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Success Story- Briana Sprague


briana & chris


Name: Briana Sprague

Fitness Practitioner: Chris Eskin

Start Date: March 2nd 2015

Results to Date: Lost 20lbs of fat, gained 4.6lbs of lean muscle

1.)  How did you hear about AFS?
I would drive by the property nearly every day…often wishing that someone would move back in there. Saw the signs go up for a gym and drove past for another several weeks before stopping in to check it out. I liked the modern look and the heavy punching bag. Made it look serious, but clean and tidy.  It is still super clean, by the way. Great job on the housekeeping, AFS!

2.)  What/Who inspired you to take the first step toward getting in shape?
My inspiration to get in shape was some unfortunately frumpy Facebook photos from a wedding I hosted for a friend. And I had extreme fatigue and general weakness, often delaying my progress on work and life obligations. What happened? When did I become so soft? I couldn’t help move things or get my luggage into overhead bins. Embarrassing evidence of my poor fitness was happening more frequently.  I had gained 5 pounds a year for 5 years. Not…a…sustainable…trend.

3.)  What initially intrigued you about our program/why did you sign up?
I knew what I didn’t like: I had been having a little success showing up to a dancing-type program. They were supportive, competent, fun, and it was close to home. But while I liked the music, I didn’t like the dancing, or the mirrors, or the women-only atmosphere, or the times of day that the classes were offered…in other words, there were too many excuses.  

In the past I also tried the palatial gym environment.  It didn’t work for me either. There were too  many choices, trainers never got to know me, popular classes were too crowded, I never worked as hard by myself, parking issues dragged me down, and I hated paying for a palace when I only used a tiny corner. Oh…I also hate contracts. They are not motivating…just guilt generating for me.

Here is what I like about the AFS: it’s close to home, no parking issues, few mirrors, music but no choreography and no boredom, but also few or no choices. You do what they have planned for the day…or you tell the instructor you want to do something else and they suggest an alternative.

I love that the classes are gender neutral and that there is a clear path from beginner to athlete.  The levels start with C and when you get stronger, you can move to B and then A.  I started at what I call a C+, and now I am sometimes in the B+/A- range.  I love that we are all working on the same program at our own levels.  I love that I see the progress in others who have been coming a long time.

Wait, there’s more. I love the intervals!  I only have to ever do one thing for 30 seconds. The workout goes by fast. Other people are there for support but we don’t have time for small talk. This is concentrated effort. The interval thing is fantastic. I wish it had been more of a thing 15 years ago.

I also love that the instructors all have credentials and good people skills, and that the computer keeps a record of my shoulder and knee issues so they can check in with me to make sure I am not overdoing it.  This is a risk for me, injury from over-enthusiasm…and I have managed not to injure myself now for 9 months! A record!

4.)  How did you achieve the success you’ve seen thus far?
#1 Food log, food log, food log

I took a little food log vacation for the holidays (we will see if I suffer any setbacks), but I have tracked every bite for 9 months.  I started at 1500 calories and found that if I was making good choices, it was giving me an excuse for candy to fill up the last 150 calories. After a few months, I stepped it down to 1350…and this is working as a goal to keep losing. On most weeks I make it on average. I only have about 10 pounds to go!

One thing Chris and I noticed from the data is that I have a week or so every month of not eating enough (just not hungry at all) and then bounce back with poorer choices when my appetite returns. This is still a struggle, but with a calorie goal, I can force a bar or some nuts to get enough calories to function.  Nathan (another trainer) said, “Sometimes you just have to eat to fuel the machine.” This resonated with me.

I find it fun most of the time to fit what I want to eat into the puzzle of 1350-calorie day. Oh, and protein…lots and lots of protein. For 2016, I am going to work on drinking more water!

#2 Rigorous exercise

AFS Weight Loss Solution is hard work, but the class goes by fast, and the pacing and consistent format is comforting. I know what is going to happen, but I also know that the 30 second interval is how I am going to get through the tougher stations.  I make it to class 3 times per week when I am home. I travel for work and this has been the biggest struggle to work out at the hotels. I try to walk a lot…this will be an area for improvement in the coming year. Chris has written a program for me, but I am not yet good at doing it on my own.

I think a key to my success is that I always try to increase my difficulty, but I am also quick to back it off if I feel a twinge in the knee or shoulder.

5.) What changes have you noticed in your life since starting with AFS?
 I am down more than 20 pounds of fat! Gained 5 pounds of muscle and lost 3.5 inches of hips! Size down from 12 to 8 pants! My upper arm doesn’t puff over my elbow when I straighten it out! I can move furniture, and I have more stamina for working in the yard, etc.

I still get depressed and procrastinate, but sometimes I actually go to the gym to procrastinate on other stuff.  In the past I would nap or binge watch or snack as primary procrastination techniques.

6.) What advice you can offer others looking to make changes like you’ve made?
It is what it is; we have to own every bit of it.

I had to dig deep and make it like a hobby. Some days are harder than others, but all I can say is that it is working for me!

Put everything in the log, no matter how embarrassing. I had to log 7 servings of Sour Patch Kids in one day. Chris can see that, but he dealt with it without hurting my feelings (thank you!).  You can always do better tomorrow.

Annoy your friends and coworkers with the food diary entries. It is worth it to keep up the log every time you eat something. By the end of the day, you can’t make better choices for dinner if you don’t know what the tally is so far.

Accurate data is essential to any improvement plan development! I am a management consultant, and I finally applied my work to this effort, and like my clients, I am seeing the results.

Find a group situation if you are like me and cannot do rigorous exercise on your own!


Thanks for sharing your story Briana! Congrats on your success thus far! Keep at it! 🙂

Want more info on Briana’s program?

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