Fitness has been a journey, not a pit stop

June 10, 2017

Jill Burton is like most people you know. She has a family, a job and she constantly juggles her schedule trying to make time to go to the gym. But there are times when life’s responsibilities make it nearly impossible to get it all done. Over the last five years, though, Jill has made health and fitness a priority, and the result has been an amazingly consistent journey to the best shape of her life. But it wasn’t always easy.

Jill started training with me five years ago in 2012 through a corporate fitness program I offered to Ocean Atlantic and Schell Brothers companies. She had gained weight and was in the worst shape she had ever been in, but she was willing to make the necessary lifestyle changes. She responded to the program quickly and immediately began to experience results. During the first 12 weeks she participated, she lost 22 pounds, 22 inches and dropped her cholesterol 35 points. In addition, she felt so much better she even entered her first 5K. The following year, she decided to repeat the transformation, but also recruited her husband to participate.

In 2013, I again offered my program to Schell Bothers and Jill quickly signed up. She had maintained her previous shape and was within a pound of where she left off the year before. “That year I wanted to finish my goal of losing 40 pounds, and since I already ran a 5K, I figured I’d work on getting faster,” she said. Jill finished the transformation that year at an all-time best. She dropped another 20 pounds, which now added up to more than 40 pounds total since she began working with us. She also reduced her body fat another 13 percent, and cut her 5K time by 12 minutes, but she wasn’t finished yet. 

This past February, Jill had gained a little weight back, but stayed pretty close to her all-time best. So she again entered the 12-week transformation with the hope of taking her progress to the next level. Since she had done the program several times, I had to really switch things up, making the diet much more strict and the workout more intense, but she was ready for it and followed it perfectly. This time, the results were unprecedented. Jill lost an additional 30 pounds, dropped another 14 1/2 percent body fat and is now in better shape than she was in high school, and even though the contest ended a week ago, she is still losing weight. 

Over the last five years, there have been peaks and valleys for Jill’s fitness program, but she never lost sight of her goals. She constantly worked to get into better shape with each passing year. If she slipped and gained weight, she always recommitted and worked harder. She has now lost a total of 54 pounds since she started training with us five years ago, and she only weighs 115 pounds. She has dropped her body fat to a lean 22 percent, and she can do things in the gym that she never thought possible, but it wasn’t accomplished overnight - it was a journey that took several years.

The lesson here is, getting older is a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to be a downward spiral. If you learn to get the most out of your workouts and follow basic nutritional rules, you can accelerate your metabolism and continue to improve. Jill Burton’s fitness journey is a great example of what can be accomplished if you stay consistent and never give up. Remember, fitness is a journey, not a pit stop.

  • Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. He has been lifting for more than 20 years and has trained a wide variety of clients ranging from All-American athletes to the average person trying to get into shape. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter