There are only a few people in my life who have really had a deep impact on me. There are some obvious ones like family members and close friends, but for me, the real plot twister was a recent acquaintance, who also happens to be my personal trainer.
Let’s rewind. I’ve been on a steady path of weight loss for the last year. It started back in November of 2017 (read about phase 1 here) and it’s been a serious journey. I’ve kept on the straight and arrow and really been quite regimented when it comes to my workouts. This past summer I hit a hard bump in my personal life and I don’t know if that directly affected the decline in my progress, but my weight plateaued and it felt kind of crumby (read about phase 2 here).
I’ve been working out at Vic Park forever and I have such a deep appreciation for what that gym and all of the people who work (and work out) there have done for me, but this post is my own way of saying thank you to the one person I know I couldn’t have done this without. Val Desjardins, this one’s for you.
Right before I committed to Val, I was 10 pounds away from my goal. For some reason or other, my body was just holding on. Nothing I did was working anymore, mostly it was maintenance (which is great, but wasn’t my objective). Val is a no BS kind of woman and I love it. She didn’t care to hear me complain anymore, she basically said, I can help you whenever you’re ready to stop whining and start grinding. So I took her up on it.
Val is the Head of Strength and Conditioning at Victoria Park, but she has been so much more to me than a trainer – she helped me reach my goal, and for that I am eternally grateful – but more important than that, she helped me work through so much of the emotional debris left behind from the loss of my father and the toll it has had on me. In a way, she became my life coach. She knew when to push me further and she also knew when to take a break for a much needed hug. She’s taught me breathing exercises and the importance of meditation, and she has also taught me how to ground myself when I feel scattered.
I look in the mirror and of course, I like what I see. I’m so happy with the results. I worked hard and my body is back to pre-baby state. I feel great in my clothes, which really makes a difference when I get ready in the morning (and night, and for photo shoots, and fashion week!) So, how did she do it? What’s Val’s secret?
Val put me on the healthy track right from the get-go. No gluten. No dairy. No sugar. No alcohol. The food restrictions weren’t the hardest, but the alcohol… I like to go out and I like to let loose, so no alcohol was tricky at first, but I quickly learned that you can take the alcohol away from me, I can still cut a rug and be the life of the party! Cut to that time when I was partying and Val caught a glimpse on an Insta-story and texted my friend to confirm I was sober – yup! Sober and wild! Lol!
Val put together a schedule for me:
5 workouts a week (including 3 cardio). Easy. I love to work out. Let’s do this.
First week: 4 pounds down.
Next week: 2 more pounds.
It was working!
Then, 1 more pound. Only 3 left to go.
Val learned my body and saw that things were starting to stabilize, she quickly switched some stuff up, and before I could stagnate, the rest slipped off. Voilà! All gone!
I committed. I set my mind to it. I was driven. I was determined. I persevered.
I think what Val did for me was not only a body transformation, but a life transformation. I didn’t just stick to the regimen for the sake of the weight loss. I’m at my ideal weight and I haven’t switched a thing about the way I eat or work out. I am now healthier and I owe it to Val. I make better decisions because of her, but I obviously still cheat from time to time. No one can take away Sunday night pizza with my kids (and a nice glass of wine from time to time!).
Val holds me accountable and takes a real interest in my life – inside and outside of the gym. We’ve nurtured a real friendship and I think she brings another level of dynamism to Vic Park. She’s brought a sense of community to the Vic Park culture – the team and the members all feel so supported – she’s the real deal.
My body fat is lower than 20%. I run faster and longer than I’ve ever run. I have energy, upon energy, upon endless amounts of energy!
Thank you Vic Park for giving me a place to go and sweat it all out. Thank you Val for helping me push myself further than I thought I could ever go. It means more to me than I could ever describe. Thank you for all the laughs, all the hugs, all the blood, sweat, and tears (literally), and thank you for not let me give up on myself.
Goodbye 2018. Goodbye 25 pounds.
Hello 2019. Hello new goals. Can’t wait to kick this body into newer and higher gears!