This Spotlight will definitely motivate and inspire you. This has been one spotlight, I knew was going to happen soon. Hitting under 200 lbs. from 296 lbs. is such a amazing accomplishment (1oo lbs.weight loss any day now). Christy, never gave up and doesn’t plan on stopping here. I so love that about her. I knew this day would come; she is on fire! She did it the healthy way AND has established new “healthy” habits which are now automatic for her. She had a transformation BOTH inside and out. This is truly a lifestyle for Christy, I am SUPER proud of her.

Here is her story…

In 2002 I moved from New York City to Tampa, Florida. I had survived 9/11 and needed a change desperately. I worked for a while but then opened a retail business.  After some tough years of owning and losing that retail business at age 40 I had to start over in my career. I downsized to an apartment and started over.  In December 2012 I was working at a retail store and we were having a private party.  A customer came over to congratulate me on my baby and asked when the baby was due. I was not pregnant.  I was devastated.

I went to my doctor and found out I weighed 296 pounds and had metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is borderline diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.  I already took pills for clinical depression which I have to take for the rest of my life which put on weight artificially so I had another major strike against me. My doctor offered to give me pills or refer me for weight loss surgery.  I was having severe joint pain and stomach issues.  My blood tests showed that my inflammations levels were super abnormal and high. As a result, I was tested for Celiac disease, Lupus, Arthritis, Thyroid disease. The medical tests came back negative but I knew it was just a matter of time before something happened.

I decided on that day to not take pills or have surgery but to get healthy on my own.  I applied for and won a free year membership to the Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel Wellness center.  I was mainly doing water aerobics and some light weight lifting.  I started on my food journey by giving up diet soda which was very hard.  I also started my journey on gluten-free eating but was not really eating clean. I ate out a lot, mostly fast food, and ate frozen diet meals for lunch. My stress level was high due to my job and I was drinking wine on a regular basis.

After the year was over, I decided that I needed more of a challenge in my workouts.  My friend suggested the 21-day belly blast at Get a Grip. I started on December 1, 2013.  I was still very overweight and found the classes and the meal plan difficult.  My BMI was a 48 which is morbidly obese.  I struggled through the challenge, but loved it! I saw great results and was so proud of myself for getting through it.  My boyfriend Rob gave me a gift of a 3-month membership that Christmas to GAG. I became a full-time member after that and participated in most of the challenges for the next two years.

After every challenge, I went down in weight, inches, BMI and body fat.  I kept a record of each of my challenge results and have them on my refrigerator to this day.  I learned how to eat clean and cook healthy, delicious meals from participating in the GAG challenges.  I really learned how to go gluten-free and eventually gave up coffee and alcohol.  I learned the value of managing stress – so much so that I became an independent contractor and started working from home.  I went to boot camp class, yoga class, pub runs, and walked daily.

Now, I walk 3 miles a day and still get to boot camp class, yoga class, class and pub runs. I’ve had my share of set-backs along the way, some of them major. Now, January 2017, I’m weighing in at 199 pounds and my BMI is down to 32.  I have high goals for my future. In 2017, I want to reach my goal of getting my BMI down to 25 which is considered healthy. I could not have done this without the love and support of my GAG family especially Coach Carrie Kukuda.

I’m truly blessed and on my way to great victories this year!

 

\\Christy Before Pic

Christy after pic

What an amazing transformation BOTH inside & out!

I am SO excited to see this year for Christy! Congratulations, Christy!

 

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.

Rudypics1Rudypics3Rudy2

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!

This spotlight is a WOW! This amazing lady at Get a Grip Total Fitness, Darcelle Welker, shares all with you and is a true inspiration to overcoming life’s big obstacles. Darcelle, who turns 50 in 2 weeks is one of those people you meet and never forget. A big heart and kind soul. We met one night and talked for hours, one of my first friends when I moved to Tampa. I wouldn’t change that for the world. You will not believe what she has overcome through the years.

What she shares with you below is a great example of life’s “ah-ha moments” and how you can persevere through anything. She had great reasons to change, she has amazing strength & will, and she surrounded herself with people who supported her every step of the way.

I don’t want to giveaway anymore of her story, here it is for you…

Carrie says its time for my story… I never really thought about putting it on paper but Carrie said it might help someone else so here it goes.

I was always naturally a runner growing up.  I started in AAU at the age of 5 and ran through my sophomore year of college.  At age 5, I was the 3rd fastest in the nation in the 50 yard dash!  In 8th grade I was undefeated the entire track season.  I ran the 100, 200, 400, 400 m relay, 100 m hurdles, and 400 m hurdles.  I never had to work at it..it just came naturally. I made it to State all 4 years in high school.

During college and nursing school, it was the 1980s!  So step aerobics and a little bit of jogging was about it. I used to run with a Sony CD player around my waist.  I rocked the big hair, tights with the thong on the outside…yep, don’t judge!  I never participated in races or even thought about it.  I never swam or really rode a bike.

During college I picked up a bad habit called smoking. I smoked for 10 years up to two packs a day.  At age 31, I met my now husband…who hated smoking. I thought he was cute, so I quit, but it wasn’t easy.

I was always thin and never worried about my weight. However, after I quit smoking, I gained about 15lbs., but thought my lungs were better off, so I didn’t care.

I also had another monkey on my back that jumped on when I was only 13.  It was alcohol.  I will never forget the first time I drank.  I loved it.  I would take beers to track meets and drink them on the bus on the way home. (If you wrapped the can in foil..no one knew what it was).

High school, college and way beyond were all about parties.  I was the party girl and could drink most people under the table.  I got married and continued to party even after having my daughter.  The fun slowly began to fade from drinking.  I was gaining weight, out of shape and becoming miserable with myself. When Jocelyn was 7 she asked “Mommy, why do you drink wine every single day?”  That was a wake up call for me.

Somewhere during this latter time period I met Carrie. I don’t recall the exact year.  It was totally random at a party. I had chosen not to drink at this party for some reason and we struck up a conversation. She said she wanted to start up her boot camps after moving here…so I said..OK, count me in..I want to get into shape. So it began!  Kettlebells and boot camps, 21 day belly blasts.  I started to feel better, tone up and lose inches.   I kept on drinking though…

Then my dad died in 2010.   I really started to dive into a depression then.  I began drinking even more. I was drinking almost every day and basically passing out every night.

I had to get that monkey off my back.  So I took my last drink on Halloween of 2011.

I had to make a lot of changes then.  Friends had to change. Socializing had to change; even my family had to make changes. I remember having a long conversation with Carrie about it on the phone. It was a huge lifestyle change I had to make.  Luckily, I already had Carrie and Get a Grip to lean on. I went to Carrie’s classes on goal setting, listened to her advice on journaling, and using mantras. I began being grateful and mindful. It took at least a year of learning who I was and what I truly believe in. I focused on myself and on my family. I began hanging out with people I wanted to be like (Lots of Grippers). I renewed my faith in Christ and committed myself to living a better life.  I learned to love myself most of all.

All the while, I kept going to Get a Grip.  I joined the Tri Team and signed up for some races.  Carrie met me at the rec center and helped me improve my swim. I showed up in a bikini and she asked me, “Don’t you have a swimming suit?”  We still laugh about that. She ran with me in my neighborhood and I was pathetic.  I could hardly breathe!  I had done some sprint tris BC (before Carrie), but never with any structured training.  I signed up for St. Anthony’s Tri and never thought I could do such a distance…but I did it in 2013!

I love giving back to Moffitt Cancer Center where I work, so I started running Miles for Moffitt Race and have done Swim Across America three times.  I have swum the .5, 1 mile and 2.4 mile distance

I just kept plugging along…one day at a time.  Then Jen Biles, Janet Blanco, Christina Sweet, Anne Azzoli, and Kim Weinstock twisted my arm to sign up for Chattanooga 70.3. I hadn’t done a tri in about a year, due to taking care of my mom after surgery. I knew some other Grippers had done Augusta 70.3 and they had survived!  It’s typical of me to give into peer pressure, so I signed up.  I wanted to throw up after I registered…and I didn’t tell my family for months.

I followed a training plan for 16 weeks and stuck to it, along with work and a busy family.  I completed that race on May 22, 2016.  I will never forget the feeling I felt when I crossed that finish line!  I felt alive, accomplished and very proud.  I was thankful that I had a healthy body that could complete such a feat.   Carrie never stopped believing in me.  She and all the Grippers are amazing.  I have lost over 10lbs. and over 8 inches since I met Carrie.  I have drastically changed my eating habits and now I mindfully think about what I put into my body.

This year I turn 50. This year on November 1, I celebrate 5 years sober.  This is a good year.  I will always thank Carrie and Get a Grip for believing in me!

My advice:  Don’t ever under estimate any obstacles that you have in your life.  If you have a monkey on your back…shake it off and tell it to F*** OFF.  Pick a goal outside of your comfort zone, use a training plan, coerce some other Grippers to join you, and have fun!

Darecelle Darcelle 70.3 Ironman

Turning 50 and in the best shape of her adult life and completes a 70.3 Ironman!

I call that amazing, inspirational, resilient, pure heart, and priceless! So proud of her.

Candy is amazing! She started with us and was a complete sponge. She took what we said (preached) and applied it and it showed. She grew stronger very fast and her body got leaner and leaner every week. There is nothing better than someone who comes to us and just trusts in the system and program. When they give in, they find out it works. It takes some people longer due to all the lies/myths, old stories, and misleading information out there, but for Candy she just went with it and it played off two-fold.

She started with our group training program and quickly got pulled into our other specialty programs which you will read about below. She has excelled at them all! She is one who takes a done-for-you training program and follows it; just like how she did with starting in our boot camp group training. She is one strong lady!

We are unable to thank her enough for all she has brought to Get a Grip, the people she has encouraged to join our programs (she too, is a life changer), and for being so supportive to all the rest of the Get a Grip family. Plus, for always letting us talk her into everything we do:-)

She is an amazing lady and we are SO proud of her and all she has accomplished and how she never let’s excuses get in her way.

Here is her story…

I came from a family that was not sports oriented at all. I did run track in high school (short distances) but that was about it. I never had any instruction or focus.  When I had my children, I stopped working out all together and started again about 10 years ago. I went to the gym but without a purpose.  I would run 5 K races for cardio and then do weights at the gym but I was not losing weight or getting lean. Everyone had a different opinion on how to do things.  I had always been taught that our metabolism slows with age and “it is what it is”.   I felt like there had to be more to it than that.  I was gaining weight and increasing my clothing sizes slowly and I did not like it. I was not making any progress.

I had heard about “boot camp” type training, but thought it was more for the “fanatics” or military style, yet it was the one thing I had not tried.   I found a Groupon which offered one, purchased it, and sat on it for 4 months before I called.  When I did, a man answered the phone.  He told me he had moved to Texas and I could get a refund through Groupon.  I had visions of this person doing personal training out of his garage and that was not for me.  A few more months passed and I decided to try again.  I found the Get A Grip Groupon for the 21-day Belly Blast.  This time I did my research, and checked out the website, read stories, looked at Carrie’s credentials, and I figured if this one didn’t work nothing would.  I loved the fact that it was both sexes, all ages, shapes, and sizes of people.  Something for everyone.

I was so impressed with the personal touch, the emails provided to keep encouraging me.  I know there are a lot of Grippers, but I felt like I had my own personal trainer just for me (without the huge expense). The daily emails from Carrie in the beginning made all the difference in the world.   I lost 8 pounds and 4 inches in my waist in 8 weeks, and I was hooked!  I joined the monthly membership in October of 2014.   I travel frequently for business, and work a lot of hours, so what makes the Get A Grip challenges so amazing, is that they come not only with a menu/meal plan, but a weekly grocery list, goal sheet, do’s and don’ts etc.  it literally takes the thinking out of it, so it is a huge timesaver for someone like me.  The accountability piece included is key to success for me and so many others.

After only a few months there as a member, I was asked to join the Triathlon Team.  I wrangled with it for at least two weeks before saying yes.  I was at best a weak swimmer, but could not even put my face in the water.  Completing a triathlon was never in my sights before this.  I just didn’t think it was possible.  I originally thought I would do it just to lean out, but didn’t think I could actually complete a race.  Not only did I complete that race, but placed third in my age group and got a medal.   I went on to do 4 more and an additional three as a relay that summer.  Beyond the training, the friendships I developed over that time period are just as precious to me as the physical benefits.

After the Tri training I decided to join the long distance running group and completed my first half marathon in February of this year.  The weather conditions were horrible, but I still finished in 2 hours 31 minutes.  I was sore but felt such a sense of accomplishment. There is nothing like having your own cheer squad when you come through the finish line, no matter what the race is.    Grippers are always there for you!  Now running a 10k is like training for me and I would have never thought I would feel that way.  I always said long distances were not for me. Now, I don’t think twice about it.

I am doing my first duathlon this summer, and have a goal of completing an Olympic distance Tri by next year.  One thing GAG has taught me is that no challenge is insurmountable if you are willing to put in the time and effort.

Carrie truly has a “secret sauce” at Get A Grip that I believe no other place offers.   The physical training, mental attitude/support, nutritional education, and lifestyle coaching are priceless.   I am not only a better person by being a part of our group, but have been an example to my family and friends.   My son trained and ran a half marathon after I did.  My other son competed in some of the Triathlons with me.  There is no greater gift than the gift of health and happiness, and I have been able to pass that along to my family.   My husband followed me around to every Triathlon and quickly became named my “Tri Sherpa”.   I could not have done it without him. He was so impressed by our team, that he joined this year and just completed his first one.

I feel myself get stronger every year.  I see others getting stronger and gaining endurance and that is a motivator as well.  Knowledge truly is power and Get a Grip has given me the knowledge I need to get to that next level.  I am so grateful to Carrie and my Gripper family and hope to still be training with them well into my retirement years!

candyracinespotlightphotosWe are excited to see what’s next for her. Check out her awesomeness!

You know that diet and exercise are important when it comes to creating your best body, but you may be overlooking other techniques for getting into the best shape.

Turn the following 13 simple tips into habits and watch as your body transforms.

1) Eat a Smart Breakfast.

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Most people load up on carbohydrates and simple sugars for breakfast. Cereal, pastries, store bought smoothies and juice are all poor choices when it comes to starting your day off right. Center your breakfast around protein and healthy fat, and you’ll have energy for hours. Try a protein shake with chia seeds or flax seeds, eggs, lean breakfast meat, a handful of nuts, or an 1/2 avocado added as a side on your omelet.

2) Get More Sleep.

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If you’re not getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night then you could use more sleep. This is especially true if you’ve reached a plateau with weight loss. Give your body the 8 hours of sleep each night and make weight loss easier.

3) Just Do It.

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If you’re really ready to achieve your best body ever, then dig down deep and commit. As Woody Allen famously said, “80% of success is showing up.” This is absolutely true when it comes to fitness. Show up to your workout. Even if you’re tired. Even if you’d rather be doing something else. Just do it. We use our Ready…and Go method:-)

4) Plan Ahead.

Time to Plan

Take one day each week to plan your healthy meals for the following week. You don’t have to do all the shopping and cooking on that day, simply jot down what you plan to eat. This small act of planning ahead will keep you on track with healthy meals even when the week gets crazy busy. While your doing the nutrition portion, schedule to attend your workout sessions as well. We call them, Workout Appointments.

5) Cut Out or Limit Gluten.

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Many people don’t realize that they have a certain level of sensitivity to gluten, which causes intestinal inflammation and bloating. Also, gluten-filled foods are typically high in carbohydrates, which contribute to weight gain. When you cut or limit gluten-filled items from your diet don’t fall into the trap of simply replacing those items with other high-carb items. Choose non-packaged, whole foods instead.

6) Believe In Yourself.

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Do you believe that you have what it takes to transform your body? If you want to succeed in weight loss then you have to believe that it’s possible. Give yourself a pep talk and dig down deep for the courage and discipline to apply these healthy changes to your life (one at a time is best).

7) Eat Less Dairy.

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Dairy products like cheese or cream add extra fat and calories to your meals. Pass on the dairy and you’ll eliminate unnecessary calories, making weight loss quicker.

8) Sleep and Wake at the Same Time.

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This tip sounds so simple, and yet it’s a powerful way to increase your daily energy. Get your body on a schedule and watch how much more productive and energetic you become.

9) Include Veggies at Every Meal.

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Most people aren’t too crazy about vegetables, and probably eat less than they should. Make it a point to include a vegetable with each of your meals – even breakfast. The increase in fiber and other nutrients will give your body that extra boost that you’re looking for.

10) Ditch Packaged Food.

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Throw out those packaged foods! This is one of the easiest things you can do to achieve quicker weight loss results. Packaged foods contain chemicals and additives that will slow your fitness results.

11) Drink More Water.

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Being hydrated is key when it comes to creating your best body. Drink water throughout your day and limit caffeinated beverages to once daily if any.

12) Forget Artificial Sweeteners.

No Sugar Word Cloud

Sure, these sweeteners don’t contain calories, but they are known to increase your appetite and cravings for carbohydrates and are bad for you. In the quest for your best body, put down the diet soda and reach instead for some water.

13) Exercise With a Pro.

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Are you exercising as efficiently as possible? Do you challenge your muscles enough during each workout? Are you keeping the routine new and fresh? Do know you are doing the best type of exercise for YOUR body? These are all factors that will be taken care of for you when you work with a trained fitness professional. Working with a pro ensures that you make the most of your exercise time.

Going on RIGHT now…Our Signature 21-Day Belly Blast Program for only $49.00…CLICK HERE!

So there you have it, 13 tips that will take your results up a notch. Choose 1 or 2 to master and then choose the next and next.

If you haven’t joined one of my programs yet, now is a great time to start. Together we will get you focused on your goals with my results-driven method…Click Here!

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Call or email today to set up your first workout.

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