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“Any changes I made during the contest to my body and health are 1000 percent because of Liz Keller. She listened to all my concerns; no matter what time of day, I would text her. I was afraid of calories and fats, but her nutritional background and true understanding of nutrition made me feel comfortable enough to follow meal plans..”
  • Kelly Pape

How Kelly Did It

The Beach Body Challenge is a team event, but every team is comprised of individuals, and for the whole to succeed, the parts must excel. When it came down to individual achievement in this year’s challenge, no one reached quite so high as Kelly Pape, trained by Liz Keller. The contest is often mischaracterized as a “weight loss contest.” Anyone that has done it will tell you that it is not. To win, you must add lean mass – muscle – and this year, no one added more than Kelly. How’d she do it? Let’s find out…

It Starts

Kelly Pape has been a member of FI for about 25 years now, going back to the Montauk Highway days. Her interest in this Spring’s Dynamic Duo Beach Body Challenge is rooted in…the challenge! “I wanted to try something different,” she says, “and wanted a different perspective on working out and healthy eating. As we get older, managing these things becomes a little more tricky, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to try something new. What wasn’t different this time, however, was my partner, Melanie Russo. Melanie was my partner in last year’s challenge, so we entered this year’s contest with our team already formed. Melanie is like family to me, and our parents are lifelong friends — extremely close.”

“I knew that Kelly and Melanie are very close friends outside of the gym,” adds trainer Liz Keller, “and I’d been training Melanie for a while. She used to train with Jourdan, but when their schedules weren’t working out, she requested to work with me. I’ve been training them as partners since last Spring’s Dynamic Duo Challenge.”

“Melanie is amazing, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner – honestly,” continues Kelly. “She is super-focused and determined, and it fueled me to be the same way. I needed to step up my game, and having Melanie as my partner was the perfect remedy. We pushed each other when we needed a little push, and we spent our mornings sweating but laughing together. We spent them lifting far more weight than I thought we could, definitely with a few curses thrown in by me!”

“Kelly and Melanie push each other to lift heavier every time we train,” agrees Liz. “I think they might be in a secret competition with each other, but this makes each session fun and gets them great results. We made our session schedules work around vacations, children’s sports, and work events. Even when one teammate couldn’t train in a partner session, the other would use individual sessions to make sure they continued to make progress.”

Focus: Muscle!

“My focus with this contest was to really focus on muscle, and Kelly gained the most muscle out of everyone in the contest,” says Liz. “We achieved this because I tracked her progress each week and referred back to the weights from previous weeks. In the past, I let clients judge how heavy their weights might have felt and sometimes just focused on calorie burn, but in this contest, I really focused on data. The data and the results prove that if someone really wants to work hard, they can make great things happen.”

Support and Guidance

The point of these contests has always been trainer-guided, positive transformation, and Kelly is proof of their effectiveness. “Any changes I made during the contest to my body and health are 1000 percent because of Liz Keller. She listened to all my concerns; no matter what time of day, I would text her. I was afraid of calories and fats, but her nutritional background and true understanding of nutrition made me feel comfortable enough to follow meal plans. She helped me understand that without the proper fuel, we lose muscle, which becomes harder to recover as we age. I changed my mindset. Liz kept workouts tough and kept our sessions interesting and fun!”

Keeping It Simple

“My training philosophy is pretty simple,” says Liz. “Keep track of my clients’ weights for sets and reps and then push them to be better with each session. I don’t include a lot of cardio in my sessions in order to maximize the time we have for resistance training. I also encourage them to take rest days (even though they don’t always listen) to help them recover and get stronger.”

“I added some of the great classes offered at FI to the two personal training sessions weekly with Liz. I took classes by most instructors at FI – hoping it would be a good mix by taking different instructors. I added the Power 45 class on Wednesday nights given by Liz and Jourdan, and that definitely gave me a big push and helped me gain some strength over and above the personal training sessions.”

It’s (Mostly) What You Eat

In addition to being an instructor and personal trainer, Liz is also a certified nutritionist. She runs FI’s Well Choices Holistic Nutrition Therapy program, so naturally, diet figured hugely in the success of her clients (Diet always does…speaking to other contestants confirms this).

“Changing my mindset on food was the hardest part for me,” says Kelly. “The first few weeks, I lost weight, but also some muscle. At this point, I realized how important it was for me to eat the food given to me on Liz’s plan and not be afraid of the calories or the fat.”

“I know I am biased,” laughs Liz, “but I would have to say that diet is definitely more important to fitness success than exercise. I believe one reason my clients do well in the contests is that they get serious about preparing the food that I tell them to eat. I usually start with a 2-week reset and then have them follow a plan based on specific calories and macros I want them to intake. It’s pretty much always an argument about me trying to get them to eat more to build more muscle, but those who listen to me get great results!”

“Getting a better understanding of the overall importance of working out and eating properly and seeing how much of a difference it can make proved to be super important for me,” says Kelly, “but the best part for me was getting to do this with Melanie and Liz!!! They are the BEST! Entering the contest allows people to step outside their comfort zones. It forces you to try classes you may not have tried or to push yourself a little harder than you may have on your own. We all won by participating in the contest!”

About The Author

Paul Smith
  • Paul Smith

Paul Smith manages member communications and graphic design for Fitness Incentive and Incentives Spa. He is a frequent contributor to Fit to Print.

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