Note from Chad : It was almost exactly 8 months ago when I approached a very focused, very motivated woman in my local gym, where I am a strength coach. Interestingly enough, she was doing some fancy yoga moves, while I was sweating and cringing on a pvc pipe, trying to roll out some knots. I had seen her front squatting earlier which peaked my interest, so I asked her about her story, and how she got into fitness. Little did I know, Yvonne would turn into one of the hardest working, most committed, infectiously enthusiastic people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Her story of rising up from extremely low points in health – to eventually crushing 8, 4 week programs with me – never missing a day, never showing up late, and turning her body and mind into something everyone can admire – is an inspiring story I had no choice but to share.
Without further ado, a true badass…Yvonne Morgan.
What makes a person change who they are? I mean really change, not just want to change or attempt to change, but go for the goal and not quit.
I know a person’s appearance shouldn’t be tied to their self-perception and identity, but I’m calling bull because people can say that until they are blue in the face, but they can’t make it a reality. When you change your appearance you change how people treat you, how you treat others, confidence levels change, perceptions change. You are in most respects a different person.
So back to the question, in all honesty I have no idea what the answer is. So why am I even mentioning it? Well, because I did just that. Actually more than once, the first Me was a scrawny, angry, addictive personality who saw no consequences, not with what I did, not with what I ate. For a long time there weren’t any, Drugs? Woohoo! Fun times! Alcohol, hey why not? What’s the worst that can happen? A headache? Maybe I’ll puke? Food? Well I already said I was scrawny. Under a hundred pounds and could eat whatever I wanted and not gain an ounce, so I did. Junk food was my staple, my sweet tooth legendary (munchies perhaps?) Then one day I had to grow up. I had a kid on the way. So it was time to quit the booze and drugs, but food? Hey you don’t have to give up desert to be a good mom right? Nope, no way, no how! Six years later kid number two, I’m still skinny, still eating what I want, when I want, still no consequences.
Then, gradually at about 30 the foods I had been eating in the quantities I had been eating them started to catch up with me. A few pounds here, a few there, nothing drastic, still Miss Popular, still Miss Confident, for a while anyway. By 35 I was the new me. No more Miss Popular, my confidence? Well who knows? I do have to admit. I liked being as I would put it “invisible” No more unwanted creepy guys hitting on me. I could be friends with guys without triggering any aggression or concern from their significant other. There were actually perks. I was in a committed relationship so I wasn’t trying to impress anyone new. I seemed okay.
Then one day… I wasn’t. I didn’t feel so good. Actually I felt crappy a good portion of the time. My husband worried and begged me to see a doctor. Doctor?! I don’t see one of those unless I fear imminent death. No thank you! So I kept feeling like crap more and more. Then something else odd, my shoes didn’t fit me. I know pants get tight and clothing needs to go up in size, but my shoes? My feet looked swollen almost. Actually not almost, they were swollen, very swollen. I had to wear flip flops or shoes 2 sizes too big and my socks would leave marks that just stayed for what seemed like an eternity. So I caved. To the doctor I went. Well apparently years of self-abuse and junk food and weight gain lead to at 38 years old, high blood pressure, tachycardia, and edema, which then lead to a whole lot of feeling like crap and danger of a heart attack. Well that’s not going to work so…
So, I decided to change who I was again. First, heart meds for a while, to get my BP in range, and get rid of the excess water. I felt a little better. Next, came some diet changes. No more junk food, smaller portions, more lean meat and veggies. I felt a bit better. I was losing some weight too. Oh and side perk? Shopping! New clothes that don’t fall off! The next step was walking, just a few miles at first, but eventually 5 miles a day, every day and then running. I felt even better and had dropped about 40lbs but after a while that was it.
I was still overweight and out of shape and cardio was just not cutting it. People at the gym I had joined were suggesting I start weight training, but those machines looked like terrifying prehistoric monsters and my mind said NO WAY! I’ll look like an idiot! Eventually though I caved, and decided to go for it. I read the instructions on a few of the gym’s machines and gave them a try. And??? Threw my back out! Yikes! Did that hurt! So I hired a trainer to show me how. Not full time, just someone to show me what to do and not to do and I started getting stronger… and I liked it! My form was still not up to par, but I wasn’t hurting myself anymore and I was trying to figure out what next when this really tall, good looking guy approached me wanting to train me. Once again a voice in my head was saying NO WAY! I’ll look like an idiot! But while my mind was saying that my head was for some reason (possibly an inability to say no to a tall hot guy) nodding yes. So I began to train with Chad Rodgers. And that is when the fun really began. Suddenly hard had a whole new definition, but I loved it! Challenging, ever changing, and never boring.
Okay now the interesting part. I gained weight. Oh no!!!! Wait… everyone is complimenting me more than ever, male and female. I look thinner? I look amazing? How is that? Okay so that whole muscle weighs more than fat thing? IT’S TRUE! I’m strong. I’m in the best shape I’ve been in my life, I still look like a woman despite lifting heavy weights and I love it! Oh and my blood pressure? The best it’s ever been. I had to give up being invisible, but I am completely capable of telling off anyone who doesn’t deal with it, because the new me is here to stay. How do I know this? Because I have made these changes permanent. I know not to go back to eating crap, and I know not to give up my exercise regimen. You can’t just fix the problem and then expect it to stay that way. You can never quit. EVER… but if you get to this point, so what, you won’t want to.
One last note from Chad : Breaking habits and creating a whole new lifestyle can be extremely overwhelming due to the fact that there are just so many different pieces of the puzzle that ripped and/or in-shape people already do without thinking. Yvonne already had the work ethic, desire to improve, and willingness to do anything necessary in order to change into the healthy, strong woman she is today. From there it was my job to oversee her programming, diet, and recovery protocols which would ensure her efforts were rewarded to the maximum degree.
If you are interested in how Andrew and I collaborate to create custom training and nutrition programs click below