I joined Body Elite at the end of 2013. To me it was my "last chance" to regain the fitness I enjoyed 10 years ago. A stressful job and poor eating habits hurt me, even though I continued to exercise regularly. I was very nervous when I started--I lacked confidence and would not even look in the mirror. I purposely wore baggy clothes to hide my body. Gradually I could see my body changing. My energy returned and I gained confidence. The trainers at Body Elite are phenomenal. At first I was so intimidated by their fitness levels and confidence. They took the time to focus on my goals, my form (making sure I didn't get hurt), and my confidence. I am not "all the way" there yet, but know I will get there. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I’ve been training at Body Elite for about 15 months - my personal and physical transformation has been incredible. I started out only looking to lose the weight I had gained during pregnancy. What has happened, though, is so much greater than that. Steven and all the amazing trainers at Body Elite have really helped me to see my limitless potential for toning and strength. Mark has been a great partner in helping me to achieve my best through better eating habits and overall nutrition. I can’t really put a number on it; but, if I had to, I feel 200% better and stronger than I did a year ago. The best feeling is knowing that I’m on a journey with the best possible people. Even in moments when I’m not feeling great or I know I’ve not been good about my eating, I know that I now have the tools to get back on track quickly. As I’ve learned more about myself and gotten stronger, my goals have changed too. For me it’s no longer about weight loss, it’s more about life gain.
I have been a regular client of Body Elite since 2011, taking advantage of their personal training and nutritional counseling services. The trainers are second to none, having helped me set, meet and exceed strength training and nutritional goals. Since becoming a client of Body Elite, I have come to enjoy regular workouts and have increased my knowledge of nutrition. This has helped me to reshape my eating habits and significantly improve my overall health and fitness. For me, being a Body Elite client has been an investment that continues to pay valuable dividends!
The road to becoming an ER physician is pretty brutal. Mine included seven long hard years of school and residency in Philadelphia, PA and Camden, NJ. During those years, working 60-80 hours per week, exercise and diet were really hard to focus on. As a result, I wound up gaining about 7 lbs. per year. That ended in June, 2011 with me being almost 50 lbs. heavier than I wanted to be, with little energy and feeling generally unhealthy. What was worse is that my clothes weren't fitting anymore. I knew that as soon as my residency was over, I was going to have to do something to get back to where I wanted to be physically. My plan was to work at it on my own while I figured out what my financial situation was going to be. I gave myself July and August to work that out and to exercise out on my own. What I found during that time was that I didn't have the motivation to get the results I wanted on my own. I let other things get in my way and wasn't making any progress. I considered getting a personal trainer, but worried about the cost.
I did some research on the Internet and found Body Elite. My experience at Body Elite has been great so far. When I started, I told myself I’d give it until the new year to see how I like it. Now it’s April and I’m still here. I’m about half way to my weight loss goal and going strong. The thing I like most about BE is the variation in training styles that comes from working with different trainers all the time. This is something that is unique to Body Elite and I think it works very well. Steve usually does heavy weights with me, which has improved my overall strength, while Mark does a lot of plyometrics and is more of a total body workout. Laura and Laurie did a great job with me on working on the things that girls care about, and I get plenty of nutritional advice from everyone.
When I first started, I didn't lose a lot of weight, but I did lose inches. My clothes started fitting again, which felt really great. I probably only lost about 5 lbs. in those first few months. Then I made some changes to my diet, with Mark’s help, and that is when I started losing more weight. So far, I’ve lost about 33 lbs., 25 of which came off in the last three months. In one month, I lost 10 lbs. I have about 30 more to go, so I’m about half-way to my goal.
Overall, I am very happy that I made the investment in myself to go to Body Elite. As a physician, I know the value of being healthy. With the help I get at Body Elite, I’m well on my way to looking and feeling the way I want to.
In December of 2008 I was driving to work when I was rear ended by another car. That car pushed mine out into traffic where I was hit again by oncoming traffic. The combination of the two collisions left me severely injured. In fact, when the police arrived, from the visual of the wreck, they told me later that they had called it in as a certain fatality. Miraculously, it wasn’t.
I was taken to a hospital in Reading, PA, and then to Good Shepherd. I finally came home almost two weeks later on Christmas Eve. I had suffered a traumatic brain injury and my left eye was badly damaged. I couldn’t stand on my own and used a walker to get around. I also suffered double vision and dizziness from the combination of my injuries. I was in pretty bad shape.
From there my long comeback began. I started outpatient therapy at Good Shepherd, consisting of occupational, speech and physical therapy for balance. This continued through May of ‘09. That September, I started cognitive therapy for higher function speech. In November of ’09, my insurance-covered therapy sessions ran out for the year and I took a break.
In January, 2010, I had corrective surgery on my left eye, which had dropped and twisted in the accident. I then did some more cognitive therapy and vestibular therapy for dizziness. In the early spring of 2010, all of the therapy had ended and I began to settle into the ‘new normal’.
I was trying to strength train and walk one to three times per week, however my fatigue usually got the best of me and didn't often see three. By the end of the year, I knew I needed to continue to challenge myself and move further into my treatment plan. In the beginning of 2011, I continued strength training and began walking with short running intervals on the treadmill. By spring, my balance got better and I was stumbling much less. My husband suggested I try a P90x workout video with him to see how I do and I did. Following his suggestions and supervision, I was able to adapt movements to my abilities and eventually was able to follow the prompting and mimic the movements. The videos were not just difficult physically but cognitively also. I would plan for every other day but it didn't always work. I decided this was a little much for me and I needed to find something that was good for me physically but would benefit my treatment and not tire me out. I definitely didn't need anything to fatigue me more than what I usually already was.
Prior to the accident, I had always been very active. I was a runner, and was accustomed to strength training in my past. I worked full time in my family’s hardware store and I was a talented amateur cook. Putting the fitness and cooking together, I had big plans to start a personal chef business called “Chef On The Run”.
With all of my progress, I still suffered with significant fatigue and vision problems. Along with the other Traumatic Brain Injury symptoms, I was still not where I wanted to be. I had trouble with problem solving, with socializing and decision making. I wasn’t fully independent.
In June, 2011, I read an article in the Morning Call about Body Elite and Active Pain Management. I had been thinking about how I would take the next steps in my recovery. My husband, Justin, also read the article and felt it might be something that could help me re-gain independence. The combination of cardio, stretching and strength training seemed to align well with my goals at the time, which were all about regaining the endurance that I once had. What I got at Body Elite was much more.
BE practices something called Dynamic Stretching in conjunction with strength and cardio training that is designed to address specific pain problems as well as overall physical wellness (they call it Active Pain Management). Each of the stretching poses works on different, sometimes surprising, parts of the body. And the effects of the stretching seem amplified by the rigorous strength training that BE weaves into a well-orchestrated program.
For me, the results were amazing. While I expected to build strength, I did not expect to make progress with my ongoing dizziness and vision problems. I also did not expect that through this process, I would make progress in problem solving and decision making. The combination of all of this has also resulted in better overall confidence, and reduced social anxiety.
The effect on my everyday life is awesome. Things as simple as planning meal, which was impossible before, are now under my control. I still suffer from mental and physical fatigue resulting from my injuries, but am making progress every day. Going to Body Elite and working on fundamentals, things as simple as head turns, seems to be an important element in my continued recovery.
The progress came fast and furious.
Last September a friend got married. The previous July (about when I started at BE) was her bridal shower. I had a very difficult time going, Justin had to come with me. At the end of August was the bachelorette party and I felt comfortable enough to get my own hotel room in Philadelphia and went out for dinner with everyone. The ladies continued on until late in the evening with the rest of the festivities while I was sleeping. In September I was dancing at her wedding. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t exactly tearing up the dance floor, but just to get out there at all was a huge step for me.
I’m still a work in progress, but I believe strongly that the work I’ve done at BE has played a bigger role in my comeback than anything else and I’m so glad I found them. I feel strong, and I’m optimistic about the future in a way that I couldn’t imagine I would have been. Who knows, maybe the ‘Chef on the Run’ will come to be after all. After all I’ve been through, I’m on my way to becoming an independent woman again.
I know that my experience is unique, but I would recommend Body Elite to anyone!