10-Week Challenge Alison Forsyth

At 18-years old Alison is one of our younger members. We (CKO) are very proud of her commitment, especially given the fact she is your typical “broke” college student that has to juggle classes, multiple jobs/projects, and finances. We have all heard of the “freshmen 15” and Alison took charge of her life and decided she was not going to be another victim of the infamous 15-lb weight gain. Instead of gaining 15-lbs like many freshmen, she decided to lose 20-lbs! Below is Alison’s testimonial of her CKO 10-week challenge experience:

By Alison Forsyth: When I first walked into CKO 5 months ago, I had no idea just how much it was going to impact my life. I’ll admit, before I discovered CKO, I committed the stereotypical “fitness crime” of “get a membership, go to the gym twice, and then rarely if ever show up again.” I had previously attended a kickboxing gym, so I knew I preferred the high-intensity classes and working on my roundhouse technique over the dreary cold atmosphere and the endless rows of boring cardio equipment at the neighborhood YMCA. The tight-knit support and community I found at CKO Seattle, both from the wonderful, experienced instructors and fellow members motivated me daily to come. While losing weight and toning up was definitely a large motivator to my visits, eventually I found myself using the classes as not only a great stress-reliever, but also an opportunity to spend quality time hitting a bag with great friends.

Much happier!

Much happier! Click for bigger picture

In February 2013, Robert Rivera challenged me after a 7:15 class to cut out all the breads and pasta from my diet – just to see the results. At that point, I weighed about 182, although I had recently lost 6-lbs. since I’d began attending CKO. I accepted his challenge, and was surprised to find that a bread-less lifestyle wasn’t as hard as I’d thought. Soon after, Robert began personally training me with CKO’s “10-week challenge,” 10-full weeks following a Primal diet, attending a minimum of 3 classes per week, and weekly one-on-one sessions with Robert.

As an 18-year-old community college student, with a part-time job and relatively normal social life, my schedule was packed and my budget was tight. As Robert told me, however, we can all find excuses to not commit to a healthy lifestyle. Whether it’s finances, children, school, there is always a way to work around whatever is preventing us from making health and fitness a  priority. I was able to work in an average of 3-5 classes per week, cut out all the soda and ice cream treats, and started to see results after a mere few weeks.

Noticeable difference on her waist!

Noticeable difference on her waist!  Click for a bigger picture

Robert and the wonderful instructors at CKO were by my side every step of the way. When I was at my waitress job, tempted by the plate of nachos on the counter, I remembered the commitment I made not only to myself, but also to Robert and the greater community at CKO. Robert not only taught me the ways in which I could make better decisions at dinnertime, he remained a constant source of motivation and support during my 10-weeks.

About 8 weeks into the challenge, disaster struck. I was diagnosed with mononucleosis and quarantined to my bedroom until I recovered. The news was painful; I thought, “I’ve spent the last 8 weeks working my butt off to look good, and I’m about to lose all of my progress and gain a ton of weight in the very last leg of the challenge!” Once I explained the situation to Robert and CKO Seattle head trainer, Garett Renon, they understood and encouraged me to stick to the Primal lifestyle – even in my sickness. I doubted their advice, figuring that if I weren’t frequenting the gym everyday I wouldn’t get the results I was hoping for, but kept eating healthy regardless. When we took measurements two weeks later, to my surprise, I had actually gone down in size! Even though I hadn’t had the energy or health to go on a simple walk, simply eating healthy was that effective. This goes to show just how important what we eat truly is.

I lost a total of 6.5 inches of my waist, and lost 2 inches off of my arms.

At my heaviest in 2011, I weighed in at 201 lbs. When I walked through the doors of CKO, I weighed 186, and when I began my 10-week challenge, I weighed 180 lbs. While Garett and Robert agree that weight is not the most reliable method of calculating how our bodies have changed (muscle weighs much more than fat), I am proud to say I now weigh-in at 160 lbs.! The lightest I’ve been since middle school. Although the challenge is officially over, I’m maintaining my Primal lifestyle, and plan to return to CKO as soon as the doctors permits me.

Bag down club!

Bag down club!

Thank you, Robert Rivera and CKO family, for the love and support you have given me since I first began here. Thank you for giving me the inspiration and providing me with the tools I needed to live a healthy lifestyle. Thank you for walking with me every step of the way, from where I began, to where I am now. I look forward to seeing you at the next class!

Welcome to the gun show :)

Welcome to the gun show 🙂


Get off the scale now!

Warning a big generalization coming – – – I have noticed that most (not all) women determine their fitness successes and/or failures based only on the number seen on the scale! It doesn’t matter if they lost an inch or more off their waist and thighs, had to buy a new smaller wardrobe, became stronger than their significant other, and/or received numerous compliments from their co-workers, if the number on the scale didn’t go down, in their mind, the fitness program was a complete failure. Someone please help me to understand this?!

How many times a week do you look like this?

How many times a week do you look like this?

OK confession time, despite being a 31-year old married man who was fairly successful with the ladies back in my single days (you know what I am saying, 😉 ) I realize I don’t know everything about women. You see I am a “mans, man” I know how guys think, I know how to train them, I can push them way beyond their self-imposed limits, I speak the guys language, but the second a woman asks “why has the scale not moved” I feel like I fail at every attempt at convincing them that the scale is the worst measurement device on the planet. That’s right, I will say it again, the scale is the worst measurement device for determining health and overall fitness!

Body weight is comprised of muscle, fat, bone density, and hydration level. When people say they want to lose weight they really mean they want to lose body fat. Now if you really want to lose weight I will tell you a method that is guaranteed to work, are you ready? Starve yourself, I guarantee you will lose weight, sure you will feel like crap, and you will look like crap but hey, at least you will weigh less than you do now!  Now at the risk of starting an outbreak of eating disorders I hope you know that I am kidding but unfortunately if you are only worried about the number on the scale you will always run the risk of malnutrition and even an eating disorder. So again we want to lose body fat, we don’t want to lose muscle mass, decrease our bone density, and/or become dehydrated. Our muscle mass, bone density, and hydration levels determine our quality of life. A strong healthy woman is much sexier and a whole lot healthier than a skinny weakling who is constantly sick and has zero energy. Why do we make ourselves miserable over a stupid number that means nothing and has no determination on whether we are healthy or even sexy?!?!

This is NOT hot! Please do not strive to look like this!

This is NOT hot! Please do not strive to look like this!

I have a question for the ladies, what is more important to you, the number on the scale or a toned sexy body? Better yet, let me ask it this way, let’s say I could grant you a wish but you had to choose between a body that weighed around (insert your “ideal” weight here) or a hotter, sexier, stronger, younger looking body that weighed 20-lbs more than your ideal weight, which would you choose? Believe it or not, it is very possible that you could look your best at a weight higher than what you weigh now.  I would really like to know your answer.

We have all heard that muscle weighs more than fat, well that is not 100% true, a pound of muscle weights 1-lb, just like a pound of fat, weighs 1-lb, but what is true is that muscle is much more dense and takes up much less volume in your body. So if you lost 5-lbs of fat and gained 5-lbs of muscle the number on the scale may not budge but you will be noticeably smaller, and leaner.

The scale did not change, but she did!

The scale did not change, but she did!

I am speaking for the overwhelming majority of guys right now; we do not find those really skinny “supermodel” type women hot. Ladies you must trust me, this nonsense is all in your head! You are going insane over an issue that no guy cares about. We don’t care what you weigh; all that matters is do you take pride in your body and strive to be as healthy as possible.  We like strong, confident, fit women. Women who can go on a hike, run a 5k, get down on some pickup volleyball, help you move a couch and a woman who is going to “fill out” her jeans. What am I going to do with a malnourished skinny girl, talk about her gaining 2-lbs and how she is now depressed? Sounds boring and annoying!

This is an example of what a STRONG, TONED, CONFIDENT woman looks like. Make no mistake, this takes time, dedication and sweat!

If you are overweight, yes their will obviously be weight loss associated with your fitness journey but remember what I am saying, the number on the scale is the WORST way to measure progress. You need to understand this or you will be miserable. Life is too short to be worried about 5-lb gain. Our weight fluctuates on a daily basis plus or minus 5-lbs, so who cares!

The best ways to track your progress are:

  1. Body measurements – inches don’t lie!
  2. How do your clothes fit – Are your clothes becoming too big or too small?
  3. Fitness test – Can you run faster and farther? Can you do more push-ups or pull-ups now? Do you still get winded walking up a flight of stairs?
  4. How you feel – Do you have more energy? Are you a happier person? Do you have more confidence?
  5. Compliments – Are people complimenting the way you look? Are people asking you, “what is your secret”?

So ladies I challenge you to put away that scale and focus your energy on bigger and better things. Fitness is not about some stupid number on a scale it is about a LIFESTYLE. Fitness is about being able to keep pace with your kids, hell it is about being able to keep pace with your grand-kids.  Health is not about some stupid number on a scale it is about being able to enjoy an active life in retirement not confined to your house overweight and constantly medicated. Success is not about some stupid number on a scale. Success is about being you and living up to your full potential!