36-year-old Laura McCluskey says she is more fit and trim than she has ever been. But getting here has had its ups and downs.
Her journey started with a realization.
"I just woke up and I said 'how did I get to be this heavy?'" McCluskey said she told herself back in 2006.
"I wasn't grossly overweight, but I was getting towards the max size in most stores."
So she started running every day little by little.
She was losing weight, but then her progress stopped.
"I felt healthier but the weight was not coming off," McCluskey said.
Cynthia Brown, a trainer with Core Fitness, says almost everyone who works out will at some point hit a plateau.
"Basically, your body adapts to your workout and once it does that, it becomes more efficient at your workout, then you start to burn less calories doing the same thing," Brown said.
So to break out of the plateau and start losing weight again, you have to change things up.
Laura started working with Cynthia and she challenged herself to run races.
You can also join group fitness classes; they're designed to confuse your muscles and prevent plateau.
"You get the same experience as a personal training session, but you get it at a cheaper cost," Brown said.
"The first two years, I took six inches off my waist just from really mixing up my workout and I didn't even have to do it every day," McCluskey said.
Laura also started training and competing in triathlons. She broke through her plateau and lost 13 more pounds.
Then she got pregnant with Liam; he's now 15 months old.
But being a mom, a wife, and working full time hasn't slowed her down.
She says when she hit another plateau post-Liam, she changed her diet with less sugar, more whole foods, fruits, veggies and protein.
"Once people tweak their nutrition they really do see the greatest results," Brown said.
Overall, Laura has lost 27 pounds.
"I just have more energy and more positivity to give everyone around me and that feels really nice," McCluskey said.
Cynthia says if you hit a plateau, don't get discouraged, just look for something new.
Laura recommends trying something that scares you a little.
There are a bunch of new classes being offered by Core Fitness and other local programs including one that can help counteract any damage you may do over the holidays.
Core Fitness' "F.A.T." class (Fit At Thanksgiving) starts this week. Their "12 Days of Fitness" kicks off next month.
For information, visit: www.core-fit.com
You can also visit sites listed below for more ideas on how to change your workout up. Cynthia suggests trying something new every four to six weeks to keep you motivated and to keep your body confused and burning the most calories.
www.purebarre.com (combination of ballet, pilates and yoga) www.fusioncrosstraining.com (cardio, strength training and yoga) www.joltinjabs.com (Boxing fitness and conditioning, no experience necessary) www.moveforwardfitness.com
You can also check out Alicia Vitarelli's report on new fitness crazes.
And feel free to post helpful hints to others in our comment section below.