Athlete of the Month

Published March 16, 2018

­­­Tina Portanova

 Athlete of the Month

1. What was life like before you became a member?   

I am a wife and a mom.  I made my husband and my children the top priority and not myself.  I thought that’s what I was supposed to do.  I would make excuses for the fact that I was over-weight because I didn’t have the time with all the running around I had to do. 


2. At the time you enrolled, were you already exercising? What was your previous background in fitness?

I had a membership at the Greater Scranton YMCA, however, I was paying the monthly membership fees and not utilizing the gym at all.  Before I had children, I was a certified aerobics instructor at the YMCA.  I taught spinning, kickboxing, and step aerobics.  I even ran the Steamtown Maraton the year before my son was born.  After I had children, my main priority became my children.  It was the last few years that I got back into working out, but without success. 


 3. What originally prompted you to seek us out? 

My husband signed up for the World’s Best Boot Camp and I received a text message from him asking if I was interested in doing it with him.  Little did I know at the time, that the message was written by Allison using my husband’s phone!    


4. What was your goal when you originally signed up? 

My initial goal was to lose weight.  I was so frustrated with the person that I had become.  I was squeezing myself into clothes that no longer fit, because I was ashamed of the size that I would have to buy.  I avoided the scale because I didn’t want to know the truth.  I also avoided anyone taking pictures of me because I hated the way I looked.  On my first day of boot camp, I realized it was more than losing weight.  I was so out of shape!  I struggled to do things that used to come quite easy for me.  How did I let myself go like this?  I swore to myself that that was the last day I would struggle with my fitness. 


5. Why was this important?   

Ultimately it comes down to being healthy!  I was making unhealthy choices regarding my nutrition and exercise plan.  I want to be able to have an active life and not sit on the sidelines. 


6. How long had you had this goal? 

I would say I have done the typical yo-yo up and down in my weight since I had my son 15 years ago.  Initially, all I had to do was exercise and the weight would come off.  As the years went on, it became more of a challenge and my weight climbed up as high as when I gave birth to both of my children.




7. What were the top 1-2 things that held you back from achieving your goal?

The main reason was that I had no idea what I was doing.  Exercise didn’t work and neither did the fad diet plans that I tried.  I would get so frustrated that nothing was working that I stopped trying.  I would think what was the point?  Why waste my time, if the end result was going to be the same.     

I also struggled when I would have a cheat meal.  I would get so upset that the one meal would totally derailed my progress.  That one cheat meal would then turn into each meal being a cheat meal.  I would eventually give up on the process. 


8. What had you tried to get to your goal before?  

When I was in my 20’s, I just worked out and I was able to stay in shape.  When I started my most recent health/fitness journey 2 years ago, I thought I could just start working out again.  That didn’t help at all.  The scale didn’t move and I just became more frustrated.  I then tried a couple different protein bar/meal replacement diet plans, which worked temporarily, but once I started eating normal foods again, I ended up putting the weight back on and then some.


9. Were you more driven to solve a problem or achieve a goal?  Initially, I have to say my drive was similar to the other attempts that I have made over the past few years.  It was the way I felt leaving Enlistment Day that made me want to completely change things around.  I couldn’t believe how much of a challenge it was to do a 10 minute workout!  It was then that I realized that it was more that just losing the weight! 


10. How did you originally hear about us? 

My husband


11. How were you feeling about your goal at that time you enrolled? 

My goal was to lose weight.  I remember filling the paperwork out on Enlistment Day with a goal to lose 15 pounds by the end of boot camp.  I recall shaking my head and thinking I haven’t been able to lose 15 pounds over the past two years, how was I expecting to lose that much in 6 weeks!  I wrote it down anyway thinking it would never happen. 


12. What have you liked best about working with us? 

Honestly, this was the first thing that has worked for me!  I also enjoyed the workouts and I have able to see great progress with the exercises.  When I started the WBBC, I started seeing results in 2 weeks, I was amazed!  This is the first membership that I seriously miss not being able to do a WOD!  The coaches are always there when you need them.  It is the coaching, the WOD’s, the nutrition, and the family that I have made there that completely separates you from anything else that I have been involved with fitness wise.   I have participated in the WBBC, Keystone CrossFit, and the Lean Machine Program and each of those programs has helped me achieve my goals, and then some!  They have allowed me to become a better version of myself!  It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you are given the right information and some amazing coaching/support. I also love the importance on building the community and getting to know everyone at the box.  It has truly made a difference for me.    


13. What challenges have you overcome and struggled with that kept you from progressing faster with your goals? 

I focused heavily on the numbers on the scale.  My success/failure completely depended upon the fact of the number lowering when I would step on the scale.  In the past, I would allow that to be the excuse for going back to the way I was eating or even stop working out. 


14. How did you overcome them? 

It was with the great coaching that I received during WBBC, CrossFit, and the Lean Machine Program that the focus should not be on the scale.  The most impactful was during boot camp because it was during the most crucial time in my journey.  The coaching was focusing on non-scale victories and it struck a nerve.  There was a good reason why I stepped out of my comfort zone at the beginning and I had my before pictures taken and my measurements done.  The focus was getting into my motivational piece of clothing. 


15. What are you most proud of achieving since you started? 

The amazing thing about being part of Keystone CrossFit is that I am proud of my accomplishments everyday.  There is nothing better than walking in to the box and seeing the WOD on the white board and being scared to death.  And then walking out after you are finished with a huge sense of accomplishment.  If I had to pinpoint my most proud moment of my journey so far, it would have to be Graduation Day for the WBBC.  I was able to achieve a 20 pound weight loss and I also lost 12 inches.  But it was when I completed my baseline workout again, I felt so different than the way I felt on Enlistment Day.  I couldn’t believe the difference in how I felt in just 6 weeks.  I felt amazing!  If I could see that much difference in 6 weeks, what could I accomplish in 6 more weeks or 6 months.  The feeling at that moment is what fueled me to continue on in my journey. 


16. Now that you achieved your goal, has your view of yourself changed? 

My view of myself has completely changed, for the better.  I am planning things in the upcoming year, that I would never have considered doing a year ago.  I recently competed in my first CrossFit competition, where I came in 2nd Place.  I also registered to compete in my first CrossFit Open, as well as, I plan on doing a partner competition in June.  I am also planning on doing the Spartan Race in June, something that I thought I would never be able to accomplish. 

I will always have a goal in mind when it comes to my health and fitness.  I believe it is what keeps me motivated every day.  It’s not just about competitions and races, but the individual exercises I can work on and improve upon each day I hit the box.  My current goals are to achieve 50 consecutive double-unders, toes to bar, handstand in the middle of the floor, and improving on my push-ups (which I can finally do a strict push up for the first time in my life).


17. How do you feel about your future? 

At the rate I was going before I started my journey, I was headed towards some serious health conditions.  This journey has become more about improving my health and fitness, so I can lead a healthy and active life.  One year ago, I was watching my life around me.  I am now actively participating in it!  I look forward to each and every day.


18. What else is different about your life since beginning your program? 

There are two phrases that really resonated with me from boot camp.  The first was that I need to make myself the priority so I can be there for my family.  This was a challenge for me, but from the moment I first heard it, I made a commitment to myself to start making time for me, so I can be a better spouse and mother.  The second phrase was great things happen when you step out of your comfort zone.  This has not only helped me at the box, but also personally and professionally.  Goals that I had set at work, that were previously unattainable, were now coming together because of this mindset. 


19.Where would you be if you hadn’t started your program here? 

I would most likely weigh more that my baseline weight and still trying to fit in the same clothes.  My energy level would be rock bottom.  I would basically be missing out on my life! 


20. What would you say to anyone else who might be dealing with any similar struggles you did?  

You can do it!  Find a nutrition and exercise program that you can sustain for a long period of time.  Don’t think of it as a diet, but rather a lifestyle.  Once you figure out what you are going to do, start doing it.  No more excuses!  No more I will start on Monday!  Focus less on the scale and set some non-scale goals that will keep you motivated.  I think the big key to success if having your spouse incorporate the same plan into their life.  It makes meal prepping so much easier, as well as, having the accountability when you sometimes don’t want to work out.  If it’s not your spouse, find a partner that is willing to go through it with you.  Allow yourself to make mistakes!  If you miss a workout or have a cheat meal, get right back on the program.  Don’t let it snowball into something bigger!

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