Well ladies and gents, we just passed Valentine's Day of 2019 and you know what that means? There's a bunch of you lovely couples out there right now that just decided to upgrade your relationship and get married! Woot woot how exciting! Congratulations to you both on taking the next step and committing yourselves to one another for the rest of your beautiful lives together! Now if you're anything like me or the majority of individuals out there, soon after the thrill of telling everyone in your circle that you're getting hitched, the thought of loosing weight has crossed your mind. Afterall, who doesn't want to look their best on the biggest day of their lives thus far? Well I want to share with you all something that I tried recently with my husband that actually works! Stay tuned because this post is all about me shouting out O2 Fuel Fitness, which is basically a combination of everything needed for successful weight-loss and for long term, in my humble opinion! Now I know there's a ton of online information about weight loss and by the end of the article it turns out they're trying to sell you on something but I promise that isn't the case here. I simply want to share my personal experience in hopes that it can motivate some of you and perhaps even help you in some way! So without further adieu let's get started!
Now I'm no doctor, no fitness expert and I'm certainly not what you'd call a beach body type of gal. So why the heck am I writing about loosing weight for your big day and what are my credentials? Simple, I've always struggled with my weight like many others and when I find something that I love and I truly believe in, I love to rave about it! Well naturally in my business I work with many Brides and Grooms and I constantly see them struggling to feel good about themselves on their wedding day. It's always, I need to loose 10 more before the big day, I'm so fat I can't eat anything for the next week, etc. Trust me I get it! It sucks! I hated always loosing and gaining back the exact same 5-10lbs and this went on for years! I had tried it all, literally! Well my husband came across O2 Fuel at the end of December, 2018 and I think at that point we were both just so fed up, we decided let's jump the gun and give it a try! We went in for their consultation and we both had pretty different mindsets to be honest. My husband, the skeptical one kept looking for the what's the catch what's the real deal with this, whereas I was all let's do it! We met with Chris and let me tell you, he answered it all! He wasn't giving us textbook answers either. No he was authentic and real with everything that he said and it all made sense! I actually got more excited after talking to him and we signed up on the spot! I knew it was sweat at first sight when he gifted us a Panetonne Cake. As if to say, enjoy it for the week off but come Jan 2nd, it's on!
Now I'm getting ahead of myself a little because I'm just so excited to share the experience I had but before I go further I think it's important for you all to understand my fitness background a little more so you can properly assess and understand why I'm so crazy for O2 Fuel! So first, I want to start by giving a little history of myself so you can hopefully relate better. As I mentioned, I've always struggled with my weight. I played a lot of sports throughout my school years and was fortunate enough to have the most amazing and supportive parents (our best friends really) who enrolled my brother and I in extra curricular activities including Swimming and Ice Skating. I grew up ultimately focusing on Soccer, Kung Fu and Basketball and even played and coached Soccer in leagues outside of school as well, for a good amount of years! I never really thought about my weight at that time and never considered myself to be fat, thin, fit or anything for that matter! I was just comfortable, despite being told I was a little on the chubby side by some. As I got older and these sports were no longer a part of my daily routine, I naturally started to gain weight. I turned to at home fitness DVDs, my favorite being Billy Blanks Tae Bo! I did this for quite some time and lost a ton of weight over months of daily Tae Bo. However, I didn't learn how to eat properly and although I lost a lot of weight, I also lost a lot of muscle and just looked super thin. Looking back at photos now, all I can think about is where did my feminine assets go, if you get my drift! I continued to do Tae Bo for some time but eventually life got in the way and the weight came back from its vacation! I moved onto gym memberships from Anytime Fitness, the local Community Centre Gym and even GoodLife Fitness. Now these were all great in their own ways but the only problem was I had no clue what I was doing! I went onto the Body Building website (you know, when they used to be free,) got some workout plans to follow, I did the machinery tours, learnt how to use machines and even followed the workout card that GoodLife had given me at times! I did some of the classes, went consistently and saw mediocre results. Now I could have gotten a trainer at the gym but in all honesty, I couldn't afford it and didn't really like the vibe I got from the ones I met from the complimentary one on one on boarding sessions. I felt judged and I was intimidated by the machinery so I opted for the group classes instead and I loved the atmosphere! I started going every morning to GoodLifes' signature Les Mills Classes and truly enjoyed myself!
Then it happened, I got engaged! I was super excited and decided I was going to look amazing for my big day and decided to ramp it up because I really wasn't getting the results I wanted. So I did what most of us do once getting engaged and I joined a Bootcamp, a Zumba studio, a Hot Yoga studio and a Kickboxing studio (Thank god for Groupons!) I tried it all and while I enjoyed them all, I still wasn't getting much results! Sadly, I twisted my ankle on ice months before my wedding and wasn't able to workout properly for some time, but I was still determined, so I started experimenting with a lot of these loose fat fast pills on the market. While I'm not proud of taking these, I am glad that I can share with everyone just how fake these magic pills are. All that extra money, I should have just gone for the trainer but alas my ankle was in no shape to walk around let alone get to the gym. So what did I try? Raspberry Ketones, CLA Pills, Green Coffee Extract, Fat Loss Pills, Garcinia Cambogia, Green Tea Extract, all sorts of herbal cleanses, etc. Trust me, I bought high quality stuff and it's all a hoax. Yes some of the cleanses are truly great to detoxify yourself and some of these products are great to take in addition to a healthy lifestyle, but without proper information and guidance from a professional, these do not actually make you loose weight. The same way we can't snap our fingers and all be millionaires, we can't have a magic pill and have our ideal bodies. It's a fact! I had changed the way I ate and followed a strict diet as well, which did help a little but not nearly as much as I wanted and honestly I hated eating the same thing every single day and started getting cranky with the lack of carbs in my diet. Once my ankle got better I reverted to home fitness DVDs once more and tried the Beachbody programs this time including P90X and Insanity Asylum. Let me tell you Insanity definitely helped me loose some weight and it was exhausting! I felt like I wanted to say I feel stronger after the 60 days but I really just felt tired. I worked my butt off and I lost some weight but I had no clue what to do next. Would I start it all over again? It just made no sense to me after increasing the difficulty to go back to the beginner level, so I moved on. I went back to the good ole Body Building website, started back at the gym and followed a few great plans by Jamie Eason geared towards woman because I really did not want to loose my feminine assets this time and figured a ladies program would maybe be my answer! Results were again mediocre and I still looked and felt the exact same.
I eventually got married, moved away from the gym and went back to at home DVDs and good ole Tae Bo! I updated my collection by purchasing two of the latest programs and even purchased some at home equipment including a stability ball, medicine ball, dumbbells, resistance bands and steps! Between Tae Bo and Body Buildings at home workouts, I thought I was doing just fine. That is until I decided I needed to start weighing myself and bought a homescale that showed weight, bodyfat, muscle mass, bone density and water retention. I was so excited when I first got this scale because of all it's capabilities and figured this would really help me track my progress, so I stepped onto it, eager for my results! The last time I had truly weighed myself I was around the 155-160lb mark and that was back in college! It had been about 5 years since and although I was working out moderately since then, I just never thought to weigh myself. Well, I stepped on and was in pure shock! I had never been so heavy in all my life! It was to the point where I said meh I should just gain the extra 2lbs to hit 200. Yep I was 198lbs. You'd never think it just looking at me but the scale clearly saw past my smart dressing. I was devastated. How did I let it get do bad? I started to workout more at home, cut carbs out completely, joined Lifetime Fitness gym and started going regularly. The classes were amazing and I absolutely loved them! Between doing the classes and cutting carbs out completely I lost about 20lbs in a year. Not to bad right? Well, like a yoyo the weight came back! Cutting carbs out wasn't something I could keep up with and honestly, the classes weren't as challenging to me anymore. I guess I sort of gave up at this point because I stopped going to the gym despite the fact that I loved this one so much, more so than others but I just couldn't bring myself to go on a regular basis anymore. The drive was no longer there because I wasn't seeing results and I had lost my motivation. My husband eventually said he was going to cancel our extremely expensive gym memberships and I begged him not to because I really wanted to loose the weight but I didn't know how. I literally tried everything I could think of and nothing seemed to work. He eventually went to cancel and instead got a credit and signed us both up for the bootcamp group fitness classes for a month. Well we did that for about 3 days, I went to Costa Rica for work (had time only the morning of my flight back to do a yoga class,) came back to a sick hubby, got sick as well and before you know it our month was up! Sigh, yep we were frustrated! I realized a few weeks later that the following year (May 2019) would not only mark our 5 year wedding anniversary but also 12 years of us dating! So I decided, I am going to look amazing by then and we are going to do a vow renewal! We actually promised each other we'd do it every year in a different country but alas, we somehow kept ending up back in Jamaica and haven't been able to do it just yet so why not start on year 5! So yes the motivation came back along with the determination! I told my hubby I'm going back to the gym and I did so consistently for a month and lost a whopping 3lbs...yep underwhelmed much! Christmas time came around and of course so did the weight. Those darn 3lbs came back plus more! I told myself not to worry I've been going to the gym consistently and I'll loose it all back! Afterall that's why I started the gym regularly in November so I wouldn't fall into the it's a New Years Resolution band wagon and fall of. I wanted this to be a lifestyle. My hubby and I were both pretty upset with how much we had let ourselves go and really had no idea where or how all this weight creeped up on us. We had always talked about being a fit couple but somehow our reality became the couple who gained weight after marriage (For us it was more like after dating!) That's when he discovered our new loves at O2 Fuel!
So let's fastrack to Jan 2nd and get into what O2 is all about, my experience and why they stole my heart! O2 Fuel is a type of gym yes but they are so much more than that! Now they aren't a traditional gym with tons of cardio and weight machinery. Instead they are a group oriented gym that focuses more on body weight resistance training, high intensity cardio and strength training. They utilize TRX bands, resistance bands, stability balls, bosu balls, dumbbells, olympic bars and plates, squat racks and most importantly your own bodies! They run 45 minute classes throughout the day and each day is different. You never end up doing the same workout which is what keeps it so exciting and challenging! There's 3 days of strength training, 2 days of cardio and what's called the Weekend Warrior class on Saturdays. There's a maximum of 24 participants per class and at least 1 coach on hand for every 12 participants. Now why is this important? Well the big thing that sets O2 apart in my opinion is their attention to you! The coaches take the time to get to know you, your goals, your struggles and your injuries! They are constantly circling the floor to correct your form, give you extra motivation, continuously challenge you in a friendly way and help you modify exercises when needed. They demonstrate everything to you and if your brain is foggy one day they will continue to guide you until you get it right! They're so incredibly friendly and warm that even though they've all got pretty amazing bodies, they never make you feel intimidated or inferior in any way! I honestly feel like they're my childhood friends because they're just so incredibly social and lovable! Now don't get it wrong, these guys are tough when the clock starts but they're tough in a motivational way versus being drill sergeants! They practice tough love with you meaning you can't show up late, they hold you accountable if you miss classes, they ask you to keep a food journal and more. Now of course, it's up to us as individuals to actually do all these things but the extra motivations of having to wait til the next class start time, having to pay a fee if you reserved a class and just didn't show up (you can call in and cancel if you absolutely must) and not seeing results if your eating isn't right, definitely goes a long way! Speaking of eating right, the team at O2 Fuel are truly committed to helping you achieve results and they give you guidelines of how to eat, what to eat, how much to eat and even when to eat in relation to your exercise times. They provide you with healthy meal options and ask for your food journals to see what can be improved upon each and every week. No two individuals are the same and they understand that. If you're looking to loose weight vs someone looking to gain muscle mass, your daily caloric intake and macros will be different and they work with you on an individual level to come up with solutions tailored to you. I'm serious, these guys will actually sit down with you and talk food strategy so you can meet your goal that much sooner! They also have a fully vegan plan which was so amazing because they literally took the guess work out of it for me and it was so easy to follow! Food prep was also pretty simple because you end up using a lot of the same ingredients and can just pre-package it all in containers for the week.
Now let's talk about how we actually got started. We started of with their 6-Week Challenge, where we basically paid a fee to join, committed ourselves to eating right and showing up a minimum of 3 days per week (we did 5!) So what's so special about this program at O2? Well the 6 Week Challenge they implement is a motivational way for you to loose weight because upon signing up, your weight and body fat percentage is taken before sitting down to discuss your goals with a coach. You come up with a reasonable and attainable goal by the end of the 6 weeks and if you meet it, they give you a 100% refund of the fee you paid to join the 6 Week program. So what's the catch? Nothing! No seriously, we tried to find the catch and there really isn't one. You may be thinking well if you meet your goal you can get your money back and go elsewhere right? Well yes you could but the majority of people see amazing results and stay on instead. Even if you just missed meeting your goal but you were showing up a minimum of 3 times a week and your commitment and drive was there, they will still offer you a credit of the amount to use towards a membership. Pretty sweet right! Now on the flip side, if you don't have a good attitude, you are negative towards others and just don't play nice, regardless if you met your goal or not, you won't be allowed back to this playground! Simple as that! It's actually a great strategy they implement because this way they ensure that all the members share the same mindset. You don't have the guys there to pick up girls, the girls there to take selfies, the guys that grunt nonstop while lifting weights and then carelessly dropping them on the floor, etc. They weed out all those who really aren't serious yet to get healthy and fit in a community environment. The other reason I love this is because it goes to show that it's not all about the money. Now let's be real, it is a business and to some degree of course it comes down to money but the fact that they aren't just selling unlimited memberships here and there and are instead limiting the number of memberships they sell to those who really earn it, is truly a beautiful thing. Not to mention they know that they offer an amazing level of service right now that they won't let drop because of not being able to handle and care for each member the way that they do now. Now for those who don't care, meet their goal and go off on their own, usually their circle starts talking about how much they've lost and a conversation about O2 strikes up and boom, they just got the best type of advertising possible, referrals from someone in your circle that actually saw results! So they really have nothing to lose even if you leave after the 6 weeks. So literally, there's no catch! Now being the avid researcher that I am I wanted to see what happens to the people that decide to take their money and run for the hills after! Well in my personal experience let's just say I think they get up the hill, out of breath and need to call an ambulance to get back down. Of course, I didn't want to approach and offend any past members so I tested the waters myself!
My husband and I actually finished our 6 Week program on Feb 13th, 2019, just in time for Valentines day! We had amazing results! My husband lost 26lbs and 4.5% body fat whereas I lost 19lbs and 6.6% body fat in 6 weeks! What I had lost in an entire year, these guys helped me do in 6 weeks! You see our smiles right? Amazing! Make sure you scroll the slideshow above to see the before and after pictures. I promise your minds will be blown! Once we did our final weigh ins, we were naturally so excited to have deep fried heavenly diabetic food because we did 6 weeks of no cheating and we deserved it right! We literally went to KFC right after our weigh ins, got 2 veggie burgers and a supreme fries, each. Yes, I said each! It was our favorite burger that we couldn't wait to eat and honestly we didn't enjoy it! It was upsetting to eat. The next day we went for all you can eat sushi and again, not happy with the taste of the food. We literally went on a fast food binge for 4-5 days straight to all our favorite spots and we just couldn't bring ourselves to like what we were eating. Our taste buds literally changed and we no longer find unhealthy food as our comfort foods! I remember finally getting back to the meal plan, making dinner (brown rice, cauliflower, mushrooms and lentil) one night and as I ate the first 2 bites I turned to hubby and said this was the best tasting thing I've had in a while! Pizza, burgers, hakka food, west indian food, indian food, fries, poutine, cake and so much more didn't come close to the heavenly feeling I felt as I ate dinner that night and that's saying a lot for a cakeaholic like me! Now I had tried other meal plans before and when I fell off the wagon I still enjoyed the fatty foods. This time though, I have no clue what changed and how O2 did it but they re-programmed our taste buds so I actually enjoy eating healthy! I'm not kidding, it's strange but it is what it is and I can't complain about it!
In regards to working out, well we fell of the wagon pretty hard and I say the wagon even ran us over at first! We were going every single day at O2 because we reserved our class times and didn't want to risk not showing up and having to pay a fee. We were held accountable and while some may think it's unfair having to pay extra for missing a class, I say it's actually pretty darn fair. If you're reserving a spot of 24 and didn't take the time to cancel because you couldn't show up, well that's on you! Now O2 is very fair and they understand that circumstances come up and they will allow you to call in and cancel or change your time slot if needed. When I put it that way, there's really no excuse right? Moving on, not only were we held accountable this way but also by the coaches who like I said, I feel like we've known forever. Honestly I felt like I didn't want to let them down! Yes I was going for me but they were so good I felt like damn I want them to see that they believe in me and they're working with me and I'm going to show them those results and make them proud to! I'm not kidding when I say these guys literally get to know you as a person far beyond just a trainee. My car actually broke down one day in the parking lot and one of the coaches took my husband to Canadian Tire after class to help us figure it all out! Yep, that's the personal touch they give you. He could've left us to freeze while we waited for a tow instead but no, we asked and he didn't hesitate at all! They really do care about you beyond the gym and that's why they strive hard to create a community of like-minded individuals. So back to working out after O2 on our own! It didn't happen for the first week, plain and simple. We wanted it to, we thought we would continue the same format at Lifetime Fitness, since we still hold that membership but we got lazy to be honest. We finally found our way back to the gym and while my husband definitely enjoys the additional "pump" he's getting with the weight machines at the gym, he agrees with me when I say, it's so not the same and I miss the O2 team dearly! Yes we try to incorporate some of the same moves, the same format, etc. but without that person there constantly motivating you to keep going, increase your weights, etc. you tend to slack off, take longer per movement, use less weights, not push yourself and somedays not show up. Yes there are some people who are able to push themselves, eat right and workout frequently and I applaud them! It's just not something I can do. You see we have always been the couple who works our butts off, puts everyone and everything ahead of ourselves and our gym time has usually always been the one to suffer. O2 motivated us to get our butts there daily and make time for ourselves because our health is really the most important thing! It definitely helped knowing that if we met our goal we'd be getting our money back to! Going to the gym on our own now just isn't motivating and I can already see us falling back into our old habits which we want to curb.
Now I wanted to make sure I did my due diligence to give honest feedback and also wanted to compare what else is available similar to O2 and how they measure up. So I did find a few other 6-Week programs to look into and I even went to the consults to check out the atmosphere, the coaches, etc. and I was not impressed. Yes, there are some other similar gyms out there that are great but when I compared the ones I did to O2, they weren't as knowledgable, made me feel judged and quite frankly some of them didn't have what I'd consider fit bodies (call me terrible but I feel if you're training me to loose weight and be healthy, you better already be there to set the example for me!) It felt like they were trying to copy a program that clearly works but they weren't meeting the standards. Like I was comparing a Lexus to a Mercedes, both luxury brands, sure but we both know who's the top of the class here! Overall I didn't get excited when I walked into some of these places, I didn't get friendly smiles and my questions were tip toed around instead of being answered direct. I liked how clear O2 was and appreciated the harsh honesties, the tough love and definitely that Panettone Cake (Yep I was bribed with cake, can you blame me!) In all seriousness though, O2 definitely spoiled me and I need to be back there! It's where I personally feel confident, not judged and truly enjoy myself working out! The community members at O2 are all so encouraging, so supportive and friendly and it just goes to show that if you work together as a community, you'll see the results!
Alright so let me finally talk about the two coaches that I personally had on a daily basis and I've got to shout out because really, they damn well deserve it and I love them so much!
Let's start with Jack. Alright now this man has got an incredible body! Ladies I don't lie, visit their website just to see Jack's photo plastered all over. I like to think of him as O2's poster boy because really he's got that blonde hair, blue eyes, boy next door charm and did I mention he's got an amazing body? Now I don't say that in a creepy way, it's actually in an OMG how is that even possible he's a piece of art kind of way. He actually competes for body proportion and he's got my vote all day long because he's also so incredibly friendly and lovable. From wearing his coral T-shirts on days I deem easier cause he's not in all black (he makes it harder when I say that to him I swear,) to his Taylor Swift playlist that he swears is best to pump you during your workouts, Jack is so incredibly knowledgable when it comes to building your body proportionately and healthy meal plans, even for vegans! He's the one who vultures around, swoops in and swaps your weights to make sure you're constantly being challenged and he does so in a devilish way that we all secretly love! Now that I think about it, I think he uses his good looks to make us all forget that he's actually torturing us. Hmmm smart Jack smart!
Moving on to Dillon! Our in-house football star! Alright so this man legit looks like an action-hero figurine. When I first saw him, I thought oh crap here's the drill sergeant! Boy was I wrong! Dillon is so charismatic and social, he's literally O2's Motivator. Now don't get me wrong, he'll push you and if you give him permission to push you harder on cardio days, all I can say is God be with! But seriously, Dillon has this amazing personality that literally motivates you to do more and you never actually feel intimidated or pressured like the typical bootcamp coaches. Oh no, Dillon is a master motivator! Can't push any more? Wait until Dillon comes around, he'll make you want to do it and will even give you a burn out at the end of your workout that will leave you feeling extra satisfied! Dillon has definitely encountered his fair share of injuries in his career and he brings that directly to you at O2. Got a bad back, Dillon can help! Pulled a muscle, Dillon! Want an amazing stretch? You got it, Dillon! From sharing his secret cookies and cream protein cheat milkshakes to making sure you've got proper form before anything else, Dillon is the Master Motivator! (Insert Action-Hero Theme Song Here)
Alright I also need to shout out Ms. Jessica who holds down the O2 fort in the mornings! Let me tell you how much of a difference it makes to walk in and see this beauty's smile welcoming you with her happy go lucky personality. Even when you call in, you can hear Jessica's chipper attitude and that's exactly what you need to keep you encouraged and motivated on those days that feel sluggish. I love chatting with her when I'm there early or even after the classes and it's honestly so easy to have a conversation with her which I love!
Lastly, Chris, Janessa, Patrick and Devika are all a part of the O2 team that make this place what it is. Sadly I didn't get to interact with these folks during my 6 weeks as much, as our timings didn't align but when I did have them as coaches and admins I'm so glad to say that the positive attitude was there from them all! The entire team at O2 is so passionate about what they do and it really shines through. Seriously guys let me say a huge thank you right now because honestly you're all amazing and we couldn't have gotten the results we did without all of you!
Of course it also definitely helped having my partner in crime with me every step of the way and it just goes to show that when you have the right kind of people surrounding you and supporting your goals, you can achieve it all. A couple that lifts and sweats together definitely stays together! So a huge thanks to my amazingly wonderful lovable hubby who put up with my crazy moments of counting chia seeds (I blame Jack haha) early morning alarms, late night meal preps, last-minute grocery runs, necessary gym shopping (I blame Dillon now haha) and so much more! We killed this challenge and I'm so proud of us! Finally we're on our way to getting back to our fit selves. Yay us! (Cue Applause)
Overall ladies and gents, I'm not saying you need to join O2 to meet your goals because only you know what's right for you, so you do you. Instead I'm sharing with you all my experience and why I think it worked for me. If you decide to join, yay! You'll absolutely love it and I'll see you on the sweat side! If not though, I at least hope you can take something away from my experience. Whether it be understanding the concept of needing to have a workout routine combined with healthy but enjoyable eating and accountability, learning to love and be motivated by your gym atmosphere, the people and workout routines to push harder for those results, knowing that you're not the only one out there who's struggled with weight and literally tried it all or just being inspired by my humble story on this journey so far. Whatever it is, I wish you all the luck in your weight loss story and want to know what your struggles are? What have you tried? What do you rave about? Comment below and let's be inspired together!