Hitting the Gym Hard
How eating healthy and working out changed Stephanie Briseno’s life and career.
Vitals: Stephanie Briseno, 23,Brownsville,TX
Occupation: Student / Certified personal trainer
Time Required to Reach Goal: 1 year, 4 months
Lesson Learned: “Nutrition is 80 percent of the battle. You need to fuel your metabolism.”
Secret Weapon: “My food journal. Writing down my daily and weekly goals, plus some inspirational quotes, really kept me focused.”
Weight before: 314
Weight after: 140
Growing up, Stephanie Briseno paid too much attention to the TV and not enough to her plate. Her couch-potato ways took a toll. “I ate two fast-food meals a day,” she says. By her junior year in college, Stephanie’s blood pressure was sky-high and her XXL shirts were tight.
In August 2007, a free fitness test lured Stephanie into a Gold’s Gym. The 21-year-old was shocked to learn that she weighed 314 pounds and was a target for hypertension and diabetes, diseases that ran in her family. “It hit me that I had to do something,” she says.
Stephanie’s health scare turned her into a gym rat overnight. She worked up from 10- to 15-minute walks on the treadmill to hour-long elliptical sessions. But it wasn’t until October 2007, when Stephanie signed on with a personal trainer who got her to keep a food journal, that she realized how poorly she was eating. She traded her longtime drive-thru habit for a healthy new one: reading food labels. It wasn’t long before she was choosing healthier options. “Now I can’t live without baby spinach,” she says. Her trainer varied her workout routine with intervals, swimming, and light weights. Stephanie rang in 2008 weighing less than 200 pounds, and by May, she’d dropped 50 more. This past January she settled around 140, less than half what she weighed the first time she ever set foot in a gym.
In addition to energy and confidence, Stephanie discovered a career path. She changed her major to exercise science and nutrition and completed her personal-trainer certification last August. “Motivating people, changing lives—that’s what I want to do,” she says.
Plan what’s next “At weekly weigh-ins, I always set a new goal to work toward.”
Get your fill “I mix a scoop of protein powder with water or have a protein bar every day.”
Up the flavor “I hated oatmeal until I started adding blueberries or strawberries to it.”
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