Training hard for 12 weeks: Challenge heads into final leg

Carolina Gateway and The Lancaster News are tracking the progress of Katie Stogner and Jeff Holden as they undertake the Island Sun Tanning and Fitness 12-week Challenge for 2012. Here is their third progress report. You can also follow their progress at stevelewisplan.com.
Katie’s story
We just finished week seven of the challenge and while I am still so happy I did this, I am realizing why it is called a “challenge” now.
This has become extremely hard for me now that I am back to work full time. The diet and the workouts are not the hard part. Not to say that they are not hard, because they are, but what I am struggling with is my lack of time. I knew going back to work was going to make this more difficult, but I was not prepared for just how difficult.
I work in Charlotte and, on the days I train with Steve, I have to drive to Buford, work out for an hour or so and then back to Indian Land. What should be a one-hour workout has now turned into two and half hours.
I also feel extremely guilty for not spending that time with my son. On my first day back to work, he was in bed by the time I got home and I think I cried for an hour about that. It was the longest I had been without seeing him.
Now that it has been a couple of weeks though, it has become a routine and on the days I am going to be late, I just get up earlier than I normally would so that I can spend some time with him. I still struggle with the guilt a lot, but I know there is an end in sight and I can work out at times that do not interfere with spending time with Thaxton.
As far as my progress goes, I am very pleased. I will say that although I whined and complained about taking those “before” pictures, I am so glad that I did. I really needed to see that change and I am anxious to see how much more progress I have made when we take the eight-week pictures this week.
When I start feeling like this is all too much and I want to skip a workout, I just take a look at the pictures and I know it is all worth it. Well, that and the fact that there are so many people following my progress, including the newspaper. I have never been one to quit and I am not about to start now with so many eyes on me.
Jeff’s story
Well, I’m almost eight weeks in now and things are going good. I had a weight I wanted to get to at this point and I am already there. It seems like it has been a short eight weeks.
I am really looking forward to taking my eight-week pictures. I know I have made a big change since my four-week pictures and I’m ready to see it. I will need that motivation to get me through the last four weeks, which are the hardest.
In order for me to reach my goal, I know I will have to kick it into another gear. You think you have been pushing hard the first eight weeks, but then you know you have only four weeks left to reach your goal and you can really make a big change the last four weeks.
Also, I’ve cut out my complex carbs after lunch so I know my energy level will be down a little. It’s hard on me to finish my workouts and push myself like I want to, but I know all the hard work will be worth it.
This is the time to push yourself, even though you don’t think you can go any harder. The last four weeks is when most people start to wear down and stop pushing themselves. But this is when you have to be strong mentally and be able to push even harder and just make yourself do it.
Steve’s last words
On Monday, March 26, the eight-week pictures of Jeff and Katie will be taken. Even though both of them are happy with their results so far, they are beginning to get a little nervous about meeting their goals.
I don’t see how they could go any harder, but both are determined to do whatever it takes over the last four weeks, which brings me to my topic for today.
So many people come in my facility and see the “before” and “after” pictures of people they know and say “If they can do it, so can I,” which is true if they are willing to do what it takes.  It reminds me of this quote: “Success always looks easy to those who weren’t around when it was being earned.”
Everybody wants the results, but not many will commit themselves to the program for 12 weeks. “But all I have to do is eat right and exercise, what’s so hard about that?” you may say. Well, have you ever tried it?
I challenge you to take the 12-Week Challenge and see if you have what it takes. If you do, you will appreciate even more what Katie and Jeff are doing. Please visit the website www.stevelewisplan.com to keep up with their progress and to view their four- and eight-week photos, which will be posted this week.
– Fitness expert Steve Lewis is owner of Island Sun Fitness and Tanning and Island Sun Fitness for Women.