By Courtney Ballenger
I was one of those people who never had to worry about my weight. I could eat whatever I wanted and I did with no consequences. As for exercise, I did not do it. I hated exercising. Despite eating whatever I wanted and not exercising, I was small. I never had any muscle definition but I was tiny.
Then I decided to move to DC. I was working on Capitol Hill! I loved my job. Even though my job was rewarding, I realized that there was consequences for having a job where you sat all day long. The consequences …. I gained weight. According to the charts, I was “normal” for my height (5’7″). But for me, I felt like I was overweight. I was not happy with the way that I looked. And all of my clothes were either tight or did not fit at all.
Last summer, I decided to do something about my weight. I started exercising. I noticed some changes but I still did not like my body. Then I decided to compete in the Miss DC USA pageant. I had competed in pageants in SC so I knew what it took to have a competitive body. And I knew that I did not have it. I also knew that I could not do it on my own. I knew that I needed a fitness trainer. My mother found Walter on the internet and contacted him. I started working with Walter the first week in September 2015.
Walter impressed me the first time that I met with him. I realize that all fitness trainers want to help their clients become fit and healthy. But working with a girl and trying to get her ready to compete in pageants is different. It was clear to me from the first time that I met Walter that he knew what body type that I needed to be competitive in the USA pageant system. He formulated a game plan and the work started.
At first, Walter and I worked out two days a week. I started seeing the results immediately. Then we increased the work outs to three days a week. Then right before the pageant, we tried to work out four days a week (that was really hard for me to do with my job). When I started working with Walter in September, I weighed 128 pounds (I am 5’7″ inches tall). By the time of my pageant in December, I weighed 114 pounds. But even though I had lost 14 pounds, I had gained muscle definition.
The “transformation” took a lot of hard work. As I said, I hate to exercise. I am the type of person who will look for excuses to keep from working out. But, I am also the type of person who works really hard when I do work out. So, it is important for me to have a trainer who will push me and to make me accountable. Walter was able to “size” me up very fast. He was there to give me that positive reinforcement that I needed. He was also there to encourage me when he thought that I needed a little push. He was invested in me and my transformation – that meant so much to me. He also made the workouts fun. I have had trainers in the past that just sit there and watch me exercise. Not Walter! Walter worked out with me. I hate to run. But I learned that running is not that bad when you had someone running with you. While we ran, Walter would talk with me and asked me about my day. It got to the point where I did not mind the running as long as I was running with Walter. For the first time in my life, I ran a 5K (the Turkey Trot).
When I was looking for a trainer, I knew that I needed someone who knew about fitness and what it took to be pageant swimsuit ready. But, I also knew that I needed a trainer that would help me with nutrition. Since I have always been able to eat whatever I wanted, I have never had to watch want I eat. I have to admit that I like junk food. It is not so much that I eat too much but that I eat the wrong food. Immediately, Walter developed a meal plan for me. But, more important than that, Walter started educating to me as to what I can eat and when. With my job, I would often not eat all day and then binge eat at night. Walter changed my eating habits. Not only did he teach me the foods to eat but he got me into a pattern of eating the right food on a regular basis.
I have heard from so many trainers that it takes both diet and exercise. They were right. But most of all – it took work and sacrifice. To be perfectly honest, there were times when I did not want to work out. There were times that I wanted to have that bowl of ice cream. But, I had a goal and I was determined to get my body in shape. And I did. But, I would not have done it without Walter. Knowing that he was there always gave me the motivation to show up. Having him there working out with me always pushed me to work harder.
By the time of the pageant, I was ready. My body was the best that it has ever been. I would like to be able to tell you that I won the pageant but I did not (I did make the top 10). But, I can tell you that I have no regrets. I love my body now. I cannot tell you how many people have noticed the change. I love the compliments. I am back to feeling good about myself.
The DC pageant is over. I do not know if there is another pageant in my future. But, I do know that I want to keep this body. So, I am planning on continuing to work with Walter. Now, my goal is to get that “6 pack” stomach – maybe there is a bikini vacation in my near future.