As a stay-at-home mom/in-home daycare provider, my days are spent surrounded by children, and having four children of my own, my nights are spent pretty much the same way. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my children, LOVE my life and LOVE running an in-home daycare. But, that being said, I do sometimes miss adult interaction.
In 2009, my life changed drastically. I was taking some workout classes, and I was running a lot. I even signed up and finished a couple 5K races, which I thought would NEVER happen. I had never been a fan of working out or running. But during the early part of that year I had lost a lot of weight. I was single, no kids and had just purchased my very first home. By that summer, my now husband, Rich, and his 4-year-old daughter, Alexa, were moving in with me. We were selling his house and expecting our first child together. I quit the workout classes and quit running. After all, I was pregnant and it was the first time in my life where I didn’t feel bad gaining weight. On November 14, 2010 our first son, Kinnick, was born, and by June 2011, we were engaged.
Soon after we got engaged, my husband and I decided to join a fitness challenge. Our wedding was scheduled for June 2012 on a beach in Mexico, and we both wanted to be in a little better shape. We did an 8-week program and even signed up for an additional three months to get us through to the wedding. We finished it out, attending probably 3-5 classes a week. We didn’t see drastic changes, but we were definitely a little more toned then when we started.
Shortly after the wedding, we decided to add to our family. From August 2012 to February 2015, I was pregnant three more times. Our son, Kasen, was born on May 15, 2013. Our daughter, Aaliyah, was born sleeping on April 3, 2014 and our son, Caleb, was born on February 19, 2015.
It was during this time we made the decision that I would stay home with the kids and start my own in-home daycare. Losing Aaliyah was the hardest thing we had, and hope to never have to go through. But it also taught us a lot. It reminded me that we are not guaranteed a certain amount of time with our kids and the time I do have, I wanted to spend with mine…not working just to pay someone else to spend time with them.
After being pregnant with our four children and breastfeeding the three boys for a year each, I was finally ready to take back possession of my own body, and get back into shape. I never gained a ton of weight with any of my pregnancies, just about the amount they suggest (maybe 35-40 pounds with each one). I typically was able to lose it fairly quickly with minimal work, plus breastfeeding helped a lot. However, once I was done breastfeeding, I started gaining a little weight and was just not feeling very happy with myself.
For about the last three years Rich and I talked about joining the gym. In fact each tax time we set aside enough money to pay for the annual membership and daycare for the kids. But each year we never got around to doing it and ended up spending the money on something else.
One day in June 2016 I decided I HAD to do something. I was tired of being out of shape and just continuing to get in worse shape. I was tired of not being able to keep up with my kids and I needed something to get me out of this house and around some adults even if it was for only 45 minutes a day. I also knew that our plan of joining the gym was probably not going to be what I needed. I knew myself and I knew I needed to have something I felt committed to, something that I felt I had to go to, something that I would be dedicated to. I needed to feel like part of a team, like if I didn’t make it, someone would be wondering where I was.
My mom had been a member at Farrell’s for about a year. She joined with my cousin and she seemed to like it. I called her and asked what she thought about us joining Farrell’s. She thought we should do it and said it would be fun for us to go to class together. She told me to call and talk to Jeff, one of the owners. So I did. He told me it just happened to be Friends and Family week and Rich and I should come take a class with mom and see how we liked it. So we did. By the end of that week we were signing up for the 10-week challenge. Ironically, my sister-in-law was also deciding to join at the same time. So her and Rich went together to the 4am class, and mom and I went together to the 8:30pm class. We were on completely different schedules.
The 10-week challenge is exactly that, a challenge. When we signed up there was nothing that made me think we had a chance at actually winning the challenge, but I thought it was something I had to do and my husband was just crazy enough to do it with me. It was hard at times. Being on different schedules of course meant we had to adjust some things in our life to make it work. But we pushed each other, we helped each other and we stayed on top of each other’s goals and struggles along the way. We even had a little friendly competition at home, always telling each other we were going to beat the other and win the challenge. It made it more fun. And of course it was also a huge help having my mom and his sister doing it with us - going through the same things. Mom of course wasn’t doing the challenge, but she began coming more often and even finished the four hour marathon class with me to help push us along.
At the end of the 10-week challenge, Rich and I were both amazed with our results. I had lost 19.4 pounds and 15.5 inches, and shaved two minutes off my mile run. Rich had lost 25.4 pounds and 17.5 inches, and shaved two minutes off his mile run.* But more importantly we both felt so much better, not just with the way we looked, but just overall. We had so much more energy, and could keep up with the kids again. No more feeling winded just from walking up the stairs, and no more lazy Saturday and Sunday’s thinking about all the stuff we had to get done, we actually started getting things done. And to make things even better, Rich actually won the challenge and the $1,000. I was so incredibly proud of him; one of the best feelings in the world. I obviously didn’t win myself, but seeing him win and knowing that neither of us could have done it without the other, was amazing.
We also could not have done it without the owners, instructors, coaches, and members at Farrell’s. They pushed us when we thought we couldn’t go any longer. They held us accountable for being at class, but not in a negative way, but in a caring way. They gave us tips on eating healthier and making better decisions. They motivated us and they became our friends, almost like a second family. Farrell’s had become our second home, and for me that was a major benefit. Working in the home can sometimes make you feel trapped. I mean it definitely has its benefits, but it can also make a person feel isolated from the rest of the world. Like I said before, not getting any adult interaction for 10 hours a day was also taking its toll on me. It is nice to be able to dedicate 45 minutes of each day to myself. Something I think all parents need.
During our 10-week session, we decided for all these reasons, we had to sign up for the annual membership. We could not see working this hard on something and then just quitting. We decided we needed to make this a lifestyle change. And it has been one of our best decisions, for us as well as for our family.
Our journey with Farrell’s has changed not only our lives, but also the lives of the people around us. My mom is going to class probably twice as much as she was before we joined. Rich’s sister and I had perfect attendance during the 10-week challenge. Rich’s mom and his other sister both decided they would sign up for the next 10-week challenge, which they are in the middle of right now. They have also already signed up to become FIT members once their challenge ends. And one of Rich’s best friends is signing up for the next challenge. I also had a friend on Facebook reach out to me and tell me that following our journey inspired her and her husband to join the 10-week challenge in Omaha, NE.
(Chantelle (middle) and family members at Farrell's Altoona!)
Having our family join on this journey with us has been fun. Not only because we get to see them a lot more in class and workout with them, but because we get to see their results and see what a great impact it is having on their lives. It’s fun to see, and it makes us feel great to know that we might have helped steer them in this direction to make this change in their lives.
Chantelle is a FIT Member at our Altoona, IA Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping location.
*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.