Five area women participate in 2014 Maxform Life Challenge

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Five North Clark County women are still going strong in the 2014 Max Muscle Sports Nutrition Maxform Life Challenge. The women all began the challenge on Jan. 1 and are all currently training at BOLD Training in Battle Ground.

The five ladies participating in the 2014 challenge are Nancy Fehr, Melissa (Missy) Baldwin, Michelle Jones, Alysha Ford and Jennifer Lines. These women will compete against other men and women around the country to transform their bodies and become healthier over the next several months. Elba Benzler and Karen King, owners/trainers at BOLD Training, have been working with the ladies on weight training and high-intensity interval training for cardio.

Ingri DeGroote, a Battle Ground resident and BOLD Training member who made it to the top five in the 2013 Max Muscle challenge, is also providing training help and support to the five participants.

Each week, the ladies see their nutritionist at Max Muscle for meal planning, and at BOLD Training they weigh in weekly to measure their muscle mass and body fat. Monthly at BOLD Training, the five participants will get measurements taken along with photos of their progress.

“All the ladies receive love and attention from the trainers at BOLD and from the members,” Benzler said. “They love the support.”

Michelle Jones

Jones, 51, lives in Battle Ground and works from home as an instructional designer for a software company based in Denver, occasionally traveling for work. Jones said it took her a few weeks to reconcile herself to the decision to join the challenge, and she said DeGroote was an inspiration.

“When the BOLD trainers asked if any of us wanted to participate in the challenge I thought, ‘why would I not take advantage of this opportunity?’ ” Jones said. “I will be 52 in 2014 and I can be 52 or I can be 52 and in the best shape of my life. I choose the latter.”

Jones began training with King in December 2012 and has lost 10 pounds and gained some muscle and strength, but said her nutrition during that time was haphazard. Since starting her nutrition plan with Max Muscle and training at BOLD, she has lost an additional four pounds and her nutritionist continues to adjust her meal plan to get to optimal weight and fat loss.

“Training has been challenging, but not impossible,” Jones said. “I broke my right ankle very badly 30 years ago and still have a pin in it. I babied that ankle for so long that is has caused me to have poor balance, but Karen has worked with me to strengthen that ankle and it is stronger now and has less pain than any time since I broke it.”

Alysha Ford

Ford is a 35-year-old mother of two who lives in Yacolt. She has been working out at BOLD Training for about a year and she went to a nutrition seminar in December. Ford said she is a little overweight due to poor nutrition and was looking for a way to shed those few pounds and be healthier. She also said watching DeGroote’s transformation at BOLD Training is what inspired her to do something about her own weight loss.

“I was suffering from the winter blues last year, new to the area, no friends,” Ford said. “I joined BOLD because they had group classes that worked for me and my schedule. I have made tons of new friends and I now look forward to working out. The friends and staff at BOLD are all very positive, friendly and encouraging.”

Since joining the gym, Ford said she feels healthier both mentally and physically. She has lost about 10 pounds since starting the challenge and has also lost inches. Her ultimate goal is to be at a healthy weight.

“I love the trainers at BOLD,” she said. “They are always there to help me with my goals and to make sure I do it right.”

Ford currently goes to circuit classes at BOLD three times a week and spin/cycle class two times a week. She also signs up for various running events, her next being the 15K Shamrock Run in Portland. Her goal after that is to do her first Sprint Triathlon. For her nutrition plan, Ford is currently eating six small meals a day instead of three and the food is “cleaner” and unprocessed.

Melissa (Missy) Baldwin

Baldwin, 36, is a stay-at-home mom to two boys and lives in Battle Ground. Baldwin said her family has been 100 percent supportive of her participation in the Maxform Challenge and said her husband, Jeff, is her biggest supporter and was the one who really convinced her that she could do this challenge. At first, she had told King, DeGroote and Benzler that she didn’t think she could do the challenge, but when she told her husband, he told her she could do it.

“It’s actually kind of a funny story how I finally decided to compete in the challenge,” Baldwin said. “Jeff and I were talking and I told him I just didn’t think I could do it, so he gave me an ultimatum ... he told me I had two choices: I could do this challenge for the next six months or I could go out and find a job. Well, since I enjoy not working I decided it was in my best interest to sign up for the challenge.”

Baldwin first started going to BOLD in June 2013. Since this past June, she has lost 40 pounds and a total of 12.5 inches, putting her in the best shape she’s been in since high school. In January, Baldwin completed her first 10K run.

Baldwin said her ultimate goal for this challenge is to lose another 30 pounds (putting her total weight loss at 70 pounds), have toned muscles and to be bit and healthy.

“I have never had a strong upper body, but I can now lift more weight than I have ever lifted before,” Baldwin said.

Nancy Fehr

Nancy Fehr, 23, has lived in Battle Ground since she was 4 years old. She is currently a stay-at-home mom to her soon-to-be, 2-year-old daughter Karlee and is also a full-time student at Clark College.

Fehr was motivated to participate in the Maxform Challenge after her mom took her to a meeting at BOLD Training at which DeGroote discussed her struggles and accomplishments of participating in the 2013 challenge.

“Personally looking at her (DeGroote) and meeting her, I found my motivation,” Fehr said. “People can talk all day when they lose weight, but she doesn’t just talk about it, she inspires. My mom had a huge play in this as well. I wouldn’t have attended if she didn’t drag me down there that night, she was reaching out to not just me but others as well.”

Fehr has only been going to BOLD for the past two months and she is down 19 pounds and has lost a total of 20 inches. Her ultimate goal is to lose 70 pounds, not just to look better but because she has bad knees and said she needs the extra weight off so she can run around her with daughter.

“I want there to be no excuses as to why I can’t keep up with her,” she said.

Jennifer Lines

Jennifer Lines, 49, is married with two teenage children and works full time. Lines said her family is very supportive of her fitness and meals, she said she did ask them to support her before she started the challenge, as she knew it would mean changes for not just her, but all of them.

“I didn’t want them expecting the usual desserts and fast food stops when short on time,” Lines said. “I’d say the biggest change is in the food choices and time it takes to plan ahead and prepare.”

A handful of times, Lines said she’s really been missing having a treat, but she is very focused on her goal.

“I keep thinking about my end result,” she said. “I want to finish strong in an Olympic distance triathlon this June.”

Lines said she really enjoys having a community of dedicated workout friends at BOLD Training.

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