Over the past 3 years, Y Members Derek and Amanda Woodruff (front row, center) have made big changes to their lifestyle. They have run on treadmills, competed in 5K races, taken fitness classes, and tried to eat healthier. Their dedication has paid off; they have lost over 140 lbs combined.
It all started in 2016, when Amanda needed to find a way to combat stress from her job and lose some weight. She started running 4-5 days a week, and changed her eating habits. Her friend Christa Christensen, a fitness class instructor at the Y, invited her to try a class. Since then, she has become a Y member and tried just about every class offered: RIPPED, Insanity, STRONG, Yoga, Strength and Sculpt. Her favorites are Insanity and Bodyshred, because they are intense and challenging. She says exercising more is helping her feel better in many ways.
“It has been great for my mental health. Working out helps me de-stress,” she said. “I am also sick a lot less than before. I don’t think I have hardly been sick at all this year.”
Amanda lost weight rapidly the first year, and is working to shed more a little at a time. She has now lost a total of 61 pounds.
In 2017, Derek was motivated by seeing Amanda’s success and decided to join her. He began by running on the treadmill and attending fitness classes with Amanda at the Y. Derek and Amanda began attending kettlebell classes together regularly.
“I really like that kettlebell classes are a full body workout, and include a wide variety of exercises,” he said. He also improved his diet, and over the past 2 years has lost 80 lbs.
Over time, Derek and Amanda both started running outside more than on treadmills. Derek runs on the trails near the Peoria Riverfront over his lunch break. They participated in the Y’s Superbowl Shuffle 5K, the Leprechaun Loop, and several other local 5K races.
While their weight loss has been a big part of their journey, they are both looking at the scale less now and focusing more on staying healthy.
When asked what advice she would give others starting out, Amanda said, “You can’t just work out. You have to eat healthy, too.” Derek said he has learned that losing weight isn’t just physical.
“Mentally prepare yourself,” he said. “Set goals and stick to them.”
For anyone interested in starting some new healthy habits in 2020, the Canton Family YMCA is offering free fitness classes now through January 5. The Y is also offering a special 3 month membership beginning January 1. The new regular 5-week session of fitness classes for all ability levels starts Jan 6. The Y also offers Personal Training and Weight Loss Challenge programs. For fitness class schedules, membership information, or program information, visit the the Y, 1325 E. Ash in Canton, call 647-1616, or go to www.cantonfamilyymca.org.