Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series tracking the progress of Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club resident Maria Smith as she participates in a six-week pre-holiday boot camp. Her goal is to tone up and lose fat.
LAKEWOOD RANCH — Change is already in the air for Lakewood Ranch Country Club resident Maria Smith.
Since starting a pre-holiday exercise boot camp at Greenbrook Adventure Park Nov. 2, the 36-year-old mother of two has dropped three inches from her waistline and has more energy than she’s felt in a long time.
“I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m.,” she said. “I have so much more energy during the day.”
Smith joined the women-only group exercise class led by Shape Up Sarasota Boot Camp Director J.D. Doyle as a way to get motivated to tone up and lose weight before the holidays. The class, which meets three days a week, combines interval, cardiovascular and resistance training in each session.
Smith hasn’t dropped much weight yet, but her measurements indicate she’s losing fat faster than average in many areas while also building muscle in its place, Doyle said.
“The first week of class, I had a hard time doing the five-pound weights (in workouts),” Smith said. “Now, the 10-pound weights are pretty easy. I honestly feel better inside. I have more muscle tone and more energy, too. I can tell a difference when I put my clothes on.”
The workout sessions are getting harder each week, but Smith said she’s up for the challenge, even though she is so sore from it some mornings she can hardly move.
“No pain, no gain, right?” she said, smiling.
Despite the intensity of the exercise, Smith is making sure she keeps on-track even on her days off, making sure to walk 45 minutes on the treadmill or participate in other activities.
And since attending a healthy eating session with Doyle about two weeks ago, Smith also has been paying closer attention to the foods she eats and when she eats them — following the guidelines Doyle has suggested and planning each meal and snack carefully.
That task alone has been eye opening for Smith, who used to drink coffee for breakfast and eat one, maybe two, real meals a day.
“It makes you more aware to keep track of what you are putting in your mouth,” Smith said. “With the boot camp, I work out so hard (that) I’m careful to make good (food) choices.”
Even as Smith prepares a Thanksgiving meal for her family, she said she is determined to remain focused. She plans to avoid eating mashed potatoes, which are high on the glycemic index, and opt for other fresh vegetables such as spinach.
She still plans on making a walnut pumpkin pie recipe — one of her favorites — for her family, but the much-loved dessert will be off-limits for her, she said.
“I’m not looking at this as a six-week program,” Smith said. “I’m looking at this as a long-term exercise routine. This is something I’m going to (continue).”
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Measurements Nov. 2 Nov. 23
Arm 13 inches 12 inches
Waist 36 inches 33 inches
Lower Ab/hip 43 inches 41.5 inches
Mid-thigh 24 inches 23 inches
Calves 16 inches 15.5 inches
Fat weight 61.5 pounds 58.7 pounds
Body fat 37.7% 36.6%