A few years ago, 33-year-old Ashburn resident Melissa Spurrier was so out of shape she would get exhausted walking from her car up to her office building. Today, she is working out along side firefighters squatting 150 pounds-the amount of weight that she has lost-in the weight lifting room at the Brambleton Sport &Health.
From 2003 to 2008, Spurrier used a home-workout regimen, relyingon exercise tapes and an elliptical. In June 2009, Spurrier decided to commit herself wholeheartedly to her weight loss goals by joining Tyson's Sport&Health in McLean. Spurrier relocated to Brambleton Sport&Heath, to be closer to home in May.Although she did have some success on her own, Spurrier began to see drastic changes in her health and body after joining Sport&Health.
"In 2009, I realized that I was abusing my body by over-eating,not exercising, and drinking too much alcohol and I thought, ‘This is wrong and I should be honoring my body and God,'" Spurrier said.
Spurrier said she started thinking about making changes to her lifestyle after going through a divorce and starting a new job.Around that time she renewed her faith, and felt that her unhealthy lifestyle prevented her from honoring her body in the way that God intended. She also cited her 15-year-old son Jeremy Clark, an avid athlete, as part of her inspiration, saying that she wanted to be healthy for him.
After taking classes at Sport & Health and befriending some trainers, Spurrier hired a trainer for herself, Jason Carden, at the McLean location. Her trainer encouraged her to make use of strength training.
"Most women don't want to do strength training because they think they'll bulk up like a man and I thought that, too," she said. "But I hired him so I listened. Now, I preach strength training to anybody I meet."
Spurrier's exercise regimen consists of 45 to 60 minutes of cardiovascular training five days a week; 20 to 30 minutes of weight training three days a week; and abdominal and core training for 30 minutes one day a week.
"There is a specific reason why I chose this type of interval training. I chose to focus a lot of time on cardio in order to workand train my heart, to make it stronger, and help with my breathing capacity [because] I have asthma," Spurrier said. "I am proud to report that I haven't had to use my inhaler in years. Also, cardio is an excellent fat burner."
Spurrier also attributes her success to new eating habits. When she first started working to lose weight, she thought it was about limiting the amount of food she ate. But, after consulting her trainer, she realized it was about building lean muscle mass and building protein.
She takes vitamins, avoids artificial colors and preservatives and tries to eat fresh foods and primarily homemade dishes. She also said it is important to avoid sauces and focus more on spices when flavoring foods. Some of the foods she incorporates into her diet regularly include oatmeal, almonds, natural peanut butter, avocado, flax seeds, fruit, spinach, yogurt, skim milk and anything whole wheat.
"It's not about how little you can eat. You have to educate yourself. Don't feel bad if you're really overweight; it happens to people," Spurrier said. "I used to use food as comfort. I know I'm not the only one out there that did that. It took years,dedication, education, and belief in a higher purpose [for me]. I want to help others."
Spurrier said although she originally set out to lose weight for herself, she now sees her success as an opportunity to help and inspire others.
To others who may be struggling with their weight and want to make changes, Spurrier said: "There are going to be times that you want to give up. There are going to be times where you say this isn't working and you're going to feel like forgetting about it because it's too hard. But you have to say no. Now is the time.There's something inside yourself, your internal motivator. Find what it is and push yourself to do it. Don't give up."
As printed in the Ashburn Today