My journey began long before I started at Emerald City Athletics. When I was 13 years old, I was diagnosed with PCOS: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It’s complicated to explain, but the main symptom was not being able to maintain a healthy weight, along with many other factors going against me. For years after, I slowly gained more and more weight. I tried every diet you could imagine. My parents spent countless amounts of money and time trying to figure out what to do. Meanwhile, my doctors gave me medications to help manage the symptoms, and basically told me “good luck, but we want you to weigh 130lbs” offering no advice on how to get there.

 The next few years, of middle and high school, were very rough. I just kept gaining weight and gave up after the next “diet” didn’t work. I would go off the deep end and cycle back, over and over again. Sitting in weight watcher’s meetings, or going to a hypnotist at such a young age, was not something I was going to stick with. Nothing seemed to be working.

 In September 2014, I was about to start college again and start a new job. A week before my job was supposed to start, I found a picture of myself, from 2013, at my parents wedding. I was horrified. I could barley look at it. I didn’t even recognize who I was looking at. At that moment, I knew I had to do something. I had heard of meal prepping, so I thought I would give that a shot. I started planning and packing my lunches for work, and dinners for school. That snowballed into working out 1 day a week on my own, to 2 days a week and so on.

On January 5, 2015, I had a check up with my doctor and was so excited to tell him about my new healthy plan. He was happy, but told me if I didn’t lose more weight fast, I would most likely have to have weight loss surgery. I was only 23 years old. How could I let myself get so bad that I needed weight loss surgery at such a young age? I got to my car after that appointment and cried. I had hit rock bottom. I couldn’t bare to tell my parents, let alone make them pay for it.  The next day, I was telling my best friend, Anna, about the doctors appointment and she suggested I come try her gym. I was super apprehensive. I had already been to Gold’s gym, LA Fitness, and the YMCA, but she would NOT shut up about this place and how awesome it was.

 So I went in three days later and sat down with Austin. After I couldn’t decide on a plan and my brain was telling me not to spend any more money on gyms; Austin said “with my charm and good looks, how could you not join this gym?”  I was sold and haven’t looked back since. ECA has changed my life in so many ways. This place has given me a place to belong and gain strength, but most importantly, it gave me my confidence back.

 For this challenge, I had set a crazy goal of losing 40lbs in 60 days for a wedding. I was in a transition of trainers and couldn’t decide on one. Gina mentioned she was going to train with Andre and I should with her. I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t crazy about the idea at first. I wasn’t sure what this kid could do to help me. So, we sat down a couple weeks before the challenge started to see what the plan could be. I told him everything I had been through with past trainers and my PCOS. He showed me a plan that could work. So with a hope and a prayer, I agreed to do the challenge with Andre.

The next day, he messaged me with all kinds of research on PCOS and weight loss. I was blown away! In the last line of the message said we were gonna be successful no matter what it took. From then on, he did everything in his power to make sure I was going to lose weight every week. It started out rough, but finally, we found something that works and I couldn’t be happier! He has been the most amazing trainer, pushing me to my limits in all ways: mentally and physically. He has shown me that I’m so much stronger than I ever thought possible! In a year and 4 months since joining ECA, I have: lost 52lbs, reversed my diabetes, and I have gone down from a size 22/24 pants to a 14. I can now bench 185lbs and sumo deadlift 225lbs!

With the journey and this challenge especially; I have learned that the scale, having PCOS, and other’s opinions don’t define me. What matters is what I believe about myself and what I’m capable of. I’m not “strong for a girl”, I’m just straight up strong! I’m beating the odds stacked against me, despite what everybody thought and PCOS can suck it!

The end results of the challenge were that I lost 18lbs, 12lbs being body fat and an overall total loss of 16 inches! When I heard that I weighed 223lbs on Monday, and saw that I reached my goal, I was speechless. I knew that all the blood, sweat and tears were worth it, because I haven’t weight that much in 14 years!

Lastly, I wanted to say what is truly so amazing about ECA, is the people here. The staff and the members…all of you have been apart of my journey, and I could not be more thankful and blessed. You guys are my family. You have stuck with me and I couldn’t have done this without you!

Member of our Everett club // Brittany Burns

*Results may vary from person to person