Allyn Blind wasn’t surprised by the reactions when she said she wanted to lose weight and tone her body.
“Are you crazy? You’re a personal trainer. You look fine,” her clients in Columbus, Ohio, all said.
At five-foot-nine and 162 pounds, Blind knew she had no need to be displeased with her body, but she felt like she had lost control of her own life while catering to her own clients’ needs. “I looked just fine and normal, but I wasn’t happy with my physique. I knew I could take it further.”
Her unhappiness with her physical body also spread to her mental well being. Once a self-described “happy kid,” Blind felt she had lost her positive, contagious energy, and people close to her started to notice. It was around this last New Year’s when Blind’s sister confronted her. “I can tell you’re not happy,” she said to Blind. “What’s going on?”
“I wasn’t happy,” Blind admitted. “I always said that I was never going to be that person who was just content in life. People liked my energy, and I wanted to feel like that inside, too.”
Blind, a former collegiate soccer player, decided to take her own fitness advice—the advice she had dispensed to her clients for years. “I’m doing so much for my clients and they’re making changes, but it’s time for me,” Blind told herself. “I need to make it happen.”
She entered Body Building’s 2011 Transformation Challenge and used it as a motivator. She kept a daily log of her transformation, including her daily caloric intake and every weight she lifted. A consistent plan, Blind said, was necessary.
“I’m a big believer in logging things. You’re holding yourself accountable,” Blind said. “If you don’t have a personal trainer, it’s a great because you have to answer to yourself.”
For five months, that meant including “Allyn-only” workouts to her already demanding work schedule as a personal trainer. But seeing clients from 5:30 AM to 8 AM and then another six-hour shift of both personal training sessions and fitness classes later in the day meant Blind’s own workouts had to be way before dawn—4:30 AM to be exact.
Four days a week, Blind focused on heavy lifting, each day working on specific body parts like shoulders, biceps, and triceps. Six days a week she did 30 to 60 minutes of cardio, going for runs or using the stair climber at the gym—“the only thing that could kick my butt.” In the last few weeks leading up to the contest, she kicked it up to two-a-day cardio sessions.
But there was another issue Blind had to take care of: her not-so healthy weekend habits. Although Blind maintained good nutrition about “75 percent of the time,” she had the tendency to be a bit more forgiving on weekends. “At night I’d go out, have drinks, and eat crappy food,” Blind said. “But I’d say, ‘Well, it’s the weekend, so it’s okay.’ ”
Along with her daily workout logs, Blind kept a strict count of her daily caloric intake (an average of about 1,800 calories). Her diet consisted of dense foods like lean proteins and healthy fats. Some meals included lemon pepper chicken and broccoli, while others were more decadent like peanut butter and jelly pancakes. Alcohol was also out of the picture for at least four months.
“That calorie number is the most important,” Blind said. “I was trying to show my clients, you don’t need to try this or buy this—it just comes down to simple math.”
After five months, Blind’s formerly skeptical clients were now in awe of her transformation. Because of Blind’s strict workout plan and nutritional changes, she was 33.5 pounds lighter. And while she hadn’t won the first fitness competition, a few weeks later she placed second in the women’s category in another.
“When I finished, they said, ‘Wow!’ ” Blind said. “It made them realize, ‘I can do something like this. It can be done.’ ”
Blind hopes her success story will also inspire her new clients in Washington, since moving to the area two weeks ago to join the personal training team at Synergy Training Solutions. She recognizes the importance of maintaining her own healthy lifestyle, but now is even more motivated to push others to achieve their fitness goals.