Celina Caban-Gandhi’s Personal Transformation
I was referred to Bree Hunter by my best friend from college, Rachel Felber. Rachel is an emergency room doctor with a passion for working out and little time for inefficiency, especially now with the adorable and energetic Baby Jenna. When Rachel told me she worked with an amazing personal trainer throughout her pregnancy and beyond and that I should seriously consider it, I thought very carefully about it. I had never worked with a personal trainer before, so I was a bit skeptical that I would enjoy it or see significant gains like Rachel had. Also, as a busy public interest lawyer with a full plate of volunteer commitments, I was concerned that I would not make the time to dedicate myself to a serious, rigorous fitness plan.
See Rachel`s transformation:
Well, I was wrong! Fearful that my window of opportunity to try personaltraining before my husband and I started a family, I decided to dive into a 3-month workout plan with Bree. And I am so glad I did! Bree was excellent at creating a rigorous, customized workout plan with sufficient flexibility to account for my busiest work days. She also did a great job of calculating the optimal number of macro nutrients I should be consuming based on my height and weight, and adjusted it as my body transformed. I should also mention that I am probably one of Bree’s more demanding clients since I strongly prefer hands-on guidance and detailed feedback on areas of progress or needfor improvement. Bree was always willing to work with my schedule and made the effort to have video calls with me every two to three weeks to check-in. She also encouraged me to keep a weekly diary, which was sometimes difficult tokeep up with, but I always appreciated it.
If I had to summarize the three greatest lessons that I learned from my time with Bree, I would state the following three “M’s (in honor of my preparation for Motherhood!):
1)Motivation for “Me” Time: Bree reinforced the need for discipline and focus when it came to prioritizing my workouts. I often struggled to do this prior to my work with Bree, but now that I had to be accountable to her for my reasonable workout schedule, I was weary of falling short of the goals we had created together. So, I made sure to get in my four days of weight workouts – even if it meant completing my workouts at 11:00P.M. at night! – and two days of fun cardio. Sticking to this schedule for at least two months before my pregnancy made me realize that I need to prioritize myself, physical fitness, and self-care just as much as I prioritize legal work with my clients and volunteer projects.
2)Moderation:I love to eat! Everything. In fact, there is no food I am allergic to or dislike – well, except for maybe cauliflower – but, with enough spice or salt, I’ll even eat that. So, I was very worried I wouldnot be able to follow a strict, low-carb, low-sugar diet, and knew it would only be a matter of time before I “cheated” on whatever meal plan Bree put together for me. Fortunately, following Bree’s macro and calorie recommendations was manageable, especially when paired with the “My Fitness Pal” App to measure my calorie intake. I am delighted to share that I was able to trim down nicely each week and changed my body composition with Bree’s gentle guidance and encouragement! The key to my healthy eating success was moderation. Bree taught me that achieving the optimal number of macros – or protein, carbohydrates, and fats – each day was more about eating smart than eating exclusively “clean”. For example, if I was disciplined with consuming healthy-energy rich food for the majority of the day, I could still afford to enjoy moderate amounts of my favorite snacks or small desserts. So, egg whites, oatmeal, pumpkin seeds, and low-fat yogurt became my go-to breakfast staples, while dark chocolate, peanut butter or nuts, fruit, and an occasional small glass of wine were my rewards after a long day of discipline. In addition, each week I allowed myself to have at least two meals (sometimes three) where I did not measure my macro or calorie intake at all. Having that balance throughout the week encouraged me to be strong and disciplined when I was actively trying to be successful with my macro goals.
Moderation was important not only in how I consumed food, but also how I exercised. Bree always encouraged me to listen to my body and exercise in a way that challenged myself, but did not overexert myself. She was big on mastering good form for any exercises before I increased weights or resistance in order to prevent injuries. If a particular exercise felt uncomfortable or left me with aches and pains the next day, she encouraged me to stop doing it and to substitute it with another exercise that targeted that same general muscle group. When I got pregnant and struggled with daily nausea or physical fatigue, she encouraged me to modify my workout schedule on any days that Idid not feel well. I appreciated this because I often felt like if I did not follow through with my original exercise goals for the week, I was letting both of us down. However, Bree taught me to be gentle with myself and prioritize slowing down when I was more fragile so that the next week, I could get back into my routine with renewed strength. In the end, because of my high risk pregnancy and recommendations by health care providers, I decided to pause my workout regimen with Bree until after I gave birth. As expected, Bree was incrediblyunderstanding and encouraged me to do what felt best for my physical and mental health. She noted that she would be waiting for me when I was ready to return to our work. I appreciated her support so much. Now, well into my Second Trimester, I eagerly count the weeks until I give birth so that I can get back to work with Bree and continue her uplifting and effective program!
3)Maternal Mantra:When I started my program with Bree, I shared with her that one of my main goals was to get as fit as possible before having kids with the added goal of preparing my body for motherhood. As a mother of two and a personal trainer to many expectantclients like Rachel and Roxanne, I knew that Bree had personal experience navigating this adventure and coming out of it in fighting shape. I trusted her to prepare me well. And she did! I strongly believe that because of my work with Bree, my body was in optimal shape to conceive and was supported by the nutrient-rich diet that Bree had guided me to consume. I also believe that because I had changed my body composition effectively with Bree’s three-month program and replaced pounds of fat with muscle, I did not start gaining weight until the sixteenth week of my pregnancy (well into my Second Trimester). I currently have a “belly-only” pregnancy, continue to eat healthy, nutrient-rich foods, do not crave junk food, and eat treats in moderation. As a result, I have gained only about seven pounds. It feels good to know that I have a lot of wiggle room for weight gain and pregnancy cravings should that happen in my Third Trimester. It also feels great to know that my hard work with Bree paid off such that many of the healthy habits we cultivated together stuck. My work with Bree in only three-months has become a part of my lifestyle, and I love it. 🙂
One final “Maternal Mantra” that Bree has taught me is balancing motherhood with other aspects of life. Bree taughtme this primarily through her personal example, specifically juggling life asa full-time working mother who still prioritized self-care and personal physical fitness with the added hobby of training and guiding clients through their own personal fitness journeys. Seeing all that she accomplished each day with a smile and sunny demeanor showed me that having this balance without being supernaturalispossible. Bree is also exactly the sort of hands-on mother I hope to be. For example, when trying to figure out when we would have our check-in video calls, she considered my availability, as well as personal commitments to her daughters, such as cooking breakfast with them on Sunday mornings or making sure they were supervised when they got home from school and were doing their homework. After working with her closely and learning about Bree’s “Maternal Mantra,” I feel that we have developed a friendship, and she is afriend that I continue to admire. Brava to Bree for all that she does and her excellent, personalized work as a fantastic trainer! I will be working with her again soon. 🙂