I've always been athletic. I was in sports in high school. I've always considered myself to be in pretty decent shape. It helped that my metabolism seemed to be pretty good, as well. In 2008, as a senior at Iowa State University, during my last semester, I met who I thought was the man of my dreams. We moved rather quickly and were pregnant and engaged within the first few months of knowing one another. Before we even had a chance to get to married, we lost our baby. This set me into a depression. However, this subsided because we did get pregnant again fairly quickly. We got married when I was just shy of 10 weeks pregnant for the second time. During my pregnancy, I found out my mom had a brain tumor. She had an operation and the tumor was removed, however, it grew back almost instantaneously. She made the choice to not go through the operation again, due to all of the risks involved. My mom watched my son be born. She was in the room with us, barely able to stand because the tumor was affecting her so. But she was there. She passed away when my son was just 5 months old, on my very first Mother's Day as a mom.
This was such a hard time, and I turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism. My husband at the time drank quite a bit as well, so I didn't see this as a
problem. I started to gain weight then. He never looked at me the same after having a child, and told me on many occasions that I was unattractive because I had stretch marks and was "fat". I wasn't fat when he started this, I had just had a baby. However, his words cut deep and eventually, I was fat. I tried to go to the gym. I was isolated from my friends and family, so I didn't have any support other than him. However, when I started seeing changes in my body, changes for the better, I was then accused of "losing the weight to find a new boyfriend". Again, these words cut deep and I quit going to the gym. My husband was in the military and was sent to Afghanistan. All of this; having a baby, losing my mom, and my husband getting sent overseas; happened within the first year of our marriage.
While he was gone, the accusations of "trying to find another boyfriend" continued, so I didn't work on myself or my body at all while he was away. When he came back, he was even more judgmental and would often say and do things to make me feel unloved, and unwanted. I felt ugly. I felt fat. And I felt like even if I did lose weight, it wouldn't matter because I was worthless.
Eventually, when my son was just over 2 years old I realized that wasn't the home I wanted to raise my son in, and I left. I knew he deserved better than seeing his mommy be put down daily. I decided that I wanted to better myself. I had a friend who was selling a weight loss product, and I started using that. And it really did work. For a while. I had lost a lot of weight, and felt like I looked so much better. I got some confidence back. I started to go out with my friends when my son was with his dad. I had a social life again!
But with that social life, came drinking, and going out to eat quite often. I quit taking the weight loss pills, and I gained every pound back.... and then some. I lived in a duplex at the time, and our mailbox was less than 50 feet from our door. Our son would want to race me from the mailbox to the door, and I couldn't even jog that 50 feet without being winded. We would sit on the couch and watch TV on the week nights and weekends he was with me. We went out to eat a lot because it was easier than cooking.
My son started Kindergarten in 2015 and when my ex-husband and I met at the school for his Fall conference, my son went to give me a hug and said "Wow, mommy. It looks like you're going to have a baby!" He said that in front of my ex-husband, who laughed and once again made me feel worthless.
It was almost my 30th birthday. I decided I wanted to have a party. I invited my friends. They took pictures. And then I saw the pictures. How was that me? I had NEVER in my life looked like that.
A friend of mine from my home town had posted her before and after pictures from Farrell's eXtreme Bodyshaping. She had just had a baby. I thought, "hey, if she can do it after just having a baby, so can I". I went to the gym in Urbandale. Mandi showed me around. I saw the 4:30 class happening, and saw a few people I knew, and one of them came over. Amy told me "You're going to love this place." Honestly, all I saw when I walked in was people who were in shape, who knew what they were doing, and I knew I couldn't do that. But I signed up anyway.
When I did my weigh in, I couldn't believe it. I weighed almost as much as I did when I was pregnant! I had to make a change. Javier was my coach. He taught the first kickboxing class I took. I seriously thought I was going to die. I was punching, and he was yelling at me to "go again!" I told him I couldn't, and blamed it on my asthma. I could see the disappointment in his face when he walked away from my bag, and to be honest, it pissed me off. I decided right then that I wasn't going to see him look at me like that again, and I kept going.
After my 10 week session, I saw great results, but not as great as I wanted. I signed up for a year because I knew I could do better. And now I've been there for over a year. And I'm not stopping anytime soon.
The best part of Farrell's isn't the gym. It isn't the kickboxing. It isn't the strength training. It's the people you meet. Living in Urbandale, I had a few friends, but no family close. I have family now. Family that I see every day. Family who supports my goals, and are chasing after the same goals as I am. I cannot explain how much of an impact this place has had on my life.
Although I don't concentrate on the numbers (because muscle weighs more than fat), I have lost over 25 pounds since starting Farrell's. My son is now almost 7 and he tells me all the time that I look skinny and always talks about how strong I am, and let's be honest, kids don't have a filter when it comes to that stuff, so this means so much coming from him. We go on bike rides all the time. We go on walks, which sometimes turn into jogs. And I can keep up with him! In fact, I beat him sometimes.
It's so rewarding to look in the mirror and see the changes, but what is even more rewarding, is seeing the smile on my son's face when we are playing together. And I wouldn't be where I am without my Farrell's Family.
Thank you, Farrell's for giving me my life back!*Disclaimer: The above testimonial and photos were contributed by an actual member. We cannot guarantee everyone will achieve similar results. We do believe that everyone can achieve measurable results, but the specific results will vary from person to person