You might guess that after losing more than 150 pounds in less than two years that Heidi Johnson would look forward to going to the gym. But, if that’s what you imagine, you’re wrong.
“Honestly, I dread going into the gym most days,” Heidi admits. “But as my personal trainer and others often remind me, ‘The most difficult part is getting through the door.’ We can find every excuse in the world to not show up. If we can just get through that door, the rest is easy. Once I walk in and I’m greeted by people I now consider friends, I want to show everyone who greeted me that I am thankful for them and that my fitness matters as much to me as it does to them. They are really good at making you feel like you matter.”
Since joining Anytime Fitness in Plymouth, MN in December of 2015, Heidi has worked out with personal trainer Clarinda Haglin an average of six times a month. Being accountable to someone else, Heidi learned, is one of the biggest keys to succeeding on a fitness journey.
“Not only has Clarinda given me workouts that challenge me, she cares about me as a person and wants the best for me,” Heidi says. “I never want to disappoint Clarinda and that’s one of the biggest things keeping me going. I know that, if I have a scheduled session with Clarinda, I can’t ditch it. Period. She’s too important to me.”
The Challenge: Always Evolve
Attempting new exercises can be intimidating, even frightening sometimes. But the right fitness coach can turn daunting experiences into fun ones.
“Recently, Clarinda made me do a plank with sliders under my hands and do ‘wax on, wax off’ motions while in the plank position,” Heidi says. “This was during a group training session. So, knowing I wasn’t the only one doing this crazy exercise, I just did it. I’m kind of competitive that way. Also, grunting and making random noises out loud helps. Sometimes, I laugh through exercises because it helps make it easier.”
Heidi was a competitive swimmer most of her life, including during college, but she developed poor eating habits and stopped exercising shortly after graduation. At her heaviest, she weighed 381 pounds—and getting back into an exercise routine was a challenge.
“It is not easy to get back into a workout routine after a long hiatus,” Heidi says. “My body hurts and I’m sometimes disappointed that I can’t do everything I could [when I was a competitive athlete]. But I’m proud of myself for at least trying to get back into it.”
The best pain reliever after an especially challenging workout? Ice.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone home from the gym, filled zip lock bags with ice, and sat on the couch icing everything, knees especially,” Heidi says. “Also, saying, ‘Ow’ out loud as you move, especially down stairs, helps. It’s good pain, though.”
Her Next Round of Goals
Heidi’s short-term goals include building up enough strength in her arms to do a pull-up and flipping a tractor tire “like one of those badass fitness gurus.” To achieve those goals, Heidi and her trainer are doing a lot of upper body exercises together.
There’s also a special number on the scale that will mark an amazing milestone for Heidi.
“I want to weigh under 200 pounds,” she says. “That’s my current goal and I am so close! When I get to that point, it will mean I will have lost 181 pounds.”
Big or small, Heidi says that achieving any fitness goal can be extremely rewarding.
“I was working out recently and getting pictures taken for this blog and did not make a great tee-shirt choice,” she says. It was [an old shirt], so I was drowning in it. As soon as I was done working out, Jim, the GM, asked, ‘What size is that shirt?’ I replied, ‘It’s probably a 3X,’ and then he just walked away. Confused, I started to gather my things to go home. All of a sudden, Jim was back holding an Anytime Fitness tee-shirt. He said, ‘I’ll trade you right now. You give me that shirt and you put on this one. It’s an XL.’ I was, and still am, in shock. So, I went to the bathroom, changed shirts, and handed the 3X over to Jim. Just one more reason I love my Anytime Fitness. Fitting into a size XL brought me to tears.”
Please join us as we continue to follow Heidi on her fitness journey this year via the Anytime Fitness blog. In future posts Heidi will share her new healthy eating secrets, tips on overcoming weaknesses, advice on making connections, and much more.Read Heidi's Backstory