By Jessica Kelly

My transformation story started in November of 2018 when I looked in the mirror and no longer recognized the person I had become. My outside didn’t match my inside, so I decided to start working out. I began with 30-minute workouts, 3 times a week. It was tough at first, but I quickly realized that if I worked out 6 days a week for 30 minutes, I no longer felt like I would die at the beginning of each workout.

In May of 2019, my daughter convinced me to join a boot camp class at Bulldog Gym. With great reluctance, I agreed. I had been working out consistently for over 6 months and lost 10 pounds, so I thought I was in okay shape. However, I quickly realized at boot camp that I was not in shape at all. The class was incredibly hard, but I was up for the challenge. I met inspiring women who had been working out for years. They were my age and could run circles around the young people in the class. I quickly decided that I wanted to be in better shape, so I began to clean up my diet and continued taking the boot camp class.

In September of 2019, I joined the gym. After joining, my workouts became more structured, and I added different types of exercises to my routine. During this time, I lost another 10 pounds.

In January of 2020, I decided to hire a personal trainer. I worked out with my trainer 2 times a week and started working out in the mornings 3 times a week with a wonderful group of ladies. These ladies were dedicated to health and fitness and helped me lock in my fitness routine. During this time, I lost another 10 pounds.

From 2020 to 2022, I continued consistently working out, gaining muscle, and improving my physical fitness. However, I continued to overeat, so I gained 10 pounds.

As I approached my 50th birthday, I realized I was tired of working out so hard without seeing progress due to my continued overindulging. I also noticed that my workouts were not as efficient since I was not fueling my body properly. I felt tired all the time. Over the years, I had tried so many diets and eating plans, but I was never able to stick to them. I took inspiration from a dear friend who completed a 90-day challenge to enter her 50’s in great shape. I decided I needed a challenge to get me going.

I had heard of 75 Hard, and I decided this was the plan for me. It’s a 75-day challenge with very strict guidelines. The rules are:

  1. Two 45-minute workouts each day. One of the workouts has to be outside.
  2. Drink a gallon of water every day.
  3. Take a progress picture every day.
  4. Follow a diet.
  5. Read 10 pages in a nonfiction book every day.
  6. No alcohol.

There is absolutely no cheating on this challenge. If you do not complete all of these tasks every day, then you have to start the challenge over at day one. This challenge was scary. I wasn’t sure I could do it. The first week was the hardest. I had to detox off of sugar, and Day 3 was the worst for me. I didn’t know if I was going to pass out, throw up, or if my head was going to explode because of a terrible headache. I was amazed at how badly I had been treating my body with the food I was eating.

The great thing about our bodies is that they are so resilient. Once you start feeding it healthy, nutritious foods, it responds quickly. I noticed my energy improved, my brain fog lessened, my sleep improved, and my workouts improved. My goal during this challenge was to complete it and to develop a healthy relationship with food. I needed the discipline this program would teach me by completing the tasks each day.

It took about 2 weeks before I noticed changes in my body. My clothes were fitting better, and I was feeling better. It took about 4 weeks for others to notice the changes happening. As I progressed through the challenge, I began to trust myself around food. I started the challenge on October 17th and finished it on December 30th. You read that right! I went through the holidays with no sweets, no treats, and was not able to participate in eating my traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. It was hard, but I was determined. I want my 50s to be about health, happiness, and fitness.

I completed the challenge 23 pounds lighter. I used the InBody scan at the gym to help gauge my progress. Maintaining the muscle I have built over the years was very important to me. I did a scan at the 30-day mark, and my overall weight loss was good, but I had also lost 3 pounds of muscle. This was discouraging, but with the help and support of Bulldog Gym, I was encouraged to prioritize my protein at each meal. I incorporated the change in my meal plan making sure I had enough protein every day. I did another scan on the last day of my challenge. I maintained all my muscle and lost 11 pounds of fat. I was amazed at the progress I made!

Completing this challenge and making the changes I needed was not easy, but it was worth every struggle I encountered. I am grateful for the support of my family and friends during this time. I am thankful to every person that worked out with me, pushed me, and encouraged me along the way. Having support is so important.”