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Katie Folkes

Be persistent.

Show up.

It’s going to be difficult.

Don’t make excuses.

It will be worth it.

Growing up I lead an active lifestyle. I was involved in just about every activity you could possibly think of. I played sports and I danced my entire life. My active lifestyle slowed down right around the time I started my first semester at the University of Southern Mississippi. I began working at a local restaurant in town that stayed open until midnight. By the time my shift was over, I was so hungry! I did not want to go home and cook something so late at night! In my mind the only option I had was to pick up fast food. I was focusing on my coursework and enjoying my social life. My health was put on the back burner because, I had always been able to eat exactly what I wanted and stay fit.

Fast forward to August of 2014: I am now a new teacher. People were not exaggerating when they told me that my first year of teaching would be the hardest! I joined a local gym and would go workout a few times a week after school if I was not too tired. (Any teacher reading this is laughing because he or she knows that teachers are ALWAYS tired after school!) So that should tell you that I was not making it to the gym very often. This continued for two more years until one day I finally thought to myself “Katie, what are you doing? You are in your twenties and should not feel this way about yourself.” I did not want to take full length pictures and I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I had, and still have, a wonderful job, great family, and the best friends a girl could ask for but something was missing. I found what I had been missing in October of 2016.

A coworker told me about this gym called Versus and suggested I might enjoy one of their bootcamps. I have always been an “early bird” but the thought of working out at 5:00 AM made me want to throw the covers back over my head! I was so nervous I’m pretty sure I showed up 15 minutes early to the first class! Overtime, I was able to lift heavier weights, run further and for longer periods of time, and do more reps. If felt so good to be active again! I love the team mentality, supportive classmates (shoutout to my Early Bird crew at Thames!), and the fact that all the workouts are creative and different (shoutout to the best coach ever, Matt!). SIGN UP FOR BOOT CAMP HERE!

I continued to workout at the Thames outdoor class after the boot camp ended but unfortunately I never changed my eating habits because if I am working out I can eat whatever I want, right? WRONG! I have been a picky eater my entire life but thankfully my family and friends love me anyway! I never thought Clean Kitchen was for me because I was honestly afraid of changing my eating habits. I considered signing up many times but kept making excuses not to do it. My friend Ginger signed up for Clean Kitchen in August of 2018 and talked me into doing it with her. We needed an accountability partner and a cheerleader. I am so glad I did! I learned so much about nutrition and loved the impact the clean eating had on my workouts and my health! If you would have told bootcamp Katie that she would be able to run a mile without stopping she would have told you you were crazy! I noticed my clothes fit better. I was even able to wear dresses I haven’t worn in years!

By the time Clean Kitchen ended I had lost 20 pounds! I felt better physically than I had in years and I knew I never wanted to go back to my old habits again. On Saturday, December 15 I stepped on the scale and I could not believe my eyes. It took several minutes for it to sink in that I had done something that I thought was impossible. I had lost 50 pounds since I started Versus! I will never forget that day because I knew that as excited as I was for this victory, I had more work to do! This journey has not been easy but I would do it all over again. When my body hurts from burpees or I feel like throwing the covers back over my head I have to remind myself “Be persistent and show up. It’s going to be difficult. Don’t make excuses. It’s going to be worth it. YOU are worth it!”

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