Kelly’s story starts in 2002 when she had her first experience working with a personal trainer at a gym. In spite of supervision from her trainer, she seriously injured herself on a machine, and the torn tendons in her lower back prevented her from working out for several months. A new resident of Asheville, NC, the change in lifestyle and career caused her to pack on the pounds. For several years, Kelly remained stagnant with her weight and hesitant to ask for help.

Her journey to health started in 2011 when she decided to work with Katrina, NASM certified personal trainer and owner of reFORM Studios, which was located next to her place of work. Feeling uncomfortable in her own skin and clothing, Kelly set a personal goal to fit into a pair of jeans and met with Katrina three times a week for 30 minute resistance training sessions. Dropping 14 inches and over 20 pounds over those initial months of training, Kelly has reformed her life and shares the valuable lessons learned from her experience that she applies every day:

❑ Simply, eat right:

Coming from an Italian family of big eaters, Kelly was never taught the correct way to eat or how much. Changing her eating habits proved to be her biggest challenge. Now, Kelly makes better choices and likes to experiment in the kitchen by creating healthier spins on favorite dishes like nachos (using baked whole wheat tortillas with beans and salsa) and stir fry loaded with veggies. She believes her new enthusiasm and culinary savvy will come in handy when she has children- “I have so many fabulous ideas on what my kids can eat and how to be healthy,” she says.

❑ Even little time frames are effective:

If you don’t have time for a full workout, use little windows of time to your advantage. You may find Kelly doing lunges down the halls of her office or squats while she does her hair in the morning. Instead of sitting on the couch, she may take commercial breaks to do pushups or dips. “I’m holding in my abs right now!” she joked while discussing her journey.

Know your body:

Before the weight gain that ultimately took her to seek professional help from a trainer, Kelly ran frequently, but wasn’t getting the most effective results. Her reForm Studio trainer worked with her individual needs and lifestyle to develop a customized plan, and she now has a better understanding of her body and what types of exercise benefit her most. She learned the importance of building muscle and realized that when she was doing the right kind of exercise for her body, the results were immediate. Kelly now sleeps better and has more energy than before, which makes her more motivated to work in the yard and take the dogs to the park. She also participates in 5k races. Next year she will run the Disney Princess Half-marathon in a tutu – after some additional training help from Katrina.

❑ Take pride in yourself and take time for yourself:

“The most valuable thing I’ve taken away from this is pride and confidence,” states Kelly. Her results had her fitting into her clothes as well as just feeling better. The noticeable changes had the compliments rolling in – not just from her husband and family, but Facebook friends and coworkers. As a result, Kelly says she presents a much better face to the world. Before, she was hiding and tended to lean towards wearing jeans and t-shirts or pajamas. “Now I can wear 99% of my closet and I put on jewelry, makeup, perfume,” she says. “I don’t feel invisible anymore, and I don’t want to be.” Kelly loves to show off her sculpted arms by wearing tank-tops and also feels comfortable in shorts and skinny jeans. Furthermore, Kelly says that she’s learned you have to come first sometimes. “You have to give yourself that me-time, even if it means something isn’t getting done,” she says.

❑ Why working with a personal trainer worked:

Kelly knew she had to be held accountable because she faced the challenge of getting motivated on her own, as well as not knowing where to start after years of frustration. She expected her reForm Studios trainer, Katrina, to be like Jillian Michaels of Biggest Loser fame, but was pleasantly surprised that they started at a pace where she felt comfortable and eased into it. After her first experience with the trainer at the gym, Kelly appreciated reFORM’s personal touch. It was tailored to her needs and didn’t require big machines like the one she injured herself on from improper use. “What I love about the training I received is that anything done with my trainer can be done at home and I can reap the full benefits of the exercises by knowing I’m doing the workouts correctly.” Two years later, Kelly says she is still sore after her sessions with Katrina, and she uses that as a gauge to know that it’s still working. Switch it up and working different muscle groups and exercises with each meeting helps Kelly continue to progress.

Kelly’s recommends working with a trainer “because it will benefit you in more ways than you can think to consider.” Kelly also says she gets much more out of her money working at a studio with a trainer than she did paying for a gym membership and she has saved a substantial amount of money on food with her new eating habits. For the savvy woman looking to save money, consider buddy training to split costs with a friend.

reForm Studios is an Every Busy Woman-recommended personal training studio located in North Charleston, SC. Visit their Web site to find out about free reBOOT group workouts held at 10 am every Saturday and to schedule a free personal assessment.

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