Smart Health Challenge Week 2: Jess Reed starts working out, eats celery during Bunco night

In last week’s post, Smart Health Challenge winner Jess Reed met with her trainer for a fitness and nutrition plan, accidentally backed into the gym owner’s car, and ate up before strapping on her sneakers. This week, Reed starts working out and adhering to her fitness and nutrition plan. She chooses to eat celery during a game night, and she updates us on this week’s schedule. Here’s Reed’s recap (in her words):

April 9

So, I woke up today excited and ready to roll! I ate some breakfast, threw on my new workout clothes, and headed to the gym. The excitement started to fade when I got a glimpse of my workout! It took me about 1 hour and 10 minutes to complete the whole thing, and I did things that I didn’t know I could do. One of my fears going into this was that I was going to throw up; I am happy to report I did not. I will admit to some nausea toward the end, but when your heart rate is up to 157, you can expect such things. As I was huffing and puffing and sweating like some sort of farm animal, I looked around the room and saw some much fitter people who were smiling as they worked out! After I fought through the immediate feelings of hatred, I realized that maybe one day I, too, would think of working out and the thought would not be followed by a feeling of dread.

I was sitting at my computer this afternoon feeling quite hungry and exhausted, and I got a wonderful email from Mindy Quesenberry (my trainer and Phases’s co-owner). She had read my blog and sent me this message:

“Here is your first bouquet of flowers for the start of your new journey. The next bunch will be real, representing your first 20lbs. lost. Let the journey begin!”

My first response was to smile and think how lucky I am to know someone like her. The second was to think “Dammit, now I can’t think nasty things about her while she is busting my butt Wednesday!”

April 10

Well, the happy thoughts about Mindy didn’t last long; they ended at about 9:30 a.m. Today I did a blended class from 9 to 10 a.m. (step, weights, and some Zumba or aerobics), followed by a yoga class at 10 with Mindy. First of all, let me explain that when I think of yoga, I think of stretching and sitting on the floor finding my inner peace; that is NOT what Mindy’s class is about. There was a lot of strength building! So I did a lot of modified poses because, well, I am just too big to get into those positions. Even if I did manage to get there, I wouldn’t be writing to you right now; I would still be in that position.

Although the classes were crazy hard I was so encouraged by everyone, the members of the class knew that I was the winner and came up and gave me words of encouragement. It was a great feeling; Phases really is like a big family.

I have worked out before, but this was kicking it up a level! If there was any doubt, let me explain that instead of waking up the next morning and feeling sore, I started feeling sore at about 2 this afternoon. I sent Mindy a text to tell her that Jodie’s blended course kicked my butt, and that I was already sore and I was trying to figure out how to do the 30 minutes of cardio that afternoon. I was expecting words of encouragement telling me I could do it; instead, she told me I have done enough for today, and to rest. So what am I going to do with my night off??? I am going to be very busy not eating, cramping up, and sleeping.

April 11

To say I was nervous going into today’s training session with Mindy was an understatement. I mentioned yesterday the people at Phases are great, BUT when I told them that I was training with Mindy today, they all chuckled and wished me luck. Ummmmm, that is like telling a woman who is pregnant with her first child that when she gives birth, it is going to hurt like hell. There is no reason to tell her that; I am sure she has some idea, and besides, it is better that she goes into it blind instead of worrying about it for 9 months.

Anyway, I was up a few times last night (as predicted) with muscle cramps, so I was not feeling very chipper when I hobbled into the gym this morning. We did my weight and measurements, “before” pictures, and this first month’s goals. I will be weighing in every Wednesday and reporting how much I lost. I am going to attempt to save myself a little humiliation and tell you how much I lost, but not my actual weight.

Mindy informed me she was going to take it easy on me today, and we started working out. So, I was doing some crazy stuff, she had me jumping off the floor (of course while holding my girls), planking, push-ups, and more step. I looked up about half-way through, and asked “This isn’t you taking it easy, right?” and as I looked into her eyes, I willed her to lie to me. Of course she didn’t, and informed me that, yes, she was taking it easy on me. Not only was she being “gentle,” but we only technically worked out about 35 minutes; next week it will be a full hour! It was with this information that I now declare that when I hit Mindy’s car last week it was not an accident, but in fact a preemptive strike!

April 12

The word of the day is “sore!” I was awake several times last night, because every time I moved it felt as if I had been hit by a car. Now Brian (Mindy’s husband) said the goal was not to make people feel like that, but I guess his wife doesn’t share his philosophy of training.

Today, I got a rest (since Mindy knew I would be hurting) so I only had to do 30 minutes of cardio in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. I chose to do the advanced step on Wii Fit, since I looked like some sort of fish flailing around out of water in my step class on Tuesday. To my surprise, I am actually sorer this evening than I was this morning.

So on the bright side, Mindy explained to me today that I could give myself a little treat twice a week (on heavy workout days); I can have a small, “skinny” vanilla latte from Starbucks. OK, when I think “treat,” I think chocolate; I don’t think coffee, which to me is one of life’s essentials. A drink is not a treat; I need something to help my growling stomach.

If you were wondering, I am still STARVING!

April 13

So today is Friday, and I am starting to get nervous! I have my monthly Bunco game tomorrow night, and there is always an obscene amount of delicious food and drinks; this is going to be tough!

This morning, I went in and did my individual program, with Mindy watching over me. This is the program I will do every Monday and Friday on my own, but since it is the first week, they assign trainers to go over it with you and then help you through if you have questions. Of course this is the program I did Monday morning with Mindy’s husband, Brian, and I had to do two sets of all these exercises. Today, Mindy cheerfully informed me (when I thought I was done) that she wanted me to do another set of everything. I really didn’t know if I would survive, especially since I am someone who needs to psychologically prepare for things, but I did, and that is all that matters at the end of the day.

April 14

So here we are: Bunco day! I didn’t have too much time to worry throughout the day; it was filled with Zumba at 9 a.m., followed by my twins’ lacrosse game at 10:30. When I got home, I was sitting at my computer doing homework for my classes, and I got a text from Mindy saying she was thinking of coming over and doing my 30 minutes of afternoon cardio with me. At first I panicked, but then I received a text that she would not be able to make it. With a sigh of relief, I relaxed until 25 minutes later when she texted me again and asked if I was ready. Seven minutes later, she was in my driveway! I took her through the back of my house to the neighborhood behind me (I live on top of a big hill and if we went down my hill, we would have to come back up). We started walking (and let me tell you this was NOT a normal pace). About 5 minutes into the walk, she informed me we were going to do some running. OK, the panic meter went off; I looked down my shirt at the normal bra instead of a sports bra I had worn and looked over with a look that I am sure said, “Are you out of your mind?” So it turns out she is a little crazy (love you Mindy; I mean it in a good way), and we did a tiny bit of running. Every 5 minutes we ran from one mailbox to another, and I am sure this was a sight. Here I am next to this gorgeous woman running down the street, while I’m holding my girls! The worst part is, just when I thought it was over, she explained we were going back through my yard and going to walk down my hill. I did what she asked and I saw the absolute best thing while I was on my walk with Mindy, that perfectly describes what we must have looked like. There was a man who ran by us with his bulldog in tow. The man was 3 paces ahead of the dog pulling him and the dog was panting and clearly miserable. Don’t you know, we turned the corner and saw the dog lying on someone’s lawn while the man was pulling him and coaxing him to continue. I turned to Mindy and said, “That is us, and I will be on that lawn soon!” I made it up the hill and as I collapsed on my lawn, I peered up and realized she hadn’t even broken a sweat. I don’t even know what I can say about that … there are no words.

Bunco that night went well; I brought veggies and my friend Missy, who is on a similar journey, brought fruit. Missy also has a great blog she writes; you might want to check it out; very funny! The link is The first 25 minutes I was there, Missy on one side and my friend Lori on the other (watching to make sure I wasn’t licking the cake pops), I settled in and had fun. Most importantly, I didn’t eat anything I wasn’t supposed to, and didn’t have a drink. Midnight, this picture was sent to Mindy:

Yup, there I am in all my glory, eating celery in front of cake pops! If I can do it, so can you; you just have to want to.

April 15

So this is my day off, I didn’t have to do one exercise today, and it felt wonderful! My body needed to rest, and in fact, I slept about 13 hours last night. First thing this morning, Mindy kindly texted me and told me to enjoy today and make sure I still adhered to my eating plan. It was nice that she thought of me, and if there was ever any doubt that she can read minds, she must have known I was trying to convince myself that a day off meant the stupid eating plan as well as the exercise. So much for my fantasy to have some chocolate!

I have been getting numerous emails, some with words of encouragement, and others with questions. If you are one of those people and I haven’t written you back I am sorry, I promise I will; I have just been short on time. You can also feel free to comment on the blog and include your email address and I will write you back. There have been questions about fitting everything in, so I will one day next week write my schedule out for you to see, so you know what my typical day looks like.

For next week, my exercise schedule looks like this:

Monday: Personal Program at Phases Fitness
Tuesday: Blended Group Fitness (weights, step and Zumba) and yoga
Wednesday: Personal Training with Mindy
Thursday: 30 minutes of cardio in the morning and then Zumba
Friday: Personal Program at Phases
Saturday: Zumba and 30 minutes of cardio

Here we go again!

For more on Reed’s journey and the Smart Health Challenge, check out:

Congratulations, winner Jess Reed!

Enter to win the Smart Health Challenge

Jess Krout

Multiplatform features copy editor at York Daily Record/Sunday News. Follow me on Twitter @JessKrout. Email or call 717-771-2002.

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4 Responses

  1. Andrea Lazarus says:

    Way to go! Sounds like you are giving this 100 percent!

  2. Cyndie Lester says:

    Congratulations on your first week completed successfully! I love the way you describe your journey…very funny AND relateable. You made me chuckle a lot! Hang in there, you’re going great. :-). I’m sure I’ll see you several times this week.

  3. Jess Reed says:

    Thanks for the encouragement ladies! It feels like it has been longer then a week I will tell you that!

  4. Ban says:

    You go, Jess! I met you early on in Phases, you were looking a bit overwhelmed but really excited. Glad to hear you are doing so well!

    Here’s my tip of the week: Don’t let the lack of sweat on Mindy intimidate you. Apparently she’s one of a small handful of people that just don’t sweat very often. One of life’s cruel ironies – we big’uns get to sweat, while the fit and dainty look, well, fit and dainty. I like to console myself with the knowledge that if I am going to fall over from dehydration, at least I will know it was coming. Mindy’s just going to fall over – and you WILL be able to pick her up and prop her next to the water fountain. Just sayin’.

    :) Keep up the great work!

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