Progress is possible without paying for it.

By By Ana Chapman as told to Alyssa Sparacino

Soon after I graduated from college, I moved to the New York City area to start a new job. I was beginning this new chapter with some extra weight I had gained over the last few years of school-late nights, greasy food, and non-fitness priorities were to blame. Despite having grown up playing sports and running for the track team, at this point in my young adult life, I wasn't really enjoying exercise. And my results (or lack thereof) showed as much.

I tried to love running and the machines at my gym, but I never managed to get excited about those workouts, and my body didn't have much to show for those efforts. So, I decided to train for a half-marathon with a friend-everyone said once you do a race, you'll be hooked-but not only did I not have fun while training or during the race, but I didn't lose much weight, if any. "What gives?!" I thought. Shortly after, I enrolled in grad school and attended evening classes after work. Suddenly, my schedule was swamped and my free time was nonexistent.

Those late nights made it impossible to get in a run after such a long day. So I knew if I was going to do anything, it would need to be in the morning. I looked online for workouts I could do at home, and discovered YouTube workout videos. Soon, a huge world of workouts and exercises I never even knew existed opened up for me. I bought my own set of dumbbells, a yoga mat, and a kettlebell and fell in love with both the workouts (HIIT workouts and full-body strength training were my new go-tos) and with the results.

Adding in that weight training was pivotal for me. I started seeing muscles I didn't know I had and grabbing weights I never thought I'd be capable of lifting. I felt strong, and that gave me more motivation to keep going. I was also exploring boutique fitness classes, which taught me a lot about proper form and muscles groups. So, if an at-home workout had a move I didn't really enjoy or that triggered an existing injury, I knew how to swap it or modify it for my needs. The best part? I actually liked working out! I was having fun sweating and feeling like I accomplished something before I left the house-heck, even before the sun came up. Before I knew it, fitness went from an option I kind of avoided to an essential part of my life. If I had told myself a few years ago that one day I'd be waking up at 5 a.m. for a kettlebell workout, I never would have believed it.

One morning I clicked back to one of the first arm workouts I tried streaming at home. In the beginning, I could barely complete it with 5-pound weights, but this time I reached for a 12-pound set of dumbbells. It was just a 10-minute workout, but getting through it gave me such a rush. I realized, Wow, this is what it's like to feel strong.

Comments (4)

March 16, 2019
Hi, my name is Antonella and my weight loss journey started when I read Emma's story online. Emma's husband abandoned her for a younger woman. She turned to food for comfort and gained a lot of weight very fast. Luckily she discovered an amazing workout program that allowed her to achieve the best shape of her life. Read her story here >>
February 26, 2019
Do you want to get a body you can be proud of? Are you prepared to become one of the very few women who don't have cellulite? Be very careful what you answer, because you will become the target of insane envy from other women. Being there, done that. When I was overweight, I used to believe that my female friends were so nice and supportive, but when I achieved the body of my dreams, some of them turned nasty. Misery loves company, I guess. They probably didn't want me to become better than them. But, you know what? It was worth it! Read my story here ...==>
January 13, 2019
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August 3, 2018
A very useful Workout Program for Women is