By Sarah Begley
I've successfully completed the Burnin' by Ray 12 Week Transformation challenge (and then some) and I can honestly say, without a doubt, it has sincerely been a Life. Changing. Experience. I spent most of the Christmas / New Years break reflecting on my transformation overhaul to better understand why THIS time was different and why it was so successful for me. What I am about to share is personal so hopefully my experience may enlighten or inspire. Moreover it may (hopefully) motivate those who are desperate to change their lives and take that first step to getting healthy.
First things first... I WANTED this. I wanted it with every ounce of my being. The fact that I found Ray's ad while searching for the latest restaurant openings in Boston was a HUGE telling sign that shifted my focus. I also had gut a feeling Ray's program was going to work. I wanted it SO bad, I went to one of Ray's Bootcamps to show them how serious I was. I wanted it so bad that I completely and willingly relinquished myself to Ray and his team and let them take over my life. This meant that for the next 12 weeks, I HAD to do everything they told me do which was: burn no less than 5 times a week (or more), eat the foods they provided, and Instagram my progress. Anything less or deviation from this meant disqualification. I wanted this so bad that the idea of figuring out a way to cheat on this program wasn't an option. It just wasn't. It never entered my mind. Have you ever wanted something so bad you just obsess about it? That pretty much sums it up.
Secondly, why this time worked had to do with shifting my focus. I put exercise and strength training FIRST, Food SECOND. Sure I've done: Weight Watchers (3 times), NutraSystem, ProWeightLoss, Whole30, etc... and while I've dropped some pounds on those programs... I NEVER adopted or synced a workout program to compliment it. I felt I would be satisfied with just the weight loss and if I lost 30+lbs... my body would magically transform into this lean, fit muscular body of a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model. Yeah, that doesn't happen. Through Ray, Rich and the team, I finally UNDERSTOOD the magic of building muscle is the key to burning fat and ultimately loosing weight. It never really clicked until now. And how do you build muscle? Consistency. That's all guys. Show up! Build a routine. I consistently worked out 5-6 days a week, focused on building my strength (adding reps and weights to each workout!!) ate a clean, lean diet of mostly protein and veg and 16+ lbs of body fat melted away. However, this doesn't happen overnight or right away. I didn't put on all the weight I had to loose in one week either. When I started feeling discouraged because I wasn't seeing any major progress the first month, Rich kept saying over and over:
"Trust the Process.... stay consistent.... it will happen".
A third reason this time was successful is two-fold: Managing my mind and having an indestructible support system that is Ray and his team. Anyone embarking on a fitness journey has to be prepared that this type of transformation will affect you both physically and emotionally. While you are conditioning your body to building strength, you have to take care to condition your mind as well. Your mind will tell you terrible things!: You're too weak, you're too tired, you're too lazy, you're too fat, you can't do this... Oh the list goes on! The first few weeks of doing 1.0s... this song played over and over in my head. Sure there were instances where I literally cried on jacob's ladder or doing crunches... It was hard! But I NEVER gave up - because I wanted this! I also knew that with consistency, it would get better, it would get easier, I would be able to get thru my workouts if I stuck with it and kept building my strength.
Those days when I felt down and in physical pain due to extreme soreness where I could barely walk let alone raise my arms to put a shirt on, I still showed up because I had a support system who was counting on me and I them. Here I was, the winner of a 12 week transformation challenge... and what if I failed? How would that look to Ray and his team? They were counting on me to be a huge success, to show that this program works. The team also believed in me especially on the days I didn't. And with that support and encouragement, I really felt things turning around for me. I allowed the bad days to happen, that day. But the next day was a new day and a chance to re-do all over again. I would show up to a burn, grab a bigger weight, and get thru the reps! And the feeling of knowing I could do it.. and was doing it over and over... the tune in my head changed, real fast. I went from saying, "I can't!" to "Holy crap I'm doing it!" When you get that mind shift - it's everything. YOU BECOME UNSTOPPABLE.
Not only was having Ray and his team critical in my transformation process... the unique members / family who belong to this studio are incredible. When the changes started happening and my fellow burners started noticing, it was so exciting and fun. The compliments boosted my morale and confidence as well as my adrenaline to keep going and push harder. Suddenly, working out became fun and something I looked forward to.
Now, here I am at the end of my transformation but looking straight ahead at my very bright and exciting future. I'm starting off a new year in which I'm not depressed, regretful, wistful, angry, frustrated, hopeless, hiding, ashamed, and weak. Instead, I'm kicking off this new year smaller, stronger, happier, confident, brighter, mindful, grateful, and peaceful. This new outlook I have I owe 100% to Ray and his team. Without his generosity, none of this would have been possible.
Transforming your life is hard. It's also exciting and worth it. Trust the process. Stay Consistent. Practice Gratitude. Good things will happen. I'm living proof.