Success Story: “I dropped 29 pounds and lost over 14 inches!”
Find out how first time NPC bikini competitor Stacie Kritz transformed her body with the help of IFBB bikini pro Nicole Moneer
Growing up I was very active; I was a third overall state gymnast, ran track, dove for my high school, played softball and was a Division I soccer player. I have always had an athletic body, but never really focused on building lean, toned muscle. After college, and three knee surgeries, I started my professional career in IT for one of the Big Four consulting firms. I eagerly entertained clients and worked long, stressful days, focusing on doing a good job for my company, completely neglecting my body, health and overall wellbeing. Over the course of 12 years, I have gained weight and yo-yoed between 30-40 pounds, slowly eating away from the confidence I received from my professional life.
My fitness journey began when my husband asked if I would actually go to the gym, if we got a membership to Lifetime Fitness. Knowing that it was three times the cost of our current membership and being conscious of our finances, I said yes, with reservations. After about one month of running on the treadmill for 20 minutes, three times per week… completely avoiding weights and seeing no results, I finally signed up for an assessment with the head of the Personal Training Department. I shamefully stepped on the scale, and then sat down with him to talk about goals. He actually made me commit to doing something about the way I felt, then threw the icing on the cake... that my husband had signed up for personal training, so he could get in better shape than me! I didn't realize it at the time, but that was the kick in the butt that I needed to spark the competitor in me to make a change. We set a goal to lose 20 pounds in five months.
I agreed to sign up for personal training sessions, but under one condition... that I would get a female trainer that knew how to get results, especially for athletes, like me, that didn't want to bulk up. Little did I know at that moment that my one wish was about to be granted. Nicole Moneer, who is an IFBB bikini pro, Bodybuilding.com athlete, and an NASM Certified Personal Trainer, was available to take on another client! I cannot begin to say enough positive things about Nicole and all that she has taught me. Her best skill is that she truly understands how to read her clients, even when they have no idea what they're talking about or asking for! I'll never forget my first session with her, walking dumbbell lunges and pushups on a barbell. I thought I was in decent shape, but she quickly proved to me that I needed to work a lot harder to achieve my goal. I couldn't walk for four days without several muscles feeling some kind of pain; that was November 22, 2011. Since then Nicole and I have been lifting weights twice per week and training on the Pilates Reformer once per week. I also work out on my own, doing mostly cardio. So far, there have been two big moments that have given me the motivation to continue: First, snow skiing with no knee pain. For those of you who have bad knees, you know the kind of pain I'm talking about… and after five hours of non-stop skiing, I felt no pain. I couldn't believe that I could ski two days in a row for the first time in 16 years! Second, stepping on the scale and seeing ten less pounds and three less inches on my waist. Yay… finally results! And I don't feel bulky! In fact, I have actually realized that my fear of weights making me bulky was a bunch of bologna. Another important note that I need to mention is that Nicole had suggested a meal plan from the start in November but I said no. After a month of working out with her and not seeing results though, I decided to give the meal plan a try. Not only did I drop 10 pounds in one month, but also I ended up finding foods that I love so I am able to make it a lifestyle while keep the weight off. My trainer Nicole knows best, and she would always say, “Nutrition is king. Sweat and steel alone will not help in reaching your fitness and health goals. You must do all three together, consistently.”
I began to notice the biggest changes when I started Nicole's meal and supplement plan. Nicole meticulously created a personalized plan based on my Stress & Resilience Test and fitness goals, then monitored my progress, offering suggestions and coaching along the way to keep me on track. The Stress & Resilience Test was worth it since it showed that working out later at night was better for me and it also suggested supplements to help balance out my cortisol levels. I had to remove several things from my daily intake, but the results were unbelievable. I finally have more energy and can stay up past 10:30 p.m. on date night! Seems sad for a 32 year old, but previously I was so drained from work that I usually ended up falling asleep in the middle of the movie. The best part is that I don't feel deprived, even when I'm tempted with my favorite foods...chips and salsa.
As of February 2012, I still had a long way to go but I then decided to add a new goal. I asked Nicole for her professional advice on whether or not she thought I had what it took to compete in a NPC bikini competition like she does. Nicole said, “You can do anything you set your mind to. If you believe it and want it then yes, that is a great goal for you!” So with Nicole's help, the support of my loving husband and the wonderful staff at Lifetime, I started a new journey of transforming my body to be on stage in a bikini.
With a new goal set, my meal and supplement plans changed as did my time in the gym. I went from four days to six days per week, willingly. So my new outline consisted of working out with Nicole twice per week, and then four days on my own. She always mixed it up, from weights to HIIT to TRX to battle ropes, she always kept my body and mind guessing. I enjoyed how she continually challenged me in so many ways. In fact, since our start in November, we never did a single workout twice! I consistently did at least four days of cardio for 40 minutes, switching between Zone 2 some days to Zone 3 and 4 other days. I also hit the weights at least three of the other days on my own for a total of five times per week. The Pilate’s Reformer class was a great compliment to my program, my workouts were getting more intense so it was great to be able to de-stress and stretch, which really helped with my flexibility and core strength.
From February through May my weight continued to drop. I bought new workout clothes since everything was falling off me and I was now able to fit into pants I hadn’t worn in years. (No complaints from me!) In May, my husband and I spent two weeks in Europe, and I was concerned I would gain my weight back and fall off track while away. But guess what? Nicole is an expert when it comes to traveling the world and staying on track with your workouts and eating as well. She made several suggestions for foods to pack while traveling and what to order when eating out. She even put together hotel room workouts, in case I didn’t have access to a gym. I think I only gained about 4-5lbs while on this trip. When I returned in late May, we set a date for July 6th to compete in The NPC Chicago Pro-Am. My goal with this show was to transform and push my body to a whole new level. I did that and more. I took third place! In the end, I was down 29 pounds and lost eight inches on my waist and six inches on my hips. The only thing I gained was a healthy new way of life!
In the seven-and-a-half months I worked with Nicole there were many times I mentioned a goal for starting a family with my husband. They say timing is everything... a few weeks after I competed in July my husband and I found out I was pregnant. I met with Nicole on occasion during my first trimester to help keep me on the right track while pregnant and to continue to add to my workout program. I am due any day now!
I am really proud of my progress, especially when I think back to when I couldn't even do one push up! I give all the credit to Nicole, who stuck by me since the beginning. She wouldn't let me give up and always knew exactly what I needed to hear to re-focus and stay positive. She truly is an inspiration to me in every sense of the word! Training with Nicole was absolutely the single most critical component of achieving my original goal of losing weight, not bulking up, and adopting a healthier lifestyle. Not only is her knowledge of the body and nutrition second to none, but also her ability to understand how my body was progressing, when I struggled to see results, helped to keep me motivated and focused on continuing to work hard and eventually get results. The support and variety of fitness programs offered at Lifetime make up a well-rounded package that can help anybody achieve any goal. I love the way that the weight lifting combined with reformer Pilates has shaped my figure and helped me move and feel better overall! Thanks to Nicole, for her consistent encouragement, coaching, and constant reminders that I can do anything that I set my mind to.