PHOTO: @BOOMFAMF INSTAGRAM
In two years, Stacey went from CrossFit obsessed (left) to entering into the world of powerlifting and counting macros (right). She lost 15 pounds and about 5 percent body fat, but not overnight. "Understanding that this whole fitness thing is a lifelong journey really helps me understand that there's ups, downs, weekends of eating it all, weeks of consistency, fat days, 'damn who dat' when you look in the mirror days, and overall a lot of learning and self-encouragement, forgiveness and love," she wrote.
PHOTO: @KATIECREWE INSTAGRAM
The now-trainer and Insta star used to find weights intimidating so she stuck to cardio classes. But once she picked up a dumbbell, she realized the body she wanted couldn't be achieved with light lifting. "My 'gains' came very slowly, compared to many. It took me a really long time to start doing full push-ups (especially darn triceps ones)," she writes. This photo—and Katie's story—are proof that if you can get past intimidation and frustrations, hard work will pay off eventually.
PHOTO: @MINIBUTMIGHTY_ INSTAGRAM
Kathryn Nash started reaching for dumbbells as finishers for her BBG workouts, but pretty soon, the weights became her favorite part of the workout. After ditching HIIT to go all in with lifting, it took almost a year for Kathryn to build up her backside. "This took me a solid year of bulking to build the muscle I currently have. Don't be afraid to lift heavy and EAT, ladies!!! You can't grow if you neglect either of them. Muscle growth takes time and a whole lot of patience, but it is so worth it. Gainz are nice and all, but nothing beats the adrenaline rush you get from lifting heavy a$$ iron," she says.
PHOTO: @AMPOLLO INSTAGRAM
Over the past four years, the Canadian fitfluencer has built her booty with a mix of heavy lifting four times a week and strategic cardio. "A structured weightlifting routine that has you progressively doing 'more' over time will deliver the best and most predictable results," she writes.
PHOTO: @DIARYOFAFITMOMMYOFFICIAL INSTAGRAM
Sia switched up her workouts after the birth of her first baby. "My tummy was soft, my thighs were blown, and I just simply didn't feel like ME anymore. Most of all, I didn't think I could ever get my 'body back,'" she writes. So instead, she decided to build a new one. "I began doing something that I had never done before: lift weights!" she adds. The results? Well, that second photo after baby number two speaks for itself.
PHOTO: @MIKAELAFAE INSTAGRAM
For Mikaela, the benefits of weightlifting are more than just physical. "It's one thing to have muscle definition and look fit and lean, but it's another to feel the overall physical, mental, and emotional health benefits you reap from taking care of your body," she writes.
PHOTO: @SQUAT.FOR.PEANUTBUTTER INSTAGRAM
2017 was the year of the booty for Melanie, as she says on IG. These gains came over seven months of skipping the cardio and sticking to lifting.
PHOTO: @ERINBETHFIT INSTAGRAM
Four years ago, Erin Beth was undereating, hovering at 95 pounds, and wanting nothing more than a thigh gap and skinny arms. Now, the 22-year-old has gained nearly 30 pounds and a whole lot of self-confidence. "I've embraced my natural curves instead of trying to starve them away because a flat stomach and a thigh gap were in vogue, and curves made me uncomfortable. Now I love my thick legs and I've stopped trying to do hours of cardio to fix something I view as being 'wrong' with me," she writes.
PHOTO: @JENNYYFROMTHEBOX INSTAGRAM
In 2015, Jennifer decided to join CrossFit. Three years later, she's PRing jerk thrusters at 170 pounds and has totally transformed her body (and confidence!) by learning to lift. The difference between these two photos is just four pounds, max, she wrote. She's clearly proof that body recomposition is the new weight loss.
PHOTO: @FITNESSWITHALY INSTAGRAM
The scale reads the same, but Alysha's fat-to-muscle ratio is totally different. After a year of training heavy five to six days a week and eating super clean, Alysha’s whole mindset changed (thanks in large part to overcoming a PCOS diagnosis). In the caption of this transformation, she writes, "Not just physical gains—but mental gains too. I used to obsess over what the scale said and when I used to see that the scale was not changing for me even after a year of lifting and better eating I had realized that my body has come a long way and that the scale does not matter!!"
PHOTO: @XXSHAUNNAMARIE INSTAGRAM
When Shaunna decided to start doing bikini competitions four years ago, she dialed in her training and nutrition to get seriously cut. This then-and-now shot is proof long-term commitment pays off.
PHOTO: @KIMFRENCH87 INSTAGRAM
After having two kids, Kim tried to get back in shape by eating 1,200 calories a day and upping her cardio, but she didn't have a lot of muscle. Now, she lifts four times a week and fuels with at least 2,100 calories—and says she feels better than she did pre-kids.
PHOTO: @TIAEVANSFIT INSTAGRAM
Total body overhauls take time, but this photo is proof small goals pay off if you're willing to work. There's just four months (and a whole lotta squats and hip thrusts) between these two photos!
PHOTO: @JUSTANOTHERFITNESSBLOGGER INSTAGRAM
She may go by the handle of JustAnotherFitnessBlogger, but those results are anything but! Phoebe Hagan used to focus only on cardio and bodyweight training. "I always used to have an issue of thinking that muscle = manly which isn't feminine," she wrote. Five years later, she competes in bikini competitions with these gorgeous guns (pretty damn feminine, if you ask us). She adds, "Results won't happen overnight, it takes time and a lot of consistency. So give yourself time to grow, don't rush anything, be patient and the results will slowly start to follow."
Ca'Shawn "Cookie" Sims
PHOTO: @COOKIEEEDOUGH INSTAGRAM
Ca'Shawn, better known to her followers as "Cookie," went into the weight room with her natural 30-inch hips and, after a whole lotta booty and leg work, added on 8 inches. "I was told that your 'hips' are your bone structure and cannot be changed—which is true buttttt you can grow out your hip flexor muscles to give that illusion of bigger hips which I was told was impossible—yet here we are!" she wrote.
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This article originally appeared on Shape.com