Consistency is key. Just ask Justine, who has lost 27 lbs in just four months since joining O2 Fitness at The Factory in Wake Forest! Justine is a former college athlete and mother of two who decided to get in back into tip-top shape this summer. Now, she's an avid Group Fitness fan and feeling younger and healthier than ever. We sat down with Justine to hear about her transformation so far and her tips for anyone looking to start a fitness routine.
What was your ‘rock bottom’ or your ‘aha’ moment that made you decide to make a change?
I was a college athlete 15 years ago, but after having two babies and gaining weight, I felt like I didn't recognize myself in the mirror anymore and just didn't feel like “me." I noticed it was harder to get down on the ground with my kids and back up again. I’d get winded walking up the steps at work. My knees started hurting.
I didn't want to make excuses about age or babies and think that weight gain and associated pains were inevitable, so I decided to be more intentional about my diet and exercise. After a fun beach week of indulging in lots of food and drink for the 4th of July, I came back and set a diet and exercise routine.
How did you begin to make the change? What worked for you?
I cut carbs and hit the gym! My wife, TJ, and I joined O2 together, and I researched low-carb snack and meal ideas for us. I really like craft beer, so cutting back on that was tough at first. But now I treat myself to a pint maybe once a week instead of every night. And instead of that evening beer, I’ve learned to join TJ in her appreciation of low carb rosé!
I also put group fitness classes on my calendar and treated them like appointments I couldn't miss. Now I’ve been making it to the gym five times a week for almost four months. Our family is big on routine, so we just built O2 into the plan. I think that TJ and I committing to changing our lifestyle together really set us up for success.
What was the most significant or surprising change you felt?
I feel younger! I've got more energy, and I'm fitting into clothes from before I had kids. I remember seeing pictures from ten years ago thinking, “I wish I still looked liked that.” Now I see those same pictures, and think, “Hey, I still look like that!” And I’m glad I saved some of my favorite clothes I haven’t worn in almost ten years!
The confidence feels good, but I’m also glad to be in better shape so I can keep up with our very energetic kids (Jones, 2 and Prestyn, 6). I’m more of the mom I want to be by modeling healthy habits for my kids and having more energy to give them. I feel stronger and happier and more “me.”
What is your maintenance plan?
Sticking to my gym schedule and eating plan but also adding in some new classes and recipes to keep it interesting. I know it's going to be tough around the holidays, but I'm finding there are still ways to indulge. I always make pumpkin muffins for my family in the fall, but this year I switched to a low-carb recipe that we all loved!
What was O2’s role in your transformation journey?
Since college, I've been most fit when I've been going to O2. I was a member before I had kids, then got out of the routine, and just recently joined again last summer. I've tried home workouts, training for races, and even other gyms, but nothing has worked for me like O2. I love the classes, the instructors, the motivating environment, and the Kids Club!
I also like that you can use any of their clubs. Wake Forest is my home gym, but I regularly go to Raleigh - North Ridge, too. Their location and morning classes are convenient after school drop-offs, and it’s the place in the area to take Chisel. When I hit a plateau with Pump and Combat a couple months ago, I added Chisel to my regular mix and it took my endurance and agility to the next level.
I love that O2 offers so much to choose from. I’ve taken the cycling classes in the past and look forward to trying those again, too. And, of course, when I want to fit in a workout but can’t make the class time, there are plenty of great options on the floor with all the top-notch cardio and strength training equipment.
How have group fitness classes helped you through your transformation?
I liked the idea of a professional instructor and set choreography to achieve a full body workout in one hour. Time in the group fitness classroom is much more productive than what I can do on my own.
The instructors at O2 are the best I've had, and the classes are the most challenging (Chisel, especially!). I also love that O2 offers Les Mills classes; BodyPump and BodyCombat are my favorites. Group fitness also work for me because I can put the classes on my calendar and know I have to be at the gym at a certain time, so there's no putting it off!
What do you like most about group fitness classes?
The environment is equal parts fun and intense. The instructors are great about modeling various levels and modifications so everyone can customize the workout as needed. And I’m competitive, so in the group fitness classroom, I'm motivated by the instructor and the participants to up my weight, move quicker, and push myself harder than I would alone.
But since the classes are designed to meet you at your own level, I was able to first start with lower weight and intensity, and then build upon that as I got stronger. Seeing that improvement in yourself is so motivating! And you feel like you’re a part of something big when you finish a grueling workout as a group.
What have you learned through the process?
I've learned that I might have to work a little harder now that I'm a little older, but I can still achieve results and have fun in the process.
I've also noticed the positive impact O2 has had on Prestyn and Jones. They love the Kids Club, and Jones actually shouts, "O2! I love O2!" when he sees the building. They ask us about our workouts, and I think they are taking in the importance of physical fitness. We love that! The other day, Jones started doing mountain climbers at home and said, "Look! Like at O2!"
What would you tell someone who wants to make a change? How would you inspire them to finally go for it?
Make it routine. Make it your lifestyle. Track your progress and watch those baby steps snowball into real transformation. It takes planning and commitment, but it’s worth it. You’re strong enough to take control of your body and your life!