By Yard Athletics – May 16th, 2019

It’s been a while, but we are back with a very special edition of “Transformations”! If you recall, this is our series where we highlight one of our #YardHard faithful who has dedicated serious hours in the gym and come out with huge progress in terms of health and fitness.

Today we have the great pleasure of introducing close friend of Yard Athletics (and special someone to founder Ilan Cumberbirch…<3) Gillian Cawsey.

Gill’s story is hugely impressive which you’ll read about below, and we could not be more proud of the strides she has taken to making weight training a staple in her weekly schedule.

Gill, thanks for doing this. How did you first get started at Yard Athletics? 

My pleasure! It took some encouragement and convincing, but eventually Ilan got me into the Yard. Now I can’t imagine my life without exercise and specifically, weight training.

What were your goals when you started working out at Yard? 

 I knew I wanted to feel comfortable again. The photo on the left was taken in August 2017 and the photo on the right is May 2019. There is nothing wrong with the photo on the left, however, for me and my body type, I knew I needed to make a change.

Coming to a new gym and starting a program can be intimidating; how did you feel when you first started vs. now?

 When I first started everything felt difficult and awkward. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and feeling so stiff and sore- it was hard to roll over. My whole body ached! I look back now and feel proud of the progress I’ve made. Besides the obvious aesthetic benefits of exercise, it’s also empowering to hit and surpass goals and feel physically strong. While I’ve come a long way, each visit to the Yard is still always humbling.

What kind of training were you doing before Yard? 

 My exercise routine consisted of jogging once or twice a week and day dreaming of running into anyone who had ever done me wrong while looking like Jessica Simpson in her 2006 ‘These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ music video.

Before the Yard, I had honestly never even lifted a weight before. I mean, I attempted to do some 5-pound curls at the Just Ladies Fitness, but had always felt uncomfortable and opted for the elliptical or treadmill instead. I had definitely never done a deadlift, squat, or bench press. Now sometimes if I haven’t been to the Yard in a couple of days, I’ll even miss getting back under the bar and doing some squats! Who am I??

Tell us about your progress over the last few months? 

Over the past two years I’ve lost a total of 30 pounds. The first 20 melted off within 9 months just from incorporating weight training 3 times a week and practicing mindful eating. Over the past year, I’ve increased my weight training to 4-5 times a week and included conditioning. I usually go to Ride once or twice a week – our girl, Joce, has some insanely wild classes!

In regards to diet, I don’t count calories or restrict myself. I appreciate food, I enjoy alcoholic beverages, and I love just about anything in excess (i.e. Gill circa 2008 and tanning beds).

During the week, I keep it pretty clean and try my best to make healthy choices. I find that making food at home, eating out less, and cutting out the casual beverages really helps. Not only does eating well benefit your body physically, but I also noticed how clear I felt mentally.

Additionally, it helps that I share the majority of my meals with an individual who patiently watches my plate while I eat and waits for any scraps from an unfinished meal. This individual also eats the pits of his cherries and consumes apples whole, core and all.

What would you tell someone new to Yard Athletics who is thinking of coming in?

The Yard has created this inclusive community for the ‘intimidating’ weight room, gym work out.  I completely empathize with someone who may feel too nervous or shy come in. Trying new things can be overwhelming and scary! Not to sound like an inspirational wall decor piece from Home Sense, but change really does begin at the end of your comfort zone.

The Yard is great place for all fitness levels. The team is professional and knowledgeable and will customize your workout to best suit your needs. On top of that, it’s a fun and relaxed environment!

I’m feeling compelled to quote Hal Johnson & Joanne McLeod here – so just remember everyone, keep fit and have fun!

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