Long-time member Alex Frost knows what it means to come for the workouts and stay for the community. Below she shares her path towards lifelong health and fertility with Burn Boot Camp.
I’m a chronic gym quitter…the person that the specials and sales are geared towards. I’m the one they’d rope in with a January New Year’s sale and will have literal dust on my sneakers come March. It’s not even because I don’t love to work out, but because every gym and program I joined left me wanting something more. I tried large facilities where you decide your own workouts and awkwardly venture into the “men’s only” weight lifting zone where there’s tons of grunting and weight being thrown around. I joined Jazzercise, thinking I could dance my way out of my pregnancy and postpartum weight gain. I’ve spun, zumba’d, yoga’d, stepped, and kick-boxed my way through many gyms in my town. Until I found Burn.
“I joined Jazzercise, thinking I could dance my way out of my pregnancy and postpartum weight gain. I’ve spun, zumba’d, yoga’d, stepped, and kick-boxed my way through many gyms in my town. Until I found Burn.”-Alex Frost
I’d driven by Burn and heard from enough friends to know that Burn Boot Camp was pretty challenging. I’d seen Instagram videos of 20 somethings bouncing and kicking and lifting pretty hefty weights, so I wasn’t really sure it was for me. After all, I was recovering from the birth of my third son, and was at my heaviest weight ever. Each pregnancy had left a pesky ten pounds behind (ten pounds times three kids, and I wasn’t feeling great). But I was looking for more than just a weight loss program. I wanted to be a part of something, to have a community and a supportive place where my presence and enthusiasm mattered. I also was looking for a solution for how to work out with a bunch of little kids, which the child watch program quickly solved–my kids loved going, and I felt good about leaving them with competent sitters in a super fun toy room.
A friend talked me into doing a six-week trial at Burn, and it was, as I expected, one of the hardest workouts I’d done. I was also immediately encouraged by the trainer’s one on one attention to my progress and success. After a bunch of back surgeries, I had lingering pain that will forever prevent me from doing a “real” burpee, but that didn’t phase the trainer at all. It was my first experience with the leader being experienced enough to adapt and modify any exercise that wasn’t comfortable within seconds, and discreetly, so it didn’t make a scene in the middle of my favorite type of exercise–group fitness. I was still pretty intimidated by some of the other women who were clearly at a peak level of fitness, but it was only because I was at the very beginning of my own success story.
After my trial ended I did something I’d never done at any other gym. I committed to the longest-term contract I could, and even bought a t-shirt. My husband laughed, saying I was drinking the kool-aid literally and figuratively, when I came home the next week with chocolate Burn protein powder. And it was working. I immediately started losing weight and increasing muscle, but more importantly, I had a secondary change that I didn’t even try for–my diet. While I’d always known that diet and exercise worked together, I typically would start to try to “diet” and to start a workout program at the same time. Eventually one would fail, along with my willpower, and I’d have to start again, discouraged. This time, I started to eat better because my workouts were tough and my body was telling me to. It was an organic shift that I never expected. Now everyone who tells me they are dieting hears about my accidental diet that happened after I started Burn–I suddenly cared a lot about what I put in my body. Maybe because the workouts were too tough to undo with a pizza after, but that wasn’t all. The trainer doubled as a nutrition coach, meeting with me every three weeks to talk macros, water, protein, and most importantly to customize my diet to my body and life.
I quickly learned some nutrition takeaways I’d never learned anywhere else:
- The macro balance for my specific body type and lifestyle are different from everyone else’s. There is no formula other than trial and error. I found out when my carbs got down pretty low that I got a migraine, so my trainer helped me find the right balance.
- I needed quick and convenient high protein options with my three kids under 5, and my two jobs, dominating my schedule.
- Eliminating entire foods had failed me in the past, and would always fail me in the future. So I quit doing that.I was drinking about a third of the water I needed to be.
My Burn journey was well underway, and I was confident I was where I needed to be, and then just a day into 2020 (the best year ever, right?) I found out I’d miscarried my fourth child. I was devastated. I’d just conquered my first serious weight loss and muscle-building goal since I’d started having children, and I felt like I was flung back to square one in a matter of minutes. I had surgery, and a month-long recovery, and came back to the gym still looking quite pregnant, and feeling broken and unmotivated.
This is where I learned the most crucial lesson of Burn, one that I’d heard other members and coaches talking about, but never internalized. I hadn’t been sent back to square one, and I hadn’t even conquered a weight loss or muscle gain journey. Those ideas mean that I’m on a short-term mission, but I realized I’m not. Burn, and the concepts they teach, are a permanent way of life. The lifelong endeavor for health, fitness, nutrition, and community. No six-month journey here. Not something that could be destroyed in one terrible day. This was the toughest lesson, and one that made me realize I’ve found my forever gym home, on the best and the worst days.
The months following the miscarriage were hard at the gym–I felt betrayed by my body, the process, and my trainer helped me towards a new goal, mental toughness. No longer were my exercise modifications and my macros my main concern, but the pervasive negativity when I worked out four times per week and still saw that post-partum baby bump from the baby we lost. I didn’t want to keep coming, but I did. That’s where community mattered.
“I didn’t want to keep coming, but I did. That’s where community mattered.”-Alex Frost
I didn’t know it, but I was beginning another tough stint to my journey, a year of infertility while I tried to get healthy and pregnant again. Burn became my focal point as month after unsuccessful month passed. Anyone who has experienced fertility struggles will tell you that it makes you feel powerless, and you realize how very little you can control. But I could control my fitness journey. The year of not conceiving the baby I desperately wanted also became the year I’d never been healthier. Each failed month gave me the chance to have 30 more days to get stronger. The 10-pound weights I used to struggle to get to 45 minutes with were replaced with 12, then 15 pounds, much to my own shock. My year of infertility wasn’t for nothing, because of Burn. Instead, it was a powerful battle for control of my mind and my health.
Today as I write this, I’m also more balanced than ever before, able to enjoy my protein, fruit and spinach smoothie, but also a cheese coney with my kids (shout out to my fellow Cincinnati Skyline Chili fans!) and a lot more water than I’d ever thought to drink before, all before my 4:30 camp later today. Also, I’m elated to be 21 weeks pregnant, and working out further into a pregnancy than ever before. I’m eternally grateful for both what Burn stands for as a company, and also specifically for the trainer who made this journey possible. But most of all, I’m grateful for the faith and acceptance I now have of my own body, and all it can do. It will lift weights and do hard things until giving birth, the hardest thing. Then it will work to nurse my rainbow baby, and to not just return to a post-baby state, but rather to move forward on the lifelong journey towards health and fitness, with the help of my community at Burn.