Over the past few months, I have not only seen the pounds fall off, I’m stronger, more confident, and above all, I love and look forward to my workouts.
For Christmas 2017, my brother (Shred415 instructor Arturo) gave me a gift certificate for an unlimited month of classes. I remember opening the envelope and crying after reading his note. He said to use that certificate to get back to the Vanessa I used to be: the happy one, the strong one, the sister he used to know. I did not know it then, but his present would change my life forever.
At that time, my weight was up to 226 pounds. For the whole year prior, I had overindulged in unhealthy foods and completely stopped working out. I was out of shape. I was depressed, unhealthy, and miserable. My personality changed as well. I was no longer the happy extroverted person I used to be, and I was ashamed of the way I looked and felt. My body was in pain from carrying all that extra weight, I had insulin resistance, high cholesterol, and hormone imbalance issues. I hated how I looked, and I was bitter at what I had become.
My brother accompanied me to my first Shred415 class on January 3, 2018 with Makiah. After only 5 minutes, I wanted to quit, and I remember an overwhelming feeling of anger at myself for having let my body get to this point. I managed to finish that first class, and my anger quickly turned to pride. I was proud of myself for having pushed through the whole hour. After class, we took a picture (the one attached to this story) and my fitness journey started.
I gave myself the duration of my unlimited month to reach a moderate goal, which I crushed! Seeing these results motivated me to keep coming back for more. Soon, I started taking class almost every day across all four Chicago locations. I wanted to meet and take class with as many instructors as possible. Every single Shred415 instructor and team member is so supportive, motivating, and friendly.
Shred415 became my happy place. The weight started coming off faster, and I was feeling stronger with each class: running for longer periods of time, reaching new speeds and grabbing heavier weights. Month after month, I was crushing my goals!
Today, I have taken 170 classes. I have lost 82 pounds and I am back to my weight from 8th grade… 23 years ago! I feel happy, confident, healthy, and strong. I ran my first ever 5k in June of this year to celebrate my birthday. At 37 years old, I am truly in the best shape of my life! I used to avoid looking at myself in the mirror, now I look all the time and I love seeing my body change week by week. For the first time ever, I see definition in my arms and I keep finding new definition everywhere!
My 16-year-old daughter noticed a positive change in me. She saw that I was happy and excited about going to class every day and she wanted to start Shredding too. She now shreds with me regularly and nothing makes me happier than Shredding with her. She has been by my side as my biggest motivator since day one of this journey, and I am glad I get to share this with her. We get closer and our bond gets stronger with each class we share together. It is the greatest gift Shred415 has given me.
Thank you to each one of the instructors—Bonnie, Tracy, Jeremy, Mark, Sean, Katie D, Melissa, Lyndsey, Joey, Derick, Maki ah, Brittanie, Sara, Kelly, Cara D, Kara W, Katie M, and my brother Arturo. Without you, I would not be who I am today. Thank you for your motivation, for your dedication, for your patience, and for pushing me in every class. Each and every single one of you have helped me change my life and this is something I will never forget. You have touched my life in such a warm and positive way. You are all so unique and so good at what you do.
Thank you Shred415 for helping me change my life. Thank you, Arturo, for getting me started in this journey. Thank you to my daughter, Jackelyn Grace, for taking this journey with me and for being by my side every single step of it. Let’s keep going!
To become Shredder of the Month, submit your Shred415 success story to [email protected]. Whomever is chosen will receive an unlimited month of Shred415 classes. He or she will also be recognized on our blog and social media channels.