Julie was one of our many ROCKSTARS! She started the Synergy Program with it first started as Never Go Back (NGB) back in 2009. Julie is no longer with us as she has moved to Toronto to further her education; however healthy eating and active living is still a big part of her life. Be sure to take a read and get inspired by Julie and her great success!

In May 2009, I was playing Nintendo Wii and after doing the fitness test, including BMI measurements, my results indicated that I was obese. I knew I was overweight and had really let myself go when it came to exercise and nutrition but it was that moment of seeing the word on the screen and seeing the Mii character actually look bigger and then put her head down as if she was depressed that really made me think. At that moment all I remember is turning off the game and walking away.

A couple weeks later, on June 17, I saw a poster at the bottom of the stairs to my office that said “NGB BOOTCAMP” (Synergy’s previous business name). As I looked up to the five flights of stairs that I struggled to get up every day, I thought there was NO way I could possibly do a bootcamp – I was very overweight and in the worse shape of my life. I huffed and puffed my way up the stairs and as I got to my office, almost gasping for breath, I realized that it was because I couldn’t walk up those stairs without being completely out of breath that I  needed to give the bootcamp a try. I thought back to a few weeks early when I was playing the Wii. Between being called obese on the Wii and not being able to walk up those stairs, I knew it was time to make a real change in my life. I contacted Bethany right away to ask if there were still spots available. Of course part of me was hoping she would say no so that I didn’t have to face it but most of me was absolutely thrilled that I was signing up for bootcamp. Don’t get me wrong, I was still scared to death – how could I do bootcamp when I can barely get up a few flights of stairs?

The day I saw the poster was the day of the free class and I had other commitments so I went in to the eight week session completely blind. I showed up to the first class for the fitness test, having no idea what to expect. I was scared to do a fitness test because I knew I wouldn’t like what I saw. I knew I was out of shape and that those numbers would be a real slap in the face. I remembered back to the Wii and how it ‘calling me names’ actually really helped me take the step to changing my exercise and nutrition. By that same thought, I figured that whatever those numbers were on my fitness test, I would embrace them and just use them as my starting point.  After all, I’d have no place to go but up, right? I didn’t get discouraged that I couldn’t do any push- ups or sit- ups, couldn’t run for more than 15 seconds at a time, or do any of the other activities at the level that I should have been. I was motivated to work hard and improve in all aspects.

The final fit test that I took after 16 weeks of bootcamp showed significant improvement on EVERY exercise – in just four months I went from not being able to do any full push-ups or sit-ups in one minute to being able to about 10 and 20 respectively. A wall sit that I suffered through for barely 30 seconds on the first test because a whopping 7 minutes in the last one! The first time I ran (walked!) the mile it took me almost 20 minutes but by the end of the four month mark I did it in 11 minutes!
Participating in the bootcamp didn’t just get me exercising more – the nutrition information Bethany gives is invaluable and the whole program simply inspires you to make healthy choices in all aspects of your life. Half way through the first eight week bootcamp, I quit smoking. I was a smoker for about 13 years and tried to quit numerous times. This time was different. I was motivated to run more and get in better shape. I knew that simply wasn’t possible if I continued to smoke. I was motivated to make as many positive changes in my life for the sake of my health and happiness. NGB Bootcamp did far more than increase my muscle mass and decrease fat (though it did go a good job of that too as I lost more than 40 inches and 30 pounds from May to November 2009) – bootcamp has given me strength and confidence that I never imagined possible.

The instructors make every woman feel special, no matter what her fitness or nutrition level. They don’t judge or preach, they encourage and support. With that, anything is possible. I encourage all women to try this – don’t think that only the super thin athletic women can do this, it’s for everyone! You get what you put in and if you work hard, the results will show.
I was never the sporty or athletic type and for a long long time, I wasn’t anywhere near in shape. I would always see women who were in shape and a part of me wanted to be like them. Though I am still working toward my goals, I am in the best shape of my life and I’m not afraid to try new things. For years I would make excuses and be scared to try different fitness classes but now I just go and do it! Since the end of the bootcamp in November 2009, I continue to exercise at least 5 times a week and constantly try new healthy recipes so I don’t get bored. If my schedule gets too busy and I can’t make it to fitness classes, I do at-home work out routines. I have learned so much from NBG bootcamp about nutrition and exercise – I feel far more competent in the area and am not afraid to ask questions if there’s something I don’t know.

I have struggled with my weight all my life and have done many diets and exercise stints, only to eventually stop them and gain back even more weight. When life happens, it can be very difficult to keep up the same levels of exercise and healthy eating. I experienced this from November to January of this year as the inches slowly crept back on. One day in January I was reminded by a photo of how far I had come and started to really focus more attention on my personal physical fitness and health eating goals. With that, I have revitalized myself and reignited my passion for fitness and exercise.

In total I have lost over 50 pounds and 60 inches in the past nine months. The Wii doesn’t call me names anymore and I try to spend as much time as I can playing it, walking, taking the stairs wherever possible, and getting lots of exercise each week.
I know firsthand how difficult it can be coming from a family with weight problems and working environments that make it challenging to get the proper exercise and nutrition; however, I am learning each day to put my own health as a priority in my life. I will be forever thankful for Bethany and the NGB team – I can’t imagine where I would be today without that support and encouragement. I feel like a whole new woman, ready to take on the world! I never thought I would be able to do many of the things I can do now. I constantly challenge myself and every time I do, I am surprised with how much I can achieve.