I had always said to myself that when I got engaged I would finally “invest” in a personal trainer so that I could be in the best shape possible for my wedding day. When I got engaged this past April I decided it was time to follow through on this lifelong promise.

I didn’t know much about personal trainers except that they were expensive, celebrities had them and I didn’t want one that yelled like Jillian Michaels or was a super buff, juicehead male. With these stereotypes in hand, I searched google to find non-intimidating, affordable female trainers in my area. I quickly stumbled upon Janet Fougere, a female personal trainer who trained people from her home gym.

I emailed Janet that day to find out more and she called me back right away but I missed the call. I remember going down to the lobby at work on my lunch break and being so scared to call her back. For some reason I was so scared of being judged by her for being out of shape and waiting, superficially, until my wedding to make the decision to get fit just so I could look good. Turns out Janet and I had a great conversation. She was energetic, friendly and asked me a lot of questions. I got the impression right away that she was passionate about her career and helping people improve their overall health. I even set up a time to go to her house and have a consultation.

After meeting with Janet, I signed up for two forty-five minute sessions per week and along with that was also provided with a nutritional education component. I found out that eating right was 98% of the battle and that protein was my friend. I also learned that all those years I spent doing two hour elliptical sessions were not the best workout for me. Weight training became my other best friend.

I will never forget my first session with Janet. I was scared. I felt like I was somewhat fit and not that poorly out of shape. I mean I had been going to the gym for years, but had always been wanting to lose that last ten pounds. Despite my feelings about my fitness level, I barely made it through the session. On the drive home, my entire body was shaking and I had to drive with the windows down because I felt like I was going to be sick. I actually contemplated pulling over on the busy highway a few times because I thought I was going to hurl. I did make it home, puke free but with the shocking realization that it wasn’t just about looking good. In fact, that was just a benefit of this whole process. It was actually about feeling good and being strong (both inside and out).

As I kept up my training sessions with Janet, I felt myself getting stronger. Each session I would come home with confidence at being able to do more reps or being able to lift more weight. I would surprise myself at how competitive I was becoming. I wanted to do more, to make myself and Janet proud.

I never realized how this experience would transform my life. Janet provided me the support I needed to learn how to exercise effectively and how to push my body to reach it’s potential, but she also provided valuable support on a personal level. She made me see what I deserve (a healthy life – physically and mentally), showed me that I am strong and that I am valuable. Over time, I noticed myself becoming more confident, giving myself more self-worth and speaking up for myself in situations where I would normally stay silent.

I think many people, myself included (before I began this journey), equate someone going to a personal trainer as someone who is vain and has money to burn. It is actually the complete opposite. Investing in your health and a better you is time and money that is never wasted. Honestly, going to a personal trainer and eating right is not as expensive as it seems. I never hesitated buying a fast food lunch or the cost of going to a movie, yet why did I hesitate when I had to start spending a little more at the grocery store or paying my monthly trainer expenses? In the long run, cooking at home and bringing my lunches to work is more affordable and better for my body and spending two evenings a week improving myself is where I want to be investing.

I finally feel like I have control over my life in all aspects. I am excited to continue working with Janet as I become stronger, more confident, healthier and happier each day. I still have a long way to go and a lot of goals I want to accomplish. I notice myself dreaming bigger now, and instead of saying, “I could never do that,” instead I wonder “how long will it take for me to be able to master that and move on to the next goal?” This experience has been so much more than I thought it ever could be…and yes, I have to say, slipping into size six skinny jeans does feel pretty darn good too!

Written by Tracey