Were back! Over the last few weeks we’ve been blown away by the number of amazing Transformations story submissions coming in, so please keep them coming. It’s a huge inspiration to the team at Yard Athletics when we see the hard work people have put in to make a positive change in their fitness, eating and lifestyle.

Next up we have Layla Vera, whose story goes far more in-depth than just a one month challenge. We’re incredibly proud of her and are so happy to see all the hard work come to fruition.


“My story doesn’t start only two months ago; weight is something I’ve constantly battled in my life, so much so I’ve self- appointed myself the Yo-Yo Queen! After having some health issues related to a rapid weight gain over two years, and to be frank, not taking care of myself, I started hanging out at The Yard. I signed myself up for a ½ marathon trail race in June 2016, and from there set a goal to lose some weight and not die trying to finish the race! I asked Ilan for help and he happily obliged.

We increased my workouts, and as a result I lost some weight (5 lbs) and ran an awesome race (Note: during this time I did NOT improve my diet or lifestyle). Regardless, I hit a goal and carried on. Fast forward a year later, I had gained the weight back and was going through intermittent stints of working out, in addition to not changing my diet or lifestyle.

October 2017 I had a self-realization that I needed to make some serious lifestyle changes. Using this platform as an open book, here’s my honest confession: I knew I needed to drink less, make my physical health a priority, and create some consistency to finally rid my Yo-Yo Queen status.  Fast forward to January 2018, I turned the “dirty thirty” and had made some serious lifestyle changes but plateaued on the weight loss front. I am not the calorie counting type, and my job entails more eating out than I’d like to admit. I tried many diet attempts including the small frequent meal approach and learned pretty quick that it wasn’t for me….

Now for the good stuff. In February 2018 Ilan Cumberbirch and Sam Shaw proposed the Yard Hard Challenge. Two months, one goal: lose ten pounds (or at least that was the goal I chose to commit to). After feeling so stuck and frustrated, I was finally ready to admit that diet and consistent weight training was the only way I was going to lose weight and get stronger. Two months seemed like an appropriate amount of time to truly commit and create healthy habits, so I said, “bring it on!”.


The first step to my weight gain “recovery” was admitting I need professional help, and likely always will! Despite a love of being active (teaching spin classes as a hobby job, playing rec. sports) I know nothing about weight / strength training.

–       With less money spent on booze, I committed to investing in my health and getting the right kind of help! The Yard is that help for me!

–       I’ll admit, I don’t know how to describe the workouts beyond “they kick my ass” and have totally changed the shape of my body. For more info on my workouts, reach out to Ilan or Sam as they’d be happy to walk you through my workouts

–       My job was to show up 2-3 times a week and put total faith into their program – it f*cking works!

–       I work(ed) out every day with one day of rest – strength training with the Yard (2-3 times a week), cardio – be it spin or running (2-3 times a week), and one yoga or barre per week to mix it up.

If you are counting – Yes, I did daily doubles at least 2-3 times a week. My workout plan was/is no walk in the park (I did those too), but I enjoyed them and they all contained some social component that kept me interested (and committed)!

The result and future:

I lost a quick 10 pounds in my first month, which leveled out to 8 pounds overall in two months. Now three months later, I am still on the program and it has truly become my habitual norm, and I am officially down 10 pounds. For me, my true success has been keeping the weight off and creating good healthy habits. I let myself cheat on weekends, but the question I ask myself is “is it worth it?”. When I’m out for lunches or dinners, I modify my food orders when I deem it “not worth it”. For example, pasta at Cactus Club: probably not worth it when they have a modern bowl and a variety of healthy (when modified) salad options. On the flip side, pasta at Giardino? WORTH IT!

Losing weight, keeping it off and changing my lifestyle has NOT been easy. It has been, and will continue to be hard work for me. Why this has all worked for me at this stage in my life is that I have chosen to invest in workouts I enjoy with people I trust and have fun with. I have also learned to find foods I love to cook, and options when eating out that help me stay on track. Moving forward, I am sticking to my plan and while it takes (hard) work, the reasons keeping me going are that I have never felt physically better, I feel stronger, and the health issues I have struggled with are gone. The hard work is worth it!

Thank you’s!

Ilan and Sam – I have no words for how much I have appreciated your constant support and cheerleading. For me, to not be able to discuss the details of our workouts other than, it works – speaks volumes for the trust I have in you and how good you both are at what you do! These past three months I have lost 10 pounds, ran a half marathon and a 10km in personal best times, and literally feel the best I have ever felt. You have both contributed to that! I could gush on and on about how awesome you both are, but I think my accomplishments, continued commitment and newfound waistline are evidence enough! THANK YOU!

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