Check out our very own Kelly Mreen’s story that was featured in Women’s Health!

Successful weight loss typically starts with a personal revelation, followed by a commitment to exercising and eating right. For some, motivation is sparked by a doctor or family member advising them toward healthier habits. For me, all it took were a few unflattering pictures.

I hit a breaking point when I saw photos of myself and didn’t like what was staring back at me. In fact, I didn’t even like being in pictures. I was so self-conscious that I noticed myself hiding behind other people to mask my body in photos. I felt my confidence, happiness, and well-being quickly slipping away so I decided to make a change – for both my physical and mental health.

Growing up, I was always busy and actively involved in sports. I danced, swam, and played competitive tennis through high school and college. After college, I continued to stay active and run daily – I even added a marathon and a few mini-triathlons under my belt.

Going into my 30s I lost my love for it all. Limited by hip injuries and joint pain, I took some time off to recuperate and eventually fell into a pattern of inactivity. I became so enveloped in being a mom and raising kids that I stopped taking care of myself and consequently gained 35 pounds. A few eye-opening photos later, I was determined and motivated to reignite my passion for fitness, so I signed up for my first indoor cycling class at StarCycle.

I still remember my first heart-pounding StarCycle class, because I hid myself in the last row and could barely finish. However, instead of feeling defeated, it awoke something deeper in my heart and mind, and I couldn’t wait to come back for my next class. The music pumping, the energetic instructors, the friendly riders cheering beside me and bopping in unison to latest beats; it’s an environment that evokes grit and leaves you feeling sweaty, exhausted and accomplished—and I was hungry for more.

Since that first class I’ve lost 40 pounds and have gone from the nervous rider in the backrow to being a full-time instructor leading the charge for others. I even became a co-owner of a StarCycle franchise studio because I’m a firm believer in the StarCycle community and want others to have the same life-changing experience I did.

If you’re trying to jumpstart your fitness routine and become the best version of yourself, below are a few additional tips that helped me along the way:

Find a workout that’s your jam!

One of my biggest pieces of advice to women is to find a workout that speaks to you. If it doesn’t excite you and keep you coming back for more, move on and try something new. A workout shouldn’t be torture, it should be sustainable and effective – and fun!

Give yourself a break.

A huge key to my success was learning to give myself a break. Because I was so active before, it was frustrating trying to start over without hitting the same level of intensity I had before. I started being really hard on myself and would feel like a failure all over again. If you give yourself a break and be kind to yourself, you will be empowered to follow through on your goals.

Set small, attainable goals.

Start out by setting realistic and specific goals. For example, make a commitment to exercise two times a week and increase from there. Big commitments tend to be overwhelming and unsustainable, so be patient and celebrate the small milestones that lead to the bigger picture.

And of course, if you’re seeking a healthy outlet for self-love and inner strength, come ride with me at our StarCycle studio in Happy Valley! As a franchise owner and instructor I love being on the other side of the operation, helping others clip in, check out, and rock their ride the same way my StarFam did for me.