#9Fitness: Our new community puts you on the fast track to getting in shape and feeling great

CINCINNATI - Working out is hard. It's even harder to jump into if it's not a regular part of your daily routine. So, we're launching our 9 Fitness community to join you in getting fit and healthy and feeling great.

I was stuck

This idea was inspired, fueled by real passion and real results that I want to share with you. I graduated from college having gained the infamous "freshman 15" and then some: 40 lbs. in all. The elimination of late-night pizza and burrito runs and high-caloric drinks from my diet helped shave off a few pounds, but it was nothing to write home about because moving out of my parents' house and into my first apartment tacked those bad boys right back on.

I can't pinpoint the exact moment when I decided to make a lifestyle change – maybe I was tired of lacking a wardrobe since nothing fit anymore. Maybe I was tired of being unhappy. Whatever it was, it was like a light bulb went off in my head the very last week of January 2013, and I realized that a few simple changes couldn't possibly hurt.

I saw the light

So I bought some weights and a fitness orb, and I started off with Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred DVD. Bye-bye, fast food and processed food; it would be clean eating from here on. My fridge, previously stocked with juice and Diet Coke and bread and leftovers from wherever I ate the night before, became a safe haven for fresh vegetables and Greek yogurt and water – lots and lots of water. My morning routine consisted of waking up just a little bit earlier to get a good workout in.

To date, I've lost 28 lbs., and I'm just 12 away from completely shedding my college weight. I've dropped 2 pants sizes. And most importantly, I'm stronger and in better shape than I've ever been. I enjoy walking outdoors but was never much of a runner on account of my nonexistent stamina.

As my workouts progressed, I started adding some runs to the mix and noticed something amazing – I could run further, longer, faster. So I kept at it, adding distance every time I stepped onto the pavement. This past June, I completed the Redlegs Run 10k with my personal best time of 1:04.

We can do this -- together

I've gone through the most challenging yet rewarding five months of my life this year, and I want you to join me. I know it's hard to find that motivation on days when you're tired or had a bad day at the office. I know it's hard to say "no" to your friends when they want to grab a greasy burger or eat out multiple times a weekend. I know what it's like to see the number on the scale not move and wonder if 10 lbs. is all the weight you're going to lose. But, I also know that with the right support system – like-minded people who know the feeling of success and want to share it with you – it's just that much easier to set realistic, healthy goals and reach them!

Welcome to 9 Fitness, the group that's on your side through your entire fitness plan. Whether you're already a fitness junkie and want to share your story or are looking to meet new people, or you're a beginner who wants now to be the time you make that change, you're all invited to join me in making the rest of 2013 an amazing, healthy, inspiring year.

Three easy steps

I want to try something new and merge the social with the physical world, so here we go:

  1. Follow me on Twitter @jennyfromthebak ( www.twitter.com/jennyfromthebak ) where I'll be actively using the hashtag #9Fitness to connect with you and share information, trends and stories.
  2. We'll have monthly meet-ups where all 9 Fitness members can participate in a fun fitness activity--and even meet some of the 9 On Your Side team! Save the date: Aug. 10 is our first run/walk. Details to come!
  3. And we'll be sharing your stories on our website, as we select a "Fitness Fan of the Month" to profile

Think of 9 Fitness as an online community dedicated to keep you on track and inspiring you to push harder to reach your goals.

So if you're not yet on Twitter, sign up – it's free! Connect with me using the #9Fitness hashtag, and let me be the first to welcome you to the 9 Fitness community!

START TWEETING www.twitter.com, or share your story with me via email: jbak@wcpo.com

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