck to one image. The first image that wrecked my world and hit me like a ton of bricks.  Blown up to an 11×14, that photo represented a girl that I once knew. She was miserable, unhappy, fat, lazy and someone who is truly dead to me.

On stage, I told a roomful of strangers about how this photo changed my life and then only a few weeks later, my daughter told me I was fat. Naturally at the sound of her name, my daughter promptly cheered which sent the room into laughter.

The truth is (as I said last night), I’m very happy Bella called me fat because now look at me. I’ve lost over 50 pounds to date and I’m still going. If she wouldn’t have said it, I may still be the fat, miserable mother I was.

One of the other things I touched on in my speech was how important my husband has been through this whole journey because I sure as hell can’t cook a thing! He’s my rock and I love him for putting up with me for so long. I also had my mother in attendance last night because … well she’s my mother and without her I don’t know where I’d be.

But I had another person with me last night who has no blood relation to me and that’s my trainer Jackson. I asked him to come because while he’s still new in my life, he has helped me beyond words. Without his wisdom, guidance and brutal workouts I wouldn’t be the person I am today. He is truly the most amazing trainer on earth and I’m so blessed to have found him! I never ever want to train with another soul!

At the end of my speech, before I truly lost it. I ripped my photo in half to tell the world that girl is gone. She truly is gone. Today I am happy, confident and above all – the mom I want to be. This journey isn’t over for me … it’s just getting ramped up and I have a whole new life to look forward to. Unfortunately, in the process of my visual dramatic effect, I made my daughter cry because I ripped up my photo with her. She spent the next 20 minutes crying on my lap (mommy fail). She got over it when I promised I’d print her another one… any photo she wanted.

I didn’t know if I’d win a prize last night, but in my heart I truly already won. I have my life back and that’s what’s most

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important to me. Nothing can compare to a prize of that magnitude!

I was actually really surprised to hear my name called for 3rd place. It was such a sweet moment. I was happy with third… it truly feels as great as first because to me we all came in first. I won a $100 gift certificate to the studio which I’m already plotting on ideas for my session. It’s been over three years since we had a nice family portrait and now that both of us have lost weight and getting really healthy – I’m so excited to book this session. I have until June so I’m thinking of lovely spring portraits which give me a little bit more time to lose some weight and save up some money for what I know will be a costly session because I’m happy to have these photos!

For those wondering, the girl who came in second became a great friend of mine throughout the competition. She and I were neck and neck with weight loss until December when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer a week before Christmas. Obviously that derailed a lot of things. She is such a strong woman though and I know she’s going to beat this and get to her goals.

The winner of the competition is another woman who truly deserved the honor. I’m fairly certain she actually did lose the most weight of all of us and she did it at home without a trainer or gym. She’s an inspiration and a wonderful lady too!

MARTINSo back to the photos from last night, at the event the photographer, Maria of Studio M, took a photo of me and my baby girl. She just sent it to me via email a few minutes ago and I’ve been crying like a baby ever since. I have hated images of me for years, but this time – I am absolutely in love.  I’m still in tears over half an hour later.

After spending so many years hiding from a camera, having this photo gives me hope for what’s to come this year. I don’t hate it… I love it… I want to blow it up and paint it on an entire wall. I’m just so madly in love with this image and the photographer who took it.

Now that I’m done gushing over my baby girl. After the event was over and the family and friends went home, Maria had a big surprise for us. She rented a party bus and we headed out to Pittsburgh for a night of celebration at Pittsburgh bars.

I was really thrilled we ended up at Saddle Ridge for a little while so I could dance out my joy. I don’t drink so dancing is really the only thing I could do. It was so much fun. I looked amazing in my dress and cowboy boots. I loved being there too! Some of my friends were there when we arrived and I had some dances with them. I drug some of my new friends out on the dance floor with me too! I was teaching several how to line dance.

At the end of the night, this was one of the greatest days of my life. The contest may be over, but the journey is

martin, haley

still going on. I love what I’ve become and I love that I did this. I’m looking forward to what’s to come.

On one final note, this is the image gallery we were given as part of the competition. I contemplated posting it for a while but ultimately I need to share how far I’ve come. This process wasn’t easy but I hope to inspire at least one other person that they CAN do it! You just need to commit that you can do it and you will do it and then the sky is the limit!



The Biggest Winner Day 20: Fun at the gym

One of the things I love most about my trainer is he’s not afraid to have a little fun and give us an awesome workout at the same time.

Take Friday’s training for example, he kept hinting he had something really fun planned for us! I was really excited about that. Of course, the fun doesn’t come until the very end.

So we started this workout with laps on the stairs – running and then walking alternating for a timed trail.

Next we went to the weight area where two of us did rows, two of us did squat presses on a machine and two of us did some kind of rope pull that was like swinging a bat.

Once we finished this we headed to the gym for the “fun.”

When I walked in all I saw was a giant weighted rope…. I instantly knew … TUG OF WAR TIME!

We had a three on four match … since some of us are stronger than others. It was so much fun. They actually recorded a video of it and eventually once it’s posted, I’ll share it with everyone. It was really so much fun.

I can’t believe I’m heading into my last week of training. This six weeks has literally flown by before my eyes. I’m so sad it’s almost over. Now whatever will I do each morning (sleep might be at the top of that list). I’m sure I’ll find something to replace the time … oh I’ll just spend more time at the gym in the evenings!


I survived back to back classes! I was exhausted walking in the door, but then I looked at my media stats and totally perked up!

Target Burn – 2770
Actual Burn (to date) – 3460
Estimated overage – 3389 (1119 over target) – BEST YET!!!!

Physical Activity Goal – 45 minutes (Total)
Moderate Activity Goal – 30 minutes
Vigorous Activity Goal – 15 minutes

Actual Activity – 3 hours 13 minutes
Moderate Activity – 2 hours 10 minutes
Vigorous Activity – 1 hour 3 minutes

Step Goal – 8,000
Actual Steps (To date) 15,975

Honestly, I kicked some major ass today! Soooooo proud of myself! It was hard work, but I made it through and I did well.


The Biggest Winner Day 19: Oh so many stairs

I can’t believe it’s been 19 days since I started training with the Biggest Winner program. It truly feels like we’ve just began and it’s almost over. I really am sad about it, but I’m really happy that I put in the work to write about my experiences every day. I hope I haven’t bored you to death.

Before I go into all the fun from today, I’d like to start with my small joy in the morning. Last Friday, I weighed in at 264. I’ve been stuck on this number for quite a while now and it’s really annoying. I know I’ve lost inches and that’s great but DAMN IT I want to see a 25 number on there.

Today I weighed in at 262. Two more pounds gone (yay) and 3 more to go. I’m hoping to lose that 3 before Saturday. It just might be able to do it. I’m keeping low on the carbs and putting in some extra time at the gym. Fingers crossed I see a 25 number for my finale. I will literally be jumping with joy!

So back to the focus of this post – what happened today.

I started on my favorite elliptical while waiting until 7am. I got a nice rhythm and burn going as a warm up and I was pretty happy with it. I logged just under 20 minutes before Jackson pulled us to start working out.

We started on the stairs today. Oh the stairs. Divided in two groups, we each took a flight of stairs and round and round we went. Timing at approximately 30 second intervals (ish), we ran and walked the stairs. This went on for (I think) around 10 minutes.

Next we headed over to the gym where Jackson planned a circuit. There were three stations (two groups again) and we repeated exercises for various timed intervals.

Round 1
Squat medicine ball toss-up a wall
– Jump rope
– Bicep curls with TRX

We stayed at our station for 3 reps – 50 seconds, 40 seconds and 30 seconds with 10 second rests. Round 2 was the same with different exercises.

Round 2
Running touches at three points in the gym.
– Burpees with the half ball thingy (I really need to learn the name of it)
– Push ups and roll outs with the TRX

Commence dripping sweat. I’m fairly certain I left a puddle somewhere in the gym!

But wait…. there’s more!

Next we headed out to the machines in the gym. In pairs, two were on the bike with the fan (he called it something but I don’t know what), two were on the recumbent bike and two were on the nu step. For approximately 5 minutes we did 30 second sprints with 15 second recovery. Then switched and repeated until we went through all three machines.

We stretched and called it a day. What a day it was.

I’m heading back tonight to take Zumba and Kickboxing. I haven’t done a double class in a while and certainly not after I already had well over an hour of cardio / strength this morning. Here’s praying I actually SURVIVE the double class!