Seeing Fit

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By Ashley Dickson, photos by Kenneth Linge

For Sherri Tomlinson, Scott Crockett and Stephanie Shurian, 2008 was all about gains and losses. Collectively, they lost 107 pounds and 42 percent body fat. They gained healthy habits and valuable fitness advice.

When we introduced our three fitness challenge participants a year ago, they admitted they’d tried everything from Weight Watchers to cabbage soup diets to exercise videos. They were at a loss, ready to gain help from our expert personal trainers. Now, a year later, Stephanie, Scott and Sherri are seeing fit with the healthy outlooks they’ve gained.

We’ve followed their gains and losses in each 2008 issue of Utah Valley Magazine. Here is our final look at their fit new figures.

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SCOTT CROCKETT
Age: 37, Height: 6’6″, City: Orem

How has life changed since you began this fitness challenge? It has been a great experience! I’ve enjoyed learning how my body works — specifically nutritionally. I’m healthier than I have been in years. Aches and pains have gone away. Flexibility and agility are increasing. I’m more confident and will sustain a healthier lifestyle.

 

What are the biggest differences you’ve noticed? Little things like tying my shoes and grabbing things off the ground are not as laborious. I’m running longer and farther than I ever have. I’m becoming stronger, and I’ve seen real physique changes.

 

How have your eating habits changed?

This is by far the biggest change of the year! I eat much more frequently and in smaller portions. I wish I had a new way to make losing weight work, but the old remedy works — eat less and exercise more.

 

What’s your favorite healthy meal or snack? Whole wheat bagel with Adams peanut butter and sugar free strawberry jam — can’t beat it!

 

What’s your favorite exercise routine?

A good upper-body lift!

 

What have been the biggest struggles? The whole process would have been much more difficult without my wife’s help and motivation. One struggle was going on vacation and eating correctly — it takes extra planning but can be done. One temptation is avoiding all the food that is brought into the office.

What keeps you motivated? Knowing someone is going to take your photo and publish it is great motivation! Being accountable to Dan was another motivator. Moving forward, I want to continue to improve and elongate my life so I can spend more time with my family.

 

How much time do you spend exercising each week? If I am trying to muscle build — an hour a day. For a fat strip week — 2 hours a day.

 

How do you gauge your success? By setting and attaining goals. To be honest, I failed at my fat percentage goal for this program even though I hit my scale weight. My fat percentage goal hasn’t changed and I plan to achieve it in the first few months of 2009.

 

Have people noticed your transformation?

That is like asking if you notice the difference between a whale and a trout! People have been very generous in their compliments even though I have a ways to go.

 

What advice would you offer to people looking to improve their health?

1. Start today. The sooner you get on the healthy path the quicker you will see results.

2. Be accountable to someone. Find someone who will be honest. Set incremental goals and have penalties.

3. Don’t risk your health. We don’t need supplements and drugs to lose weight — we need control. It is empowering to set and attain goals. There are few things that will build character quicker than digging yourself out of the hole you put yourself in.

Results

starting weight 290

current weight 240

lost 50 pounds

starting body fat 28%

current body fat 12%

 Personal Trainer: Dan Wilcox of Total Health and Fitness

Scott was an absolute blast to work with. When we first met last year, it was obvious that he knew his way around the gym. But we introduced new methods and, to his credit, he followed his new routines religiously. Along with new weight training ideas we introduced a solid cardio regimen and daily meal plans. Scott follows his training and meal plans perfectly. Because of his dedication to his program and the support of an incredible wife and family, Scott has been able to transform his body.

Scott began with an impressive 207 pounds of lean (muscle) body mass and 83 pounds of fat on his frame. We aggressively attacked the fat mass by fueling his body for a steady fat burn while each week mixing up his cardio and weight routines through speed and number of sets and reps. By the first of May Scott had dropped nearly 30 pounds of fat and put on seven pounds of muscle. Our weekly sessions turned into a think tank to see what it would take for him to build muscle. We meshed our weight training methods and fueled his body accordingly.

By the end of June, Scott had burned 40 pounds of fat and put on 15 pounds of muscle.

As summer and vacations hit, so did the plateau. When plateaus happen most people throw in the towel. It’s how we react that makes all the difference. Scott trusted that through weekly manipulation of his program he would be able to keep burning fat. He has since dropped 54 pounds of fat. Great job, Scott! It was a pleasure working with you. Keep up your new lifestyle.

 Wardrobe: Alicia Richmond of Chic on a Shoestring

Scott was stuck in the habit of wearing baggy shirts and loose-fitting jeans that hung off his waist. He said he hadn’t bought new jeans in 20 years! He has great definition in his body — a nice, trim waistline and long legs. I chose an updated jean for him with a slimmer cut.

This shirt was key — he has a nice shoulder line, and his shirts need to come in under the arm and taper down through the torso instead of the big and tall shirts that are too wide around the chest. A good length for a shirt like this is mid-way up the pocket of the jean.

Scott’s shoes are an updated, clean, sleek leather tennis shoe he can wear with jeans or khakis. They’re not clunky, so they complement instead of distract.

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SHERRI TOMLINSON
Age: 42, Height: 5’9″, City: Orem

How has life changed since you began this fitness challenge? It has been one of the best years of my life. I have loved every second of being active, eating better and meeting so many new friends through Keena. I am now a triathlon addict! Overall I am much happier and have more self confidence. I found the old me again.

 

What are the biggest differences you’ve noticed? Besides the obvious weight loss, plus nice muscle definition, I have a brighter outlook on life. I am much more calm and peaceful.

 

How have your eating habits changed?

Our whole family has learned to love healthier foods that we may have never tried without great input from an amazing trainer — like tilapia and quinoa. I haven’t had a bite of Häagen-Dazs all year. Wow, that’s hard to imagine — but I don’t miss it.

 

What’s your favorite healthy meal or Snack?

Always and forever apples.

 

What’s your favorite exercise routine?

Spin class, followed by swimming, then yoga. But it’s a huge toss up with trail running.

 

What has made you feel successful this year?

I am nearly half the size I was when I started. I also took almost two minutes per mile off my race times. A breakthrough “ah-ha” moment was when I had to grab an outfit at the store in a hurry and was able to pick jeans and a shirt without trying them on and they fit perfectly! It’s fun to shop again and feel good in my clothes.

 

What have been the biggest struggles of this fitness challenge? Avoiding baked goods. I could live on chocolate cake for every meal! Another struggle was making it out the door when no one was counting on me to show up to work out. It’s much easier to be accountable to someone. I didn’t like letting myself down, but it was much harder to hear, “Where were you?”

 

What keeps you motivated? I love to see continual self improvement. I get excited when I reach a goal and then realize I could have done even better.

 

How much time do you spend exercising each week? Ten to 15 hours

 

How do you gauge your success? By how I feel — I am stronger, happier, healthier, skinnier and faster than when I started. I wanted to run eight-minute miles, be a size 10 and feel positive again. That has all happened. My jeans are a size 8! (I just can’t get over that!)

 

What advice would you offer to people looking to improve their health? Find good friends to support you and then get serious about it. Being dedicated to health is not that hard, but it takes willingness and desire. As people see you being successful, they want to jump on board. It’s amazing.

Results

starting weight 193

current weight 158

lost 35 pounds

starting body fat 42%

current body fat 23%

lost 11 inches (waist)

Personal Trainer: Coach Keena Shaerrer

Sherri was an absolute pleasure to train! She worked hard, had a great attitude and made tremendous improvements in every aspect of her life. Sherri came to me out of shape and overwhelmed after previously being a healthy, thin, fit, energetic woman. She knew what she wanted because she had been there before. So when the going got tough, she kept at it and remembered what she really wanted — her old self back!

Sherri didn’t see any weight loss progress until she started eating right. She was working out and training for her first triathlon but was tired and not doing as well as we knew she could. We analyzed her nutrition and realized she wasn’t feeding her body what it needed, when it needed it. Once she learned that food is not the enemy, she started to lose weight and gain energy.

Sherri overcame so many challenges in her training. She went from not being able to clip in to a bike to finishing a half Ironman, a marathon and beating her best race time by more than 10 minutes! This was all a result of her willingness to commit to her goals, put in the work required to succeed and believe in herself. She is an inspiration and a champion. She treats herself like an athlete, values all the wonderful things her body does for her and takes control of her life!

Hair and Makeup: Jenn Gapmaier of Remedez Hairspa

Our main goal was to add richness and warmth to Sherri’s hair. Her summer highlights were fading and we wanted to cover the regrowth. We also added more layers and reshaped them to avoid a really full look around her face. She came in with curly hair, so we styled it to be more smooth and shiny to give her that sleek look.

 Wardrobe: Alicia Richmond of Chic on a Shoestring

Sherri has an hourglass shape, which is the most desired — it’s easy to fit. She has a balanced shoulder and hip line and defined waist, so she should always wear clothing that fits through the waist for a pleasing body proportion. I chose black jeans with a flattering fabric that holds her body in. The wrap top gives length to her neck and is fitted at the waist to showcase the smallest part of her body.

Sherri’s wearing heeled boots to add length to her legs — if you’re ever struggling with your thighs, height will always make legs look slimmer.

Jewelry from Kaleidoscope Boutique completes the outfit — the necklace is an eclectic, tribal-chic design by a local artist. Her earrings are sterling silver with a coordinating sunstone ring.

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STEPHANIE SHURIAN
Age: 40, Height: 5’8″, City: Mapleton

How has life changed since you began this fitness challenge? A year ago I was unhappy with my body — I didn’t like how I looked or felt. Zac helped me gain control of my health. Life as a mom gets pretty hectic, so it’s nice to know I have control over at least one thing in my life. I have energy to get through the day, and this has benefited my family.

 

What are the biggest differences you’ve noticed? Zac gradually worked me up to a pretty tough workout. Every week he says, “Wow, that’s the hardest workout we’ve done!” I like knowing I can handle tough things!

 

How have your eating habits changed?

I’m eating smaller portions, a lot less sugar and a lot more fruits and vegetables. I shoot for eight a day. They help me keep my calories in check without feeling hungry.

 

What’s your favorite healthy meal or snack? Two low-fat Eggo Nutrigrain Waffles with fresh or frozen berries and a cup of milk. It’s low fat, has lots of flavor and fills me up because it’s full of fiber.

 

What’s your favorite exercise routine?

I love going out for a brisk walk. My toddler, Cody, and I love to be outside — he’s happy and I get a good workout. I also love weightlifting and seeing myself get stronger.

 

What have been the biggest struggles of this fitness challenge? After losing 20 pounds, I hit a plateau. We kicked my workouts up a notch and cut calories but the scale still wasn’t moving. I should have felt fantastic, but I could barely get through the day. After Zac encouraged me to see my doctor, I found out I had a thyroid problem. I started medication and now have energy again — and the scale has finally started moving. It was really frustrating, but life is like that. You just work through the new obstacles and keep going.

 

What keeps you motivated? Being in a magazine article is pretty good motivation. Zac has been great — he expects me to be at every workout. We talk about nutrition each session to keep me focused. My friend Shelly works out with me, which makes it fun and brings out my competitive nature. I also love reading health and fitness magazines. It keeps my mind focused and I find new recipes to try.

 

How much time do you spend exercising each week? I work with Zac three days a week, an hour each time. I use my elliptical three to five days a week for an hour at a time.

 

Have people noticed your transformation?

One sweet woman at church noticed I was losing weight. She’s my cheerleader and says the nicest things each time I see her.

 

What advice would you offer to people looking to improve their health? The thought of losing weight and getting in shape is an overwhelming concept. But you don’t have to make drastic changes all at once — small changes add up to big results. I do best when I focus on the good things I’m going to do (eat more fruits and veggies) instead of what I can’t do (no more chocolate). Fitness is a lifelong journey so you have to keep at it. Sometimes I have a bad day and don’t eat well or miss my workout. But it’s not the end of the world. Tomorrow is a new day and I can do better. A gradual lifestyle change is better than a fad diet any day. It may take longer to get to your goal, but you’ll enjoy the journey a lot more.

Results

starting weight 198

current weight 176

lost 22 pounds

starting body fat 41%

current body fat 34%

lost 7 inches (waist)

 Personal Trainer: Zac Price of Energy Explosion

Stephanie has come so far! Where she started to where she is now is amazing. She’s worked hard and has some great results to show for it — a long list of tangible results (losing 20 pounds, 7 inches off her waist, and 7 percent body fat!) but most importantly, an improved lifestyle and higher quality of life. And she’s achieved all of that in spite of some tough real-life challenges. That’s how I would describe her journey through this past year — real life. I think she’s been an inspiration to people, especially mothers, as she’s dealt with challenges. She took them on and didn’t give up — which says a lot and is what’s inspiring about what she’s accomplished.

The fitness challenge has been really cool to watch — to see three people elevate their lives. That’s what fitness is all about — it’s so much more than just fitness. It impacts every other area of our lives! Stephanie, Scott and Sherri have set great examples and shown what is possible.

Hair and Makeup: Aubree Vogt of Suggestions Salon

Stephanie didn’t want anything too drastic and was looking for a style and color that are easy to maintain. We decided to enhance what was already there by giving her highlights to brighten up her face and lowlights to add dimension. She was happy with the length of her hair, so we added fun layers to give it more style and shape.

Wardrobe: Alicia Richmond of Chic on a Shoestring

To play up Stephanie’s curves and smaller waist, I chose a fitted sweater in an eye-popping avocado green. The white collar and cuffs give the sweater a stylish update and draw attention to the face.

Stephanie said her favorite part of her body is her legs. She has fantastic legs — very defined and long — so I selected a trumpet skirt that’s slim through the hips and has a flirty drape at the knees. The skirt balances her strong shoulder line and defined bustline.

To complete the look we opted for knee length chocolate boots.

Stephanie’s necklace from Kaleidoscope Boutique added a fun, subtle accent — colored pearls and mystic quartz add splashes of color.

 

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Ashley Dickson is a Virginia native now living in Boston. She graduated from BYU with degrees in journalism and home and family living, then spent three years writing and editing for Utah Valley Magazine. She left the mountain West to earn a master's degree in library science and now splits her time between motherhood, editing for a financial research firm, and keeping a connection to Utah by writing for UtahValley360.

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