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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Collins

6 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Fitness Journey

There are some great weight loss coaches out there. One of the many things that sets Ryan Howard Coaching apart is my personal weight loss and fitness journey. I began my journey in 2015 at a weight of 260lbs. In the past 7 years I have lost 105 lbs and have been able to sustain my loss along with finding my calling in life….To help others take their lives back, take their bodies back, achieve their fitness goals and carry that strength with them in all they do. I’ve learned so very much along the way. Today I want to share with you some of the things I wish someone had told me when I started.


  • Take the before pictures. There was a time when I was so unhappy in my own skin that I avoided the camera at all costs. I only have one true before picture and it is low quality and likely not my true starting point or highest weight. As I progressed I became comfortable in pictures again and started taking progress pictures. As uncomfortable as it seems to you now I can assure you that you will want a true starting picture as you progress through your journey.

  • Get all of the arbitrary numbers out of your head. Let them all go right now. Whatever goal weight you set and whatever time frame you have placed on yourself need to go. First regarding your time frame I am telling you from personal experience that this WILL TAKE LONGER THAN YOU THINK. That is ok. Slow steady weight loss is the real goal here. Weight loss is not linear. There will be ups, downs and times when nothing seems to be changing. When I first began working with Ryan as his client I gave him a specific number on the scale I wanted to reach and a very specific time frame to reach it. It took 2 years longer than my given time frame to reach that goal and you know what, I didn’t find my ideal body at that weight.

  • Strength training is king for fat loss. There is a massive difference between weight loss and fat loss. Weight loss is basic math and eating less calories than you use. Fat loss however is exactly as it sounds….losing fat. Forget eating like a rabbit and doing hours of cardio. Pick up some weights, learn proper form and push yourself. You will lose fat while maintaining or even building muscle. This my friends is the secret to achieving your ideal body. I know what you're thinking and don’t even say it girlie!!!! You will not get “bulky” or “look manly”. Building muscle not only requires you to continually and progressively overload your body, it requires eating in a caloric surplus. People work extremely hard for many years to get jacked. It won’t happen overnight because you started lifting.

  • You need to do the mental work too. Being skinnier does not make you happier. Sure it feels great to crush goals. It’s amazing to buy smaller jeans from stores you were always too big to shop in. But if you haven’t healed whatever led you to overeat in the first place I’ll put money on you not being able to maintain the loss. My personal example is that I knew I needed to take action to stop gaining weight for a very long time. I mentally couldn’t even begin the process until my divorce from my first husband was final. After that it took some time putting in the mental work and allowing myself to grieve the loss of how I thought my life was supposed to be to finally be ready to focus on my health. This mental work will not stop. We all have demons we fight and you need to prioritize your mental health to continue to prioritize your physical health. They are not mutually exclusive; they in fact go hand in hand.

  • Not everyone is going to be in your corner and that is ok. This one hurts. This one was probably the most unexpected for me. Remember your why. Remember you are doing this for yourself not anyone else. You are doing this to live a long, happy, healthy life. I’m sorry to tell you this but you will lose friends. It’s sad. Those aren’t your people. The people that are meant for you will be by your side throughout your journey. They will cheer for you and celebrate each win with you. You will make new friends and you will find people with similar goals who understand what you're doing. I personally lost several friends but I also found my best friend and business partner along my journey. Here’s a little tip for making friends at the gym….compliment a girlie in the locker room. Girlies love compliments and a simple “oh my God I love your shorts” or “Wow you’re so fit all your hard work shows” will go a very long way. Just don’t make it weird. You get what I’m saying.

  • Everyone treats you better. Yup. You read that correctly. I said what I said and I meant it. People who never gave you the time of day will talk to you. Strangers on the street will treat you better. Coworkers, bosses, friends and even some family will treat you better. The staff at restaurants will treat you better. The bartender will fill your empty glass faster. People who work in stores you have shopped in a million times all of a sudden notice you and cater to you….think the shopping scene in Pretty Woman because it’s exactly like that. This literally happened to me buying jeans in Buckle. This one sucks too because you realize just how much people have judged you based on appearance.


I hope you find this helpful and if you want to talk more about starting your own fitness journey or some of the experiences you had in the beginning of your journey drop me a comment below or, you know you are already here so go ahead and click that book now button to schedule your free consultation and we can talk face to face. Ryan and I would love to support you and walk with you on this journey. You’re not alone and you are understood.

Love you. Mean it.

-Stephanie


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