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Workouts energize Gardin

FIT Challenger is down 8 pounds
Brandi Barhite
Mar 8, 2014
FIT Challenger Jen Gardin  is exactly where her trainer  wants her to be, she said.
Since starting the FIT  Challenge six weeks ago, Gardin  has lost 8 pounds and is working  on her endurance and strength  training.
She goes to NOMS after work  or dinner. It is difficult when she  eats and then goes to work out,  though. She feels sick.
She can’t change the dinner  schedule because her husband,  a Sandusky police officer, works  6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and she likes  everyone to eat dinner together.
“We do family time at the table, no TV, and we talk about  the day,” she said. “We all eat the  same thing or it is PB&J.”
In the next month, she would like to lose another 10 pounds.
“I am down at least a pant size  and a half in my work clothes I wear every day,” she said. “I  constantly get told at work that  people can see it in my cheeks.  They aren’t as puffy as normal.  They can definitely tell my energy is up.”
Gardin suffers from lupus,  an autoimmune disease. Her  symptoms include low energy,  brittle hair and nails, as well as  a rash that only gets better with  lots of water and lotion.
“If you would have interviewed  me a year ago, I couldn’t stay  awake; I didn’t want to do  anything,” she said. “My mom  thought I was depressed because  I just didn’t want to go anywhere, I didn’t want to visit anyone. I  just didn’t want to do anything. I  just didn’t have any energy.”
She found out her vitamin D  levels were too low. Medicine  and regular exercise has helped  tremendously.
Normally, she doesn’t like to  work out in front of people, but  being in the FIT Challenge has  started to change that.
“The more people I am seeing  at the gym, the more people who  know I am in the FIT Challenge.”
Recently, Gardin visited her  rheumatologist, who was so impressed with her progress in  the FIT Challenge, she said, “I  was going to see you in three to six months, but I don’t need to see you until Christmas.”
Gardin is also getting  support from her children’s  former teachers, as well as  friends, co-workers and former colleagues. 
“I have actually converted  people from other gyms; they quit the YMCA to come work out  with me,” she said.
One of her favorite exercises  is the TRX bands, something  that caused some trepidation  when her trainer Shawn Zahel introduced them to her.
“You have to trust yourself to  hang on or you are going to fall.  My coordination is not that good.  Sometimes I am a klutz,” she said, laughing