Challenge Blog

Week 17: John McGivern

For week #17, I wanted to talk about some of my favorite workouts. When I first started with Fusion Fitness, there were workouts where I excelled and some that I didn’t perform well.  But as the weight came off, the workouts that challenged me became some of the ones I started to like and do more of.  

I didn't like to do push-ups at first, but now I really don't mind doing them. I still can’t do them that fast, but I have learned that it is not about speed, but about form and control. Push-ups can be done almost anywhere and a couple different varieties of them so you don't get bored. Also after I do my set of push-ups, I hold a plank position for as long as I can. Check out the photo of me doing a plank in this post. Both of these exercises are great core and upper body workouts. 

My other favorite exercise to do is cardio. I love to walk or run/walk for as long as I can. Whether it is on a treadmill, elliptical machine or outside, anything to help get the heart rate up and burn some fat is considered cardio.

I can’t believe I actually have workouts that I like now. I didn't think that day would ever come!

One day at a time. One pound at a time.  

Be Blessed,



Weight Loss Challenges

All to often when folks begin a weight loss program, they get a quarter of the way in or maybe half way through, and experience high levels of self doubt, criticism, and at this point, they quit and go back to their old ways. What is this about and why does it happen? 

Emily and John, I believe, are doing the best they can. This is real life. There is a misconception that because Emily and John will receive a prize at the end if they meet their goal, that somehow makes the weight loss easier. Not necessarily true... it just creates a little more focus and lots more excitement. Team of experts or not, feelings are real. John gained 4 pounds during one week of the Challenge. His dad has been ill and back and forth to the hospital, and he still has to support his household. Emily is spending lots of time and money in transport back and forth to the studio for workouts. She has a high demand full time job outside of the house and is a wife and mother to young children who need rides and food and showers and recreational time. Balancing and juggling all of these circumstances can be overwhelming, exhausting, and quite frankly, can make you wanna plant your behind on the couch and skip the workout. With all that said, trying to be creative in the kitchen in the midst of all this emotion can be the icing on the cake, no pun intended... 

Feelings of loneliness, disappointment, regret, expectations, hunger (!!!!) can turn into resentment, and when this happens, we tend to want to just quit. Our old life seems appealing, easy, simple, cheaper, less time consuming, etc... These feelings are 100% normal and valid. The challenge is expressing them. But how do we get past them and move forward? 

Getting healthy is not just about weight loss. As a matter of fact, what I have found, is that we usually gain the weight because we haven't been heard at some point in our lives. We have in a sense, lost our voice. All of the frustrations that the Ambassadors are experiencing are part of the process. Life will send you the lessons you need to get yourself together, so when you ask for wellness, be ready to get it all the way around! Here are a few things I ran across along my journey to wellness:

1. Find your voice and ask for what we need. If someone says no, ask someone else. There are always people that want you to do well and are willing to help. We just aren't sure who they are yet because we haven't been asking. 

2. If something isn't working out, find a solution. Don't wallow in misery and wait for things to change themselves. Be a problem solver. 

3. When you feel alone, cheer yourself on. No one made you eat those cookies. These are your goals, not theirs. 

4. Celebrate small successes, but don't do so with a cheat meal. That's like a smoker who quit smoking for 30 days and celebrates with a cigarette. No way! Get a massage, a new pair of running shoes, or get a pedicure. Do something healthy and stay motivated. 

5. Don't quit! You've done that before and that didn't work. Keep it simple... when you fall off the wagon, jump back on. 

6. Do what feels good and don't choose to suffer. If you know you hate running, then find a different activity that you will enjoy so you'll stick with it!  

Take good care of yourself always. You are important. Stop stopping and start starting! John and Emily WILL NOT FAIL! 

Shannon Kidwell
Personal Chef/Fitness Trainer 
Fit Piglet

Fit Piglet's Camp Nama Stay


Camp Nama StayWhat an amazing experience! Fit Piglet's Camp Nama Stay was far more profound than I could have planned. Walls came down. Hearts opened up. Lives changed.

I watched Emily a lot. I noticed her energy when she first arrived and would describe it as excited, nervous, and fearful. She didn't know any of the other girls, and she didn't really know what to expect in regards to the Camp events. Things changed pretty quickly.

This retreat was all about nurturing self compassion. We practiced yoga twice a day, which Emily was very open too. She looked more and more peaceful in her practice as the weekend progressed. We Zen Doodled and carved food into an island, went paddle boarding, and chilled on the beach, under the stars in mediation, with two live guitar players. Emily ate Freshitarian food twice a day and juiced for the other two meals. All the food was fresh, organic, and delicious!

The girls became fast friends; all experiencing an inwardness that they hadn't sensed had in a very long time. Some cried. Some napped. We all laughed. Everyone transformed. Emily's little light was shining brighter and brighter. I just saw her the other day and her light is still glowing.

She ate healthy food and mindfully moved her body all weekend. We did lots of breathing and meditation, took some time to focus, let go of old stuff, and created space for change. There was no stress in our environment, so emotionally she was more balanced than normal. With minimal distractions and interactive mindful workshops, she had the opportunity to focus on what it meant to take care of herself; body, mind, and spirit.

What's the difference in Emily since Camp? I believe she experienced new reasons to get healthy and want to share that with her family. I know from personal experience the challenges one can have when the family is interested in exercise or getting healthy. It's tough! But she wants it. Inner peace. A healthy body. Vigorous energy. She wants it because it feels good to take care of yourself.

I believe this type of lifestyle change can happen for anyone who really wants it. When you take the time to learn understand, and integrate healthy habits slowly, they become more permanent. You don't have to do it all at once, but don't wait, start now. When you know better, do better. Small changes = Big results.


Shannon Kidwell
Personal Chef/Fitness Trainer 
Fit Piglet



Week 16: Emily Edwards

Lake Scary 5k with EmilyThis week I was joined by my husband, Allan, my mother, Mary, and my two kids, Hannah (12) and Caybel (7), for the Lake Mary Prep Lake Scary 5k. This was so exciting for several reasons. This was the second 5k that I was able to do with my mother and daughter, but as some of you know, at the beginning of The Challenge my biggest test was the uphill battle I faced at home with my husband and son. While I was ready in my own life to start making changes to my health by eating better and exercising, they were not as excited. So for them to get up at 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning to come run with us was a huge accomplishment. It was also a real blessing to be able to share that with all of the people I love.

I think that this was the start of something great because even my youngest loved it and has told everyone who will listen to him that he did a 5k. This has me looking forward to truly becoming a healthy family together, and that is exciting since there was a time I thought that I might be doing this alone. I believe that the biggest changes came after I stopped trying to make them change on my terms and allowed them to do things in their own time.

Looking forward to meeting a better me tomorrow and every day after.


Week 16: John McGivern

Lake Scary 5kThis week, and the past couple for that matter, have been very trying on me mentally and physically.  My dad went into emergency surgery a couple weeks ago and it has been a roller coaster ride ever since. 

I have stuck to my guns and continued to eat healthy. I may not have been eating enough some days due to stress and the chaos. I missed 14 days in the gym but still lost weight. I have been getting workouts in however I can. I try to get some in at Fusion Fitness with Ariel and Peter, and I also do my own in the backyard, in a hospital room, in front of the T.V. The point is that I am just like anybody else who struggles with weight loss. I am not Superman. I have my weak moments, but I no longer let them break me — I now break them. 

I am doing my best to hold things together around my house, I have had to take time off work to help with my dad’s recovery and the medical bills just keep mounting up with no end in sight. I try to help them as much as I can because my dad is retired and my mom is out of work due to past injury. I want people to see that even though we have been awarded the generous gift of a lifetime from Lake Mary Healthy Living Magazine and Fusion Fitness, life still happens. 

I am responding now in a different way then I would have before. I had to cancel my appointment this week with Coralis Solomon since it’s such a far drive from Lake County and gas money is scarce. Instead, we are going to do a phone conference.

This week I also attended the Lake Scary 5K for Cerebral Palsy and met some very inspirational kids. I beat my 5K time by 1 minute, 38 minutes total.  I had a wonderful time and will for sure go back next year.  So as you can see it has been a very busy for me, but I am staying focused and determined to get under 300 pounds by the December weigh in.  I hope to see you guys out there again and hopefully it will be a lot cooler this time. Thank you to everyone for the prayers and kind words for my dad and my family, I really appreciate it. 

One day at a time. One pound at a time.  

Be Blessed,

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