Casey Mitzel, the founder of Bootcamp RDFT & health coach for Take Shape For Life, contacted me wanting to gift a transformation photo shoots for some of his amazing clients.

Meet Joanne, Casey’s first client to be photographed by DRP.  What an amazing lady.  Joanne shines bright and I was very lucky to document this time in her life. What an inspiration!



I asked Casey why he selected Joanne for this special celebration photo shoot and this is what he had to say:

I have known Joanne for years. She has always been an active member of the health clubs and personal training. She started training at BootCamp RDFT and soon became one of the hardest workers there. After going through a stage of allergy testing and clean eating we had thought she hit the lowest achievable weight and body fat without major additional sacrifices. We literally discussed the 5&1 program and how well it worked for so many of our clients for well over a year. I never tried to push her into making that decision for herself. She was already following a disciplined eating plan and was working out harder than anyone else. She would deliver on everything I could dish out in our One on One training sessions, but I always wanted more for her efforts. I was very excited and happy for Joanne when she made the personal decision to start in order to support her husband Gary while he did the program. They started the program and I coached them through the first 2 weeks while we were away on a family vacation. When I saw Joanne just after the 2nd week, I was amazed! I couldn’t believe the vibrant energy, the clear look in her eyes when she came prancing into her workout session. Already down several pounds of inflammation and body fat! Not only is she working out hard but her muscle definition and overall healthier appearance is above and beyond noticeable. I’m so proud of you Joanne. And thank you for trusting me to take you and Gary through your journey as you embrace the habits of health for a lifetime!

To give you an idea of Joanne’s healthy lifestyle journey I asked her about her recent experiences with added TSFL into her life:

Physical activity and fitness have always been important to me. From growing up on a lake and learning how to water ski at 5 years of age, to high school sports and running around with my friends, being active has been a part of who I am. I continued getting plenty of physical activity in my adulthood by running and through gym memberships. When my resources allowed for it, I would work with fitness trainers to improve my strength and endurance.

I joined Bootcamp RDFT during its grand opening in 2009, and absolutely loved it. The camaraderie and support from this group of people went way beyond the gym experience and they became like a second family to me. From the beginning, I was hooked. In addition, the one-on-one training I do with Casey Mitzel is always inspiring and very challenging. He simply understands, (better than I do, I think!) how to motivate me. He is always very positive and encouraging and simply expects that I can do whatever he challenges me to do—even when I’m not sure I can. It’s been quite the experience.

The truth is I was healthy, I was fit, and I was within goal range in terms of body composition and my weight… but for some reason, really reaching my goal was elusive. I felt like I was doing everything right, but still unable to actually reach it, and it was frustrating.  Trying to lose those last ten pounds seemed like something I had been trying to do for years and still, no matter what I did, no matter how hard I worked, it just wasn’t happening.

And then, the moment of truth:  My husband had his body composition measured by Casey. As a bit of back story, Gary, had always been fit and had attended Bootcamp classes with me until he started culinary school. In one year he put on 23 pounds and not only that, reduced the amount of exercise he participated in, so he also lost muscle mass. A double whammy. There we were, the three of us standing in this small room together after Casey had taken Gary’s measurements. Then he delivered the bad news.

Gary had a body fat percentage that put him in the obese range. What?! Now, you would never guess this to look at him. Yes, he had some extra weight on him and had that extra fat around the middle that is common in many men, but obese? Yes. He may carry his weight well, but the truth is the truth and at some point, you have to look at the numbers and make a decision.

The room got very quiet. We all looked at each other. Then I looked at Gary and I said, “Gary, If you want to go on the Take Shape for Life Program, I will support you and I will go on it with you.”

He looked at me. Blinked. And then said yes.  And so that was the beginning.

And as corny as this may sound, a miracle happened. Within a week, I was feeling different—lighter, stronger, better. I could tell my body was starting to change. Within two weeks, I could actually see those changes. Talk about exciting. I started this program for Gary, but now I was doing it for me.

Right after we signed up with Take Shape for Life, Casey went on a planned family vacation and gave us some coaching over the phone while he was away. When he returned and I walked into bootcamp, the look in his eyes said it all. He could see my body had changed. I saw his mouth drop open and his eyes light up. I wish I could bottle that moment in time. It was great.  He made a comment about how glowey I looked, which made me laugh. “Glowey,” I repeated. You just made up a word.” I knew he saw it.

I began to realize that I had been at a point where I just didn’t believe my body would let me go to the leanness that I really wanted to achieve. On some level I had given up on ever getting there. You see, I knew I was strong. I knew I had a good amount of muscle on me, but it was hiding under this last layer of fat that I just couldn’t get rid of. Once I was on the program, that began to change right before my eyes. Hope was springing up inside!

Every day I felt changes. Every day I could see myself changing in the mirror. I saw the muscles in my shoulders come out. I saw my abs coming out. I saw muscles appearing that I had never seen before! Each day, I saw something new. It was incredible.

8 weeks later I had dropped a total of 23 pounds and my body fat percentage had dropped to my goal! Ya Hoo! I remember in week number 4, I dropped 5.4 pounds in 6 days. I quickly called Casey and asked, “Am I OK? I have never, ever been able to drop weight like this. 5.4 pounds in 6 days. How is this possible. Am I ok?” To which Casey replied, “How do you feel?” I responded, “I feel fantastic!” He said, “I think you’re OK.”

My body dropped the weight it wanted to drop and it was easy. Take Shape for Life is a plan that is very specific and spelled out. You follow the plan, you get the results. Period. I was feeding my body on a frequent, regular basis – every two to two and a half hours, and it responded.  Have I mentioned yet how amazed and excited I was?

Now I have the shape of a very lean 22-year-old and I’m loving every minute of it (So is Gary, by the way!). My bootcamp classes are still hard; my training with Casey is still hard (and they always will be), but my endurance is better. My speed is better. My health is better. My confidence is better. I am proud of myself. When I run I feel lighter and almost joyous.

Casey had mentioned TSFL to me a few times over the prior year. He thought it might help me reach my goals, but I pretty much ignored it. I felt like I had tried everything and how could this program be any different? Once we made the decision for Gary to get on program, and I decided to go on it with him, well, the rest is history. I am a total believer!

I am sharing my story here as a way to give some hope to anyone who feels like he or she has tried everything. Our culture says if you’re a woman it’s harder to lose weight. If you’re over 40 it’s harder to lose weight. Blah, blah, blah. It takes the right program, and it takes making the decision. Even if you’ve tried it all before, why not give it one more try?  Make the decision to get healthy. Make the decision to lose the weight and get fit. Make the decision that this time you’re going to reach your goals. What do you have to lose? Except the extra weight. And wouldn’t that be great?! You work the plan, the plan will work for you.

Casey, thank you for your continued support and belief in me. You believed in me during the times when I didn’t believe in myself. You never gave up. Nor will I.


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