Over 40 fitness one year after starting weight training by wardrobe oxygen. How to start a fitness routine

I Started Weight Training One Year Ago: The Results

Fitness and Wellbeing Lifestyle

Over 40 fitness one year after starting weight training by wardrobe oxygen. How to start a fitness routine

A year ago, I was in the worst shape of my life. At 5’3” I was a bit over 200 lbs. I had back pain, knee pain, and occasionally got migraines. My allergies were terrible, I was always tired and felt as though I was living life in a fog. I’ve never been athletic, but always felt I was still strong… but even my strength was fading. I don’t “do” gyms; I’ve occasionally gone on the elliptical or treadmill at the gym in my town but never consistently. The last time I consistently went to a gym was college and that was only for one semester. Yet for some reason I connected with Elite Technique, a gym in Beltsville, Maryland and signed up for weekday personal training sessions.

Over 40 fitness one year after starting weight training by wardrobe oxygen. How to start a fitness routine

I’m famous for giving up when things get tough, but I stuck with the gym. Over an entire year, excluding vacations and business trips, I have only missed eight training sessions. Every weekday morning, I go to Elite Technique and work with my trainer Khalil for a half hour. Often, the session starts with 10 minutes on the treadmill, then we do weight training.

When I joined the gym, I didn’t have big dreams about getting thin. I just wanted to get back under 200 lbs and I wanted to be strong again. I achieved my goals in this past year and with it, learned so much about myself and what defines health.

Over 40 fitness one year after starting weight training by wardrobe oxygen. How to start a fitness routine

When I joined Elite Technique, I was a size 16 with a 38F chest. Now, I am a size 12 with a 36DDD chest. I haven’t had a migraine since I started working out. My cholesterol and blood pressure both dropped into a nice comfortable, healthy range. No more back pain, hardly any knee pain. My skin looks better, my posture is better, and my body is a completely different shape.

Over 40 fitness one year after starting weight training by wardrobe oxygen. How to start a fitness routine

I mentioned in this post, but with all these changes I’ve only lost 10 lbs. But these photos show that weight is not the only factor in determining health, shape, or strength. And at age 43, I show that it’s not too late to start. In fact, my mom is 75 and she just started working out at Elite Technique this year. She recently had surgery and the doctor said she likely healed so well and got through the procedure so beautifully in part because of her weight training routine.

Over 40 fitness one year after starting weight training by wardrobe oxygen. How to start a fitness routine

Society may make us feel bad for its size, shape, or ability but our bodies, all of our bodies, are awesome. Our body is the only reason we are here, and deserves to be nurtured and respected. Weight training helped me reconnect with my body and improve my relationship with my self. It has helped me fight past that bad influence on my shoulder that encourages me to hit the snooze button, has retrained my mind to crave different things when I am sad, mad, or frustrated. It helped me find routine and time for myself as a work from home entrepreneur who could spend all day in her pajamas in front of a computer. It made me an inspiration for my daughter, reduced the number of days I was sick or out of commission, and made me a more equal partner with my husband when we went camping, kayaking, biking, and completing home improvement projects.

Over 40 fitness one year after starting weight training by wardrobe oxygen. How to start a fitness routine

Here’s to one year of fitness, I cannot wait to see what I can achieve in 2019!

I know some of you are curious about what I am wearing.  I stopped trying to make my hair work at the gym so I wear baseball caps; they also keep sweat out of my eye. The sports bra is the Catalyst from Knix.  The leggings are Core10, you can design your own for a good price and they've held up beautifully.  They're my favorite leggings; Zella is a close second. The navy shirt is from Daily Ritual, the turquoise one is Zella, but my favorite workout top is from Universal Standard.  My favorite workout underwear, as well as everyday underwear is the boyshorts from Knix. My favorite socks for working out are SmartWool Hide and Seek (they keep the sweat and funk at bay and last for years). My current favorite sneakers are these from Asics which give a lot of arch support and stability.


For those who live in the area, Elite Technique offered me a promo code for Wardrobe Oxygen readers: sign up with Elite Technique by December 25, 2018 with promo code OXYGEN20 and get 20% off your first package.  Discount for new clients only, promo valid until the 25th or when their schedule fills up.  If you have any questions about Elite Technique or their trainers let me know in the comments.  I am not paid by Elite Technique and pay for my sessions just like everyone and will provide honest answers.



  • Curvy CEO December 10, 2018

    As always you continue to amaze and inspire me!! Just wondering if, in addition to working out five days a week (!!) you made any changes to your diet? I just joined a fancy new gym and I’m thinking that the amenities will really get me going there much more often.

  • LindaB December 9, 2018

    Congratulations Alison! Being strong and healthy really is the goal, and you have set a fantastic example for your family and your readers. Life is so much better when we move. And I agree —it’s not about the number on the scale.

  • Bridget December 8, 2018

    I’m so glad this has become a force for good in your life! Well done you. 🙂

  • L H Carter December 7, 2018

    Congratulations Alison on the changes you have made in your health and well being. A whole year of commitment and consistency looks good on you!!!
    Yes, you did it for yourself, but your mother, husband, daughter and your job benefited as well. Sometimes we think going to the gym, walking, jogging, skating, skiing, or biking is selfish but it’s good for everyone you are connected to.
    I look forward to hearing your achievements with your trainers and reaching new goals all during 2019.

  • Pura December 6, 2018

    Allison!!! Thank you for sharing this year’s journey with fitness. You look so healthy and so beautiful. I love reading your letters and blog and hope you continue to be successful in the coming years. The amazing thing with taking care of oneself is that it gives one so much energy to take care of those we love and in the same swoop it provides an example for others to follow.
    Thanks and Happy Holidays.

  • Chris December 6, 2018

    I think many folks are much too focused on weight. There are so many factors that play into health and fitness. The first time I went to a gym, the trainer told me to forget about the weight and use the tape measure to gauge my progress.

    I would not be surprised if Allie gained weight while she continues to work out. Muscle is dense, heavy, but takes up less space than fat does. At this point, I think Allie is seriously muscled and will continue to reduce body fat percentage.

    I stopped going to my favorite gym when they closed their business. I haven’t found another that I am comfortable with. I have a few weights at home and
    work out some but it’s not nearly as good as when I could go to a gym
    with all the machines and free weights to pick from.

    I had better get back at it and soon. I’m tired all the time and one knee is
    giving me fits. I felt and looked so much better when I was a regular gym

    Thanks Allie for encouraging us all to get or continue on track!

  • Elizabeth December 6, 2018

    You look AMAZING! Congrats on all your hard work paying off!

  • b December 6, 2018

    Your enthusiasm and energy are inspiring. Can you share how much your gym and personal training cost? I live in a high cost of living area without a car and am finding the price of gyms daunting. Thanks.

    • Alison Gary December 8, 2018

      It costs $400/month for five sessions per week. They offer 2x/week and 3x/week packages as well.

  • Mary December 6, 2018

    You look fabulous. A true inspiration

  • Maia December 6, 2018

    You’re a badass, Allie!!

    In case you (or other readers) haven’t seen this website, I ran into the other day and it think it is an interesting project idea, though the photos are fairly low resolution and it certainly does not cover the full diversity of body types or weight for heights.


    • Alison Gary December 8, 2018

      This is a fantastic resource, thank you Maia!

  • Connie Harich December 6, 2018

    Alison, you are an inspiration! Keep on keepin’ on. 🙂

  • karen December 6, 2018

    WOW! good for you for your commitment to yourself…you look great, but more important, as you state, you feel great.

  • Katy December 6, 2018

    Woot. Go girl! And I love that the sessions are only 30 minutes. I wish more places offered 30 minutes as it’s a super manageable amount of time. Tell Elite Technique that they should open more branches in the DC area (Navy Yard!) and they’ll have more customers! (Realistically, Beltsville is just too far for me to go consistently!)

  • oneWEIRDword December 5, 2018

    You inspired me to start working out in February. Your instagram stories really helped me along. I was having terrible lower back pain and lost a lot of strength after getting a job in another town 3 years ago. Driving instead of cycling and transit gave me pain and weakness. So I joined a workout group, and with that and your persistence and consistency helped me feel like I could be badass too!

    In September, I slipped on a hill while walking my dog and injured my foot. I can’t do leg-day like I could before, so I’m concentrating on core, arms, shoulders, and back. Here now all these months later, I want to thank you for your inspiration. Ally works out so often! I can do it too! I feel SO MUCH BETTER.


  • Melissa December 5, 2018

    You look great Allie. Kudos to you. But I have got to say….190 lbs and a SIZE 12? That hardly seems possible. I am 5’3” tall. 190lbs. Average frame. 36B. Walk on the treadmill 3-4 times a week. I am not even close to a size 12 and except for my chest, my body shape looks pretty close to yours, by your pic. Really? A size 12?

    • Alison Gary December 5, 2018

      I’m sitting here typing this in a pair of size 10 Universal Standard jeans with a L J. Crew top, earlier today I was wearing a pair of size 12 pants from WHBM. I always state my clothing sizes in my outfit posts. This is an example why focusing on the number on the scale isn’t the best thing. I have a much larger chest than you and I lift heavy weights; muscle weighs more. I have no need to lie nor any need to squeeze into a size too small. 🙂

      • melissa December 5, 2018

        I did not imply you were lying. I simply stated that 190lbs, no matter what the muscle mass, is typically not a size 12. I was 170 lbs two summers ago, and I was in a size 16. I still find it unusual. Take care.

        • Alison Gary December 5, 2018

          If I came off sensitive, it’s because you’re not the first, or second or even tenth person so question my weight to size. Each time I share a photo of me in a swimsuit or cocktail dress, or mention my weight I get emails, DMs, comments, and threads on message boards questioning if I was being accurate and often sharing what size or weight they really think I am. The way you worded your comment came across in a way that seemed like you felt I wasn’t accurate and I got defensive. I’m sorry if I misinterpreted your message and I thank you for being part of the conversation and coming back to explain.

        • JenW December 6, 2018

          All of our bodies are different, and even though you two are similar in height, if she’s working out with weights and you are doing cardio, she is going to be a smaller size at the same weight. If it seems unusual to you, check out Pinterest for photos of women who gain weight while weightlifting and still look dramatically smaller than their before photos. I’ve been lifting weights for over 25 years and so I don’t find this unusual at all. After giving birth to my son I weighed my all time high of 284, and wore a size 20. Now at 190 pounds I wear a size 8/10 or a medium lifting 2-4 times a week for 20-30 minutes, walk as part of my work with kids, and doing gentle yoga for 20 minutes daily. If you aren’t happy with your results, perhaps Allie’s results might inspire you to explore other fitness routines.

  • Cynthia December 5, 2018

    You are amazing and inspiring. Thanks for showing those before-and-after photos; they really show off your hard work!

  • Pahola December 5, 2018

    You are an inspiration!

  • Nicole K December 5, 2018

    OK, great! Now I have to renew my commitment to fitness. (heh heh) Like you, I am notorious for quitting when the going gets tough, but you’ve inspired me. And it will start with a new bra for the girls! Yay (they say)!

  • Debra December 5, 2018

    Great job! You are such an inspiration to me in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your success with us!

  • Susan December 5, 2018

    You look amazing, thank you for putting yourself out there. It’s very inspiring. Congrats on 1 year in. That’s a lot of commitment and it shows.

  • Pam December 5, 2018

    Good for you!!!
    You look fabulous, and better than that you feel fabulous.

  • Stacie December 5, 2018

    So inspired and proud of you Ali!

  • Tara December 5, 2018

    Congratulations on your hard work! You have inspired me and lots of others to recommit to fitness this past year–so thank you for your example and your willingness to share the process with all of us. The payoff in terms of mood, strength, health improvements and pride in yourself will continue to reap benefits–so glad to hear that your migraines have dissipated. They are the worst! I love how you’ve demonstrated that once it is part of your day, it just becomes a lifestyle. Thanks!

  • Nebraskim December 5, 2018

    Good work rewarded! I know it’s physically hard and sometimes emotionally you just don’t want to do it, but I find a workout is the best way for me to get my head into a better place. I have been messing with foot injuries (that are uncureable/untreatable) and have had to adjust to the fact I will no longer be able to do long-distance running/walking again. But I started yoga this year, got more serious about short distances (5Ks), and weight training. I have no idea my starting weight or my current weight, but recently during a closet cull, I sent 12 pairs of pants and some skirts to the charity bin as they are too big. And a down puffer coat I was going to consign as it was kind of tight is now perfect. I also overhauled my eating. My body has changed, proving that even at the elderly age of 63, all things are possible. I’ve always been a person who enjoyed working out, but this year, I got way more serious as Ihad more time and decided to get back on track. You are an inspiration for many. Good work.

    • oneWEIRDword December 5, 2018

      Way to go, Nebraskim!

      • Nebraskim December 6, 2018

        Thank you!

  • Emily R December 5, 2018

    So happy for you! You look SO much healthier/happier. Congrats for sticking with it for an entire year. You actually inspired me to join a gym and I’ve been consistently going every other day for the past month and a half – I hope to keep that up in 2019!

  • sharon December 5, 2018

    You go, girl! I also love weight training.

  • Patricia December 5, 2018

    I have just started working out 5 days a week. If you don’t mind sharing, is there a specific order that you work your muscle groups in?

    • Alison Gary December 5, 2018

      Usually Monday is leg day, then we switch it up one day back, one arm, one chest. Then Friday is a mixed bag; sometimes we do cardio, sometimes agility, sometimes we revisit a part of the body.

      • Patricia December 5, 2018

        Thank you! You are great!

  • Krista December 5, 2018

    Get it girl! You are another example of how being fit and healthy does not have to mean a size 2 with six pack abs. You look great. Not because you’ve lost some inches or toned up. You have a healthy glow about you that says “I’ll snap your skinny arm like a twig if you mess with me”. You are a strong, beautiful example for all of us!

  • Jayne December 5, 2018

    I don’t know why but I was wondering about your results with your work out. I am really excited to see the inches you have lost. I too am not athletic and gym is a dirty word. But gosh the results, tenacity determination you have displayed is so so encouraging. Thank you for continuing to post your after work out posts.

  • Sarah December 5, 2018

    In July I signed up for personal training sessions, because of your posts. I haven’t missed a session since. I could tell how good they made you feel. Like you, I don’t have illusions of being a swimsuit model at my age of 43. I just don’t care about that. But I adore my new firm muscles, even if they are hiding under my wobbly upper arm flesh. It’s just so satisfying and my trainer pushes me farther than I would have ever gone alone. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Tonya Parker December 5, 2018

    I love watching your strength training workout videos! And, I love that you continue to inspire on so many different levels! Here’s to a strong 2019!

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