Online support helped Gemma smash her goals

The Lean Machine is awarded to the woman who did not need to lose a lot of weight, but chose to do the 12 Week Challenge to improve her body fat percentage and overall body composition.
Name: Gemma Kitson
Club: Fernwood Cheltenham, VIC
Starting weight: 66.7kg
Current weight: 61.5kg
Weight lost: 5.2kg

How did you feel when you realised you were a runner-up?

[I was] very much in disbelief. From day one of the challenge, I had resigned to the fact that I wouldn’t be in the running for any prizes. I had personal goals to reach along the way and they [would be] my reward.

What was your health and fitness like before you started the challenge?

A few years ago, I wouldn’t have made it to the end of the block if you’d asked me to run it. I’d never taken my training seriously or approached my health and fitness with any consistency.

When and why did you decide to take part in the challenge?

When I saw the challenge being advertised, something just clicked for me. I know I work best when I have a goal to aim for, [and although] three months seemed like a really big challenge, the idea of pushing myself, putting my fitness first and seeing how far I could get really appealed to me.

What has been the most rewarding part of your journey?

When things get hard, my survival tactic is usually to abandon them before I have a chance to fail. Despite an injury and coming down with a virus, getting to the end of the 12 weeks without giving up [was] definitely the most rewarding part of my journey.

Where did you turn for support?

I found the support on the 12 Week Challenge online forum really beneficial. It’s a great “safe space” where you can moan about your frustrations or celebrate your wins, and not feel judged. [Also] my PT, Taoe, and the instructors at Southland were such a wealth of knowledge and their kind words of support kept me coming back, day after day, with a smile on my face.

What do you believe was the key to your success?

A large part of [my success] was being accountable; I posted a photo a day on Instagram and I dedicated the 12 weeks to my fitness journey. The second key to success was organisation. I started using my Sunday evenings to plan out my week’s schedule.

What did you learn about yourself throughout the 12 weeks?

I am a lot stronger - emotionally, mentally and physically - than I ever realised.

What are your plans for staying on track in the future?

I’ve signed up to my next challenge already: a half-marathon. I have the tools to make [my fitness dreams] a reality [and] I know I’m stronger than my excuses. I know what I can achieve if I put my mind and my heart to it.

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