How To: Get Fit

CATEGORIES: Health and Fitness

As I’ve been sharing bits and pieces on this topic, I keep getting comments and emails saying, “Keep it coming, I need motivation!” So here you go.  Summer is about 3 months away and that is plenty of time to make a big difference if you’re wanting to find the motivation to get healthier (see much further down this post how much I changed in just 3 months).  Over the past 2 years I’ve made some big changes, and one of the things that has been instrumental is that I’ve learned to love and embrace exercise and fitness.  I’m not talking about loving fitness in the way that you annoy everyone you know posting your workouts on Facebook.  I’m talking about genuinely loving living an active life and pushing myself physically.

treadmill funny

It’s become a hobby, a stress reliever, and for someone who’s life revolves around food- a necessity.  I’ve found becoming healthy and strong just as much mentally and emotionally empowering as it is physically empowering.  Next week I’m going to share my whole story, about where I’ve been and where I am, and everything that’s influenced me along the way (including the topic of nutrition, which is probably the thing I get the most questions about.)  Well next week or the week after.  The other post I have in the queue involves cheese-smothered nachos.  It’s all about balance.  But today I’m going to write about exercise, and all of my best tips on how to make it happen and truly assist you in getting healthier, and specifically- losing weight.  Okay, now.  I’m about to do something incredibly embarrassing and I’m having heart palpitations just thinking about it.  But here we go.  I’m posting this picture in hopes of inspiring others so at least ONE flippin’ person out there better tell me they’re  inspired or I will go hide under a rock for the rest of my life.  This is the difference that exercise and nutrition have made for me:

Food Blogger loses 50 pounds

That before picture was a little less than 2 years ago, and the after was a couple of days ago.  I’ve learned so much along the way.  For everyone who’s asked for motivation, tips, and advice from my personal experience- here’s my best stuff.  I hope this helps someone out there feel motivated enough to set a goal and make it happen.  I am such a happier person today than I was 2 years ago almost 50lbs overweight, and trust me: if I, a person who’s life revolves around cooking and eating can make this happen- so can you!

Make the time

One of the most common challenges people face when trying to start an exercise program is simply a lack of time.  Let me tell you- I know a thing or two about lack of time.  I know what it’s like to lead a busy life.  Mine doesn’t slow down, ever!    As my life has become increasingly busy over the years, time has become a precious commodity.   Having more and more to do has actually made me be more and more productive and organized.  I hate wasting time; I hate being idle.  What I’ve learned is that it’s all about prioritizing.  You make time for the things that are important to you.

Make Time

This applies to wanting more time for your family, your hobby, and definitely for exercise.  If it’s important to you, you can’t wait for “leftover” time to squeeze it in.  You schedule it in.  You commit.  You make the time.  Sometimes this requires sacrifice.  I am NOT a morning person, or at least I never have been, but I found that I simply don’t have the time to work out during the day, and I hate it when I lose time with my kids, or for my job, or other things I need to be doing be having to map out out big chunk of time in the middle of the day.  So I work out in the wee hours of the morning.  My alarm goes off between 5:30-6 every day and over the past 2 years I re-conditioned my body and my mind, and that’s just my schedule now.  Even if I don’t set an alarm, my eyes pop open by 6, it’s just what I’m used to now.  Even when I want so desperately to sleep, I don’t let myself talk me out of it.  It’s non-negotiable, and now it’s habit.  Make time for yourself.

Now is the Right Time-2

People (and by people I mostly mean women) are generally shocked to hear that I still want to have another baby.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard the sentence, “Why are you wasting your time getting fit and losing weight when you’re just going to get pregnant and ruin it all?” Most people have a tendency to look for that perfect time for everything.  Fitness is no exception.  I myself have often thought, “okay after my vacation next week, I’ll really focus and get started on this.” or “After I get through this stressful work project, I’ll be dedicated to my nutrition.”  The perfect time is now.  Today.  Always.  There’s never a negative of making healthy choices and if there’s one thing I can encourage you to do (if you’re reading this and are needing encouragement) it’s to stop wasting time waiting for that “right” time.  Just start now!  Today!  A few months from now you’ll be SO happy you did.

After I lost most of my weight, my little brother moved here to Boise.  After the incredibly successful experience I had working with a great trainer, I encouraged my brother to at least meet with him too.  I knew my trainer, Jacob, could help my brother change his life if he could just find the motivation to make the decision to do it.  My brother met with Jacob at the beginning of December, and after a long talk he knew it was great fit and something he needed, and wanted, to do.  On January 1st,  of course.  Because that’s when you “start” things.  My brother just wanted to get through the holidays, enjoy the holidays, and then focus on this giant weight loss goal. Jacob convinced them there was no point in waiting.  Why wait and prolong what you’ve already decided to do??  So my brother begrudgingly  did it.  He started a nutrition and training plan at the beginning of the most caloric month of the year.  A month where he says he traditionally gains 5-10 pounds, and instead, he lost 10 pounds.  By January 1st, the time he planned to start thinking committing to a goal, he was already well on his way.  That was a little over a year ago and to date, my “little” brother has shed over 100 pounds.  Start now!

100 lb weight loss on Our Best Bites

Okay, so let’s assume you’re ready to get fit.  Ready to make some changes, train for something specific, or simply be more active.  Here’s some practical tips when it comes to the How-To.

Now is the Right Time

ON Pink topSimple thing when you look at the big scheme of things, but as I mentioned in my Fit Gear Faves post, it’s amazing how much more motivated you can be when you feel comfortable and confident and have something fun and new to wear.  Don’t let weight be a deterrent; you don’t have to buy anything fancy and expensive.  Grab a cute free top from Old Navy, or even Walmart has a great super cheap line.  Then when you lose weight, you can reward yourself with one in a smaller size!

power in numbers

S and TWhile dedication to fitness takes a lot of personal effort, having friends and a support network absolutely helps.  This is my friend Tricia.  After I had my first baby, moved to Idaho, and tried to get back into exercising, we began working out at the same gym.  Tricia had recently lost a significant amount of weight and encouraged me to come to some of the group classes she attended.  I was terrified since I was out of shape and had no idea what I was doing, but it wasn’t so scary going with a friend.  I quickly fell in love with kickboxing and spinning, and we found we got a great workout, while chit-chatting the entire time.  It was like a fun girls-night-out, but we were sweating our rears off.  That hour class each night became my kid-free stress relief each week and I loved it.  I never would have even tried those things if it wasn’t for the fact that I had a friend by my side those first few times.  So find a friend or two with similar goals as you and encourage one another.  Or try swapping kids so you can both work out.  Form an exercise group yourself.  Several years ago a group of my friends and I gathered at 5:30 in the morning and did P90 in my friend’s garage together.   Another time we formed a little running group.  I HAD to get out of bed when I knew my buddies were waiting out on the corner for me in the wee hours of the morning.  Plus, there’s nothing more motivating than a little friendly competition, and when you get girls together to work out you’re bound to have a little of that 😉

Join a gym

There are a lot of ways to work out, including in your own home, but I love going to the gym because it helps me to focus.  At home I will find a million and one distractions, but at the gym, the only thing to do there is work out, so I get my stuff done and get out.  Now days, joining a gym doesn’t need to be a major financial investment.  Sure there are huge, fancy facilities with state of the art equipment.  You’ve got classes and swimming, and children’s programs, and more- but those things also come with a price.  In most cities there are small gyms with minimal monthly fees that are totally manageable for just about any budget.  The gym I go to is small.  Like, really small.  It’s got kind of a Cheers vibe going on where everyone knows everyone because you work out along-side the same 15 people every day.  There are zero bells and whistles, and the equipment isn’t even high-end, but it’s perfect for me.  I don’t need wireless internet and tv screens on every treadmill.  I go to the gym to lift heavy stuff and sweat, and my little gym gets the job done.  It’s open 24 hours, is located about 3 minutes from my house, and I pay less than $10 a month.  I probably spend that much on gum each month so a gym is totally in the realm of possibility for anyone.  Check around and I bet you can find one in your area in the $10-15 a month range.

That being said, if you don’t have a gym membership, there are SO many great (free!) resources online for home work-outs.  Start googling and you’ll find more than you ever imagine existed.


Sara and her TrainerThis picture is from last summer when I took Kate to workout with my trainer.  This is after our workout and as you can see he’s pointing to both of us, but Kate threatened to hunt me down and cut me in my sleep if I ever posted the photo to the internet.  Kate, take note: you have been effectively removed.  Still, I might sleep with one eye open tonight.

I used to think that trainers were for one of two types of people.  Either the super-elite, training for crazy awesome athletic events (like, I don’t know- the Olympics?) or just the opposite: people who didn’t have a clue how to exercise and needed someone to hold their hand.  I dismissed the idea because I didn’t fit into either category, but I was wrong on both accounts.  I’ll tell you more about how I ended up with a trainer when I write my post next week with my full story, but I will tell you right now that the key to my success this time around, when I had been unsuccessful so many times before,  was undoubtedly an awesome trainer, who is really good at what he does.  Investing in training was honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  That being said, all trainers are not created equal.  In fact, I’d say some would be a complete waste of time and money, and since training can be expensive, you want to make sure you’re investing in something that’s going to be very worthwhile.  The absolute best way to find a good trainer is from a personal reference.  Ask around; talk to friends who have worked with trainers and get a recommendation.

Less Cardio

Maybe it’s just the area that I live in, because this is so, so prevalent in the Utah/Idaho region, but running is a really big thing.  I swear every minivan in town has a bumper sticker proudly displaying their mileage (and I’m not talking about the car.)

Fitness Tips from Our Best Bites

Girls in particular tend to be obsessive about cardio.  Before I started working with my trainer I was running several miles a day.  I couldn’t figure out how I could be running so much and not losing weight.  The single most effective thing in my personal weight-loss experience was the change from cardio to resistance training.  I used to spend the majority of my exercise on cardio (running, elliptical, stair climbing, etc.) and then maybe throw in a few minutes lifting weights.  My trainer completely reversed that.  Cardio became my cool-down; just 15-20 minutes after an intense hour of resistance.  I spend the majority of my workouts in the weight room now.  The moment I started doing that the pounds literally melted off.  Just to show you- here’s that same horrid before picture (which was taken right after one of my very first training sessions, and explains why I look like death), and the after is just 3 months later (I’m not a crazy person, it was Halloween.)  This was simply eating a normal healthy diet, but staying within a reasonable calorie range, and weight training at the direction of my trainer.

Results of 3 months of weight training at Our Best Bites

When you lift weights, you build lean tissue.  You raise your metabolism so you burn more calories doing nothing!  Girls, you won’t bulk up; you’ll become lean, and toned.  The thing that surprised me the most was that as my weight started coming off and the fat melted, I wasn’t just getting thinner, I was getting strong. I had muscle definition.  Cardio is good, running is healthy, but don’t depend completely on it.  Try getting into the weight room and you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.  Read my experience of this past December when I took an entire month off of cardio while at the same time increasing my calories each day: Here.

And so I don’t sound like a hypocrite- I do still run!  I do some cardio every day and usually one day a week I take a break from weights to let my muscles rest and do a long run (anywhere from 4-6 miles) to keep up my endurance.  In terms of my daily routine, I switch things up often, but generally speaking I work out 5-6 days a week.  I warm up with a little cardio to get my blood moving and then do anywhere from 30-60 minutes of resistance training (weights),  I alternate between days that focus on legs, shoulders and back, biceps and triceps, and core.  Then I usually finish with some higher intensity cardio, like 20 minutes of faster-pace running or stairs.  So I do still sweat it out on the cardio machines, I just focus more on resistance now.

Active Habits

Exercising doesn’t have to be about suiting up for the gym or pounding the pavement.  The secret to long-term health and fitness is living an active life.  Find some activities you enjoy, or start a new one.  My husband and I love to be outdoors hiking and exploring so this winter we took up snowshoeing.  It’s been an awesome way to be active and good workout while having fun doing something we enjoy together.

Sara Our Best Bites Snowshoeing

If you’re taking baby steps, try just going for a walk every night after dinner.  If you’re already pretty fit and just want a new hobby, try a new sport or train for an event you’ve never done before.  The best way to burn calories is to do it in a fun way where you forget you’re even exercising.

no excuses

Once you make a goal and commit to something, don’t let the devil on your shoulder talk you out of it.  I used to be a very all or nothing person.  I was either totally zoned in and focused on something (like health and fitness) or completely out of it (“Well, since I didn’t work out today, I may as well eat cake for breakfast.)  Take vacation for example.  That was always clearly “time off” for me.  I enjoyed not stressing about anything, eating whatever I wanted, and dealing with the consequences when I got back to real life.  I live a life now that’s much more balanced.  When I go out of town on business or on vacation with my family, I still enjoy myself, and still indulge in yummy food, but I also make better decisions and fit in exercise.  Even for a quick overnight trip, I pack my work out clothes and running shoes.  Almost all hotels have fitness facilities now, and if they don’t, I do this at-home workout from my trainer.

Our Best Bites Home Workout

Last summer after a solid 6 weeks of traveling (and “time off”) I came back to reality and had gained 10 pounds.  Ten!  I slipped in one training session before I was leaving the very next morning on a massive road trip ending in Disneyland.  After the depressing weigh-in, I promised my trainer that the moment I got home from my big trip, I’d fix the mess I’d made and be right back on track.  He said no way.  I was starting right then.  “But I’m going on a road trip!”  “And we’re eating out every single day!”  “And I have no gym!”  He made me commit to tracking my calories and he texted me this workout to do every day.  I did it.  7 days, 40 something hours in the car, no gym, and amusement park food every day, and I came home 2 pounds lighter (and knocked off the rest of it shortly after).  No excuses.

Another one of my favorite no-excuses work-outs are intervals, because you can do them anywhere.  Search the iTunes store for “interval app” and you’ll find basic timers like this.  I set it to 1 minute intervals and it will beep when each one is done.  Then just do something different for each minute and don’t stop until the minute is over.  Try jumping jacks, squats, push ups, sit-ups, lunges, high-knees, planks, tricep dips, etc.  Sometimes I set 30 1 minute intervals and do it while I watch a half-hour tv show, talking some of the intervals as breaks.

Interval App from Our Best Bites

Don't be Annoying

I can’t write this post without also including this one last very important section.

workout funny

Don’t be one of those people.  You know who I’m talking about.  You desperately want to hide them from your social media feeds, but then you couldn’t silently mock them so you just keep them there.

Deciding to be fit and healthy is awesome, but don’t become obsessed.  Don’t let it take over your life.  And don’t annoy all of your friends by talking about it ALL THE TIME. I know you all have those friends, and I’m going to stop talking about this before mine realize I’m talking about them.  There’s a big difference between being dedicated, and being obsessed and addicted.  Make sure you can differentiate.  Making time for exercise is important, but if it gets to the point where you’re missing family events, or turning down time with friends because you’re stressed it will interfere with your fitness schedule, you might have a problem.

I sincerely hope that this helps some of you out there find that extra little push you need.  Now go get after it!



  1. I’m so excited for this series of posts to continue. I gobbled this one up. Thanks for the great info and the positive motivation. Your story is awesome and really shows me that I can do it. Can’t wait to hear more!

    1. Also, I’m scared to try tricep dips at the gym because I feel fairly certain I’ll fall over or tip the bench or something equally as horrifying.

    2. Agreed, I really loved this post. Thanks so much for sharing your story, it’s very inspiring! Also, great tips and advice. I especially agree with the part about developing habits. Your #1 priority should be on developing habits that contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle. That’s the the basis of most successful weight loss strategies for a reason – it works! In fact, here’s a wonderful little article that explains the key factors in an effective, long-term weight loss strategy:

  2. Sara, forget about hiding under that rock. You have inspired me! I’ve lost 20lbs over the past 6 months (slowwwww, but at least the scale is going in the right direction, right?) and you’re making me feel like maybe it’s time to give up the elliptical and do some weight training. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Sara, this post is SO awesome! Thank you so very much for opening up, sharing your journey and very excellent and sound advice!!! Thank you for sharing your blessing with others to help and inspire – and you’ve inspired me. I’m a fairly fit (yet busy) mom, but I’m stuck in a fitness rut right now, and your post is exactly the kick in the pants I needed. I agree wholeheartedly with everything in this post. And thank you for being so brave to post photos because it really helps! Not brave really, because you look a-mazing! I especially love how your photos depict just what you can accomplish in 3 short months! Thank you a million times over and please keep this terrific posts coming! Blessings to you, Kate and your families!

  4. Thank you! Thank you for this post! You have inspired me to start weight training. Please keep the fitness posts coming!

  5. I love that you posted this. I myself have just lost 40 lbs in the last year and I really appreciate your time and energy for creating all your awesome recipes. I have your cook books, I have your apps and I follow your blog and I love all your healthy recipes. I need variety with food so it is fun to try out your recipes and it makes me happy that you are making some of them so healthy! Thank you!

  6. Sara, thank you so much for sharing! You look great. I’ve also made some similar changes to my lifestyle, and it really has made such a difference. Weight/resistance training is such an effective tool for leaning out and losing weight, and I can’t recommend it enough!

  7. This is completely inspiring!!! I just got back from running, funny enough:) I need to add more resistance training. Thanks for your motivating words!! You look strong and defined!!!!!

  8. Thanks for this post! I lost 15 lbs. last year and felt great but then beginning in November 2013, I lost the motivation in preparation for the holidays. I’ve just started getting back on track after discovery I gained 6 pounds back and could use all the motivation and advice I can get to stay on track!

  9. Really needed this post! Lost a bit of motivation over the last couple weeks to keep at daily exercising. This gave me the push to get back on the horse (and hopefully stay on)!

  10. Thank you so much for this! Seven years ago, I made the decision to change my life and get healthy. I lost 40 pounds that first year and have (give or take 5lbs) kept it off. I just had my first baby in November and have been struggling to get back to my workouts, though I miss them so much. This is a great reminder that I can fit a little something in during nap times. Any new mom fitness tips?

    1. That new baby stage is so hard, because not only are you sleep deprived, but it’s hard to leave your baby with anyone (or in the childcare), and if you’re nursing, you kind of have to work around that, too. Now that spring is on it’s way, it will be easier to get outside. After my first baby, I lost most of my weight by stroller-walking every day. I’d walk fast, and up hills, and as long as nutrition is in check, too, it’s a great way to get healthy and lose weight while not leaving baby!

    2. For me, walking is the best because I can take baby (well, now toddler) with me. It’s not a super tough workout, but it was a good start for me. I also have found that anything I can do without having to change into workout clothes works best as a new mom. If I can just walk, or do a few pushups without having to change first, I usually will do it. Start slow with something you know you can do, even if it’s sit ups, pushups, or a quick walk. Being a new mom is tricky, and I found that each month my baby was around, I got better at adding a new thing to my routine (whether is was laundry more regularly, or exercise!). Be patient with yourself, I think that’s key!

  11. This was amazing and inspiring! I lost a good amount of weight before I got pregnant with my 4th and last child. I’m back at it again and more focused than ever. Although, I find it very hard for me to step away from the cardio, I find it quite therapeutic. But I am trying to add more resistance training in. Thank you for this post.

    1. I find it therapeutic as well, Kristen! And I still do cardio- I enjoy it because that’s when my mind wanders and I get lots of thinking done! In fact, ironically, I often daydream about recipes and come up with some of my best work while on a treadmill, haha.

  12. I’ve lost 75 (almost) lbs this year and it makes such a huge difference in my quality of life and my ambitions. We are going to Alaska in May to celebrate and we are going to hike on glaciers!

  13. I’ve been trying to get healthier over the last couple of months so I’ve started focusing on eating healthier. I’m losing weight but I know exercise is the next step. Thanks for the encouragement to take the next step! It won’t be easy since where I’m from we’ve had the coldest winter in 64 years & I hate the cold! Looking forward to reading more in this series.

  14. Thank you for sharing. I totally relate to the all or nothing attitude!!! It makes no logical sense, but if I slip and eat a little treat then I end up caving and eating something worse because I wasn’t “perfect.” Thanks for the motivation!

  15. Your posts couldn’t have come at a better time. I had a beautiful baby girl one year ago, and while I didn’t gain much weight, my body did not go back to the “right” shape. My stomach pooched out a lot. Too many people were asking me when I was due, even my general practitioners nurse assumed I was pregnant. Something had to be done. My sis-in-law had a baby one week before me and had started working out with her brother, who happens to be a trainer. She looked great. I was so jealous, but didn’t have a clue where to start. So my husband generously started me on a 3-month membership with the trainer at the beginning of this year, and it’s been good. Like you, we do strength and cardio twice a week, then I add in a couple cardio during the week on my own. Your posts have been helpful with the apps and gear and attire and motivation. The nutrition part is probably my biggest crutch, but I’m working on that. So far, I don’t look so much pregnant but just chubby now, so that’s progress. And I just booked a no-kid trip with some friends (tall skinny girls) in May, so that’s my motivation right now. I may not be able to do anything about being short, but I don’t have to be the chubby one in the group! Keep the posts coming! Thanks.

    1. I can totally relate Courtney. My body never goes back to the same shape after pregnancy- and it’s different each time! That’s awesome you’re starting with a trainer; I bet you’ll be where you want to get in no time. Nutrition is my biggest challenge too; I just love food too much and have very little willpower! But man, if you can get that in check, AND great workouts- it’s like magic!

  16. Awesome and inspiring! I’m right there with you and just broke my plateau of weight loss this week after baby #4! Hopefully the next 10 lbs come off in the next couple of months!!!!

  17. Thanks Sara! U rock! I appreciate you being real and showing the before pic; that takes some real nerve. It also shows me that you are a “real” person and had to work hard to get where you are now. I want your arms! Any tips for a totally flat chested girl who want to wear those nike tanks? thank you again for being real! {{virtual hug}}

    1. Oh my gosh Sally- you’re talking to a flat chested girl, lol! I seriously lost like 3 cup sizes when all that weight came off! That after photo is taken at a great angle, and (since I’m putting it ALL out there in this post already) I’m just wearing a normal bra in that pic so I’m not totally flattened out, haha. My advice is 1. Just own it- seriously. I actually love being smaller up top because it makes running and jumping a lot easier, haha. Also, in my Fit Gear Faves post– I talked about sports bras from Victoria’s secret. Check those out if you haven’t already because they’re built more like real bras (as opposed to just thick spandex that smashes everything in on top) Those will actually give you some shape, and they even have ones with a little lift if you need it. Definitely try those!

  18. This inspired me to the point of tears! I was in such good shape before but I let it all go during my third pregnancy and now I have 40 pounds to lose to get back to myself. You have reminded me how much I love being healthy & in shape and I’m starting now! Thank you, thank you! You look amazing!

  19. Thank you so much for your honesty and encouragement! I have been needing the push to make a change. I would love to know the specifics of your weight routine-if there’s some free-weight routine that I could be doing at home (along with the lunges and squats and occasional cardio). You have done an amazing job I congratulations and keep up the good work!

  20. I just wanted to say thanks! I tend to gain A LOT with each pregnancy. I lost it all and then some before Baby #4. He is now 11 months old and I still have 15 lbs to lose. I needed this motivation to bump it into gear. Thanks again!

  21. After my son was born, I started up walking again very quickly. Not to lose weight, but to heal and to feel better, and mainly fight new mommy fatigue. I lost the baby weight very quickly, and a lady told me, “Wow, you’re looking good. I figure, I’m going to have another one, so why worry about the weight now?” I thought, “Well if I did that with multiple kids, I’d be 50 or more pounds heavier once I’m done…I’ll keep walking!” 🙂 I totally agree with your thought, “Now is the time.” I need to do a little more strength building, but walking works for me and my lifestyle—and it’s something my son and I can do together to “kill time” and be out of our house! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your info, I really appreciate it! I think we all need a reminder and pep talk now and then!

  22. I usually hate posts like this because A. it’s long and B. many folks aren’t very adept at describing their fitness routine and why it works in a way to empower other people. This post is fantastic! I work out regularly and I feel inspired by this.

    In terms of joining a gym and the cost being unmanageable, I started categorizing my gym fees as a “health” fee in my budget. Would I spend $40 a month on my health? Heck yes! I really think its something people need to prioritize outside of dining out, clothing, etc. Classes are a great way to get familiar with some equipment (like weights, barbells, etc.). Loving this series and your attitude.

    1. Phew, you had me worried there for a sec Laurel! Haha. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I totally agree with you on the categorizing the monetary aspect. That’s exactly how I looked at my training investment (which was quite sizable.) It wasn’t just some fun perk- it was an actual investment in my personal health, which is really important. Looking at it from that perspective kept me really motivated.

  23. Very well said! It’s true, you have to make it a priority, we accomplish those things that we find important. Sign up for an event and get busy, a trainer it will help keep you motivated. . . it’s interesting what happens when you KNOW someone is watching, looking, & checking in on a regular basis!
    hugs to you & congrats 🙂

  24. I love your story. Thanks for sharing your success … And I want your trainer!!! Makes me want to spend some time in Boise just to spend some time with >>> that guy. I’ve worked out with trainers in the past and I can’t agree more … There are some great ones and some not so motivating ones. So glad you and your brother and friends have found one of the great ones 🙂 thanks for posting this as well as your workout tools post and looking forward to your next one. You are a beautiful person inside and out 🙂

  25. Sara!! Love this and love u!! Thanks for the great motivation!! I needed this!! Can’t wait to hear ur tips and tricks on nutrition- and how to feed ur family while eating clean/healthy…that’s my biggest struggle!!

      1. Seri, do you actually know Sara? Small world moment. Sara thanks for the motivating post. I’m unfortunately at the force myself out of bed in the morning to actually get up and exercise phase. I’ve done it before, I just need to get back to it. I also go in and out of being good with food.

        1. Lol Michelle- yes! Fittingly (considering the subject matter) Seri and I first met at the gym 🙂 Now we’re legit Facebook friends, which is like the most official form of friendship there is so we’re basically like sisters. And we have similar shopping styles because we like to run into each other at places like Target and Hobby Lobby, haha 🙂

  26. Thanks for sharing your story,and pictures. You have helped me see what I need t o work on to lose weight and given great tips.
    Thanks again!!!

  27. You look fantastic! I really want to get in shape before my husband and I start trying for a baby next year, but finding time to exercise is the hardest thing for me… I just need to make it a priority, I guess.

  28. Awesome job lady! Please keep these post coming! It truly is an inspiration to me! I have 40 more lbs to lose! Seeing those who did it helps a lot! Especially a fellow foodie!

  29. Awesome. You are so inspiring! I’m the opposite– love strength/circuit training, hate cardio. I just signed up for some races to get me back on the treadmill. My endurance really stinks. I think that balance is really the key to being healthy and to losing weight. From my experience, you can be awesome at exercising, but still be overweight and unhealthy. I am working on that balance of eating right and exercising. Thanks for the added motivation!

  30. To put it simply….thank you! Thank you for sharing your story (and your photo’s, although nothing to be embarrassed about there!), I found some great counter arguments to my fitness stopper statements! I am truly inspired and starting today I am making some changes for me! Thank you!!!

  31. THANK YOU for this post. I had my 4th baby 10 months ago and am struggling keeping positive. Mentally it’s so hard for me to be patient. I want results NOW. You look so great and I LOVE stories like this to keep me motivated. It takes time and dedication. I 100% agree with you that having friends to workout with is so important. I’m back on the bandwagon and am determined to lose this weight and feel good again. I have to wake up at 4:40 am but I get it done :). Do you take any supplements? And how about protein? Those are the 2 biggest questions I have and never know the answers to.

    1. Patience is key! Anything that promises a quick fix probably won’t be effective or long lasting. Good for you for waking up so early- that takes a LOT of dedication! I don’t take supplements, but I do watch my protein. I have protein shakes every day and I try to make sure all of my meals have a healthy balance of food groups, but are heavy on protein.

  32. I work out and never lose weight. But reading about how you flipped the cardio and weights might just be my key. I totally need a trainer. I just wish they weren’t so dang expensive. I look forward to your tips and motivation.

  33. I’m SO inspired! Thank you so much for letting us know about your success with weight loss. Your pictures were not posted in vain! I love to see before and after pictures. It lets me know that there’s people out there that did it, and that I can do it too. PLEASE keep posting!

  34. This was AWESOME. Thank you so much for posting it – embarrassing pictures and all. I appreciate your honesty, enthusiasm and willingness to share. As usual, you ladies are the best! Can’t wait to read next week’s update!

  35. congrats! you are definitely inspiring to me and obviously many others. I’ve been getting the weight off, but really need to tone up. Where in the Boise/Eagle are are you going for 8 bucks a month? I need to find a place that I like and feel comfortable at…that doesn’t take away too much from the monthly budget.

    1. My gym is probably like $10-15 now. I pay 8 because I’ve gotten $$ off for referring freinds. You might check out the brand new Gold’s Gym on Eagle Road- it’s super nice and only $10 a month!

  36. Great post! Thank you so much for your encouragement. We girls that like to cook and eat 🙂 need to encourage each other towards a healthy balanced lifestyle!!

    Could you also share where you purchased your hat and green top in your snowshoeing photo? I love the look!!

  37. This was SO motivational. Thanks so much for taking the time to write it. In your followup post I hope you’ll include a tidbit on what it meant to “track your food.” Did you count calories? Or nutritional content?

  38. This is a really great post and kudos to you on changing your lifestyle! You look fantastic, and it’s amazing how the pounds you shed also take years off your overall appearance. Healthier, slimmer, and younger looking. I can completely relate to a lot of the changes you made. Last April I also decided I was tired of the extra padding and decided that I deserved better and made a commitment to myself to eat whole clean foods and make time for exercise, and the weight loss was just a positive side effect of the process. I admittedly focus on cardio – I love to run and dance Zumba (Every try it? It’s sooo much fun!!) but I should probably do more resistance training. I will be closely following your posts on anything fitness and nutrition. Thanks for sharing and keep it up!

  39. Nice job on your weight loss journey! I’ve been lacking in the motivation department lately and this is just what I needed to hear today. Thank You!

  40. Hi,
    This is so inspiring and I greatly appreciate it. However I wanted to let you know that your link to “Read my experience of this past December when I took an entire month off of cardio while at the same time increasing my calories each day” takes me to a post for Healthy Thai Salad (1/06/2014)!

      1. This post was beyond awesome. Thanks so much! I also had the question about this link because the salad post doesn’t talk about you giving up cardio at all. I would love to hear more about this subject if possible, thanks so much!!

  41. This is awesome. Thanks! I’m 10 weeks away from delivering my third baby, and although I’ve never really been more than 10 pounds overweight in the past, I’m planning on really trying hard this time to use that post-baby/breastfeeding time to my advantage. If I can just drag myself out of bed and get walking every day those first few months, I know I’ll be so glad. Maybe I’ll buy myself some cute workout clothes to go walking with my new little one in. 🙂

  42. Thank you! This is just what I needed! I had gotten into shape and then had my 5th baby and really have not been able to get back! I’m at my top weight! Thank you! Keep them coming please.

  43. You truly are inspiring! This is EXACTLY what I needed to help me shed my last 20 extra pounds. I especially appreciate the advice on resistance training. I think that is what I need to do!

  44. What an inspiration you are. I just copied your at home work out plan. How many days a week do you work out? 3? 6? Somewhere inbetween? Maybe you said and I missed it.

  45. First of all, You look Amazing! I’ve already begun my journey to being fit, but your post was a great motivator. I can’t wait to hear about your nutrition!

  46. Love this Sara–and way to go! You look great, and feeling great is even better!
    I totally agree with you on the weight training. I’ve been lifting weights for about 9 months now, and it’s made such a difference. I read a great article a while ago that talked about how women are so afraid that they will look like body-builders if they start lifting weights. Ha-they said, most *men* can’t even look like that! So women are doing wimpy 5 pound weights and running millions of miles, not getting the body they want because they’re afraid of getting a body that’s nearly impossible to get anyway. 🙂

  47. I love this post! I lost a bunch of weight after baby #5 but then had baby #6 and it has been much harder this time around. I really love running, as long as it’s outside, and I love being able to take my little girls with me, but I definitely need to add some strength training. Thanks for posting your “at home” workout. I’m going to have to google a few of the exercises, but then I want to try it.

  48. Any advice for pregnant workouts? I’m at 0 fitness-wise, but I recognize I cannot just coast through this pregnancy without doing something. You have great ideas here, but where do I start? Especially when I can’t manage to wake up before my other kids. 🙁

    1. Meg, I would just focus on being active! Try walking every day, or going on bike rides with your kids. When I used a BodyBugg, which tracks calorie expenditure, I found my highest calorie-burning days were the ones where I was running a lot of errands. So I always keep that in mind now and do the simple things, like parking a little farther away from the store, taking the stairs, etc. All of those things make a big difference.

  49. So glad you shared your story–very inspirational! I joined a gym in October and it was a great decision. Had a free session/assessment with a trainer in which he put me in the “skinny fat” category. Ew–such a gross image. Anyways, I fortunately have never had any issues with weight gain but am trying to get stronger and toned. I think what I need is advice on food/meal-planning. Hope that is coming up in your series!

  50. Awesome post! GO OUT AN LIFT WEIGHTS WOMEN OF THE WORLD!!! you will not get bulky.. you will be tight, toned, and dddddddarrrrn sexy! Step away from the cardio!

  51. $8 per month? That is crazy! We finally ended up joining the YMCA about a year and a half ago. I told my husband for the price we are paying we WILL be there 6 days a week and take advantage of EVERY free thing they offer. 🙂 Finally have lost 23 pounds since beginning of January since I seriously cut out a lot of baking. LOVE the skinny chicken salad recipe. I seriously eat it every day.

  52. Thank you for sharing this part of yourself with us. You have definitely helped inspire and motivate me. It looks like I need to get off of the treadmill and I definitely need to work on consistency.

  53. Thank you for sharing your experience! I’m a runner and I haven’t been able to lose the rest of my baby weight with just running. I started to hate running because it wasn’t helping me in the way I really wanted. Definitely going back to some weight training and intervals. I can do those at home in the early AM. I’m ready!

  54. LOVE this! It is spot on and so motivational – so please don’t go hiding under a rock 😉 I have been on a health journey for a while and I feel that there is a trifecta of things that have to be going on (nutrition, strength training and cardio) and I can never seem to have them going on all at the same time. I would love to hear more about the nutrition side of things and a sample of foods you eat regularly. Thank you for sharing your tips!

  55. I loved this post! I’m one of those people who was so fit through high school and college then completely lost motivation after having a baby. I’ve had 3 babies and gain 50+ lbs with each so I have a lot to lose when all is said and done. It took me 2 years to lose it all after baby 1 (long walks through our hilly neighborhood)but because I was fit when I got pregnant with #2, the weight melted off in about 8 months. I got pregnant immediately after losing the weight and #3 has been a huge challenge. My old ways weren’t cutting it so I finally joined a gym so I could lift weights and take some classes. I’ve actually gained a few pounds but I feel better and look trimmer. I put off joining a gym for SO long because I had too many friends who only talked about going to the gym and working out- so annoying! Anyways, I’ve been feeling a little disheartened with the gain but this post just motivated me again, thank you for being so brave and posting!

  56. Ugh. First of all, this morning I missed my daily workout for the first time in probably four months. As soon as I finished reading this, I changed my clothes (I was already showered/dressed/makeup on, etc) and fit in my exercise. Thanks for that – I feel better already, but need to ask a question.

    Three years ago I lost 50 lbs. Last year I got pregnant, gained it back (obviously), and then had my 5th child in August. Since then, I have once again lost the excess weight, plus another 20 lbs. Today I tried on a pair of size 6 jeans (which I have always wanted to wear – I’ve been a 12-16 most of my life) and my first thought was, “Huh. I always thought I’d look better than this at a 6.” Truthfully, I’m disappointed in myself for even thinking that – but don’t know if and when that thinking goes away. Have you had ANY experience with this? Please don’t think I’m throwing a pity party – it’s just a weird mental thing that I don’t seem to understand!!! 🙂

    1. First of all- congrats on losing all of that weight again Melissa, that’s amazing! And I know exactly what you’re talking about with your mental struggles. I always rolled my eyes when little skinny girls would whine about their weight issues, etc. But one thing I’ve figured out is that women of ALL sizes have challenges like that. I’m a size 2/4 now and I still on a regular basis look in the mirror and stress over the imperfections. My thighs are huge, my stomach is jiggly, I thought I’d be perfect at this size! Nope. You’re right that it’s a mental thing. You have to beat that thinking, it’s so unhealthy, but you’re not abnormal either. I think most women experience those same issues.

  57. You are awesome for posting this, thank you so much! Congrats on such a great life change, you have definitely inspired me to get moving and start eating healthier again. I lost 40 pounds about 10 years ago and have managed to regain every single pound! Time to get rid of it for good!

  58. I had to comment and say how much I enjoyed this post. You have some really really great ideas and advice! Your before & after pictures are night & day, you really look great! Congrats on losing the weight and thank you for helping others do the same. Fitness Blender on youtube has tons of great workouts for anyone interested. I’m so glad you wrote this post!

  59. Thank you so much for sharing! You should be so proud of yourself, WOW! I’ve been more dedicated to eating better and getting in to the gym and do yoga since the fall and at school pick up other mom’s have commented saying that I look great and ‘what are you doing?’ It really makes me feel good when others can see my hard work paying off.

  60. WOW!! You are amazing and I thank you for putting yourself out there for us. You look fantastic!!! I tend to have that all or nothing mindset and I am not a morning person but knowing that you changed that about yourself gives me hope. Thank you so much for sharing your tips and inspiring us!!! I am so excited to get started! I can’t wait for more tips and inspiration!

  61. Welp, I’ll just be totally honest and say that I’m sitting here bawling my girlie eyes out! Thanks so much for your honesty and openness – it’s a huge inspiration to me personally and gives me hope that this foodie nut can work it out, and off. Just made an appt for Monday with my fitness guy at the doctor’s (yes, I have a fitness and nutrition advisor at my dr’s office, and I never ask for his help – doh!)
    I’ll be keeping that post up on my desktop for a looong time – thanks! Can’t wait to see more!

    1. That’s awesome you have that resource at your doctor’s office! Sometimes that first step is the hardest. I wanted to talk to my trainer for so long and it took me quite a while to work up the guts!

  62. Wonderful post. I need to up my strength training. Does your trainer know of a good trainer in the Provo area? I’d love a reference! Thanks!

  63. Sara, I am honored that my picture with you made it on this post! I remember going to the gym with you- and the early p90x mornings- what great times! I lost 55 lbs after baby # 3 was born. I just had baby # 5 six weeks ago. I was able to lose all my weight after baby 4 and am on my way with this baby. I hate the term diet- you have to make a lifestyle change! I feel so much better when I’m eating right and exercising! Thanks for sharing your journey Sara- I feel blessed that I’ve been a part of it!

  64. Oh my goodness, this is EXACTLY what I needed to read today! I followed your advice from your last post and I bought new workout clothes! Having cuter, better fitting workout clothes has been a great motivator. Thanks for sharing your before and after picture. Your “before” picture totally shows how I feel right now. It gives me hope that losing weight and getting in shape is doable!
    I had to laugh when you mentioned those annoying facebook friends that post about their workouts. Sooooo true! 🙂

  65. Sara, you look amazing!!! Thank you for being so open with your story. I was in some of the best shape of my adult life a year ago, then moved to a colder climate to an apartment without a gym on a street with no sidewalks on a busy road where I can’t walk my dog safely let alone do my usual running routine, and needless to say my activity level (and fitness) plummeted! With the horrible winter I am definitely guilty of the “I will when it warms up, I will when I move, I will when I join a gym…” excuses. I hope I can follow your example and just do it NOW! I do have one question, in your trainer’s at home/travel workout, about the exercises that would be done on the right and left (lunges, side to side crunches, mountain climbers). Are the numbers of reps posted for one side (ex: 30 lunges meaning 30 on the left and 30 on the right) or both (ex: 30 lunges meaning a lunge on the left and a lunge on the right equal one rep)? Thanks, sorry for the long question!

  66. I love everything about this post. I am a runner, but a chubby runner and it’s not until I started adding the resistance and HIIT training that I started to lose weight. I still have a ton to go (like 80 pounds) but I do also want another baby, and am motivated to have a healthy body to grow that babe in, so I totally understand what you mean. I’m a fellow member of the three boy club, too 😉

  67. You look awesome! I’m hearing so much lately about how important strength training is, especially for women. I’ve been trying to get some in now and then, but this motivates me to do it regularly. I’ve been stuck in the doing-cario-every-day-but-nothing-is-happening rut. I’d really like to see some change before I start trying for another baby. I figure it can only help me have a healthier pregnancy, and an easier time getting weight off after, right? 🙂

  68. I’m inspired — now get out from under that rock! I’m going to do more resistance training. It was like you were quoting a line from my own workout log, “I to spend the majority of my exercise on cardio (running, elliptical, stair climbing, etc.) and then maybe throw in a few minutes lifting weights.” I’m making the change starting tomorrow!

  69. Is your maiden name Smith? Because your younger brother looks a friend from the former Renton North Stake! And if it is Drew, he looks great! And so do you!

    Also, I loved this post. I’m excited to get into shape after marriage weight gain and then eating whatever the heck I felt like during pregnancy 🙂

  70. I lost 50 pounds then gained 20 back in the next year. I’m working on losing it again but it’s much harder this time around. I know I need to add exercise to my routine and it’s my biggest hurdle. I just don’t get that good feeling I keep hearing people say they get from exercising – never have. I force myself to go, feel relief that it’s over, and have no energy the rest of the day. It makes me feel something is wrong with me!

  71. Thanks for so much for posting this! I’m needing some serious motivation to get me through this terribly cold winter that we’re having in Wisconsin. Major congratulations on the lifestyle change!! You look awesome!

  72. WOW!! You truly are an inspiration. Thanks so much for the tips and especially the photos 🙂 Pictures speak volumes and your transformation is beyond amazing!

  73. Wow…what a wonderful and inspirational post. I hope you have many more to come. Thank you for sharing your life and experiences with us. I have 5 kiddos and have fluctuated in my weight throughout the years, I’m hoping to get trimmed down for good this spring into summer season! Thanks again for the motivation and helpful hints!

  74. This this blog is absolutely inspiring. I stumbled upon this posted on our “biggest Loser” facebook page. This is a challenge I have signed myself up for. I love that you put in pictures and you look FANTASTIC by the way!! As well, I like that you included your away from gym work out. I struggle with getting to the gym as my job has me working one week of days followed by one week of nights. So every other week I struggle to make it to the gym around work and being a single mom. I am definitely will to try this out! Thank you so much for providing me with a great read full of lots of amazing information and tips. I really appreciate it! 🙂
    Take care,
    Terry Lynn 🙂

  75. You look great. Drew looks great too. I met him and Emily when they lived in Colorado. I think it is important to have realistic goals for yourself. Eat healthy things you like and do what kind of exercise you enjoy. I love Irish dancing and drinking green smoothies.

  76. Good for you for getting back your body after having kids and continue to have more. I have 5 kids and I always got back to my wedding weight each time before I got pregnant again. I am struggling with my last ten pounds and after some injuries I am getting back into a routine. I admire your 5:30-6 am regime. Will try hard to follow your example. Keep it coming.

  77. I have one other question, and you’ll likely cover this in a later post, but what was the main change you made in those first 90 days aside from working out? Portion sizes? Did you focus on a certain food group to get enough of it? Thanks,

    1. I just focused on a basic balanced diet. Obviously I made my best effort to make good choices and avoid junk, but other than that I didn’t exclude any food groups, I simply kept track of everything I ate and stayed at about 1400-1500 calories each day. I do try and eat plenty of protein as well.

  78. I want to start adding in resistance training. I’ve got the running/walking down, but feel like I need a little more. I do not belong to a gym, and rather work out at home. Would your travel list of exercises be considered resistance training? Like the jumping jacks and all, and I am unsure if they are more cardio or considered resistance?? I would love other suggestions for strength and resistance training at home where I only have a set of 5 pound and 3 pound weights. Great post!! Thank you.

  79. Wow! Thank you for taking the time to write this. What an incredible transformation and testimony!!! I recently began a program as a birthday present to myself. The group I joined began a week later then planned but I did take the attitude of “why NOT begin today?” and was so glad I did. Thank you for re-affirming the resistance training. . .I am still not seeing the results I thought I would a couple of weeks in but your pictures are enough to inspire me to keep on keeping on. Happy Friday!

  80. For anyone looking for a great (and free!!) weight training program google “Jamie Eason live fit.” It’s on First of all, it is easy to start and perfect for beginners or anyone who has not been lifting weights consistently. Second, it works!! She also gives a pretty stringent nutrition program but even with a few changes in your normal diet, you do these workouts, you will see results! I’m one that also gets more than annoyed with most social media/blog fitness advice but Jamie’s site was the first time I thought “I can do this.” It makes sense, it works and doesn’t require all the hoopla.

  81. Thank you x100 for this. I have committed to moving more but it mostly is cardio and I just am not seeing the scale move like it should. I’m going to start on my own with resistance and then try and see about a trainer. I’m so afraid of the cost of one. You have inspired me for sure! Do not be embarrassed about your before pic – be dang proud girl, you look awesome!

  82. For those who don’t want to pay for a gym membership/trainer, there are a lot of great options online. My very favorite is Melissa Bender Fitness. She has a blog that is totally free and packed with TONS of at-home workouts, using minimal gear. I am one of those annoying running girls, but I LOVE resistance training (it is sooo effective!), and this site helps me get some awesome workouts done after my run each day. Good job on all you’ve done. It really is so much easier when you make it a hobby/passion. The time is always there if you choose for it to be.

  83. This was very inspiring! We don’t live anywhere near a gym, so this weekend we are going to go buy a little more weights and I’m going to utilize YouTube, lol. I want to workout early as well, but what do you eat before? I’ve tried to work out early without eating first and I have zero energy.

  84. Awesome! Great tips and advice. And good for you. Very neat to read!! I would LOVE to know:
    How do you manage healthy eating with indulgences? How often? I love to cook and bake and try new things but wonder if you do a once a week thing or just take a bite? (really, who does that??) Like if you want a smothered nacho or something? 🙂

    Wondering what your meal plan looks like for one day.

    For you and your body bugg, what number are you going for calories burned?

    Thank you! Can’t wait to read the next installment!

  85. Perfect timing, girl! I need all the motivation I can get. A cruise in a week was not enough to get me going and I am at my all time highest weight right now–BTW, I have known about the cruise since last year. And now my daughter is getting married in 2 or 3 months or so and I swore when my other daughter got married that I would not be as heavy for the next one (you know, after I saw all the wedding pictures). Crunch time. Looking forward to more posts!

  86. You are *awesome*, and I want to thank you for posting your “before” pic–it really is inspiring to me. Before 40 I had hardly any problems with weight, and since then it’s been awful. I am also an all or nothing person, so I appreciate you mentioning that, because if you can do it with that same mentality, I know I can, too. And I am the same way about time, if I don’t do it in the morning, I just can’t work it in…so I need to just get up. I know that, now I just have to do it. Not sure I can drag myself out of the house, but if I could find a small gym near here, I may need to try that. And for the accountability, I should probably find a trainer. It’s too easy for me to give myself excuses. Again, thanks for posting, you did a really great thing in that 🙂

  87. Completely motivating! Thank you! I began working out at my gym 4 weeks ago. I haven’t quite seen any success yet (although I feel great afterwards), but I’m beginning to love it. I, too, have been doing a lot of weights and not much cardio. I really love it. I hope that the fat starts melting off now! thank you again!

  88. I sooo needed to hear this right now. I’m going to start NOW! I have been “waiting for the right time” and you’re right…you just have to make it! Thanks for the post, and you are super-inspiring! You look fabulous!

  89. Thanks so much for this! I’m finally starting to get on a healthier track and this was encouraging. I would love to hear more details about your resistance training. Not quite at the point of hiring a trainer so I’m sort of guessing at my weight training. I realize it will look for different for everyone, but in general: 1. What equipment do you use (weights/bands/balls?) 2. How do you determine weight and/or reps? (how hard should I be working my body?). Thanks for being brave enough to post the before pic–that was the biggest encouragement of all to me 🙂

  90. Very very motivating,! Just last night I did some exercises while watching tv with the hubs becuase of your “just start now” Thanks for posting I am enjoying this A LOT!!!!

  91. GREAT POST! I was happy to see Tricia in the photo with you! She was in my stake here in Meridian before she moved to CA and is a great and inspiring person. I am on my weight loss journey and have begun my ‘no excuses’ mantra. So far since January 6th I have lost 17.5 lbs. I agree with you so much about the cardio/weight training thing. It is a testament that you can eat real food and not invest in weird diets and lose the weight and keep it off! Thanks for being so real. I hope to meet you someday. I know you are friends with a few people I know, so maybe! I missed our Stake Women’s Conference last year that you spoke at. 🙂 Love your site, been following you forever. Oh, and I LOVE that skinny chicken salad recipe you posted a week or so ago. It has become a go-to for my lunches each week. I love eating it on those fold-it flatbread things (at Winco, only 90 cal and a ton of fiber and protein in each one) with a cup of spinach too. YUMMY. Thanks again for being so real and an inspiration!!

  92. Congrats on all your weight loss! That is truly amazing. I have really struggled to get back to exercising since being pregnant with and having my fourth baby. I’m so tired all the time that I just haven’t been motivated, but reading this post has really inspired me to get going again. Even though I lose my baby weight easily (I know most women probably hate me for saying that, I don’t know why it’s that way for me, but it’s just how my body works) and am not overweight, I have never felt so out of shape and weak in my life. I’ve always been a pretty fit/active/strong person, but seriously the last couple of years I’ve felt pretty crappy and I know it’s because I haven’t exercised much at all. My dad has been a coach/PE teacher at Ricks/BYU-Idaho for years and I finally just asked him if he could write up a workout for me. He gave me a bunch of ideas and said exactly what you said–you won’t burn fat/lose much weight unless you include resistance training. He said if all you do is run then you don’t hit the fat burning point until about 60 minutes, so you’d really have to be up there in your mileage. Anyway, thanks for the inspiration! I sent this link to my husband, too.

  93. Sara! Thank you so much for this post. You and your brother are both an inspiration to me. I love seeing you at the gym from time to time and it’s been nice doing boot camp with your brother. I LOVE the way you ended this post! I need to work on not talking so much about it and not letting it stop me from hanging with friends. There is a balance in all things and finding it in this area has been difficult. Maybe I have a problem. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your views and your pictures! I laughed and teared up a little while seeing myself in so much of this post. Jacob is amazing and I feel grateful that I too have been able to train with him He is the BEST! You are an inspiration!

  94. Sara you are a *ROCKSTAR*… I love working with people that are seriously committed to change, you make my job easy. I appreciate the vote of confidence, you did all of the work I just made you do it. Cheers to you kido, looking forward to reaching new goals… BE ELITE!!!

  95. Awesome Before and After photos….totally inspiring! I’ve got plenty of weight to lose, so your post was just what I need. Thanks for sharing!

  96. My trainer was pregnant when I started with her and she inspired me every day to get stronger. I could hardly bear crawl when I started 2 years ago and now I laugh with joy when we have “animal day” filled with frog jumps, inch worms, bear crawls and more. Thanks for the post and the honest pictures.

  97. Just curious…are you sleeping more because of this? I work out 4 times/week and sometimes by 3pm I am wishing for a nap. I sleep 8 hours a night usually and take vitamins and try to eat fairly well. Just curious what your experience has been with that. I know working out gives me energy at times as well but it also takes more out of me at other times.

    1. That was me a year ago. Everyone’s body is different but I quit eating grains at lunch and refill with protein (meat or eggs) and veggies instead. Also, just discovered issues with adrenal glands and I am correcting that problem.

  98. Thank you for this post!! It was exactly what I needed to hear to get me motivated to get back into shape. I actually started your home workout today! I was so excited… and exhausted, but I did it and I’m looking forward to doing it again tomorrow!

  99. Sara, you look FABULOUS!! Thank you for sharing. I’m very excited for the future posts. You truly are an inspiration!

  100. Hey Sarah- You are the best! Quick question for you… I just found the organic blue agave that you recommended a few posts back as a sugar replacement and was wondering if you had tried baking with it? If you have, are the quantities interchangeable? I was just thinking of replacing the brown sugar in your gluten free peanut butter cookies that you recently posted with the agave nectar. Have you tried that? Thanks!

    1. I don’t often bake with Agave, I use it more it situations where I would use syrup or honey. I definitely wouldn’t make the PB cookies with Agave; since there’s only a few ingredients there, you really need the sugar for structure.

  101. It was so great to hear your story to health. I just started with a personal trainer 1 month ago and have only lost maybe 2 lbs. I was ready to quit thinking this wasn’t working. It sounds a lot like what your trainer does and has you eat. Now that I read it took you some time too I will stick with it. I have a couple questions. How long did it take to finally start losing? and were allowed a cheat meal? I get a cheat meal once a week and feel like it is sabotaging all my hard work I did during the week. Thanks for all the great info! Always been a fan of your blog:)

    1. Camille, I’m not a fan of the “cheat meal” for the very reason you mentioned. It usually ends up causing a binge, and just like you said, puts you a step backwards! Instead, I incorporate little indulgences in my every day diet so I don’t feel deprived. For example, I eat a chocolate covered Skinny Cow Cookie dough ice cream bar almost every night after putting my kids to bed! I include snacks like cheddar popcorn, Skinny Cow candy, or squares of Ghirardelli Chocolate. For me, incorporating balance was the key. Then I was never really on a “diet” I just paid more attention to the calories I was in-taking and ate reasonable portion sizes, of everything I still love.

  102. You are a cool gal. So refreshing to have health and fitness promoted in the way it should be– and from one who has influence over thousands of readers. Thank you for encouraging hard work, good choices, and common sense.

  103. This was such an awesome and inspiring post! I’m always looking for ways to improve my health and fitness…keep the tips and healthy recipes coming!!

  104. I just completed your workout and it was hard! I suppose that’s the point . . . Thanks for sharing it, as well as your story. You go, girl!

  105. Super loved this post!!! Lots of great info. I’m a couch potato training to walk my first half marathon in a couple of months. Loved your real life perspective, and all of the tips for living a healthy life always. Thanks!!

  106. Thank you! I am officially inspired to make resistance training a priority! I also pinned your “No Gym Required” and plan to make good use of it.

  107. Sara- AWESOME!!! Quick question. What calorie range are you eating for maintenance now? That is my hardest part! I can lose and gain but not maintain…

  108. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can’t tell you how motivating it is to see real people accomplish what I have been trying to do my whole life. My biggest challenge that I’ve had with personal trainers is them giving me a strict diet plan to follow. The diet plan usually involves eating every few hours so that you can avoid putting your body in starvation mode and eating foods I don’t generally eat. I can, and do calorie count and exercise, but I’m just not losing weight. It sounds like you calorie count, but you don’t stick to a strict diet. How did you determine how many calories you could eat and still lose weight. I feel like I’m starving all the time and I’m grumpy, which isn’t fair to my poor family! Any advice?!

  109. Hi Sara–
    I appreciate your willingness to “open your life” and share with others in an attempt to encourage and motivate us. Will you write a post telling more about the weight training? I can’t afford a trainer and want to learn…are there books you’d recommend? Thanks for any help in this area. I had been waiting for a follow-up post after you mentioned doing resistance training in Dec. You look great and like you FEEL great! Keep teaching us!! Thanks!

  110. Sara, I have really been enjoying your health and fitness posts. I was curious though if you have a good recommendation on headphone that stay in your ears and don’t fall out while you work out? Thanks!

  111. I read this when you posted and loved it, but now I have been stewing over a question as I have revamped my workout routine. What do you eat before you workout?? I’m struggling to figure out how to eat before I workout without wanting to puke, and not having to wake up at 4 am!! I’m not running out of energy, but isn’t it better for you if you eat?! Or is eating after my workout sufficient. I know you don’t know me and aren’t a trainer, but I’m curious on what you do. 🙂

  112. I’ve always heard that you should only do strength training about 2-3 times a week because you don’t want to overwork your muscles and they need time to rest. Based on your post, you do strength training 5-6 days a week and you look good and it worked for you to lose that extra weight, so maybe its not true. What exactly do you do for strength training? Do you do exercises with dumbbells or the weight machines? How much weight did you start with and how much weight are you doing now? Your post was really motivating.

  113. I love so much about this post – thanks so much for sharing! I’m loving reading your story, and it is so inspiring! Apparently, I’m obnoxious, because I had runkeeper tied to my facebook account, but I would like to chime in that posting some of those early workouts helped me find friends who were also into running, and got me invited to participate in races, including a ragnar this summer. It also helped me build a support system, because other people in my life knew what I was working on without me talking about it in casual conversations. I don’t usually answer the question, “what’d you do today?” with “I ran 8 miles at 5 am” but because Runkeeper was posting those to facebook, I had friends encouraging me along the way. I’m not posting all my runs anymore, but I do think there are some positive aspects to posting workouts to social networking sites. I gotta say, I did feel a bit like a looser when I first read this post, but after thinking about it, posting those workouts was a really positive thing for me. And hopefully there weren’t too many of my friends on facebook that were annoyed by me 🙂

  114. Sara, I have lost 30 lbs since Nov. I do mostly resistance these days, but the scale has not budged in 2 weeks. I add weight once what I am lifting gets easier. I do eat carbs, but complex and pretty limited. Any breaking through a plateau ideas? My calorie intake is around 1700 cal but my weight is in the 190’s….I hit the gym 3 times per week for an hour….

  115. For someone who struggles keeping the weight off your story is super inspirational. My question is when you weight trained did you do heavy weights low reps or light weights high reps? Which one did you do to melt the weight off while not bulking up like a man?

  116. Thank you for being the motivation I desperately need! I think you said exactly what I needed to hear! Hopefully this can be my story in 90 days, starting now…

  117. Sara I have been working to lose weight and have just finished turbo fire and am starting T25. I am a busy mom of 2 and my husband is in medical school so I usually have to workout at home which generally means cardio. I was really excited to hear about your fitness regimine. I was just curious if you could post or email me your resistance training workouts? What do you do? How many reps, sets do you do? I would love to finally have success like you have had! Thank you for posting your journey to a better you! I am so happy and thrilled for you.

  118. I have stumbled on your site today and I am motivated to keep going – have done various things over the years – even currently have a trainer – only about 10 – 15 more pounds to go to where I think will be ideal to try and maintain for me. Just curious – do you still have a trainer now or do you do it on your own? Thanks!

  119. So I totally went to college with your brother, and now I feel like we’re best friends. Ha-larious! This is an awesome post. You’re an inspiration!

  120. Sara-crazy question!!
    I am looking for a new trainer. I am in New Orleans and you never know thought I would ask if your trainer has any NOLA connections to anyone here.

  121. Can we get a FAQ follow-up to this post? I’ve been doing your at home/travel workout plan for about 2 1/2 weeks and have lost 7 pounds. Yea! The last half of the routine is all leg work, and I’m wondering if it would still benefit me if I switched up the order. For example:

    Frog Jumps

    1. Just wanted to apologize for my previous question. You’re not a personal trainer, so it was silly of me to ask it. If I knew how to delete it I would. Thank you again!

  122. Thanks for this post. I just wanted you to know I’m a 50 year old mom to seven and you inspired me! I joined a gym last week, hired a trainer, and got back onto the myfitnesspal app. My chest hurts so much today that it hurts to type BUT i feel so much better and in control and motivated. We are leaving for spring break on Saturday and my resistance bands will be packed in my suitcase. Congratulations on taking control, getting fit and FINISHING IT!!!

  123. Well you’ve motivated me to step things up in my life. Just since you posted this I’ve lost 10 pounds and still going strong. Thanks!

  124. I’m about to leave the house to go have my first session with a personal trainer at a gym I just joined because of this post. And the one after. Aack! I’m nervous. But I wouldn’t have done it without what you shared. Thank you!!

  125. I have been running 3-4 times a week for the past 2 years and haven’t lost a pound. I found your post very inspiring! I am running my first 1/2 marathon this Saturday and plan to focus on strength training starting Monday. I have a question about your personal training. How often do you meet with him? Congratulations on your success!!! You are awesome!!!

  126. Can’t wait to read more posts about health and fitness! I’m new to this blog, and really relate to your journey. Thanks!

  127. Thanks to your inspiring post, I hired a PT (for toning and strength training) and I was wondering, how long did it take for you to feel comfortable enough to work out alone? Also, how much protein do you aim to each per day (I realize everyone is different but just curious).

    Thanks for sharing!

  128. I just want to thank you for your fitness posts. I am a mom of 4 who has struggled for years to lose the baby weight (can I really call it that when my oldest is 4?). I have run off and on in the past and tried a variety of diets, but never really had much success. Your posts inspired me to give it another try, this time incorporating weight training. To date I have lost 14 lbs. since the beginning of March and I’ve run two 10K’s in the last few weeks. I’ve gone down 4 pants sizes and I feel better than I have in years. I still have about 10 pounds to go to get to my ideal weight, but I’m already so happy with where I am. Thanks again for your inspiration! It helped me so much!

  129. Hope you do more of these posts after baby 4…. Although I myself wouldn’t like the pressure of that right after having a baby but I sure think they’d be popular, and motivating….

  130. So I have loved reading this post and those related to it! I have read them several times over the past few days and I finally feel like losing weight and becoming a better version of me is doable in this fasion. I have always believed that the good old fashioned way of losing weight (exercise and eat right) was the best and safest method for most people. I want to know more. I know that I need some help though so I’m super curious about getting a trainer. If you have a second could you email me the details about how to go about even finding a trainer. I’m interested in what part of the country you live in, how much a trainer typically costs, how do you find one that fits your style and goals, etc. You have truly inspired me and I can’t wait to get going! Thank you!!!!

  131. Thanks so much for sharing your journey. I am very inspired. I know it is a personal question, but if you don’t mind, would you give me a range of cost that I should be looking to spend when hiring a trainer? Also, did you meet with him once a week, 3x a week, 30 minutes, 1 hour, etc?

  132. Four months ago I had my second son, only seventeen months apart (how far apart are your boys?) and I feel like this breastfeeding thing is keeping me fat! How do you lose weight with two babies? Do you always have to find a sitter for your boys so you can go to the gym?

  133. Just a tip I like concerning restaurant meals; Doggy Bag It! Select entrees that lend themselves to adaptation like chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, steaks, etc. Eat half for your meal and take half home. Chefs know the most important ingredient in their recipes is butter so the doggy bag half can be combined with scads of vegetabes and fruits. Especially tasty is the salad use: plenty of chopped lettuce/tomatoes/scallions and then the restaurant stuff on top. Yummy and useful for those who must eat out!

  134. just starting on my weight loss journey and came across your post very excited to here your full story. I live in the country so not close to a gym but have a treadmill only problem is I have knee problems (probably because of my weight!) anyway I’m going to take your advise and use my weights and resistance bands to try to build some muscle. Thanks again for your post I am inspired!

  135. Hi! First of all, I want to say that you are such an inspiration! I have been trying out different diets and methods, but I never have the determination to stick with it. I absolutely can’t wait to start this! You have really brought to light what I need to make it through! Thank you so much for sharing!

    I do have one question:
    What has your diet been like? “Normal” healthy diets are always very different. I can never figure out what my carb, sugar, etc. intake should look like. (Or at least a general speaking, since everybody is different)

  136. Thanks so much for this! It’s so much more valid to read tips from someone who has gone through the process. I will refer to this often through my journey

  137. Thank you for reminding me how easy it is. I had lost almost 100 pounds when I got married four years ago and gained it back slowly because of self doubt, the birth of our son and nursing. I’m now back more than a 100 pounds heavier then my wedding day and I was beginning to feel helpless, hopeless and just less. Thank you for your sharing and for your inspiration.

  138. You rock and thank you so much. I found this post on the morning i start with my trainer! I have been working out on my own and have lost 50 lbs in the last year but have recently hit a wall. Your tips are fantastic and I am feeling super motivated. thank you !!!

  139. I actually read the whole article and t is deferentially one of my favorite!!! Thank you so much for sharing,and I’m deffentally gonna try your advice!!! I have the excuse of no time or just being lazy. But now I’m going to set it a priority and my hobby and try not to give myself excuses!thank you do much,this was I needed to read today!!!

  140. I started a Pinterest board dedicated to ‘Healthy Fit Me’. Your article (your BEFORE/AFTER photo) inspired me greatly, so I saved it to my board. Last week I joined a FREE gym at work. Now I spend 30 minutes working out BEFORE my commute home. My husband is my lifestyle change buddy. We’ve completely changed our diet (mostly plant-based) and we’re loving the change. We also sold a vehicle and bought bikes. On weekends we cycle everywhere (going green and getting fit). Thanks for being a part of my new healthy lifestyle.

  141. Great article! very inspiring. I have stumbled on your site today and I am motivated to keep going – have done various things over the years – even currently have a trainer – only about 10 – 15 more pounds to go. Hope will works.:)

  142. You are a cool gal. So refreshing to have health and fitness promoted in the way it should be– and from one who has influence over thousands of readers. Thank you for encouraging hard work, good choices, and common sense.

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