Before and After: Six Months with Elite Technique

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A couple weeks ago, I shared my workout journey. At the beginning of December, I signed up with Elite Technique, a personal training gym in Beltsville, Maryland. I had come to love my body, all 200+ pounds on a 5’3” frame. Since having my daughter almost a decade ago, I had fluctuated with my weight but was usually around a 14/16. I learned to dress this body, to cherish it, and to feel and look fabulous. Going to a gym wasn’t about losing weight, it was about gaining life. At 43 years of age I was feeling old and achy. My father had a heart attack the summer before I went into 4th grade; my daughter is in 3rd grade. I had quit my job but I still felt exhausted and worn out. I thought a regular workout routine could help. I could never imagine the results after just six months with Elite Technique. Below are before and after photos – the first day I went to Elite Technique, and then just last week. I am wearing the same shirt in both photos; the original leggings I no longer own but am wearing another pair in the same size from the same brand.

Image is of two photos. On the left, Alison Gary in December wearing a turquoise shirt and black pants, turned to face the left. In both photos she is standing erect with her hands behind her back. On the left, the same but Alison in May. The side by side shows her body is slimmer, her stomach firmer.

Almost every weekday morning I meet with Khalil at Elite Technique for 30 minutes.  We start with the treadmill for ten minutes, then lift weights. Each day we focus on a different body part, and the exercises are always changing to keep me and my muscles challenged. There’s many mornings when my alarm goes off and I just want to text Khalil and say I can’t be there that day, but I go knowing it’s only 30 minutes. And I always feel so much better after a workout.

Image is of two photos. On the left, Alison Gary in December wearing a turquoise shirt and black pants, her arms flexing to show bicep muscles, her back turned to the camera. On the left, the same but Alison in May. The side by side shows her body is slimmer, her stomach firmer.

When people hear I’ve been working out regularly for six months they first question they ask is how much weight I lost. Weight was never a factor for me. In fact, as a full-time style blogger I make a good amount of my money from plus size fashion and many of you follow my blog because you can relate to my body shape and size. But money doesn’t buy happiness, and a successful blog doesn’t equate a long and healthy life. My goal was strength. I wanted to be able to keep up with my family. I wanted a body that could better fight illness and recover from injuries. I wanted sound sleep, an alert mind, and to not feel older than my years. And I think I am achieving that.

Image is of two photos. On the left, Alison Gary in December wearing a turquoise shirt and black pants, her arms raised straight out from her sides to show her shape and arm size. She is not facing the camera. On the left, the same but Alison in May. The side by side shows her body is slimmer, her stomach firmer.

I have only lost, at the time of writing this, less than 15 pounds. However, I’ve gone from a 34 or 16 jeans to a 32 or 12. My bra size went from a 38F to a 36DD. I went from wearing a 1X to a L. I can finally buckle ankle strap shoes around my leg, and went from WW sandals to just W and on occasion can fit standard sizes. The other day I tried on a brand I’ve worn for years. I own their pants in 16 and 14… and when I tried on their fall collection I fit best in a 10. I haven’t worn a 10 since right after college.

Image is of two photos. On the left, Alison Gary in December wearing a turquoise shirt and black pants, her arms flexing to show bicep muscles. On the left, the same but Alison in May. The side by side shows her body is slimmer, her stomach firmer.

My diet has changed, but the main reason is to maintain strength for my workouts. When I drink alcohol, when I eat pasta, a lot of cheese, or fried foods my energy is depleted. Now because I’ve gone six months without consuming such things on a regular basis, when I do eat them I feel bloated, my sleep is affected, I get headaches, and wake up feeling hungover. I mainly eat lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and the occasional whole grains.

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All my life I made excuses to not be athletic. My dad always said I should have been a lawyer because I could argue myself out of any situation. It was especially true with physical activity. I truly didn’t think I could accomplish all I have in the past six months. To be consistent with a workout, to lift as much as I do, to actually run (I’ve NEVER run). It’s pretty exhilarating and writing all of this down here is making me tear up. I’m proud of myself and proud of these before and after photos.

I keep using the phrase “new normal” on this blog. My life as a full-time blogger, working from home, changing my personal style, and well now working out is my new normal. When I miss a workout, I feel stiff and achy and a bit depressed. And I crave things like nachos and French fries and wine. But when I work out, I feel good. I’m on a bit of a high, and have a positive outlook for the rest of the day. I can better tackle stressful or terrible things, I’m nicer to my family, and I do weird things like walk past the refrigerator and open the tub of spinach and shove a handful into my mouth because it sounds tasty.

It’s not about a certain dress size or a number on the scale for me. It’s about quality of life. And I feel I have accomplished that in this sort time. Gosh, I can’t wait to see how things improve!


To learn more about Elite Technique visit their website or follow them on Instagram.  Elite Technique is located in Beltsville, Maryland but they also have a virtual training program.  This is NOT a sponsored post.  I wasn't paid to do this post. I am just doing it because I am so psyched about my experience and results I had to share it!

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  1. New reader here! Loving your blog and just wanted to say congrats on your heathy changes and that you look fabulous!!!

  2. Congratulations on your progress, Alison! It’s really impressive. I have also neglected myself over the years and I have noticed the the physical, emotional and cognitive consequences. I’m now taking measures to drastically improve my lifestyle, to undo the damage. Stories like yours keep me going!

  3. Congratulations on your progress made by consistent small steps of consistency both in the gym and in the kitchen. Your arms look great. I look forward to reading your next health update.

  4. Thank you so much for posting! I am so impressed and inspired by your hard work. I’m also amazed that you are getting these results in 30 minutes a day. It’s incredible the impact lifting can have on our bodies. I have been out of the weight area for too long after a shoulder injury – ironically my weight is the same or lower but my body is different and my clothes are tighter. Especially around the mid section which is likely exacerbated by being 50. I am so determined to get back into lifting after seeing your photos and that gorgeous smile on your face. I think the mental aspects are as important as the physical and that clearly shows with you. Congratulations and I hope you keep sharing your journey with us

  5. Allie, thanks for the inspiration. For me, this transcends the physical changes. It also speaks to not being afraid to make a change in any area of your life. The results can be transformative.

  6. It’s great to see the difference that fitness makes – and the boost of a trainer. It’s so easy to get burned out, and a trainer helps keep the workout mix creative. Thanks for the inspiration, it’s wonderful to see someone short, curvy, and fit!

  7. I’ve never commented before but I’m a regular reader for a long time. You look great (and you always have). I’m happy that you are feeling great too. Early mornings at the gym are nice ONCE YOU GET THERE.

    Also, so you know, I appreciate that your style sense transcends weight and body shape.

  8. Alison, so happy to hear you are feeling stronger and better! 🙂

    My question: how much does this program cost? It sounds like for you it has 100% been worth the cost, but is there a way that this worked with your finances, or tradeoffs you had to make?

    (I checked the earlier post and this one, so I’m sorry if I’ve missed it at some point)

    1. This specific program I am doing of 5 days/week is $400/month. The tradeoffs are hard to factor because this also happened when I quit my job so we did some major life changes. But these are the little things I changed that I think many can relate to- no more Monday night sushi takeout after E’s karate class. In fact hardly any take-out or delivery (maybe once every 3 months when it used to be 1-2x/week). Meal prepping helps with this – each Sunday Karl cooks up proteins, sweet potatoes, brow rice, etc. so we never get stuck last minute without a meal.

      No more Starbucks. I don’t step foot in a target or a bookstore unless I have a very specific need because I can easily spend a little here and there. I also unsubscribed from Hulu and Audible. Make a grocery list and stick to it – I can also go off budget easily there and spend an extra $25-$50. I’m using everything in the linen closet – all the hotel bottles of shampoo, the last of that shower gel, that lotion I never finished. Clean all that out before buying more. No On Demand movies, even on “date night.” And reduced clothing/home spending in general.

  9. You inspire me! I’ve been reading you blog for about two years, so I know it hasn’t been easy, but you are doing such an inspirational job.

  10. Ali,

    GOOD FOR YOU!!! You look great, and in my humble opinion, you’re doing this for all the right reasons. Being healthier and stronger! And what a great model for Emerson. I’ve been working out with a trainer for about 5 years now and when she canceled this morning I was actually bummed (not bummed enough to go workout anyway ☺️), but it becomes very much a habit. Nice job!

  11. WOW you look FANTASTIC ! I’m one of those who follow you because of similar shape and I’ve fallen so hard off the wagon and hate the way I look. You inspire me to kick my own butt into shape. I spent a year stressing about my husband who is recovering from cancer and ate my stress away. Now that he’s ok, I see how bad I have neglected myself. Bravo to you for the effort and determination. I know it is NOT easy. But once you see results and the fact that its to help you live a longer and healthier life, it becomes a little easier. Because of you I will try again ! You rock Allie!

  12. Hi, not to detract a thing from your achievement, you look gorgeous in both photos – you are the same pretty woman. The plus size community and self acceptance is helping ME to achieve small goals, whether to eat a salad daily, or take a two-mile walk before breakfast – it’s a start. Thanx for sharing your journey! It’s a logical outcome for self-acceptance. And don’t be hard on yourself if you plateau or gain temporarily. Stick to a routine you are able to keep! But breaking up working at home and sitting and being on the computer for a long time with a half hour workout sounds reasonable! Best wishes!

    1. I think the plus size community is one of the most accepting, supportive, and inspiring out there. I fully agree with you, they give the confidence to make change on your own terms, for your own individual reasons. Thank you so much Louise!

  13. Hi Alison,
    Have never commented before but wanted to let you know one of the biggest differences I see in your before and after photos is your smile in the after photos and general glow. Inspirational
    Becki, UK

  14. I’ve followed you for several years and not because you’re a plus size. I’m size 10 and right now I wish I could work out regularly. I’m in PT for a rather nasty Fx R shoulder and am taking baby steps back to a healthy body. Up until my fall, I worked out five days a week. Now I do modified yoga twice a week and walk as much as I can. I hope to return to my typical workout within a couple months.
    Go Allison! Eventually you won’t have to motivate yourself to go to the gym. Working out every day becomes who you are and what you do.

  15. Echoing others: Congrats on sticking with your routine and feeling better and healthier! I am *not* a gym girl, but I love hiking and swimming and biking, and it isn’t hard to stick to exercise when it feels like a reward in and of itself, instead of a “should do”.
    You look fantastic and like you feel fantastic, so kudos to you both personally and as an inspiration to us, your readers. Modeling healthy habits (and body positivity) is one of the best gifts we can give our children.

  16. Congratulations on your success! You’ve made lifestyle changes, which is the key. I always think people who want to know # of pounds lost just haven’t ever lost weight in a healthy way. Anyone can lose pounds by eating “diet” food and depriving themselves, but that type of weight loss will never be permanent. When you work out with weights, you gain muscle. Sometimes you may even GAIN weight, even though you lose inches. That’s OK! I love the feeling of being strong (I work out with kettlebells), and weight training is so good for women to maintain bone density. I can’t see your next update!

  17. So, true fact: your original post about this kicked my tush into actually signing up to the gym and GOING. I meet with a trainer once a month, but she gave me 2 different workout plans (one at home with elliptical and free weights, one at the gym with a broader range of gear).

    … I’m 4 weeks in. I have no idea if I lost weight (and I wouldn’t be able to tell you; I haven’t stepped on a scale in a year), but shirts that were tight last month fit well now, and I can do bicep curls using my 4-year-old as weights, which she thinks is HILARIOUS and which I never thought I could do. So thanks for encouraging physical strength and making me realize that weightlifting is actually fun.

  18. This is super inspiring —I am a similar height and weight to your starting weight, with only about a decade on you, ha. I’m curious, are you ever hungry? I find that any time I reduce carbs to one or so meals a day I am hungry (distractingly so) and have trouble sleeping. My other question echoes what someone else asked—are you practicing TM? I started about 2 years ago and I LOVE it!

    1. I eat every 2-3 hours. I have a meal replacement shake an hour before my workout, then a proper breakfast after the gym and taking my kid to school. Then lunch. I do a snack of a smoothie, some fruit, sometimes a salad, if I’m on the run a Quest bar. Dinner. If I’m up later, I’ll have another snack. Last night I got home at 10:30pm and while I should have gone right to bed I ate half a tub of raspberries and a bunch of raw spinach and a couple bites of a leftover steak. When I let myself go hungry I get cravings so I am constantly eating!

  19. <3
    Here's to taking charge of your health and measurable (and immeasurable) progress! Feeling better from the inside out, being your best self, and being a great example for your child.

    So happy for you that you found a way of working out that fits you and reinforces healthful eating, too.

    thank you for sharing your journey and inspiring so many!

  20. The benefits from your workout regimen are evident not just in your new body but in your achieving your goals of being healthier, stronger and happier. Those are so much more important than a specific size or weight (those are bonus benefits!). You also are being such a great role model for Emerson — she will develop your love of exercise, movement and fitness and not learn unhealthy habits that can weigh her down mentally and socially. I admire you for taking this journey. I did similar when I was 30 and it has paid off in many ways.

  21. Way to go!! You do look fabulous but I love hearing how you “feel.” Working out/being physically fit is hard for a lot of us (definitely me!), and it’s encouraging to see & hear about your progress. I struggle with this constantly but it’s encouraging to hear how you’re doing and what you’re doing.

  22. Congrats on the results and on being so disciplined !!
    I think its been a success due to your diligence and because you are doing it for the right reasons. Go Ally.

  23. You are truly an inspiration, Alison. I’ve always struggled with my weight and got to a “comfortable “ place but never where I wanted to be. Lately I’ve been thinking to push myself harder to get there. It’s not only about weight now, as you wrote. I’m turning 38 in a couple of months and I FEEL every bad decision I make when it comes to food and alcohol! I guess it’s time for me to buckle down and do it now. You look fantastic and you should be proud. Six months of making those changes takes a lot of dedication! Woo hoo!

    1. The older we get the more we feel those decisions. I can’t believe I used to eat a whole bag of tortilla chips with a whole jar of queso and down it with a Big Gulp and still have energy (and not be sick to my stomach or twice my size). Even getting less sleep than usual can affect my whole day. I’m all about baby steps, going to bed knowing I did at least one good thing for myself, even if it’s just drinking my RDA of water. Because even small steps get us to our destination!

  24. I’ve been a faithful reader since Emerson was a baby, through all your off-and-on attempts with Weight Watchers. Your present regimen looks ever so much better–as you say, it’s all about feeling and being healthy. The photos are so impressive! All body parts are improved but I particularly notice the streamlining of your upper arms.

    1. Right? The arms are such a big difference. And the legs, I just figured I had thick calves and ankles but now they’re smaller… smaller than they were even when I was a smaller weight and size!

    1. I am though not as often as I should. maybe 1-2 days a week I do it twice, and then maybe 3-4 times a week I do it at all. This week I’ve made a more concerted effort to get back on track.

  25. “In fact, as a full-time style blogger I make a good amount of my money from plus size fashion and many of you follow my blog because you can relate to my body shape and size. ”

    I have read your blog for the last decade not because you are “plus size” but because I love your taste. I am not overweight and have never been. I guess I was lucky to get diagnosed with chronic tendinitis in my twenties so I could find out two decades ago that I feel better, I am painless and happier when I work out.

    If you were to quit being plus size, in a healthy and sensible way I am sure that many of your audience would rejoice, not run away.

    1. I agree and I am not worried. I became a mom, I quit my job, my weight and my personal style has fluctuated. Change is a part of life and I hope I’ve built a community here that sees beyond just what I wear in my outfit posts and we can continue to inspire and engage one another as our lives grow and develop!

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