2013 Client Of The Year- Emili Sperling
Congratulations to our 2013 Client of the Year:
What does Coach Matt say about Emili?
I have had the distinct pleasure of working with Emili over the past year and a half, and I count myself lucky to not only be Emili’s coach, but to have learned valuable lessons from her. There are two in particular that I believe have contributed to Emili’s incredible success that I want to share with you all today.
The first of those is to consistently engage in the process of change. Whether it was meetings about nutrition, goal setting, or mindset, Emili has consistently challenged herself to ask difficult questions about her motivations, herself, and what happiness and success means to her. And she did more than ask these questions – she set out to change her behaviors – something that is NOT easy to do.
The second lesson is how to respond to success and stress. Many people will say, “it’s all about attitude”, and sure, that’s important. But “attitude” isn’t just a mindset it’s a lifestyle, and one that Emili has truly embraced. Not only is Emili one of the most positive and friendly people I’ve ever met; she treats herself with the same kindness and encouragement. Had a great success? Celebrate, take pride in what you’ve done, but then move on to the next challenge. This is different from constantly shifting focus – it’s owning both what you’ve accomplished and what you want to accomplish. Life throw a road block at you? Treat yourself with some grace and understand that it’s all a part of the journey. Give yourself some credit, and then strive to reach above and beyond yourself to achieve more. Most of all, understand that seeking happiness brings joy in itself.
I believe these two elements are the keys to Emili’s success. I hope you’ll learn as much from her experiences as I have.
Tell us why you started coming to Force? What was your goal?
Previously I had lost a lot of weight on my own through running, group exercise classes and following Weight Watchers. I also had a workout buddy who kept one another accountable. I kept the weight off for over two years, but my workout buddy moved away and I slowly started to put it back on.
It was difficult to train for races if I was on Weight Watchers, so it seemed like I had to choose: lose weight or fuel my body during training. I was always hungry and I would beat up my body to get in the runs needed for training. At my lowest weight a few years back, I plateaued and was never able to break 200, even when I trained and ran my first half marathon.
I came to Force because I needed the accountability. I tried to recruit friends when the Groupon became available in July 2012. I know I needed to do something. I had gained back 40lbs of the 60 I originally lost in 2009 and it wasn’t coming off as easily as before with WW and group exercise at the SRSC (IU’s campus rec center). I kept putting that time in my life when I was at my lowest weight on a pedestal and needed to find my way back. I had no motivation to workout, so I ate to comfort myself, and I was heavy because I didn’t stay active like I had before. It was a vicious mental cycle.
How did you feel when first starting? (Excited, nervous, etc and explain why)
I remember setting up the bootcamp orientation right before I left on a work trip. I came in on a Wednesday evening at 6pm and Matt walked through what we could expect with foam rolling and a typical workout. The most important thing he did was to remember my name. He answered all of my questions and talked through more of the types of programs we could expect. By the end of the 45 min intro session, I knew that this was now or never and I signed a year contract before walking out the door.
I went on my work trip and I remember talking photos. I was so embarrassed by what I saw. I was anxious to return home to Bloomington and start a one-year journey of getting back to where I needed to be.
What has your experience been since starting?
The first few months were difficult. I signed up for the transformational challenge in August 2012 to get some focus on my nutrition, but I wasn’t making my classes enough of a priority. I came to every session, but I allowed my work schedule to dominate when I could come in to work out. I jumped around to different classes and it wasn’t until I reached a slow point in the fall that I landed at 5:15. When I finally came to 5:15, my outlook completely changed. I met a group of clients who consistently were there and we built a community. Now I schedule work around my 5:15 MRT sessions and make that a priority. I’m thankful that I have the support from my team at IUAA to do that.
Matt kept me focused throughout the journey, specifically on nutrition. I thought I was following a healthy diet/lifestyle, but it wasn’t until I cut out all sugars/sweeteners that I started to learn the effects of food and truly “fueling” your body. I started to recognize the performance I’d have in my evening MRT session based on the foods I’d have for breakfast and lunch earlier that day. I began keeping consistent with a paleo diet and completed my first Whole 30 in April 2013.
Once I dialed in my nutrition and felt like I was part of a community at 5:15, the results took off. I bumped up from 2 sessions/week to 3 sessions/week with MRT. Matt offered a MovNat seminar for 6 weeks in the spring that gave me so much more confidence as an athlete. I added an additional day of personal training from an offer celebrating Ryan’s 30th birthday and worked with Nathan on Friday mornings. This seems like a lot, and it was.
By the middle of the summer, I was burnt out. Physically and mentally exhausted. I was working really hard, the scale wasn’t moving, and essentially I was overtraining. Nathan had me take a step back to work on stretching and mindful breathing, taking a break from my normal Friday PT session. He would always ask how my training earlier in the week went and how I felt. He knew I would push myself physically and mentally to my limits, so he was able to remind me to take care of the body that had performed so well earlier in the week.
What have you accomplished in your time at Force?
My goals have dramatically changed since I started in the summer of 2012. I’ve divorced the scale and have redefined what it means to be healthy, happy, and active. I never go hungry and my relationship with food has completely changed; it provides the fuel to do my best, inside and outside the gym.
I’ve lost 37+ inches and over 55 lbs to date. I’m consistently asking for harder variations of workouts and I’m lifting as much (if not more) that some of the guys. I know what it’s like to have plateaus (I’ve had three in the past 16 months) and I’m confident in my abilities and grateful to my tribe, all of which have helped me overcome those obstacles.
What do you love most about working out at Force?
When a large group of us (many from 5:15 MRT) took the MovNat seminar with Matt in the spring, he had four rules, one of them to treat the entire group as a tribe. We’ve continued that mentality of a tribe and our 5:15 MRT session has become a very supportive, tight knit community. We do our best to get to know everyone’s names, cheer each other on, and connect outside of the gym too. I’m so disappointed when I have to miss a session due to work obligations. I have this accountability to my tribe and it’s never the same when one of us isn’t there.
What is your goal right now?
When I finally stopped obsessing over the numbers, got in the gym and had fun. That’s when the plateaus were broken and results started happening. My 2013 New Year’s Resolutions still hold strong for current goals that help me be aware of what I need to perform at my best: drink more water, get more sleep, reduce sugar intake, eat more protein. I’m about 6lbs shy of 60lbs lost and I know Matt is anxious about what I’ll have him do next upon my wall signing. But right now, I’m focusing on high protein, low sugar through the holidays and making sure I get in for all my workouts, even if that means making them up.
How has your mindset changed since starting Force? Do you view yourself any differently? Do you view fitness or nutrition the same?
My original mindset was to lose weight because that will make me happy; being skinny will make me happy. But that’s not it at all. Being active, eating clean and being a part of a community has made me happy.
Even as I have made major strides in my health and weight loss, I would still see an overweight woman in the mirror. My eyes were the last to realize how much I’ve accomplished. After I got my print out from the anniversary celebration of my “before and after” pictures, I couldn’t stop staring at it. The best compliments I have gotten are “you look so strong/lean!”
I enjoy food and love cooking, but I’m mindful of why and what I’m eating. If I’m going to splurge, there’s no way I’m doing it during an MRT day. I’ve realized gluten and a variety of grains have adverse effects on my system, so I stay away from them nearly altogether. I know what it feels like to feel good and well-nourished and many times it’s not worth the bloating, upset stomach, fuzzy head (think “hangover”) that could last literally days that junk food and processed foods/grains have on me for the time it takes to “enjoy” it. Many things now taste very different and worse than before (pizza, baked goods, soda pop), but don’t worry, sweet potatoes and dark chocolate are better than ever!
What is the most important thing that you have learned about yourself in this journey?
I have learned that I am (hella!) strong, I am very capable and I have a renewed sense of confidence in my abilities and myself. That confidence extends beyond my time in the gym too. The time I have committed to making myself better has a direct and positive correlation on life outside the gym, in my relationships, in my job performance, in everything I do. It hasn’t just been a physical commitment and transformation: it has been mental, emotional, spiritual, social, environmental, and intellectual too. Every part of me has become better from my journey.
What advice would you give to someone that is thinking of starting at Force?
Don’t overthink it, just jump in. The coaches and fellow clients are the most supportive community you’re going to find anywhere. The only thing holding you back is yourself. It may seem expensive or time consuming or the lean nutrition plan may seem impossible (at first), but once you make yourself and the betterment of your health a priority, everything falls into place.