March 20, 2014
I woke up today feeling really crappy. I mean bloated from all the beer from the night before. My face was all blotchy and red and I had a good sized hangover, it was about 10am. Had my usual coffee and breakfast, sat around, watched TV, started thinking about if I was going to go out again tonight or meet with some beer folks. Started thinking about how awful I felt as that headache and nausea wasn’t going away. I went to the bathroom and glanced at myself, my face was pretty but my cheeks were huge, then I lifted my shirt and saw some rolls and tried to suck it in… but hey, I still had big breasts, so that was that. No, for the first time in months, that wasn’t good enough…tears rolled down my face and I cried at how horrific that reflection was. I could no long justify the weight, it wasn’t happy weight anymore, it went way darker and deeper than that. How could I get to this point? I was always in shape and thin, and now I am this balloon!! I mean I used to work out a lot and eat whatever I wanted and never put on the weight…when did I stop caring??!!! I thought right away, that I should go and get hammered again tonight, make me feel better. I thought about how maybe if I got high or something else, it might be a better option, not as many calories. I couldn’t get out from under this cloud of darkness, it was beyond anything imaginable. Everything I thought of was worse than the last.
I googled all day about new bars and drinks and whatever else I could, but the tears wouldn’t stop. I typed in therapy and rehab to see maybe if I just talked to someone, I could feel better. Then my search pulled up http://www.yourtrainer.com…. find someone to help you get back in shape, kick start fitness and lose weight…best of all IN MY BUDGET! I mean at this point, what did I have to lose? I put in my criteria and it pulled up a list of 20 plus trainers and I started to look. First one on the list…you guessed it, Jake Kozens. Initially, yeah sure, he was a good looking guy, great body which a trainer should have, but that’s not what sold me on him. He had a testimonial on his page that showed his unbridled dedication to his clients and their goals. I couldn’t even get through the story as I sent the inquiry form to him, hoping he would have time to talk. I reached out to a woman trainer as well with a body I wanted and another older man who had tons of experience. Jake emailed me back within the hour and after a little phone tag, I finally spoke to him. I was the most nervous person ever, I kept rambling about how I’m chef fat, not fat fat. He knew I was nervous and knew that I felt really defensive about my weight and did everything he could to encourage my decision even just to reach out. He kept telling me that I probably am not as bad as I think and I could hear him stifle a few laughs because he knew I was so nervous and just rambling. Poor guy. He told me to come in on Monday at 8am and we could talk further. I hung up the phone and just thought to myself, “What did I just do?”
March 23, 2014
It’s Sunday night, I have that meeting with Jake tomorrow…. I have to cancel. I can’t do this. I don’t even know if I want some guy hovering over me telling me what to do and the fact that I am paying him to do so is just that much more infuriating. I picked up my phone already twice to text to cancel…but I don’t. I actually end up getting a confirmation text from him and I thought…this is my chance to get out of it…I confirm and pretty much just swallow whatever pride I have left and figure I can just tell him no tomorrow and move on.
March 24, 2014
Where the heck am I going? First thought I had as I was walking down this random gravel road to this so-called gym behind Binny’s Beverages. I remember thinking that I can pick up some beer when I’m done, I thought I deserved it. I walk in and I have no clue what is going on and where I am. There is a waiting area inside and outside the main gym. I don’t even know where the bathrooms are and no sign of Jake. I didn’t even know how far I could go inside to see if he was inside the actual gym. I take a seat outside waiting and nauseous. Then I get a text from him telling me he was going to be late…. really? Stupid idiot is late on my first day…wow…this is going to go well…STRIKE ONE, which by the way, JAKE IS NEVER LATE! He just isn’t that person, so you can see the irony here. Jake finally walks in, apologizes and introduces himself, we shook hands like he was interviewing me. Morons. He takes me upstairs to this random office and pretty much the repeat of our phone conversation happens. I rambled and defended myself, and he just sat there and listened with this cocked grin on his face. I couldn’t tell whether he was amused or that was just his resting trainer face. Either way, I finally stopped and he said let’s go workout. Ok. Here we go. We go into this room and there are stripper poles everywhere…WHAT THE HECK. To my surprise, Jake was super confused as well and said those just got put in this weekend…LOL! STRIKE TWO. We started working out and I could barely look at him or my reflection because all I could see was so much disappointment and disapproval. I felt like he judged me the way I judged myself, but strangely, it wasn’t the worst thing ever. After we finished, he told me to check out other trainers and come back on Thursday…I tell him sure and thought that there was no way I was coming back and ran out of there. I couldn’t wait to get out of there…why you ask? I had to puke and that’s just what I did on the gravel road back to the bus stop…I puked my brains out for 15 minutes. Nope, not coming back. STRIKE THREE.
Looks like the rules of baseball aren’t so accurate here. No, I am not going to get into every detail of every session I have had with Jake in the last two years. But that day and the ones leading up to it are something that I know a lot of people have and never get past that first week. After that first day, I promised Jake 3 months, 2 days a week and I would be good to go on my own…June 24th. Yeah well, guess what…March 24, 2016….2 YEARS LATER is on Thursday. That’s a long 3 months. The point is that these last 2 years have been full of self-discovery, self-love but most of all self-respect and quite honestly, some days it still feels like Day 1.
My first year training with Jake was all aesthetics. I remember in May 2014, near my birthday, I was stunned to see myself with a waistline in a dress. It was the most amazing feeling I’d ever had, the best high, the best buzz, it also lit a fire under my butt. I wanted more. I wanted the six pack and the cut arms and could get there by summer. Summer came and I stopped training one on one with Jake and started to train with other girls as he started to introduce small group training, which was the most intimidating thing ever. Not only was he on my tail, I couldn’t look like a fool in front of other girls that had been training for years. I was mortified my first training session, these girls were fast and strong, no freaking way. What I didn’t understand was that I could use them to push me to get better and strive to be like them, not use them as an excuse to kick myself down and quit. I embraced that challenge and worked as hard, but never quite got those results, which meant I had to make other changes. I had actually managed to gain weight and lose inches…yeah, that was crushing. I cried for days and was so pissed. See, up until this point, I was under the impression that I could get the body I wanted if I worked out 3 days a week and balance it with what I always ate and drank…meaning, I didn’t change a thing in my diet. It was supposed to be magic…poof! I also noticed that I couldn’t drink as much beer anymore, I felt sick. This was my first lesson in listening to my body and learning from it. I had to change what I drank and ate or my body was going to do it for my anyhow. I did change my eating habits and drinking habits gradually and by October I had seen a considerable drop in weight and inches…maybe there was something to all this. By December, I started to think LONG TERM about fitness and my body, which produced steady short term results…what a concept, huh? I started to create fitness goals, not just aesthetic goals, which was both alarming and confusing for me. I set out to do a half marathon, of which I hadn’t run a mile since high school. I stepped up to the plate and took on the “gaun
tlet” challenge of working out 5 days a week. I wanted to do whatever Jake wanted for me, because thus far he hadn’t been wrong. As I was training for my half, I also set a personal goal to take a vacation to celebrate my 1st year in March 2015, something I had never done, yet still one of the best experiences of my life. It really empowered me and set the stage for year two.
I felt invincible going into my 2nd year of training with Jake, but I started to learn the mental struggles of a the 2nd year slump. It’s not that I was slacking and didn’t work as hard, it was the reasons for working hard that changed, as I knew at this point the physical changes would still happen. As Jake implemented a new environment with small groups bringing new people in to build comraderie and create a little competition to push us, I took it on personally. I found myself in constant competition with my fitness family, always trying to push harder, faster and longer. I would use the personal interactions outside the gym to sugar coat the simmering constant need for validation. I sought out validation from others more than myself. I wanted it from them, from Jake, from social media…it didn’t matter from where. I found myself lost in this sea of people, but couldn’t see anyone specifically. I wanted to be accepted and at times even forgot why I came to the gym in the first place…some days it was to socialize and not so much to work out, it was a beautiful bubble. Thing is, bubbles don’t last, they either get popped or pop on their own from evaporation. I’d like to say that this bubble popped due to the natural state of evaporation. I know that my bubble popped after the group Spartan Race at the end of the summer. It really shook me to my core, because it was a rude awakening to myself that I forgot about myself. I know that as a team, we got through that race, still the most amazing feeling crossing that finish line given the adversities we had. Honestly, I was almost upset that some others went ahead and finished the race for themselves. But as I thought more about this in the Fall, those guys weren’t so wrong. The point I am trying to make is that I forgot fitness was supposed to be my fight, not validation. I started to go back to Day #1 again and focus back on my fight and my fitness, not caring what others thought. I put my head down and worked towards getting that one pullup, one armed pushups, and even the world’s hardest pushup. There were tough moments where I wanted to quit because I didn’t fit in anymore, because I didn’t embrace the social atmosphere any more. It was hard to be in the gym a lot of the time because I didn’t know what all the jokes were about and I was left out of a lot. The other issue with year #2 is that I constantly asked myself “I’ve been here so long; why don’t I have this? Why can’t I do that yet? How much longer do I need to be here to get what I want?” I struggled with this from October until mid-December just trying to push through my own mental anguish, my social inability and my own emotional barriers.
Guess what? It worked, it made me a fighter, I got that pullup, 2 for that fact. I got that one hard pushup and yeah, I even did a few one armed pushups!! In fact, the pullup thing was so epic, my meltdown from the year before from not being able to even hold myself up, became a running joke…thank God, I finally got over that one, but Jake sure doesn’t let it go! 😉
If you notice, there isn’t a whole lot about Jake in year 2, well that’s because even he couldn’t figure out where my head was, he had faith in me though that I would find my way out. Sometimes the best way to help someone, is to not help them at all. Jake knew me, he knew my fight, my drive and my anger. He knew that I would get to where I was supposed to be. Although, I think he really did think I was going to quit for a minute, which his concerns weren’t so ill-founded.
Relentless Jake – Watch the Jake and my Fit Fam in action!
This year also broke me out of my shell as just a chef. I was looked at as a fitness chick being on group videos with Jake that included all of us, sometimes on the beach, sometimes with a fellow zombie (Watch it here!)…but always in front of his followers. I started to grow my own following and realized that my company had to change as well as my lifestyle already had. I started this blog to nurture the new following I had developed because of Jake. I had to create something that more accurately portrayed me as the person I am now versus battling with the person I used to be.
As I closed out 2015, I developed a love for boxing and MMA sessions and could get out all my aggression. I noticed a huge difference physically in my abs and my arms. I had a lot of one on one sessions with Jake that brought focus back to me and brought me back to my goals and what we wanted for myself.
This brings me to now, as I approach the end of year 2 and start year 3. I don’t think that I would be here today if I hadn’t had the journey from the last 24 months. I don’t think I could have the respect and admiration that I have for Jake if he hadn’t let me experience the high and lows of the journey. He didn’t sugar coat a thing, as a matter of fact, I think he threw some of it my way on purpose. See, being a trainer isn’t always about counting reps and sweaty gyms. Jake pushes my mind, body and spirit to the point where it has broken, but it’s the recovery that tells the tale. It’s rare to find a coach like him that has more fight than yourself, because on days when I can’t dig deep, he steps up and lets me borrow some of his. I know that not everyone has this experience with a trainer or can even connect with one, but I did and I don’t know if it was luck, fate or a combination of both, and quite frankly I don’t care. Jake pushed me from the start of my first year, let me find my own way during my second year. Guess what Jake, year 3? I just decided, I’m making it all about me.
March 21, 2016
My alarm goes off at 5:00am, I snooze it for 10 more minutes. I get up, go to the bathroom in time for my 5:30 crap session, share Jake’s video on all my social media and wonder what I am wearing to the gym today and whether or not I want to shave my legs. I get dressed, text him to see what we are doing and start my 20-minute walk to the bus stop. I think about what KIND bar I want to eat and whether or not I want coffee or tea as I ride the bus to Lakeview. I go to Starbucks, get my green tea, knowing I need to lose whatever water weight I can before my Year #2 weigh-in and measurements. I walk into the gym, see Jake eating his Sweet Chili Pistachios and doing his 1000 pushups, Ryan in his office looking at Facebook and James on the floor training…. I smiled and thought to myself…yeah, here’s to year 3, there’s no other place I’d rather be.
Thank you everyone for all your support and love through these last 2 years! Life changes aren’t easy, but they certainly become more manageable when you have an army behind you. I hope this year is even bigger and better and I can’t wait to get started!