Another amazing spotlight story for you…Rudy Racine!

It’s difficult to talk about these stories of our amazing people, as I am unable to do them justice. Rudy is no exception! Candy, his wife came to us and we loved her and she has made her own success story as well. We secretly wanted the same thing for Rudy; to join us as we knew he was the perfect fit and he’d be in great hands. He is just one of those guys, the second you meet him…you love him. He is going to tell his story and I don’t want to take away his thunder, but I don’t want to go without saying he is a hard worker, dedicated, has huge strength, determination, and heart!

Here is his amazing story…

Carrie said it’s time for me to write my story. I’m really not one of those people that shares a lot but here I go. Once upon a time there was a little boy raised by animals… just kidding.

My story begins in rural Vermont. I grew up on the Canadian border in a vey small town so hockey was a religion during the winter months. I started playing hockey on outdoor rinks about the same time I started walking. It wasn’t until I played high school hockey that we had access to an indoor rink in Quebec. When I wasn’t playing organized hockey, my dad would flood the side lawn and we would play hockey day and night. I was always outdoors, active even during the cold days. During summer months I played baseball and whatever sport happened to be on the agenda for that day. During my school years, I continued to play hockey in the winter, soccer in the fall, baseball in the spring and usually attended a hockey camps during the summer. A knee injury during my senior year of high school squashed any hope of a soccer or hockey scholarship to college. Not having many other options, I joined the Army.

I blew through boot camp since I was in such great shape and Military Police training was a breeze. After my tour in the Army, I joined the local police department in Vermont and went to the police academy. Again, other than the academic part I blew through the physical training. When I left the Army and joined the police department, I weighed around 210lbs. and was in the best shape of my life.

Then, life set in. Eating poorly, poor sleeping habits, shift work and stress all came together and my weight began to slowly creep up. After 10 years of law enforcement, we decided to move to warmer waters and moved to Florida. I had to reinvent myself as I didn’t want to stay in law enforcement and ended up working Insurance, sitting behind a desk. As the promotions came, so did the stress, long hours and continued weight gain. I joined an adult hockey league and played for several years but never really felt good as I was still not eating all that well, managing stress or exercising regularly. I tried the gym scene, but never got into a routine or was given any support except that from my wife.

Then, the back issues began to arise and eventually severely hindered most of my activities. I was inactive, somewhat depressed and feeling old. I had to stop playing hockey and that’s when the weight began to pile on. I again tried joining a gym, but struggled to maintain any routine.

Then, my wife joined the place called “Get A Grip Total Fitness” and was going to train for triathlons as well. I didn’t know much at all about Triathlons, but thought it was great she was doing it. She also began the boot camps, eating really well and I noticed the difference. She was looking fantastic! I began eating some of the food from the menus Carrie provided and was impressed.

When she attended her first triathlon, I walked around the area and was quickly caught up in the excitement. When I saw an elderly couple exit the water after their swim, I thought to myself “if they can do this, so can I”. But, I didn’t have the nerve to approach Carrie and say “I’m in”.

But, Carrie noticed my interest and gingerly suggested (I’m being sarcastic here) that I join the next tri training session. After a few more gentle nudges from Carrie, I signed up.

This was the beginning of the new me. During the 12-week training, Carrie encouraged me, taught me and gave me the confidence to do my first triathlon in 2016. As I approached the end of the race, and being the very last person in I was embarrassed and felt kind of down. But, a fellow triathlete Ian Brown came out to meet me and encourage me to “run it in”. As I approached the finish line, I saw (and heard) many fellow Grippers waiting there for me to finish. As I got close to the finish line, Carries husband John walked out to me a gave me a big high-five and said “you got this”. I’m sure many didn’t notice, but I had tears in my eyes when I crossed the finish line. This was a vey emotional time for me. All I wanted to do was hug my wife, and then Carrie for making all this happen. I did three more triathlons during the year, began eating better, dieted and dropped tons of weight.

I don’t volunteer this information to many but I got to 268 pounds before I started with Carrie. I really hated the way I looked and felt. I am now down to 229 pounds. Other than the persistent back issues, I feel great. I have more energy, confidence and the knowledge to live a healthier lifestyle.

Being part of Get A Grip is so much more than belonging to a gym. It’s a group of people that support each other, encourage each other and often tease each other, just like a family. This is all possible because of the leadership from Carrie.

Thanks to Carrie, and the entire GAG family.

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Think about it…back trouble, a little bit of depression, & weight climbing and NOW losing 39lbs., becoming a triathlete, and loving life! He speaks of…Anything is Possible!

I am SO proud of him and I’m super excited to see what 2017 brings him! I know he’ll be doing the Triathlon Training for sure!

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Rudy! Hugs!

share save 256 24 Spotlight...Weight, Back Pain, and now a Triathlete?

Jennifer Putnam is a machine! The funny thing is I learned she was never an athlete growing up, I just assumed by how she performed she was. What I figured out was it really was her dedication, determination, commitment, and that with a plan she is just unstoppable.

Now, as you will read below, she started off going to the gym because of a picture of herself she didn’t like, like most people there is that turning point that helps you decide you will not live this way any longer. She started as weight loss, but once you start having success with that, you open your mind to others things you once thought wasn’t possible or even something you want to do. This is Putnam (aka Jennifer – you will learn about me is you may get a nickname, she is one of them) to a “T.” She has accomplished so many things you are just about to read, I am SO proud of her! She doesn’t mention below about how she fell down her stairs in her home and really hurt her Tailbone and ran the Gasparilla Classic Challenge 6 days later. That is a BIG accomplishment without being in pain. She makes no excuses and perseveres in EVERYTHING she does.

It’s no lie I love to talk Putnam into everything we do, as I KNOW she can do it. She knows, that is why I put on my Carrie Charm (or maybe it’s the sad face), but I just love to see people like her go for anything in life. Get a Grip would not be the same without her.

This is a MUST read for anyone who suffers from self doubt and fear, but decides there CAN be more for them in life.

Here is her story…

Growing up, aside from 2 years of ballet and tap, I was not very active.  I never tried out or joined a team sport not because I didn’t want to, but because I did not have the confidence in myself to be able to compete.  I remember when my school got a girls’ lacrosse team and I was all set to join the team with my friends, but at the last minute my nerves and self doubts took over and I decided not to join. This continued through high school and college.

After graduating from the University of Florida, I moved to Pennsylvania and started my career. I joined the gym where I worked but was not consistent.  Some days it was just easier to go down the hill for dollar wing and beer night than going to the gym.  In February 1999, I looked at a picture of myself and was disgusted at what was staring back at me. I joined a gym and hired my first personal trainer.  I worked out with her a few times a week and other times on my own.  I logged all my food and had great success over 3 months.  I continued my workouts on my own over the next few years before moving to Tampa.

I joined a gym after moving to Tampa but never really pushed myself to work harder or achieve anything great.  It seemed like going to the gym was just so I could say I went to the gym. I was at a standstill in my progress and was bored. My journey at Get a Grip started Christmas night 2011 when I came across a Groupon for boot camp classes. I decided to buy the 21 day because I wanted to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. I started the 21 Day Challenge in January 2012.  My intention was to follow the meal plan, attend the classes for the 21 days and then go back to the gym. That was 4 years ago and I cannot imagine what my life would be like without Get a Grip.

I started running and decided to run my first half marathon before I turned 40.  I ran my first half in November 2013 and have run 9 since. After I turned 40, I wanted a new challenge so I joined the Get a Grip Triathlon training program and completed my first tri in 2014.  In all honesty, I did not enjoy that tri at all.  I could have been one and done, but I did not want that to be my only memory of a tri.  I came back to the training in 2015 and completed 2 triathlons last year and smiled throughout each one.   When I was losing steam on the run at Heartland, I heard “Go Putnam!!” It’s always a great thing to hear my name called out by a Gripper! Last year I joined a bunch of Grippers at the Ragnar Relay from Miami to Key West.  If you would have told me I would willingly sleep in a van with 6 others, sleep on gym floors and run from Miami to Key West for 2 days, I would have said “there’s no way I’m doing that!” Well, I did it and loved every minute of it!  One of my favorite events with the Grippers is the Miles for Moffitt run.  I invited my Mom to join us one year and it quickly became our Mothers’ Day tradition. She walked the first year and the last 2 years she ran it. Now she runs up to 15 miles a week at the age of 69!

My greatest achievement was this February at the Gasparilla Distance Classic.  I completed the Michelob Ultra Challenge which consists of running the 15k and 5k runs on Saturday and the half marathon and 8k on Sunday for a total of 30.4 miles.  I felt awesome during all the runs and was so happy and excited to be out there doing something I never would have dreamed of a couple of years ago.  The support from the Grippers on the course, our Facebook page, the support and kind words from friends and family was overwhelming and I was so proud of myself for setting a goal and seeing it through. I had a few ask “why would you want to do that?”  My response “Why not?” I truly believe that you can do anything you set out to do and never let anyone tell you different.

Get a Grip is a place like no other filled with positive, supportive, encouraging members who always want the best for each other.  The friendships and bonds that are made while performing countless numbers of burpees, pushups, squats, swimming, running, biking and interacting on our Facebook page are incredible.  Carrie is the heart of GAG and I’m not sure I would have ever signed up for a half marathon or triathlon without her encouragement and support. She knows what members are capable of way before we do!! At 42, I feel the best I’ve ever felt. My confidence in my ability to do something is at an all time high and I don’t let the self doubts take over! My 3 times a week boot camps, spinning, and running are things I totally enjoy and no matter what else is going on, always make me feel great! I have a great family, amazing friendships in and outside of GAG and life is definitely good! Next up is triathlon season and my first marathon in November. At GAG, nothing is impossible!

putnamBR 225x300 Spotlight Series...No MORE Self Doubt & Now an Athlete   it Wasnt Her Plan!
Places at Brandon Race!putnamandparents 225x300 Spotlight Series...No MORE Self Doubt & Now an Athlete   it Wasnt Her Plan!Putnam with her Amazing & Supportive Parents
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Putnam and ! icon smile Spotlight Series...No MORE Self Doubt & Now an Athlete   it Wasnt Her Plan!
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Putnam after Completing the Gasparilla Challenge with 4 Races in 2 days!


I am SO proud of this girl! I’m looking forward to what is next for her!



share save 256 24 Spotlight Series...No MORE Self Doubt & Now an Athlete   it Wasnt Her Plan!


Team Muffin Top Meltdown & Spare Tire Challenge Winners to be announced…

This was by far the best challenge we have ran to date. More ACTIVE participation then ever! It showed that with a little more effort and work, everyone can make improvements and have HUGE success in their health & fitness.

Before I get to the winners, I want thank all the participants for committing to themselves and in the ladies dept. their team-mates. T.E.A.M. really does equate to…Together Everyone Achieves More! So proud of your commitment, dedication, sharing, supporting others, and for playing! The results were through the roof and the competition was tight. There will be re-matches in the future, I can feel it.

OVER 27 Feet of Inch Lose (with ONLY 3 measuring locations recorded)

OVER 327lbs Weight LOST

189% Improvement of Body Fat

The Winners Are…

The Muffin Top Meltdown TEAM Champions are:


Sherri Lennon, Shelley Tolbert, Kerry Conca, and Samantha Bierhorst

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Team: #DreadTheRed

Congratulations, Ladies!!!

These 4 ladies:

Over 25 inches Lost (measured in ONLY 3 locations), 28.4lbs. Lost, and 14% Body Fat GONE!

Team: WIN(E) was EXTREMELY close! 

Sheri, Vanessa, Cindy, & Beth


OVERALL WOMEN’S Challenge Winner:

Julie Cook

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Julie Cook – Before Pic

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Julie Cook – After Pic

Julie lost 8 inches, 10.4lbs, and 6.6% Body Fat!

Men’s Spare Tire Winner:

Ian McDonald

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Ian – Before Pic

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Ian – After Pic

Ian lost 5.75 inches, 10.4lbs, and 2.4 body fat!




November 9th!





share save 256 24 Get a Grips Muffin Top Meltdown & Spare Tire Challenge Winners...

annebeforeandafter 300x300 Spotlight Series…Lutz Boot Camper, Anne Azzoli!


Anne has come a long way! She was always a strong lady, committed, and determined; she is all that and WAY more! But, something lite up in her the last 1.5 years and now she says…”Why Not instead of no thanks!” She makes me smile and she has always been a kind warm-hearted soul in all we do at Get a Grip. She is one of the first to lend a hand, always there for me and the rest of the GAG family, and always offering to help with any cause we participate in. Love her!

I am SO excited to see all she accomplishes at her “young” age! It’s just a number!!!

At 56 years old I am in the best shape of my life and I have gone from barely being able to run 1/4 mile to running my first full marathon. 26.2 miles in under 5 hours placing 2nd place in my age group.

This is how it all started…

I joined Get a Grip in February of 2012.

I was looking for a new gym that would keep my interest. I belonged to gyms in the past and worked with a few personal trainers. I got bored with the same old thing and would stop going. When I came to GAG I immediately knew something was different.

Carrie spent time with me and I got the feeling she really cared about me and my health. For 1 1/2 years I went to boot camp 3 times a week and the results were great along with the workouts. In May of 2013 many of the members were going to run in the Miles for Moffitt  race. Since this supported a cure for cancer I decided to run the 5K. That week I ran twice on the treadmill for 3 miles to make sure I could do it.
I survived the treadmill and the race. I ran another race that year with the group from GAG and then in January of 2014 I joined the triathlon training and completed my first sprint triathlon in April 2014.
I had not been on a bike for over 40 years and the extent of my swimming experience was swimming lessons at the age of 8. Since then I have run in many 5K’s and a few 10K’s along with 3 more sprint triathlons. I continued to run with the Get a Grip group and I ran my first 1/2  marathon with them in November. I kept on training and ran my full marathon in January with the help and support of Carrie and other members of GAG cheering me on at the race.
One of the great things about GAG is the support that is given from Carrie and the members. I guess what I am trying to say is that there are no limits in what we can do with the right help and support. Whether it be to get in shape and lose 10 pounds to losing 50 pounds and running marathons.
What I like about GAG is that everyone works at their own pace on their own individual goals. They are given the tools needed to succeed. The best part of GAG was meeting Carrie. She has a natural ability to motivate others. She cares deeply and will do all she can to help others meet their goals. The group at GAG accepts and supports all who walk through the doors.
I am in the best shape I have been in over 30 years and have learned to live a healthy lifestyle since coming to Get a Grip. I was recently thinking of moving back to Chicago but one thing stopped me. There is no Carrie or Get a Grip there!
My goals for 2015 are to complete an Olympic distance triathlon with some of the other Grippers and I am running Ragnar with
them this month which is a relay run from Miami to Key West.
Since coming to Get a Grip I have accomplished things I never thought were possible and have done things I didn’t even know that I wanted to do.
I’m so glad I found it!
share save 256 24 Spotlight Series…Lutz Boot Camper, Anne Azzoli!

roxanebeforeandafter 245x300 Spotlight Series: Lutz Boot Camp...Roxane and her Transformation!

Roxane came to Get a Grip and started the 21-Day Belly Blast Program and followed it to a “T.” She had amazing results! She is a an extremely determinate lady and brings a ton of fun to the 9am boot camp sessions. Love her and how she just implements everything she learns. I’m looking forward to what she “dives” into this year! 

Here is her story…

My name is Roxane.  My journey to start exercising again originally started when I got home from a family reunion in January 2009.  I realized from my family photos how much weight I had put on. I never realized my weight gain until I saw these pictures.   I really never felt fat, but I was.   I started running 5-7 days a week.  I dropped about 25 lbs, and thought that I was doing great.  I ran for about 4 years, and eventually realized I hadn’t lost any more weight in fact I started to put the weight back on.  How can that be?? I thought.  I run all the time.  My legs were getting bigger because my pants were no longer fitting.  Ugh.  I was very discouraged.

 I decided to sign up at the gym, and try something different.  I was religiously going 3 -4 times a week.  After about 6 months, I found my workouts getting shorter and shorter.  I started off working out 60 minutes each time, then 45 minutes which eventually ended up a maximum of 30 minutes a workout.   I was extremely bored with the gym.

I knew I had to do something different so I could enjoy my favorite sport of diving a lot more.    I still didn’t feel like I was “THAT” big, but I had no stamina while diving.   I would be exhausted after each dive.  I knew I had to get into better shape if I wanted to dive a lot.  

One day, I saw a post on my friend, Chelsea Brown’s facebook page, it was something about Get A Grip, so I started to ask her questions.  She told me about the 21-day belly blaster.  I thought for that price I have nothing to lose but to try it.  It’s funny how social media works.  I joined, and within the first month,  I had dropped 9.8 lbs but more importantly I lost 7.8 inches throughout my body.  I soon realized that I wasn’t losing weight or inches previously because I wasn’t exercising, but I wasn’t losing weight because I wasn’t eating or exercising properly!!  Who would have known that it’s a combination of both!!  I figured if I exercised then I could eat pretty much what I wanted. Wrong!!!   

I have now been at Get a Grip a little over a year.  I am now in the best shape I have been in since high school.  To see my own before and after pictures still kind of freaks me out.  It’s hard to believe that was me.  Get a Grip has the best group of people.  They are from every walk of life, and I love them all.  They are the best support group that anyone could ask for.   Thanks Carrie for setting me straight!!   I can’t imagine where I would have ended up if it wasn’t for Get A Grip!! 

share save 256 24 Spotlight Series: Lutz Boot Camp...Roxane and her Transformation!
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