“Come on! You can do this! One more! Come on! Again! Again!” I said these words to myself in my head. Lunge after lunge. Down, up, down, up. Left leg, right leg, up, down repeat. It was day one of the next 12 weeks that would completely change the woman I, into the woman I am today.
My 84-day journey began on a Monday night with a personal training session. It must have taken me an hour to find a workout outfit I felt comfortable wearing. Something that hid my belly rolls and back fat. I wore an oversized hoodie and hat. Underneath all my layers of clothing was a woman who lacked self-confidence, motivation and self-love. I allowed the end of a bad relationship to demolish the foundation I had built my future on. Complications from emergency C-section left my body scared and broken. Doctors told me all the physical limitations I would have to live with from then on. I etched their words in my mind and on my heart. I accepted them and embraced my new mindset and body. The mindset that I was weak, not good enough and a failure.
I was at my lowest point when I decided enough was enough. My one-year-old daughter Mila deserved better role model. I was the very first person she had laid her eyes on; on the day she was born. I did not want to look at that same woman who brought her into this world and see weakness and a battered, unhealthy, broken body. My daughter was the spark that lit the flame under my feet and got me through the 12-week challenge.
I remember so clearly all the thoughts running through my head throughout my first workout with my trainer. Like, “Why are you doing this? Everyone is looking at you struggling through this workout and laughing you. You will never be as strong as you were. You are weak! Fat! A loser!”
I wanted to stop. Quit. Give up on day one. I heard a voice through the negative thoughts affecting my mind like a virus. It was coming from my trainer, Stewart Haynes. It said, “Come on Emily, you can do this! I know it is in you. You’re strong!”
His words encouraged me to dig deep inside myself and find the strength to do one more rep, just one more. Then another, again and again. Before I realized it, it had been an hour and I had started and completed a workout.
I came back to the gym the next day. So sore and physically aching in every muscle in my body, but I was a tiny bit stronger then I was the day before. One more day, one more rep, a tiny bit stronger. This was my mentality throughout the 12-week challenge.
The small victories gave me momentum and strength to go back to the gym each day. One of these moments was when I was able to do one push-up and a few sit-ups. I was told I would never regain core strength muscle in my abdomen. Today, I can hold a plank position for one minute with ten pounds on my back. I can do 100 push-ups in one workout session.
My physical transformation is awesome and I am so happy. However, much more then my physical accomplishment was the change that took place in my mind and my heart. I look back at all I have been through last couple years of my life, all that led me to that first day of the Challenge. I realize something, and it is, I made it through it all! I am today, the reflection of the strength that was inside of me all along.