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Member Spotlight: Valerie McClain

Newport News Weight Loss Cindy

We believe our members are the heartbeat of our great community and provide amazing inspiration to others overcoming their own challenges.


1. When and Why did you first start coming to Coastal Strength & Fitness?

It was Spring of 2015 and a good friend referred me to Gary because I was struggling with my weight, work out regimen, and nutrition at the time. I had been doing a group fitness training program at a different gym and participated in a few 30 day transformations which essentially included in a very extreme and limited diet along with intense workouts 5 to 7 days a week. I noticed I was losing weight during the 30-day challenge of these transformations but very quickly gaining it back. I had become heavier than I ever had been in my adult life at 160 lbs. I'm 5 feet 5 inches tall so for me, that was overweight.

At that time, my menstrual cycles stopped for over a year and my thyroid began to shut down. Aside from the physical issues I was having, psychologically I was in a very tough place. After participating in a poorly guided 30-day transformation challenge in the gym I attended before Coastal, I began to label different foods as good and bad so essentially what was not permitted to eat on this transformation program became bad in my mind. I felt very out of control when it came to food because I would continuously be in this on or off mindset based on whether I was doing a 30 day transformation or not. So whenever I was off of the transformation I would overeat or binge on all of the things that I was not allowed to have or considered bad during the transformation.

That on-again and off-again pattern essentially led to the weight gain and the mental challenges I had with food. I explained all of this to Gary the first day I met him and he explained to me that this is actually very common and as long as I committed to coaching with him that he would get me on the right track even if it took years to do. So, I committed and I never looked back.

2. What fitness activities/sports were you doing before you joined Coastal?

Aside from the program I mentioned above, I did some running and high intensity cardio workouts such as spinning and boot camp style workouts. I didn't do any type of exercise until I was about 25 years old. When I was 160 lbs I had spent almost a year working out 6 days a week sometimes two hours a day and still being overweight. When I really started getting into Coastal I scaled back my workouts to 4 days a week and spent more time recovering and dialing in the bad habits regarding nutrition which led to the changes.

3. What results have you seen since you joined Coastal Strength & Fitness?

The pictures show the physical results.

But, more importantly than that, the mental and psychological shift that I've experienced over the last 3 years is what has really changed my life and resulted and feeling like I can fairly effortlessly maintain a healthy weight and live a happy life while doing it. My habits regarding nutrition have become like second nature so I don't even have to really think about it. I'm in touch with my body and I know how to eat enough to feel content without overeating or under eating. I am in full control whenever I eat whether it's grilled chicken and vegetables or pizza and ice cream.

I love that I can attend three to four workouts per week for about 45 minutes at a time and get the results I want. I can spend the rest of my time focusing on my family and my life outside of the gym. Nutrition and working out doesn't consume my mind anymore. I don't beat myself up if I miss a workout or if I decide to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's on a Saturday night. I can keep ice cream in my freezer and a candy dish on my fireplace and not feel tempted to eat it because it's just always there and I'm not struggling with this on-again and off-again pattern I struggled with for so long.

I have learned that deprivation will just lead to overeating and I know that long lasting change comes from practicing the simple basics I've learned at Coastal like moderation and simplicity.

4. What do you like most about Coastal Strength & Fitness?

The coaches. They are qualified and educated beyond most group workout programs in the area because they don't just learn about working out and get a certification. They understand the psychological and emotional challenges that the average person faces regarding fitness and nutrition, and they are willing, able, and qualified to help you overcome those challenges.

The program continuously evolves because they continue their education and expand their knowledge on a regular basis. You can't put a price on finding coaches who can change your life forever. It's not just about showing up and doing a workout or following some kind of meal plan. It's about committing to a lifelong change and having the support you need to help you make those changes and live the rest of your life without struggling.

It's taken me 3 years of coaching with Gary to finally get where I am, but it's been worth every penny and every minute spent because I know that I'm equipped with what I need to live the rest of my life this way even when life takes me away from Coastal. It's an investment, not just something you pay for each month.

5. What is your favorite Coastal training day of the week and why?

I love Fridays because it's a full body strength workout and usually a pretty intense cardio finisher. I also feel like the energy at the gym is just more fun on Fridays because it's the weekend :-)

Lightning Round Questions:

1. What is your Spirit animal?

An Otter.

2. If you were a Superhero, what would your super power be?

To cure cancer.

3. What is your favorite treat meal?

Ice Cream

Are you ready to begin your journey to a healthy, sustainable lifestyle?

Come visit us, meet our team, get to know us, learn more about our program, and experience our amazing culture, click here.


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