Transformation Q&A With Rebecca N.

What brought you to IronPlate Studios?

I had been diagnosed with a medical condition, PCOS. It is known to cause issues with weight gain and lose because the various hormone levels in your body keep changing, including your body’s ability to use insulin correctly. I finally found a doctor in 2015 that helped me enough to start getting some of the hormone swings under control, but that also meant I now how do some hard work to make sure my body was healthy again and I wanted to look like me again. Another step toward taking control of my body again involved losing the weight I had gained after being undiagnosed for many years. I took many steps on my own during 2015. I changed the food I ate drastically, I bought organic when it was available and I started walking a lot more. Eating out for work was common and necessary so it was a slow go. However, these two changes help me lose my first 30 pounds. Unfortunately, I stopped there and was unable to keep the weight loss going and I still had a ways to go. I did not want to become my mother, a diabetic, or my father, a heart attack survivor. I knew I could control my body even it meant fighting everyday against a disease. I was ready to change, but didn’t know how. It was time to find a subject matter expert to help me the rest of the way.


Why did you choose IronPlate Studios?

I knew both Nutrition and Exercise ultimately are necessary to achieve results I wanted. IronPlate Studios offers help with both, one stop shopping for a busy person who works for a consulting firm full time and is working on her MBA part time. I could have hired both separately, but I don’t think the results would be same. The right hand needs to understand what the left is doing and IronPlate Studios designed its Transformation Packages to accomplish this.


Which package did you decide and why?

I choose a 12 week transformation package with 2 personal training sessions a week because I can be a bit nerdy and wanted to get as much information about nutrition as possible. Some of it might be a bit advance for what I need at this time, but I know as I get closer to my goal weight many of those advanced lessons will become valuable information. I also wanted to work out with someone 2 times a week. It had been a long time since I did any serious exercise and again, the nerd in me, wanted to learn everything I could and I wanted the support.


Can you briefly describe your experience so far working with the Team at IronPlate? What have you learned so far?

I don’t think I can possibly say enough about how awesome my experience has been. I have learned something new every step of the way and I appreciate everything that everyone who has worked with me or has done for me. Some of the most important things are I learned include:

  • I needed to eat more of the right foods and more frequently. I was eating 2 or 3 meals a day and was all over the place with timing. I now eat 5 times a day, spacing my meals about 3 hours apart.
  • I learned that not all Carbohydrates are the enemy. I just need to pick them carefully.
  • The consulting life style can mean eating a lot of meals away from home or networking over drinks. I learned what to look for on the menu and what to drink. I also finally was comfortable saying to people around me that I will pass on the drinks, shared items and desserts. People understood.
  • I learned how to exercise, again. I was very active as a teenager playing field hockey, swimming and softball but then after college I just stopped and forgot a lot of the basics. I learned how to properly work with weights, learned how to start running again and a lot about excising different muscles.
  • I learned that you can’t do the same workout all the time. You need to change it because your body will learn to use the least amount energy to do the same task.

How much have you accomplished to date?  How much further do you have to go?

My main goal is weight loss. As of this morning, I have lost about 65 pounds. 30 on my own and the rest with the help of the wonderful team of people at IronPlate Studios. I also had my measurement measured during the 12 week program a couple times and by the end my measurements all decreased and none of my clothes fit anymore!

Bust: 4.5 inches smaller
Waist: 5 inches smaller
Hips: 4 inches smaller
Upper Arm: 1.5 inches smaller
Thigh: 2.5 inches smaller
Calves: .5 inches smaller

I will keep losing weight. I try to think about weight loss in small increments of 25 pounds. And then re-assess where I am. So, I am working on my next 25 pounds now. I will admit I have an ultimate target range in the back of my mind which would require me to lose anywhere from 75-100 more pounds and tone my body, but I don’t like to focus on that, rather my current 25 pounds is my goal!

My other goals are to improve my strength and be able to participate in activities such as run, bike and swim for charity events. And maybe even compete in a few events. I did walk one 5K in NYC this summer that helps support Central Park. I am working on being able to run next year.  


Have you been enjoying your experience thus far?

My experience has been outstanding! Everyone is super nice, very knowledgeable and helpful. I feel like I have a family of support cheering me on. I love that the workouts are different every time I come. It keeps me from getting bored and I love to learn new things.


Anything else you'd like to add regarding your experience training at IronPlate Studios?

I would love to learn more about the way my muscles and body work. For example, Caitlin mentioned once that I should workout muscles from larger to smaller. For people who have never studied the human body it is not common knowledge about which muscles are the larger ones and which are smaller ones. Caitlin was happy to happy to pull up a picture and walk me through the basics. You could add some education around our muscles and body as well as the exercise and nutrition classes. 

Meet Karen P: Q&A about her 1st NPC Figure Competition

What got you into the idea of training for your first NPC Figure show?

I started training at Iron Plate two years ago because my spouse wanted a workout partner. An injury limited us to upper body work for an entire year, so my arms started to get pretty ripped for a girl. Kristin would mention that it wouldn't be that hard to get me into competition shape. My spouse was like, "You've already come this far eating TastyKakes and working out one day a week. Don't you want to see what would happen if you actually tried?" I was casually intrigued, but I know myself: I work two jobs totaling more than 40 hours a week, and I don't do well with long-term goals. I told Kristin I would give it 2 months, and I told my spouse that I would need help with food acquisition. A lot of help. Remember: TastyKakes.

 

What was the training like?

Training increased from 1 to 3 days a week of lifting. I would still train with my spouse and Kristin on one day, then at home with my spouse on a second day, and then a third day focusing on lower body with Kristin. Since I only had 2 months to prepare, I was immediately focusing on leaning out instead of building mass, so I also had to add 1 hour of cardio every morning. Every morning. Every. Morning.

Can you give us a glimpse into the world of dieting for a competition like this? Was it easier than expected?  Harder?  What are some examples of the foods you'd eat?

Everything became regulated: proper measurements, proportions, ingredients. The beauty was that all of these decisions would be made twice or three times a week during bulk food preparation, when each meal was organized into plastic containers. 

No decisions were needed during the actual meal times, because the proper contents of each box had already been determined. I would take my lunch box and my dinner box to work. I didn't have to think at all about what NOT to eat. If it was in the box, I could eat it. If it was not in the box, I couldn't. There was no way I could justify any cheating: if it was not in the box, then it was a cheat. 

I had never dieted before, so I didn't know what to expect. I was used to eating Pret on weekdays and anything from Bon Chon to Third & Vine on weekends, so I didn't have the best eating habits.

So, with that as a starting point, you have to hear me when I say: The food was amazing. I can't emphasize this enough. THE FOOD WAS AMAZING. 

A typical breakfast would be all of this mixed together in a kind of sweet-savory scramble casserole:

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 bag of spinach, sauteed
  • 1/3 cup dry oatmeal
  • black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and dried shallots

Some lunches/dinners:

  • slow-cooked salmon, with onions and asparagus
  • braised lamb steak with mustard rub and a balsamic reduction, with rosemary sweet potatoes
  • sirloin stir fry with brown rice
  • chicken breast "breaded" with dried onions, with garlic green beans
  • ground turkey with hot peppers and cucumbers
  • spicy tuna salad (using Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise)

I know what you're thinking: What about the TastyKakes? Well, between meals I would have a protein shake. It was just powder mixed with water (that is, not milk or almond milk), but the Ultimate Muscle Protein from Beverly International is just as sweet and creamy as a milkshake or hot chocolate. Between the protein shakes and the fresh veggies, I did not crave the Kakes.

When you're not eating a lot of fats or carbs, you have to eat more physical quantities of food in order to rack up the proper caloric intake. Two days before my last competition, I had to attend a fancy dinner. When I transferred the contents of my four-cup Tupperware container onto my fancy restaurant plate, the whole table gasped at how much food was in front of me. That answered the question that most of my dining companions wanted to know: Where you hungry? No. There was plenty of food.

[I didn't want to go on about how Dennis did all this, because I don't want people to think that they can't do this without someone else doing what Dennis did. I don't want to marginalize him, though! So I can add some more about him if you'd like.] - You see, Dennis did ALL of the cooking. 

Bicep Flex.JPG

What did you find the most challenging part of the whole process?

The number one most challenging part was all the girly primping logistics right towards the end! Hair, makeup, spray tan, shaving neglected areas... I'm not a girly girl, and all that coordination was not my style.

The second most challenging part was getting enough sleep. I need a full 8 hours normally, but I can get by for several days on 6 or 7. With the training, this was not an option. Eight hours became a minimum, and 9 was better. If I had a single night under 8, I would be VERY tired the next day.

Would you do it again?

I would do it again in order to do it right. I would never have been able to do it at all if my only option had been to commit 6 months for the first shot. Now that I've done my two-month trial, I know what's possible for me. 

I've also had the amazing experience of hanging out with incredibly built women at these two shows. No one is doing these competitions with the thought that big arms on a woman is too masculine. All the competitors have an ease about their bodies that no other group of nearly nude women has. Now I'm excited to concentrate on bulking up, and I have no qualms about looking less feminine.

How much weight did you lose and did you like the way you looked and the weight you got down to?

I started around 140 pounds and was down to 120 after about 6 weeks. It took a while to get used to seeing less of me in the mirror. It was nice to fit into some of my old pants! 

What are some nuggets of advice you'd give someone looking to lose weight and get in shape?

The first thing is to remember that the purpose of a personal trainer is to have someone PERSONALIZE their advice to you on fitness and nutrition. In order to get that, you have to be honest with your trainer and with yourself about what you can and can't do. There is simply no point in paying someone to tell you what to do and then not doing in. 

I knew I couldn't commit to more than two months, so I didn't pretend at the start that I would do more than that. Because of other things going on in that time period, I knew I wouldn't have the time to prepare the food, so I worked that out with my spouse.

The one thing about competition is that it has an end date. It was different from having a weight goal. Instead of saying, "I want to weigh 120," I said, "I want to see how fit I can get by November 7." Even if you don't do a competition, picking a short time goal for a diet lets you know that it's going to be over. That seems like an easier goal to hit than a permanent lifestyle change.

Then here's the catch: I've been off of the competition diet for a week now, and I HATE IT. I hate having infinite food freedom. When you can eat anything, then every moment becomes a decision. Should I eat this bag of cookies? Should I get Chick fil A? I don't have an broccoli in the fridge, how about I eat a croissant instead? Sheesh. I can't wait to go back to mass food prep and the boxes. 

I did not start this journey with the goal that I would live the rest of my life measuring my food. If you'd told me that I needed to do that, I wouldn't have done it at all. But I tried it for two months, and it was awesome, so now I'm hooked.

Meet Coral D., 2x Amazing Transformation!

Tell us a little bit about you, your athletic/fitness background, your fitness routine and what you currently follow.

Coral: Ok, I'm going to be straight up - I'm not an athlete and I don't have a naturally "good" body. I can gain weight very easily if I'm not careful, so I currently follow an aggressive workout routine (usually 6-7 times a week) coupled with a nutritional plan.

What prompted you to start training?

Coral: Two years ago I got motivated to trim down for my March 2013 wedding. I honestly thought this was just a one time "treat"; a luxury that I wouldn't continue. Well then I got pregnant, and after 9+ months of no-holds barred eating, I needed some help to lose the baby weight. So in October of 2014 I embarked - again - on my fitness and nutritional journey.

IronPlate: Just to chime in, when I met Coral, we had one conversation about her diet plan covering macros, nutrient timing, meal planning and portion control, and this girl had it down after one conversation.  
 

                                                                                         March 2013 wedding, and a 20 pound weight loss in 2 1/2 months.  

                                                                                         March 2013 wedding, and a 20 pound weight loss in 2 1/2 months.  


What is your favorite part of training?

Coral: I love the variety. At IronPlate I get well-balanced workouts with a good mix of cardio, strength, plyo, and stretching. I also like that it's a comfortable and professional environment. No "gym-timidation" and I can work hard without feeling self-conscious.

Do you follow any type of specific nutritional program? Why/Why not? What does it entail?

Coral: Diet is so so so important for me when I want to lose weight and tone up. I do basic calorie counting using an iPhone app (MyFitnessPal) and I stick to high protein foods paired with fresh veggies. I avoid sugar and other simple carbs - they are my enemy. I also try to cook for myself so I can keep it clean. Lastly, portion control is key and my food scale helps keep me honest about what I'm putting in my body.

                                                                                                               Less than 6 months, and 75 pounds later!

                                                                                                               Less than 6 months, and 75 pounds later!

What motivates you?

Coral: My baby boy! As he grows and gets bigger, I want to be able to hold him easily and have high energy to run/play with him. I love feeling like a strong mom for him.

How do you feel training at IronPlate has benefited you?

Coral: I think of IronPlate as the backbone to my fitness regimen in two ways. First, the strength training I get there helps me do better in the other various exercise classes I go to. And secondly, I can easily "fall off the wagon" and go weeks/months without working out. That used to be my M.O. in the winter - slacking off and hibernating in sweaters. So by keeping my regular appointments at IronPlate, the rest of my routine stays on track. Then when I'm consistently working out, my diet is on point and the results come!

How do you feel your body has changed and transformed?

Coral: I've transformed twice since going to IronPlate. For my wedding, I lost 20 lbs in 2.5 months and was the thinnest I had been since high school. Now this time around I have lost 75lbs in the 6 months post-baby. I was wearing size 12 pants and now I'm swimming in my 6's.

Any advice for those out there not training and mulling it over and over waiting for the "right time?"

Coral: In the past decade I had tried all kinds of diet/exercise programs on my own and would never get the results I wanted. Today, my body is the strongest it's ever been and I credit IronPlate for being the catalyst for that change. I think of training as an investment - it's an investment in myself that has had awesome returns! Besides the increase in energy, my general health has improved and I've eliminated pain in my back (degenerative disc) and feet (plantar fasciitis) with this training program. Plus, seeing the number on the scale drop consistently feels pretty darn great, too.

I'm so glad I found IronPlate, I really feel that it has changed my life. Thanks Kristin and the IronPlate Team!

Meet Matt M., IronPlate Man

Tell us a little bit about you, your athletic/fitness background, your fitness routine and what you currently follow.

I’m 32 years old, married and my wife Erin and I recently welcomed our daughter Parker to the family! I live in Hoboken and work at a financial publishing company in Manhattan that I started almost 10 years ago. I’ve always played sports and in high school was on the soccer, track and tennis teams.

I currently work out at IronPlate on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 6am to 7am. I am in the process of motivating myself to start running consistently to enhance my cardio exercise outside of the gym.

What prompted you to start training?

I started training after my wife and I found out in December 2013 that she was expecting with our first child. I wanted to ensure that my daughter had a healthy, in shape father who had lots of energy to play with her and be active in her life.

What is your favorite part of training?

Definitely not waking up for a 6am workout! Seriously though, my favorite part is feeling the difference the training has on my body. Seeing it is nice too! During actual training, my favorite part is getting past a weight or rep count I hadn’t before. It’s amazing to think about where I was on day 1 and where I’ve gotten today. And I still have a long way to go!

Do you follow any type of specific nutritional program?  Why/Why not?  What does it entail?

I like to think I do! Having a pregnant wife for nine months certainly didn’t help but I’ve tried to focus on adding breakfast to my diet, which used to consist solely of as much coffee as I could get my hands on, and having a healthy lunch. I now eat two hard boiled eggs for breakfast, for the most part have a salad with chicken for lunch and in the afternoon I have a protein bar.

I’m never going to be the ideal nutritional example for someone to model themselves after but I feel I am starting to find a balance that allows me to not change everything about how I like to live (greasy food - I’m from the Philadelphia area so you can’t deny me cheesesteaks! – and beer/wine/whiskey will always have a place) but at least put it into reasonable moderation.

What motivates you?  

My daughter, Parker, my wife, Erin, and the size of my pants. I refuse to buy the next size up!

How do you feel training at IronPlate has benefited you?  

I get one-on-one attention, someone who will push me to do that one extra rep, or do that extra exercise my tired body doesn’t want to do (remember I work out at 6am!) and just as importantly I have a friend who can give me advice, help me overcome mental hurdles that everyone goes through working out and be a positive support system.

How do you feel your body has changed and transformed?

I am much stronger than I was before. My wife and I take periodic pictures to monitor the difference, and it is very apparent. My shoulders, arms and chest have filled out significantly. My legs have always been large which when I am out of shape gives them a straight up and down look which is now gone.

Any advice for those out there not training and mulling it over and over waiting for the "right time?"

There are always reasons to put off training. With a baby on the way, I knew I needed to start working out. The reason I started with IronPlate was because it helped me find the motivation to get out of bed and get to the gym. And it worked. The reason I have stayed with IronPlate for over a year now is because of the results, the support and the friends I have made.

Meet Client, Anna B. - resident Tabata Dancer, Jokester and KickA$$ Transformation

Tell us a little bit about you, your athletic/fitness background, your fitness routine and what you currently follow:

Before training with the IronPlate team I had periodically joined gyms or started a fitness routine that would basically start about a month before a major event (vacation, wedding, high school reunion) and would swiftly end it the day the event occurred. I have always hated working out and i have always especially hated dieting (who doesn’t)?… so I just never really made either a part of my lifestyle. 

Now I typically do anywhere between 2-3 60 minute training sessions a week with the IronPlate team.  Honestly, besides that I rarely make it to the gym due to my schedule and sheer laziness. But that is why having training sessions work so well for me. Knowing that I am being held accountable helps me work out. Having to make an appointment for sessions that I have spent money on with a person who is relying on me to be there forces me to do the thing I hate doing but know I have to work out!

What prompted you to start training?

I had been in school for a very long time and because of that I never had time, and even more so - never had the money to train. This year I am finally comfortable financially and was turning 30 and I knew that if I didn't start getting in shape now it would only get more difficult as time when on - it was basically now or never. I also knew that if I didn't do it with a trainer that I would never get serious about getting in shape and just joining a gym or taking a class would let me fall back into my old work out habits. 

 

What is your favorite part of training?

Honestly, I still hate working out! But getting a trainer changed my life and now I love to sweat and jump and not be able to walk down the stairs after an hour session. I also love that i get to walk in, do the job and walk out and know that it was a meaningful session, I worked my ass off, and now it’s done and I can finally go home and sit on the couch without feeling guilty. But also I like the difference i am seeing in my body. I may hate working out, but i love that I don't have a stomach hanging over my jeans any more, or that I feel comfortable wearing a tank because my arms look toned. It’s the confidence that I have gained that makes training great.  OH YEA AND THE TRAINERS ROCK! and they laugh at my stupid jokes.  (We do, we especially love Anna’s Tabata dance, and the Eagle moves).  

 

Do you follow any type of specific nutritional program?  Why/Why not?  What does it entail?

IronPlate may not want to include this section of the Q&A because it basically goes against all nutritional advice (yes, we embrace your sheer honesty, but some girls reading this may hate you!) - but I do not follow a nutritional program. I tried it for about 3 weeks and it was exhausting and hard to keep up with - oh yea and I freaking hated it. There is nothing I love more in this world than chocolate and bread and I wasn't about to give it up for any amount of weight loss or toned arms. I actually wont even tell you guys what I eat on a regular basis because my trainer would kill me! (I’m laughing as I include this part, Anna) - One good thing though, I did start eating breakfast since starting the program which I hear is like healthy or something like that (you are too much, and this is why we love you). Also, a word of advice - I probably would be a ton more in shape and have lost a lot more weight if I did stick to the nutritional program and I encourage anyone with even an ounce more will power than me to go for it. 

What motivates you?

I did start seeing results relatively quickly, and while I do hate the process of working out, seeing the results is addicting and makes you just want to get to your next session to continue seeing greater results. 

How do you feel training at IronPlate has benefited you?

The greatest thing about training with the ladies at IP is the confidence I have gained with my body. Within one week of training I had already gotten stronger. I also like that each of the trainers are different in their style, which keeps me on my toes, and is also something that I don't think you get to experience with having just one trainer. And I do feel equally comfortable with each of them. 

How do you feel your body has changed and transformed?

I was asked what my goals were when I started. I was not necessarily looking to lose weight, although if I did it would be a welcomed effect. Mostly my goal was to tone my body, tighten the flab, and build a booty. Although I'm sure not following the nutritional plan is slowing down that process, I can say I am excited so far with my results, and people constantly comment that I look thinner even though I haven't lost a pound. But I have toned up substantially and had to buy new clothes because my old ones were loose on me. Most of all, the booty is building! Oh yea and I wore my prom dress this weekend to a wedding, a dress I wore when I was 17. I just turned 30 two weeks ago (see photo below) - so I would say its going well. 

Anna.jpg


Any advice for those out there not training and mulling it over and over waiting for the "right time?"

There is no right time, its like buying a dog or having a baby. Its just something you need to make the decision to do and stick with it. We are always going to be busy, have vacations and work trips, be tight on cash, get home late. I can use any of those excuses but in reality if I want to get in shape I was just going to have to make the time if it was important to me, just like anything else in life. Looking back I wish I had done it sooner, waaaaaaaay sooner. 

My IronPlate Fitness Journey by IronPlate Client, Jennifer Belser

Despite the frequent urging of my mom, I never worked out in my life. I was a cheerleader in HS, but wouldn’t consider myself athletic by any means, and was able to fake my HS gym teachers out when it came to running the mile, and would walk so slow, it would seem as if I did 4 laps, but I probably jogged 1 and walked the last 2, finishing in about 15 minutes, so it seemed “normal”. 

The fitness bug hit my Mom in about the year 2000, when I graduated college, but it never hit me. I would listen to her get up before work and clear out our living room so she could do her workout videos and I would hear her huffing and puffing away. Later on, after I moved out, she got a gym membership at Gold’s. She was able to convince me to go take a class with her only once. After that class and not being able to walk for 3 days, I never went again. 

Jen and her Mom

Jen and her Mom

I never struggled with my weight very much and am relatively lucky in that regard. I could definitely fluctuate about 15lbs up or down, and at my heaviest, I may have been “voluptuous” and “curvaceous”, but I was never “fat”.  I was also extremely out of shape and ate whatever I wanted. 

I lost my Mom 4 years ago to cancer. She was extremely dedicated to fitness and health, and even during her grueling chemotherapy treatments, would wake up and exercise and do what she could. She even had plans to retire in 2016 and pursue fitness as a job, encouraging baby-boomers to get and stay fit, like her. Losing her continued to keep me out of the gym, as the machines, the mere idea of exercise, would remind me of all the opportunities I had to spend time with her and had missed. 

When I turned 35 last year, I knew that something was going to have to change. I couldn’t continue to be lethargic, eat whatever I wanted, be tired all the time and not feel as good about myself as I knew I could. I never understood the “once you to go to the gym and work out, you’ll feel so much better!” mentality. I hated it. I felt awkward, I didn’t know what exercises to perform, and I didn’t like people watching me, or worse, judging me.  But I knew that I had to take a leap and do something out of my comfort zone. At 35, I wanted to give myself the opportunity to look and feel better than I ever had before, and I knew it was time to put in some work. 

Jen on a typical Monday morning - "leg day"

Jen on a typical Monday morning - "leg day"

After doing some research, I came across Kristin’s website, and thought that it seemed like a great fit. The idea of working out in a private space where I could learn and grow was ideal. I went in for a consultation in April of 2013 and signed up for 20 sessions on the spot. Since then,  I have not stopped!! Kristin worked with me, starting slow and assessing my strength levels as well as my ultimate goals and body type. I do a hybrid type of workout which consists of some traditional bodybuilding type of exercises with weights, as well as mixing in some metabolic and plyometric training to get my heart rate up. This is ideal for me because I love the idea of being strong, and I have realized that I love to throw around some weight! Who knew!?

What I love about working out with Kristin is that I know each workout will be different.  If I’m feeling tired, we can go lighter or switch things up, but if I want to test my limits, she’s happy to oblige me.  Now, I’m around the same weight as when I started to work out, but my lean muscle has increased, my body fat has decreased, and when I’m compliant with a good diet (I know, it’s hard, but abs are made in the kitchen!), I even have a visible 4 pack if I flex. 

My fitness journey is only just beginning, but I owe it to Kristin and IronPlate for giving me the tools to work with. My Mom is my inspiration, and I workout with her in mind every time I hit the gym, pick up a weight, or step on the treadmill. I use her weight gloves when I lift and it allows me to feel closer to her. Even after her passing, working out with Kristin has allowed me to have a continuing bond to my Mom, and that is priceless. 

Lean, ripped and fit!

Lean, ripped and fit!