Amazing Fat Loss Transformation: Cardio Queen Sees Light of Day!

The story I am about to share with you is an all too common story. It is a client who came to me because she was frustrated that her body was holding on to so much fat, despite the fact that she was doing endless amounts of cardio and trying to eat healthy. After sitting down with her and analyzing her exercise and eating habits, it became clear that she was eating away her muscle with her endless cardio and very low calorie diets. My recommendations to her was to consume much more lean protein and stop all long distance cardio and instead weight train 3X per week for 45 minutes, do 20 minutes of high intensity cardio 2X per week, and eat more lean protein and supplement with protein drinks.

She took my advice and in the past year has completely transformed her body.  One of the things that set her apart, was her work ethic and intensity in the gym.  She wasn’t afraid to work hard, sweat, and even let out some soft grunts.  At one point she told me to make her puke, so I did… TWICE!  When she started to workout she wasn’t able to even do one pushup!  How things can change in only a year!

Here is her story in her own words!

Abby Before

Abby Before

“Everyone has heard of the “Freshman 15;” well, I apparently decided to take it a step further and experienced something closer to the “Freshmen 20!” But I didn’t stop there, over the next few years, I continued to gain more weight.  Even after college, the weight continued to pile on, reaching an all-time high for me of 149lbs. During this time, I was quite the “Cardio Queen.”  I would spend from 1.5 to 2 hours/day, 3-4 days/week doing any variety of cardio (treadmill, bike, elliptical, stair climber).  This wasn’t exactly high-intensity cardio, either (obviously, I would not be able to keep that up for 1.5-2 hours!).  Despite my numerous hours at the gym, engaged in my Cardio Queen activities, I couldn’t lose any weight…and more specifically, couldn’t lose any fat!

After years of frustration and low self-esteem, I signed up for Dustin’s Core Class.  I always thought I had a strong core, after all I could do countless crunches!  Boy, was I wrong!  Dustin’s class taught me how weak I really was…core and all.  After a month of Core Class, I noticed my body was getting stronger, but I wanted to kick it up a notch.  I signed up for small group personal training.  Before my first session with Dustin, he took my body fat, which surprised me at 25%.  I was shocked at how high it was, and I couldn’t help but wonder what it was before I started Core Class!  I was also embarrassed that I couldn’t even to 1 pushup!

During the months of small group training, my body was looking and feeling completely new and different.  I was slimming down and toning up.  I had never had muscle before!  And more importantly, I was feeling better about myself.

Abby After

Abby After

In the spring, Dustin started Fit Fun Bootcamps.  I wanted to switch up my workout routine again and try a new challenge, so I signed up for the first session.  I enjoyed it so much and saw such great results, that I’ve been going ever since!

Bootcamp is great because every day is different.  I never get tired of it because each workout is unique and continues to challenge my body.  Dustin pushes me in a way that I would never push myself (but it’s always in a positive manner…none of that yelling that you might think of when you hear about “bootcamps”).  Because of the continual challenge, I am down to 127lbs and 13.5% body fat!  Not only that, but I can now do over 60 toe pushups, 6 pullups, deadlift 185 lbs, bench press 105 lbs, and squat 185 lbs. More importantly, my self-esteem has risen and I feel better than ever!

I love going to Fit Fun Bootcamps. Not only has it helped me lose weight and tone up, but also the friendships I have gained are the best.  It’s very motivating when you have a great group of people to workout with; the positive energy keeps me working hard and the accountability keeps me coming back!”


  1. WOW…. I was a partner with Abby today in Fun Fit Bootcamp. My goal was to just keep up with the “BOOTCAMP QUEEN” (even though I did run with the heavier weights) 🙂
    I met Abby 5 weeks ago and would have NEVER thought this story would be about her. She is a GREAT inspiration in bootcamp and a real life example of what we ALL can do with own body.
    Thank you for sharing your story Abby, It motivates me even more than ever!

  2. I love your dress! 🙂 You look amazing Abby! I think it’s really encouraging to see Dustin not only working with moms (like me) but women in all walks of life. It just goes to show what a little hard work and determination can do! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Wow, Abby–those before and after pics tell the story, like nothing else!! And for sure the point about cardio vs. wt. resistance training is illustrated like nothing else in your story! Very inspiring, to say the least!

    Dustin, maybe you could address the maintainance program for someone like Abby…just saw on the news where a “Greatest Loser” winner gained back 122 lbs.-yikes! Can she kick back a bit, or is it high intensity the rest of her life, at the gym??

    Also, Abby, maybe you could share with all of us a typical day’s eating plan for you (well, okay, one that you would do on a good day :)….:)…..’cause obviously you are working on that end too.

  4. Tera Boak says:

    Abby you look absolutely fabulous (but you looked beautiful at 149 lbs, too)! I understand the cardio thing; I’m addicted to Spin. It DOES make me feel like a million bucks after wards, but truthfully, I’m not noticing any major results. ;-[ Time for me to make changes…again. Thanks to you and Dustin for your story!


  5. Hey Abby – you are awesome! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story with us. Can I ask … what do you do for cardio (stepper, treadmill, other), for how long and how many times a week? Thanks again for sharing and see you Wednesday at Bootcamp!

  6. Thank you all so much for your kind words!

    Todd~ you were a great workout partner today. And yes, you definitely were running with the heavier balls, but that’s because you are a Bootcamp All-Star!

    Jody~ I wish I could take credit for the dress, but it was borrowed from a friend…but I agree, it was great! I definitely hope my story shows all women that they can do it! As Dustin told me last week, I started as one of the weakest people he’s ever seen! If that doesn’t show women everywhere that they can completely change their bodies, I don’t know what will!!!!

    Tera~ I enjoy doing spin, too. I think it’s a great cardio workout and I definitely feel the burn in my legs! I think you should stick with spin (especially if you realy enjoy it), but it’s important to do strength training on other days. Variety is the best way to keep your body challenged and to keep seeing results!

    Joy~ In answer to your question about my diet, I’ll tell you what I should be eating every day…and try to stick to most days (let’s be honest, we all have days where we need to cheat a bit…I’m a chocoholic after all!):
    * I’m on a plan now to eat 6 small meals a day. To be completely honest, I’ve found eating that many times difficult some days, but if I really plan each meal out and know exactly what time I’m suppose to eat, I can make it work. (This is definitely key…planning each meals and their times.)
    * Each meal needs lean protein and a fruit or veggie.
    * 4 of the meals should also include a starch. Make sure the meal you eat right after your workout is one that includes a starch. And try not to have the last meal of the day include a starch.
    * I’m all about the frozen veggies…they are easy to throw a serving in a plastic container to take to work.

    * Some of the “meals” I eat:
    -Protein shake w/ water, protein powder, banana, frozen berries, flaxseed and sometimes plain, non-fat yogurt
    -Oatmeal & protein powder w/ apples & cinnamon, or w/froze berries
    -Peanut butter sandwhich (natural PB & 100% whole wheat bread) and some sort of vegetable or fruit
    -Mixed greens and can of tuna
    -Chicken and sweet potato
    -String cheese and an apple
    -Fish and a veggie or fruit
    -Cottage cheese and applesauce (no-sugar added)
    -Steak and a veggie or fruit
    -Turkey sandwhich w/mustard, turkey, lettuce, tomato, cucumber (the more veggies, the better!)
    All of these things are approved/promoted by Dustin. I like to make my meal choices easy and quick, especially during the work days.
    Hope that helps!

  7. Eileen~ I have to admit, I get bored easily, so I have a hard time doing cardio in long intervals now.
    I do like to jump on the treadmill and run every now and then. I’ll maybe do that once or twice a week. I also take spinning classes occasionally. For the most part, I stick to burst intervals on the treadmill or stairclimber. I do bursts of 30 sec to 1 min. at a high speed (and high incline if on the treadmill), resting for 30 seconds to 1 min & 30 seconds depending on the burst length. I only need to do this for about 10 minutes (or less) and then I’m completely drained!
    Hope that helps, too!
    (Sorry for taking up so much space, Dustin!)

  8. Abby – GREAT story!! After seeing your picture, I realize that I see you at the gym quite a bit! 🙂 I’m very motivated by your story – thank you for sharing it and for sharing your tips!! I always thought cardio was the way to lose fat too….I also need to look into Dustin’s core classes…they seem great! It’s always scary starting something new, but after seeing your results, I am really inspired! Again thank you for sharing!!

  9. Abby – you look great. Dustin (or Abby) I have a question for you? Say that you are training for a 5K or a sprint triathlon or some event that requires to build more endurance than short bursts of interval training does. How do you work that into your weekly workouts?

  10. Jennie Zuk says:

    Wow, Abby! What an inspiring story! After having two kids, my metabolism and overall body shape just aren’t what they used to be. I never really looked THAT great, but still! 🙂 I see you at Bootcamp every week, and you always make working out seem so effortless. I always thought you were just born with a great-looking, healthy body. It’s inspiring to know that hard work, some behavioral changes, and a bit of time can lead to big pay-offs. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Thanks for sharing your story. It is easy to hide in “no man’s land” whether it is cardio or something else. I’m very impressed 60 toe-pushups and 6 pull-ups!!! Wow!

  12. Amy,

    I would follow a specific program that is set out for your tri or race… I don’t specialize in that type of training program. I would try to incorporate 2 days a week of 30 minutes of circuit weight training and two days of 20 minutes of interval/burst training… Fit the rest of the specific program into that.

  13. Hey Dustin!

    I just wanted to encourage you by saying that I REALLY love reading your blog and checking out your websites! They are so inspirational and motivating! You are making such a wonderful impact in the lives of people.

    I can relate to Abbys story you recently posted. All through college, and pretty much up until a few months ago I was a slave to the cardio equipment and was never satisfied with the results. I’ve heard that its better to “lift heavy,” which I didn’t really know what that meant, and I guess I’m still trying to figure it out. But once I started trying to really exhaust my muscles at the gym I could tell the difference in the way my clothes felt. I’m excited to continue. In fact, my boyfriend recently started getting into exercise and nutrition too, so I’m excited to have a “buddy” to go down the journey with.

    I was wondering if you had an advice on a good protein supplement, and when and how to use them….I don’t really know and I’ve read mixed things.

    Thanks so much for all you are doing Dustin! I’m excited and proud of you! Keep on doing what you’re doing, great things are in store for you

  14. What an awesome story, Abby and Dustin! Thanks for sharing that with us. Abby you look great and I am amazed at your achievements! You are a good example of a woman who is slender, but has lots of muscle. I know Dustin often tells us that women don’t need to be afraid of weight training because it won’t make us bulky. You have truly proved that for us. 🙂

  15. Abby, you look great, congrats! I love the success stories and especially, seeing picture, hearing your story in your own words (diet & exercise)…. Dustin, do you have any success stories of women in their 40’s? ok, late 40s? Jodi

  16. I could not believe that was Abby’s story! It really gave me more motivation to become healthy and reading and seeing Abby in class made me realize that it will be a hard road ahead, but well worth it! Abby, I think I took over your position as the weakest person Dustin has begun training! Thank you Dustin and Abby!!!

  17. WOW ABBY! I had no idea! What a year for you! Way to go girl! Thanks for the meal tips and inspiration. BTW, carson wants to you babysit again, I’ll come up with a date and email you. Great job Abby!

  18. Way to go Abby! You are a true inspiration! I just have a quick question – is it best to do cardio before or after strength training? Or do you do them on opposite days of the week? For someone looking to lose 50 pounds, what is the best way to go about it for cardo and strength?

  19. Abby,
    That is such a fantastic success story! Congratulations and thanks for the meal ideas! How do you spread out your 6 meals?
    Great job woking yourself into such phenomenal shape!

  20. Abby, you look great! I never would have guessed that was you in your before picture. I also could not do one toe push up before starting Dustin’s funfit bootcamp last summer. Now I can maybe do 20 if I really push myself. They are still very hard for me even though I am definitley stronger now. Maybe they would get a little easier if I weighed less? I am 5’7″ too and was wondering if pushups are more difficult the taller the person? (not looking for excuses, just curious :)) What kind of protein powder do you use and where do you buy it? Thanks for sharing your story!

  21. Chrissy, I’m not Dustin, but I see he hasn’t gotten back to you yet about the protein pwd. so I am going to quick slip in here and give you my two bits on the subject before he can :)….we have this thing going about protein pwd. that has the fake sugars in them-I think it is an oxymoron-healthy prot. pwd. with fake sugar-!! I will leave it at that(maybe!), but I have found an unflavored prot. pwd. at GNC that has no sugars added, and simply add a pkg. of stevia to my protein drink, along with my frozen berries, some ground flaxseed, maybe some nonfat, plain yogurt, or milk or soymilk, maybe half a banana if I want it sweeter. If you don’t like Stevia, a little organic (makes you at least feel like it is better for you than the nonorganic!) sugar or honey is better than the fake sugars….but usually a banana should sweeten things up pretty good. I like to grab a prot. drink on my way to the gym and drink some on the way and save most for after my workout–Dustin’s cool with that.

    And Tami, another thing that Dustin is cool with is that you should do your cardio after the strength training-his reasoning is that you are fresher for the st. training and that is the more important of the two…I know this for a fact, ’cause when he was at the Y with me over T’giving, I was doing it the opposite and he got me to change it up; I am now trying to do the wt. stuff for the first 45 min. and then about 20 min. of interval stuff on the treadmill or bike, 3 times a wk.

    Okay Dustin, now you can come and clean up my act-haha!

    Hey Hana, way cool hearing from Dustin’s “big sis” way up in Vancouver, B.C.!! I think it would be neat if you bloggers could tell where you are from, esp. when not from the Madison area! You folks should see how great Hana was looking mere months after the birth of her sweet baby boy! It probably helps that her hubby, Ryan, has a well equipped gym in their home! Ry, by the way, was a big influence on Dustin in the whole wt. lifting world and looking ripped, making him prot. drinks after he had taken him to the gym for a good workout……. back when Dustin was a very slim looking 11 yr. old and we started spending many summer weeks up there with them! Okay, maybe that’s more “Dustin trivia” than you wanted to know…but I think it would be neat for you guys to see a picture of him back then with “big brother Ry”, his hero and mentor! I think it would be a good example to you moms, for one, how important it is to give your kids good role models when they are young and impressionable and open to good heroes….Hana and Ryan have been this to our 4 kids for almost 15 yrs., in every which way, and especially in life values and morals. What Dustin said today about the big picture is sooo very true, being thankful for all that we have, in the midst of getting better…, keep your precious kids surrounded with role models that you feel will inspire them to live well, in every which way!

    Well, let’s see if Dustin lets Ma get away with this wordy blog!! 🙂

  22. Mom thanks for the post! You are right on about the cardio after the workout!

    Chrissy, my mom gave you great advice about the powder… I do use a powder that uses sucralose… it is the only thing that I take that has fake sugar in it. You can find it on the website under supplements. Take a shake at least after a workout and you can take one before as well.

    Lynn, pushups will be a little more difficult for taller people, assuming their arms are longer, since they have to travel a greater distance to complete each rep!

  23. WOW! Gorgeous Abby, thanks so much for sharing your story. It’s very inspiring. I couldn’t have guessed that you ever were 149lbs. Kudos for your hard work and discipline. I’ll try to follow your example. Knowing your story and seeing you in my Bootcamp class will help me push myself a little more. It’s not easy to shed the fat and weight (40 lbs) gained after 3 babies (isn’t it a good excuse?), the youngest of whom is 13. Dustin’s training and examples like yours help me keep up with the work I need to do to lose the extra weight and fat. I too did a lot of cardio for years, but saw no weight loss. Since I joined Bootcamp, I began feeling stronger and losing inches in some of my problem areas. I probably need to work out more than 3X/week and use some of your meal ideas. Thanks again Beautiful.

  24. Devon Knudson says:

    Congrats Abby! That is such an inspirational story too! I say that a lot on this blog, but I always mean it! Stories like yours totally keep me going! Thanks! You look fantastic by the way!

  25. Joanne Woellner says:

    Thanks for sharing your amazing story, Abby. We’ve been sweating, grunting and smiling through the same Bootcamps since Dustin started last May and I never would have guessed that that girl in the 1st picture is where you were when you started your journey to better health. Besides being an awesome example of the huge benefits of commitment & hard work, (you look amazing,) you are beautiful person both inside & out! I have made some gains that I’m pretty excited about as well and I have to thank you and of course, our #1 Trainer/Cheerleader, Dustin, for his wealth of knowledge, and his continued inspiration & support.

  26. Abby-

    Thinking of you this week, as you head into the last days before Chicago. I am very excited for you, and can only imagine what mixed emotions you must be feeling. This is your time, have fun with it! You are a great inspiration-your hard work and that powerful Abby smile already make you a winner.



  1. […] named Abby.  Her story resignated with many of you and is this most visited post to date.  Check out Abby’s weight loss story.  In short, she had been spending up to 8 hours a week running, and only got more overweight.  It […]

  2. […] I took my girlfriend, Abby, swimming with the dolphins in Cozumel.  This is something she has wanted to do her whole life, […]

  3. […] out this video that I did yesterday on NBC talking about some great core exercises.  I had Abby be my assistant.  Abby has completely transformed her body through Fit Fun Bootcamps and has […]

  4. […] named Abby. Her story resignated with many of you and is this most visited post to date. Check out Abby’s weight loss story. In short, she had been spending up to 8 hours a week running, and only got more overweight. It […]

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