30 Day EC: Spotlight on Mara

  We’re on Day 26 of The 30-Day Exercise Challenge, and I’m so excited to introduce you to Mara! I love, love, love her name! And also this: Mara blogs at Super Savings, so y’all get over there and check her out!  A few days ago, I brought you an inspiring update from Deborah. Before that we talked with Estefanie from Arizona, and before that, Toni from Auckland, New Zealand. These girls bless my heart!  If you’re not a part of this group, now is the time. The new challenge begins on September 15…plenty of time to get prayed up before Jillian takes ahold of you. Bless her heart. Bless my heart. Bless all the hearts.

PIN THIS, y’all!

AinW: Hi! Mara! Would you mind sharing the city where you live, your age, and a little about your weight loss/health/fitness journey before The 30-Day Exercise Challenge, including your fitness level before starting?

City: Muskegon, Michigan
Age: 34 (turning 35 right after the end of the challenge – this is my birthday present to myself!)
Fitness Level:  I’m a busy mom of 6, but lately I’d consider myself pretty sedentary.  I blog, so I’m at the computer a lot, and am not nearly as active as I should be.  I exercise very sporadically….maybe doing Zumba for a few months, then nothing for 6 months.  Age and having babies has definitely put on the pounds.  Before the challenge, I’d notice that I’d get winded just running upstairs for something….one flight of stairs – ridiculous.

Here’s my story…..over the past couple years our family has been working on eating more whole foods and eliminating a lot of processed foods. Sort of a “real food”/Paleo approach. I’ve felt better by cutting out the junk (artificial colors/chemicals/most wheat…etc.), it’s helped some of the kids’ skin issues (eczema/psoriasis), and we’ve all been healthier….but I wasn’t seeing weight loss like I expected. Which was really frustrating, to be honest.

I’ve now been following the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) way of eating for a couple of months and have been seeing great results (their closed FB group is an incredible encouragement)! I’m using a lot of the same foods we’re already used to, but just in a different way, and eliminating sugar from my diet. (I can still have sweets and chocolate though, which is what makes this way of eating doable – this coming from a major sugar addict, lol!). Sugar is so addictive, but also toxic! If we can get that out of our diets it’s crazy how our health and weight can improve!

I’ve been really happy with my steady weight loss (1-3 pounds/week) over the past couple months, but recently have slowed way down. I think it’s because I started the 30-Day Shred though and am building muscle while I kick the fat to the curb. I took “day 1” and “day 15” pictures and can tell a difference already! So I’m basically maintaining (losing a little) at the moment, but I’m feeling stronger, am losing some in inches, have tons more endurance and flexibility and am excited to see what happens by the end of my 30 days.

AinW: Would you be so brave as to show us your pictures?

Mara: Sure! Here you go!

Mara front collage

AinW: Wow! Your face! Your neck! Your waist! Your everything! Wait, what? The Shred works, man.  What do you like about that program?

Mara: It doesn’t take very long each day – less than half an hour and I’m done!  But it’s definitely challenging, and I’m quickly seeing results!

AinW: What do you hate about it?

Mara: Jillian!  Lol, I really don’t care for her, but she does get results!  It’s a tough workout (especially at the beginning of each Level), but it’s easily modified to your abilities too.

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AinW: What are some of the obstacles or challenges you’ve overcome in completing The Challenge daily?

Mara: The kids are always around, and they can be pretty distracting. They either seem to “need” my attention during the time I workout, or they want to do it with me in our small office.  It would be helpful if I worked out before they woke up, but I am not an early riser.

AinW: Same here. I’m Shredding with a toddler using me as a bridge when I’m in the plank position…which seems to be quite alot. What benefits have you reaped from exercising daily?

Mara: I feel stronger, leaner, and more flexible.  I definitely have more endurance, and am not winded after a flight of stairs!  I’m also fitting better into my clothes – shirts are smoother, pants are buttoning easier! By Day 15 of the Challenge I had lost 1 pound, and 3 inches overall. I expected to see more of a difference in the numbers, but by the way I feel, I know great things are happening in my body that won’t necessarily show on a scale or measurements.

AinW: What do you believe about yourself and your body’s capabilities that you maybe didn’t know/believe before beginning The Challenge?

Mara: I now know that I can stick to something even when it’s hard.  I believe that I’m stronger mentally to be able to keep on going (and facing Jillian!) each day.

AinW:  That’s powerful, isn’t it? What are you hoping the second half of The Challenge will bring for you/your health and fitness?

Mara: I’m hoping to feel even stronger and leaner.  Really hoping to see more inches lost!

AinW:  Give us a Challenge funny.

Mara: My 20 month old is my fair weather workout buddy.  He’ll walk in the room and jump around while I do jumping jacks….or take my weights, and walk out again…or belly flop on me while I’m doing crunches, lol!  One day though, he watched me for a while, then got down on the floor into a starfish kind of plank pose….and just held it!  The chubby little curtain climber is stronger than I am, ha!!

Oh, and since I’m using the 30-Day Shred on YouTube, sometimes commercials pop up.  Once during the Level 2 workout, an ad for Hot Pockets came on…well played Hot Pockets!

AinW: Indeed, Hot Pockets. What has been the most encouraging or motivating factor in this process for you?

Mara: Knowing that there were so many women in the Challenge experiencing the same thing (being tired, sore, busy…) was SO encouraging! I wasn’t alone in my misery, lol!  And when they’d share how they pushed through a tougher situation (travel, sickness, house guests…) to workout anyway, it made it so much easier to kick my excuses to the curb and get my lazy self in gear!

AinW: The excuses can KILL us, can’t they? How has being a part of The 30-Day Exercise Challenge on Facebook spurred you on to persevere?

Mara: The Facebook group has been the entire reason I’ve stuck with the challenge!  Not kidding, if I wasn’t part of that group I totally would’ve quit by now.  I’m so thankful to Heather for starting the group, and her sense of humor that keeps all of us engaged.  Community and accountability are incredible motivators! I did not want to check in and say, “yeah, I was just feeling tired…..so I didn’t do it.”  It kept me excited and motivated to keep going strong.

AinW: I am so glad you joined us, Mara! You are such an encouragement!


An update on the upcoming Challenge which begins on Monday, September 15. Ripped in 30: This time, it’s about Redemption.

There will be FREE printable calendars and weight/measurement charts, so stay tuned!

And also this: An end-of-The-Shred GIVEAWAY…I’m thinking jewelry.




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