I know if I went on a crash diet and deprived myself I would gain it all back, and I wouldn’t really accomplish anything.

Claire Barthelemy is a senior at Boston University, majoring in Public Relations. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, but came to the east coast for school. This past Christmas break she was home in California with her parents, Janice and Eric, where she found out that they were giving her the gift of a personal trainer for Christmas! Her parents thought that she needed to relieve some stress and become more physically active. As a public relations major thinking about her career after college, her mother thought that getting into better shape and having improved body image would do wonders for Claire’s confidence. Claire’s mother also hoped the trainer could help her daughter with cooking, since making meals for just herself was sometimes a challenge nutritionally.

Claire had exercised in the past but never followed any formal program. Freshman and sophomore year of college, Claire went to the gym in the building that she lived in, but it was tiny, and she never went consistently for more than a month or so. She never really knew how to work out effectively, and would never keep it up. The main reason was that she felt discouraged when she didn’t see immediate results.

Claire has been training with a Home Bodies trainer for seven weeks. Claire’s trainer, Ashley Arpe, comments, “I can see all over how her body is getting re-shaped. Her confidence has risen, her posture is greatly improved, and she has abdominal muscles she never thought were possible. Plus her legs, biceps, triceps, chest, and shoulders are all nicely defined. Overall Claire is very happy. I've explained to her that losing weight is a slow but steady process when you do it correctly.

Claire has loved her trainer and her program so far. “Ashley has really motivated me,” says Claire. “I am much more eager to go to the gym. Ashley has taught me many new exercises. She has provided meal plans for me every week that I know how to modify a bit if needed. She has helped me incorporate foods that I like to eat, and I have been able to stay on track.

When Claire began training with Ashley, her primary goals were to lose weight, relieve stress, to make an overall life change to become healthier and have more energy. Claire has really enjoyed the fact that the “Home Bodies” program is not just about fitness--it is also about eating right and living more healthfully. Claire was open to learning how to change what she was doing, because what she was doing obviously wasn’t working. Claire works with Ashley three times per week, so she is getting intensive coaching on not only exercise, but all areas health and fitness.

“My body has changed,” says Claire. “It’s only been seven weeks, but the difference is noticeable. This is not a crash diet where I lose it all fast. This is a gradual shift in my metabolism and my body for the better. I’m toning and firming rather than just dropping a lot of weight rapidly. You read about all the Hollywood people and how fast they lose weight, and sometimes think, ‘why can’t I lose that fast?’ But Ashley has explained to me why that’s not the way to go. And I know--I know if I went on a crash diet and deprived myself I would gain it all back, and I wouldn’t really accomplish anything. My roommate and boyfriend have told me they can see a difference. There is definitely an improvement in the way my clothes fit. I was pleasantly surprised when I was packing clothes for my vacation recently. Last summer they were so tight, and now they fit great. I feel so much better!

But training hasn’t just changed Claire physically. “Mentally it has helped me a lot,” says Claire. I love the fact that I have the motivation to go the gym and work out. I have much more energy now. I live a very hectic life here in Boston with school, work, and everything else. It is a nice feeling to have an hour for myself. It really helps clear my mind. I am excited because I can sense that I will not give up this time and go back to what I was doing before.

“I have modified the way Ashley encourages me to eat to suit myself,” says Claire. “I don’t have to train myself to not eat junk food—that was never my problem. I was just eating too much and what I was eating was too high in fat. Ashley showed me a way to reduce portion size and total fat content. She taught me that I can still have pasta, my favorite, but just a smaller amount. I decided to give up beer altogether because Ashley explained that it was probably the worst thing you can drink.”

“Ashley has been great, I can’t rave enough about her!” says Claire. “She is really reliable. She always shows up on time even though she has to come into Boston to train me. She works with my schedule so I don’t have to miss sessions. She has made things progressively harder and includes lots of variety. I didn’t want a trainer that would yell and scream at me. I wanted a trainer who would motivate me and encourage me, and educate me about health and fitness.

Claire enjoys traveling more than anything else. She has been to France, Italy, Greece, Tahiti, and also all around the US. Her favorite destination was France--Paris specifically. Claire is a waitress at Papa Razzi. After graduation this spring Claire plans to pursue a career in public relations.

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