Lifestyle Prior To Change
Prior to my lifestyle change I faced many struggles with my weight. One of them was weighing as much as 250+ lbs while carrying my last child. I was able to lose around 80lbs over a year and a half period, going down to 169lbs, only to go back up to 237lbs over the next three years. Becoming sick and tired of this yo-yo cycle, I really wanted the weight to stay off for good, and was willing to try anything to keep it off.
During this time of my life, I had been experiencing lots of changes in my household, from adding on a new addition to the family, to my marriage of ten years coming to an end. These all played an important part in my weight gain, despite my many attempts at trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I allowed the feelings of others to dictate the direction of my life, allowing them to become the pilot of my plane, and was putting them before ME.
What was your turning point?
I would say my low point was when my divorce was final. At that moment, a part of me felt as if I had failed...failed at my marriage, failed my children, failed God and myself. But, I also had a part of me that felt as if this was my turning point; a time for me to regain control of my life. Live the life I desired to live without the worries of how my actions would effect the next person. That part of me was finally going to go after some of the goals and dreams set years ago. I could no longer use other as my excuse as to why I was not where I wanted to be. The choice, at this point, was up to me.
What Was Your Exercise Plan?
Because I was not familiar with what I needed to do in order to prepare for a figure competition, I sought advise from my fitness/business associate, Greg Raliegh of Food For Fuel who started training me every Mondays during that time. In December 2008 I also sought out David Spindel of Essential Fitness, a judge of 30+ years of figure and bodybuilding competition, who equipped me with an exercise and meal plan designed for athletes of this sport. After two months of training with Greg, I began working out myself and just simply followed the exercise routine subscribed by David Spindel. 12 weeks prior to my first competition I sought out additional help with training from William "Bill" Hurb, who pushed me when I was unable to push myself, to lift heavier.
What does your current training approach look like?
- Day 1: Chest, shoulders and triceps ~ 3x @ 3-4 different movement each.
- Day 2: Hamstrings and quads ~ 3x @ 2 different moves for hamstrings and 4 different moves for quads.
- Day 3: Lower and upper back, biceps and calves ~ 3x upper back @ 4 different moves, biceps @ 3 different moves and calves @ 2 different moves.
- Day 4: Legs, back, biceps, forearms, butt blasters and calves ~ 3x.
- Abs: Daily.
Cool down: 5-10 minutes after each workout.
Off days: Rest and recovery.
What Was Your Diet Plan?
When it came to preparing for my first figure competition, again I trusted David Spindel, the one with years of experience in this sport. During my months of training, my meal plan changed about every two months, or when I was stuck at one weight, and/or not losing body fat. My meal plans started off with 1311 calories (with low fat and sugar intake) to going as low as 1150 calories as the time grew closer to my competition.
What is your current diet approach?
- Meal 1: (post workout) Protein shake.
- Meal 2: Grits with egg whites, mushrooms and spinach.
- Meal 3: Rice, beans and fish or chicken.
- Meal 4: Salad with chicken and olive oil.
- Meal 5: Shrimp, chicken or fish and and vegetables.
What supplements did you use during your transformation?
- Beverly Int. Lean Out
- Beverly Int. GH Factor
- Beverly Int. Mass Maker
- Beverly Int. Muscle Provider
- Beverly Int. Ultra-4
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Flax Seed
- Primrose Oil
What Is Your Life Like Now?
Because I am more equipped with the knowledge of what to eat in order to get my body to the place I want it to be, I'm less likely to eat foods that will take me back to that place of me not recognizing the person in the mirror. Today, if I want to run a marathon in Maine or go for my pro card, I can go for it because I walk by faith and now know that I have complete control over my life, not others having control over me. I'm not directed by someone else's feeling, nor I'm I allowing fear to direct my footsteps. It may be a challenge, but with the right mind set it can be done. Today, if I fall...I get right back up fighting for ME. I have also surrounded myself around people that believe in and support me in all that I do, and I never stop learning.
Advice for others?
Just get started doing SOMETHING! Make it up in your mind that this is what you want to do for YOU! Start making small changes in what you eat and how you prepare your foods. Set small goals that will help you reach your big goal. Dream big. Always plan and pack ahead. Find an accountability partner. Never give up, no matter how many setbacks you face. It's ok to put yourself first. Drink plenty of water. The lack of water can be mistaken for hunger.
Never say "never". Don't host pity parties for yourself. You make your choices, not anyone else. You are the only "true" one that can do it for yourself. Surround yourself with positive energy and people that can help you reach your goal. Learn as much as you can with regards to the goal you have set for yourself. Don't be afraid to fall or make a mistake, that's why they have erasers on pencils....get up and start again.
More From Rochelle Ford
Never did I think that I would struggle with my weight as an adult. As a child I could eat what I wanted with no worries about gaining weight. Teasing my older sister about her weight while growing up, I would soon understand any hurt or pain she experienced behind my treatment. As my 20's came around, they brought with them weight problems for me, which was all new for me. The fuller face, heavier thighs and arms really were a challenge for me to deal with, and the birth of three children didn't help my weight problem any either.
Throughout my 20's I really fought with finding a way to get control of this problem. This was not the person I was use to seeing in the mirror, nor was I willing to get use to this person. After the birth of my second son, I was able to keep my weight right under the 200 lbs, even making the time to walk after work, with my children, and husband, at the time. Our walking and changes in our eating habits paid off because I was able to get down to about 175, or so pounds.
At age 27, I discovered that I was excepting my 3rd child. My feelings regarding this pregnancy was mixed, because a part of me was happy with finally being able to get rid of the years of unwanted pounds I had been packing on, but the other part of me wanted to really have a daughter. During my pregnancy my weight had ballooned to over 250+ lbs. But determined to make a change within myself, I began working out in November, 2000, which was when I joined my first boot camp (G.I. Jane).
I began working out 3 days a week. After work I would pack my three children up (my husband, at the time, worked opposite my work schedule) and headed to DC, which was about 30-40 minutes away during rush hours, packing my daughter's walker and my son's school work, if they had any. I would pay my sons a small amount to watch their sister while I worked out in the opposite room. This scheduled continued for about six-weeks, until the boot camp had to move to a smaller location.
After stopping that boot camp, I join the workout program held at the church I was attending at the time in Maryland. I also expressed interest to the instructor of my desire to want to train. Several weeks later, after having a position open, I was contacted by the instructor of the class asking me if I was still interested and that training would be provided. Excited about the news, I excepted the offer. Before long, I was instructing our Saturday morning circuit workout classes, and with my additional training received throughout the weekdays, before long I was down to 169 lbs.
Not even 10 months into my new position, I was forced to end my position as an instructor of the program due to marital differences. Uncomfortable with my decision to end the instructor's position, but also trying to keep peace within my marriage, I decided to walk away from someone I enjoyed, something that was teaching me how to live a healthier lifestyle, something that introduced me to the world of bodybuilding, something where I was able to give back to others all that was given to me. After ending the instructor position I became very depressed, which affected my weight, and over the next three years my weight crept back up to 237 lbs. Two separations later in April 2005, I finally joined another boot camp in my neighbor created for women (Adventure Boot Camp), which met three days per week. And in this class I proved to myself that I could do it again...exercise – and be good at it.
One year, and several months later, I noticed that I was not changing much physically. My weight had only drop a total of 10 lbs. So, I sat back and evaluated all that I had been doing with regards to my exercise program. And what I discovered was that even though I had incorporated exercise into my weekly routine, that I was still experiencing issues which caused me to continue my emotional eating habits formed during my adulthood.
So, June of 2006, I reached out to Bodies On-line in Baltimore, MD, for one-on-one personal training where I was able to see more pounds fall off, and a real change in my physical appearance. I also made more needed changes in my life (mentally) which also helped me to jump-start my weight loss. And, by doing this, I had started inspiring others to want to do the same, which contributed to me becoming a Certified Group Exercise Instructor, and later creating the “True U Boot Camp” in November 2006.
In January 2007, I joined yet another Boot Camp (Active Duty Fitness), in which I am currently an Group Exercise Instructor as of today, and increased my workout schedule to five days per week (which included my Saturday Boot Camp class). I experienced even more weight loss, confidence within myself, energy, endurance, better sleep, etc...
In September, 2008, after becoming inspired by one of my best friend’s lifestyle change, I decided to finally pursue my dreams of competing in my very first figure competition. I first sought advise from my fitness/business associate Greg Raleigh of Food For Fuel with regards to training for the event. I later took it a step further when I meet David Spindel of Essential Fitness, a bodybuilding and figure competition promoter, who offered his over 30 years of professional expertise with providing me with the pre-meal plans and workout routines customized for competitors of these particular events.
A meeting was set with Mr. Spindel for an initial assessment of my body. At this meeting, which was December 8, 2008, I learned that even though I had been losing weight, 163 lbs. at the time, my body fat was still pretty high, 31%. So after my initial assessment, Mr. Spindel equipped me with all the necessary tools I needed to help me reach my goal. After about two months of training with Greg on Mondays, I began training myself by following the workout routines provided by David Spindel.
Easter of 2009 I suddenly experienced a panic attack due to too much caffeine from a new supplement (due to failure to take as prescribed. I no longer take supplements with caffeine) and a short while after my panic attack, someone at the gym had dropped a 45 lbs weight on by big toe. These seemed to be all signs to me that maybe this was not my time to compete. Maybe my family was right when they said that I was doing too much and losing too much weight.
So for about two months I stopped my training. When I stopped my training, I also allowed my diet fall to the wayside, but not as much as my training. Again, the control I once had over my life was being taken away because of what I was allowing to happen. It took friends, me praying and reflecting, my children and me assisting in the competition I was to compete in, to get me back on the right track. June, 2009, I assisted David Spindel with his Annapolis Bodybuilding and Figure Competition show. David advised me to observe how things were done behind the scenes and talk with the competitors to get the experience with training, that there were more shows for me to compete in, but that it would probably help me get back on track.
Assisting with the Annapolis show did just that, plus more. After the show I felt as if I actually had one up over some of the competitors because of my behind the scenes experience. I also met a group of wonderful people, which helped me along the road of getting back on the right track. One of the person I met on that day, William "Bill" Hurd, later agreed to train me for 12 weeks on Saturday, just for that extra push and motivation I needed to reach my goal.
In September, after meeting with David Spindel for my assessment, I had finally heard the words I had been working so hard to hear...I had transformed my body enough to be able to compete in the November 21, 2009, Mt. Roger's show! I had finally did it...transformed my mind and body to do it! Even though I still had visible signs of once being heavy, with the loose skin in my abdomen and inner thigh area, on this day I did not allow it to affect my confidence level. I had been blessed by the best, and you could see that in my attitude. I had my family, friends, including myself, all wear proudly shirts displaying my before and after picture, showing to all that were present to never give up on their dreams, and to dream BIG!
As the evening events started and my class took center stage, my name and number was called. Mr. Spindel began to share my story with the audience of me weighing over 250lbs and that my current weight was 127lbs. And the applause began before I had even taken center stage. And after the completion of my T-walk, I proceeded off stage just as the contestants before had done, when Mr. Spindel stopped the show and pulled me back on stage, along with a poster size before photo of me, and presented me with an award for the “Most Improve Physique”.
The entire room was on their feet. Standing there speechless, I did not know how to respond. Part of me was just about in tears, and the other part of me was jumping and rejoicing inside. I had DONE IT, with the help of God, faith and good people in my circle pushing me, and my hard work had not gone unnoticed! So you see, I know first hand the struggles women face with wanting to be a certain size, or looking a certain way. I may still not look like the average fitness instructor, but then again, has the average fitness instructor been through what others that struggle with their weight has been through? I HAVE...
I can truly say that I am on the right path with finding the “True U” inside of ME! Because it’s not about the weight loss... but about living a healthy life, and being comfortable within yourself.