My name is Shawna Larson and I am a full-time nursing student, and a Health Services Management Technician in the United States Air Force Reserve.
Health and fitness was never a part of my life growing up, or even in early adulthood. I enlisted into the Air Force at age 18, and barely made the maximum allowable weight requirement. I struggled my way through Basic Training, and inevitably failed multiple Physical Training tests throughout my active duty time. There was a point when I reached over 200 pounds on the scale, and realized that it was absolutely necessary to make a lifestyle change.
After several years of yo-yo dieting and seeing my weight go up and down, I found out I was pregnant with my first child in 2012. My daughter was born November 16, 2012 and I was so ready to get back in shape and Ace my Air Force PT test. Well, three months later I found out I was pregnant again! After two back to back pregnancies, I knew that my health was no longer an option. I had two beautiful children that I want to set an example for, so it was time to make a lifestyle change.
I separated active duty in October 2013 and cross trained into the Air Force Reserves. Cross training required me to attend training in San Antonio for seven weeks, which is where I was able to jump start my fitness journey without distraction. I am lucky enough to have a husband that is so supportive of my Air Force career, and offered to be a single dad while I was in training for almost two months.
I arrived to Texas knowing that this was the beginning of my transformation. Each morning, I woke up at 4 am to head to the gym. I lifted weights prior to class every morning. I favored weight training over cardio, so I lifted 5 days per week and performed HIIT cardio as a warmup. I also prepped and portioned my meals to eat at the school house while my classmates went out to eat. I bought Tupperware and a lunch bag in order to stay on track with clean eating during the school day. My daily sweet treat was a Quest bar, and I never felt like I was cheated out of dessert.
When I left to training in May 2014, I weighed in at 192 pounds. I currently weigh 149 pounds, and I am 5 feet 10 inches tall. At this time, I am training for my first Bikini Competition at the Alaska State Championships and this is just the beginning of my fitness journey!
Five things that I have learned throughout my fitness journey:
1. Stop making excuses for why you can’t – I have heard so many people tell me why they cannot eat healthy or workout. Once you decide that your health and fitness is a priority, you WILL find the time. Whether it be a home workout, or taking a walk, there is always time.
2. Getting there is the hardest part – Getting up to go to the gym is more difficult than actually working out. Have your gym bag packed the night before. Once you get to your place of fitness, your workout will happen. Just get there!
3. Fitness is a marathon, not a sprint – It took me some time to realize that changes do not happen overnight. Once I learned to keep doing what I was doing and be patient, everything else just fell into place. Consistency is definitely the key to success.
4. Keep food with you at all times – There have been several times that I did not have food packed, and I would find myself in a wild goose chase trying to find anything close to healthy that would not derail my diet for the day. Having healthy snacks with you is a must!
5. Don’t give up! – There were days when I felt as if my progress had stopped, and I felt like the taste of food outweighed putting in all of this work for nothing. We all have bad days, but if you stick with your exercise and healthy eating the changes will come! Never give up!
Team Quest – We are here for you! Share your transformations and triumphs with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or email them to us at [email protected]. Remember that these transformations took hard work, discipline and a plan. Quest products are a delicious component of, and not a substitute for, an exercise regimen and effective diet. The Quest Community is always there for you if you need help, inspiration or motivation!