Transformation: Karol-Ann Arseneault Says Goodbye to 80 Pounds!
What Was Your Life Like Before Your Transformation?
I was very shy, didn't want people to know I was there. Always wearing oversized shirts and pants, always wearing black, head down, socially awkward.
I was playing volleyball during high school but I was hating any other kind of exercise, skipping gym classes. I was always the weird friend, the "other one" and was afraid to try new things.
I was very good at school, loved to read and learn, starting projects all the time. I guess I was trying to prove that I was more than just a body, that even if I was not like the others I wasn't dumb.
Please Detail Your Turning Point
I saw a picture. The "before" picture when I was eating at Mcdonald's. I was just shocked because I knew I was fat, but not THAT fat.
During the summer I did an exchange in New Brunswick (to learn English) and I couldn't make any friends there, I was just alone all the time. We did a game, the teacher placed us in a small group and asked us to say one thing we liked about the person in front of us. The girl literally
looked at me from head to toe and didn't know what to say.
After this summer, I knew I had to make a change. I moved from my parent's house in August for school and decided it was the right time to rewrite my story.
What Were Your Major Struggles or Challenges?
I started to fast. I didn't know much about nutrition and fitness. I was weighing 245 pounds the day I decided to purchase my first ever gym membership. Of course, I was to shy to go in the regular space so I started by doing group classes such as Zumba, indoor cycling, kickboxing, body pump, I did them all.
When I'm committed to something, I never quit. I was sometimes doing 4 hours of classes in a row, then running 5K on the treadmill. It was just too much, but I was afraid to regain all the weight. I then developed a problem with binge eating because I was not eating enough and I was killing my body every day in the gym.
Detail Your Workout and Cardio Plan During Your Transformation
The year after my crazy cardio phase, I was hearing a lot about CrossFit. People were saying how intense it was so I tried it and absolutely loved it.
I had an awesome coach who taught me how to lift and I developed an intense passion for weightlifting and especially powerlifting. Then I started following fitness people on Youtube, such as Kara Corey, Heidi Somers, Nikki Blacketter, Amanda Bucci, and many others.
I did CrossFit for about a year and I already had lost about 60 pounds. I was then confident enough to go back to the regular gym, but this time, as a weightlifter. I was lifting heavy weights (still) about 5-6 days a week, doing HIIT cardio 30 minutes after each workout.
This is the time I really saw my body change and shape like I wanted. I started to grow a butt, see definition in my arms and core.
Wasn't sure about posting this picture but I really needed it today to remind myself that it might take time, but i'll get there... Left photo was January 1st after losing about 70 pounds by doing like 2-3 hours of cardio per day (during 2 years) I was on a plateau, the scale wasn't moving and I was still hating my body! On this date I started to powerlift and my body finally began to "shape". Right photo is October 9th. I love what I do, i'm struggling to find balance right now but i'm really proud of what i've accomplished these past 3 years. And guess what? My weight is exactly the same in both pictures.
Detail Your Diet/Eating Plan During Your Transformation
I started by just making small changes, incorporating more veggies, learning what was good for me, what was not, cutting sugar as much as I could, reduce my sodium intake and meal prep. It was really progressive. I learned what macros were when I saw a video of Michael Kory.
I started tracking with the plan of a figure competitor and then I learned to do it by myself. It was basically lean meat, veggies, carbs such as sweet potatoes or rice, etc. I was still suffering from binge eating at that time.
I learned to overcome it when I discovered flexible dieting and it is what works for me right now :)
Detail Your Supplement Plan During Your Transformation
Protein powder, glutamine, multivitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D3, omega-3, BCAA's, pre-workout (I cycle it), estro-control (from ATP in Canada), zinc, magnesium.
What Was Your Major Accomplishment, or Major Milestones?
Just everything. To see what I was capable of, to actually commit to something and succeed, to wear clothes that fit, to wear dresses and be confident about it. To look people in the eyes and just have a normal conversation, have goals and ambitions.
I don't feel sorry for myself anymore, I just go for it. I learned that there were no limits. I have no excuses anymore. I did my first deadlift at CrossFit with a 15 pounds bar (no weight), no sure, feeling awkward and a year after I can pull 315 pounds, that was also a big accomplishment for me.
Detail Your 3 Biggest Mistakes
- Doing too much cardio. Even if I lost a bunch of weight with it, I was still not loving myself because I didn't have muscles, I was flat. The same as I was before but just a smaller version (with all my extra fat at the same place).
- Not eating enough. I was restricting myself too much and ended up binging (and compensate with extra cardio). I was going to bed hungry all the time and my hormones were all over the place.
- Expecting perfection. I didn't appreciate the process, was wanting to be more and more, wanted big hips, small waisted, cap shoulders, but I forgot that I am who I am and I needed to accept the things I can't change in order to grow and change what I can.
- The bad days are followed by better days. The days I feel the worse, the days I want to quit and I think I'm making no progress will always pass. I know that with consistency, I may wake up a day and feel the leanest I've been in a while even if I had a bad week. There
are better days.
- People will judge, and then ask you how you did it. I was a nobody before I started my journey and at first, I did not tell it to anyone to avoid judgment. After a year, people started asking me for advice, guys were noticing me more and I lost some friends because of my new way of living. I just do my things and focus on my goals.
- There is no magic. No pill, no supplement, no perfect way of eating, no perfect way of training. I will keep learning and learning because I love it but fitness is never black or white, you never stop learning. It's all about trial and errors because after all, we're all
Don't wait for Monday to start. Start now and never look back. You will struggle, it's part of the process, but enjoy every moment, every workout and every choice you make. Find what's motivating you more than anything and learn.
There are plenty of resources available, websites, videos, books, challenges, get rid of excuses, get a gym membership, put your music loud and kill it. Make the change for you and never stop trying, consistency is the key to success. Free yourself from negativity, take photos and ask questions :)
I chose to make a lifestyle change. I'm a different person than I was 3 years ago. Right now, I'm studying nutrition for 2 years and I also have completed my formation to be a personal trainer.
I want to inspire people and prove to them they can achieve anything in life by just wanting it bad enough. I'm looking forward to doing a powerlifting meet eventually and my ultimate dream is to do a fitness competition. Thank you for your time :)!
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