Paige Fitzgerald torched 16 pounds of fat and repaired her back with weight training

April 24, 2021

By today’s standards Paige Fitzgerald did not need to lose weight. She is tall, and has long legs and a slim figure that would make most girls envious. However, due to the stress and isolation of COVID, Paige knew she wasn’t herself. She had gained 10 pounds, ruptured a disk in her back and wasn’t feeling healthy, so she decided to take control of her life and signed up for my 12-week body transformation. 

Paige’s journey started off with a body fat test in the infamous Bod Pod. This is a state-of-the-art body fat assessment machine that shows clients their exact body composition. Page initially tested at 33.6 percent body fat, which put her in the excess fat category. This is important because it’s impossible to make goals for improvement if you don’t currently know your fitness level. Once we established her body composition, we were able to make realistic goals for her transformation. 

In addition to determining Paige’s fitness level, she had a serious back issue we needed to handle. She had been having pain for months, but had not seen a doctor. She was ready to start the transformation, but I decided she needed to get an assessment before beginning physical activity. After a visit to Dr. Mark Sordi, Paige found out that she had a ruptured a disk and needed a month of rest and recovery before she was cleared to start an exercise program, so we put her program on pause and rescheduled her to start a month later.

In January, Paige was feeling better and ready to go, so we began her transformation with basic exercises designed to get her in shape and strengthen her core without putting stress on her back. We did bird dogs, leg extensions, wall sits, seated leg curls and modified bicycle crunches to build baseline strength. For back injuries, it’s important to prioritize the abdominals, hamstrings and other specific muscles without putting direct pressure on the spine, so we targeted these areas to make sure her injury would no longer be a problem. Paige responded immediately. Her body quickly began to change, and there was no pain or discomfort in her back. Each week she became stronger and was capable of more difficult weight training and cardiovascular exercises, so we constantly upgraded her program with challenging new workouts.

On her final Bod Pod test, Paige had lost a total of 16 pounds of pure fat. She also gained an impressive 3 1/2 pounds of lean muscle. In addition, she reduced her body fat from 33.6 percent to a very tight and lean 23 percent, putting her right above the lean category and in better shape than most women 15 years younger. All her clothes are now loose, and best of all, she has absolutely no more back pain.

Paige’s results are a great example that although weight is a part of the equation, it’s really body composition that matters. If you are carrying too much weight, your body is not going to function the way it’s supposed to.

“I was tired; I was getting fatter, and my back was hurting every day and I just didn’t feel healthy anymore,” said Paige, but since she transformed her body, her mind-set is totally different. “I look in the mirror and I’m like ‘Wow, look at me,’ I look like a person who’s in shape, and it’s awesome.” 

Congratulations, Paige, you are a reminder that we are all just trying to be the best versions of ourselves, and whether we need to lose 15 or 50 pounds, when we’re in shape, we look, feel and function better, physically and mentally.

  • 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

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