SUCCESS TRANSFORMATION STORY – JAMES HANTON’S GOT EM FIT PROGRAM
CONGRATULATIONS BELINDA FROETSCHNER
3rd Grade Teacher
I was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas to two parents who battle type 1 diabetes. I am the oldest of three. I graduated from J.C. Harmon High School and then went on to Kansas State University where I received my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. Following that, I received my ELL Endorsement from Emporia State University and my Master’s in School Leadership from Baker University. I currently teach 3rd grade at Sunflower Elementary in Lenexa, KS and live in Olathe, KS with my husband of 16 years Chris and our two children Braxton & Finnley.
My story is hard to tell and relive but I want to tell it because I want others out there to know that no one can take everything from them unless they let them. I want those with childhood trauma or any trauma to take those horrible experiences and come out stronger. I am a childhood survivor of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. I never got help for my trauma. All of that turned into depression, anxiety, emotional instability, poor relationships with people, and anger. I went through many ups and downs with my mental health. This caused me to have unhealthy habits with my physical health. All this went on from middle school through college. In March 2019, I started a new round of medications and ended up overdosing. It caused me to go into cardiac arrest. I died on my living room floor in front of my young children. Somehow the paramedics got my heart going again and rushed me to the hospital. On the way there, I died again. This time longer. They weren’t sure I would make it. The hospital told my husband that they suspected I wouldn’t make it so they were going to send me to another hospital that specializes in brain trauma from cardiac arrest. I had been without oxygen so long they weren’t sure what I would wake up like if I ever did.
At the next hospital, they told my parents to prepare funeral arrangements because I was in a medically induced coma. I was like that for almost 2 weeks. When that time ended, luckily I woke up but with a whole different look on life.
I hadn’t realized how much time had passed. I didn’t know I had died. I didn’t know people came to visit me. I didn’t know I was supposed to die. That all scared me. I wasn’t healthy either. I was overweight with high cholesterol and on the verge of having diabetes like my family. I also was sick mentally. I was then diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
I then decided to really take control of my health. I worked out every day but got no results. I would then quit. Then start again. This went on until recently when my husband started working out at GotEm Fit. He told me about James and his fitness competitions and I mentioned how I always wanted to do one. My husband and I discussed me doing one since I had to change my diet for medical reasons anyway so it was perfect timing. I got in contact with James and then started on what has led me to the best version of myself ever. I am down 50 pounds. I am happy, full of life, and the healthiest I have ever been. I decided to take my life back and not let others’ choices decide how I live my life. I decided to heal by coming out on top and succeeding. I wanted to show that those that hurt me can not break me. I can take their hurt and take what would normally break someone into a transformation of the best version of me ever.
In your opinion, weight loss is more of a fitness issue or a health issue, and why?
I think weight loss is a mental issue. You stay healthy and in shape because you want to live longer and do good for your body. Even if you don’t go to the gym or work out regularly, a person would realize after a while that their body needs some physical activity due to weight gain, sluggish behaviour, irritability, etc. However, if you are not in the right mental mindset, it won’t matter what you or your body needs. You might need a new diet, medication, and physical activity, but you just won’t or tell yourself you can’t. It all is about overcoming that part of your brain that tells you healthy eating is too hard. Getting up to work out for 30 minutes is too early. In my opinion, health may be the only thing stopping some people but even those that have health problems can still make a fitness effort if they are in the right mental mindset.
Can you share with us your goals for fitness and life?
My first goal is to keep the weight off for at least 3 months. Then, I will stretch it another 3 months and so forth. Ultimately the goal is to keep it off for always but in baby steps. Working out has been great for my mental health too, so I plan to work out daily. James and I made a plan of at least 500 calories a day to maintain and that is my goal but if I don’t make it I won’t beat myself up about it. I also plan to strength train at least 3 times a week for 30-45 minutes. Now that I am the healthiest I have ever been, I would like to run another 10K and half marathon to see if I can get a PR. I would also like to gain some muscle in my arms and legs. My final goal is to maintain a healthy diet. Doing that will help with the days I don’t reach my 500 calories a day. In all, I have found that doing these things have given me the goal of living a happy and full life. I want my goal to be to keep my mental health in check so that I can reach my fitness and life goals.
What does your Coach James mean to you?
James was my personal trainer and I will be honest, I wasn’t thrilled about having one. Plus, I barely knew this guy and trusting has been hard for me. However, my husband spoke very highly of him so I gave him a chance. I am so glad I did. James turned out to be my best friend. He has seen me at my best and my worst and still has NOT given up on me. He has cared for me as a best friend and trainer should. I think the fact that I am speaking of him as a friend and not as my coach should say enough. I am scared with all my past friendships that I will mess this up too. Just cause I found a friend that will push me when I want to be lazy and stop. James also challenges me so I don’t just settle. James is here to help me grow not only physically but mentally as well. He listens to me vent and offers advice. He sticks up for me as friends should. Honestly, I have never had a friend or coach like him. He brings the best out in me and that makes me want to work harder. I want to make him proud and myself proud. Plus, it is super fun working out and just talking with your best friend. He is one of the best and I am so happy he is my best friend and coach.
What’s it like being part of the “GOTEMFIT” family? What impact does a positive community have on your life?
Deciding to become part of the GotEm Fit family has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have been a member of a few gyms and was one member of probably hundreds of people. I was just a customer. However, at GotEm Fit I was welcomed with positive interactions, kind encouragement, and friendship. People I didn’t know WANTED to know me and WANTED to help me celebrate my success in the gym. It was so motivating that it pushed me to work harder. Not only that but to know that James would text me just to check in at times. I wasn’t just a customer of his gym but a valued friend.
What is the biggest lesson you have ever learned?
The biggest lesson I have learned is that even those that are supposed to biologically love and care for you will not always be someone you can depend on. I have to look out for myself and put myself as number one. From that, I have also learned what I don’t want to be to others. I have always made myself someone you can depend on and trust so that no one else has to go through what I have.
What is your number one tip for people on their fitness journey?
Take pictures of your journey from the beginning to the end. Scales sometimes don’t change due to water weight or muscle. However, if you take pictures of your journey often, you can compare them and watch yourself change. It is very motivating and encouraging. You can also use those to share with family and friends for encouragement or to share your story later to inspire others.
What does success mean to you?
Success to me is being better than you were before. You could have been preparing for a marathon and you didn’t place but you finished with a great time and never stopped to walk and learned what you can do to improve for the next race. That is a success. You could have been preparing for a soccer game and lost the game but you never stopped playing hard, gave it all you had, never quit, and learned what is your weakest move. That is a success. I prepared for 5 and a half months for this competition and earned 5th place. What if I started prepping sooner next time and strength training more? I could aim for higher success. To me, success can be different depending on the situation and person.
Share your unique training/coaching methods.
Nothing too unique. I love to run though and I know many don’t like that. I used to train for races before so being able to just run for cardio purposes is the best. Plus, I love to lift weights. The rush of seeing my muscles excites me to lift heavier. So, I guess having a mirror is a must for me.
I do strength training every other day for at least 30 minutes a day. I do cardio every day for at least 45 minutes to an hour every day. I also do core work every day if possible and if not, I do make sure to get it in on strength training days.
Currently, I am following my medium carb day plan since I am post-prep/show. During prep, I was on a specific meal plan that combined with exercise helped me lose weight. Then I was switched to a carb cycle plan that helped me with losing lots of fat. It also helped me get in plenty of protein.
I am taking superfood greens, a multivitamin, glutamine, dandelion root, and a protein shake post-workout.
Do you prefer to take and recommend all-natural (no sugar, no artificial colours/flavours/sweeteners) supplements or supplements with artificial flavours and sweeteners? And Why?
With supplements, I always did all-natural supplements. I have never had any artificial flavours or sweeteners because I was told no for my competition prep so I just never tried them. Plus, all-natural isn’t that bad in my opinion.
What separates Status from other fitness magazines?
I think what is amazing is the fact that they take real-life people often and showcase them and their accomplishments. They allow everyday people to celebrate their successes in their fitness journey. That is an inspiration to others who are reading and can relate. They feel more connected to what they are reading and who they are reading about. Other magazines don’t allow or do that.
What is your favourite quote to live by?
“Learn something new every day”
I tell my 3rd-grade students to do that. I tell my own children to do that. I tell myself to do that.
5 things people don’t know about you:
- I don’t like pizza. (I do if it has alfredo sauce though)
- In college, I was told I would never be a good teacher so I should consider a different profession. This year I was awarded my 3rd Teacher of the Year nomination.
- I have run a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and marathon.
- I want to be a school principal one day.
- I was on T.V. twice when I was little.
If you could inspire one person, who would that be?
I hope to inspire anyone who is wanting to give up or needing that boost to go forth. Anyone who is thinking they can no longer do it because it is too hard or life is too hard. Life has NEVER been kind to me but I had a choice. I could have either dwelled on it after my cardiac arrest or learned from it. I chose to become an advocate for those with bipolar disorder and abuse survivors. I chose to inspire those that might be like me and let them know that they aren’t alone and it is okay to not be okay. I hope to show others that they are resilient and can be physically and mentally well.
Who inspires you? And why?
My children and my students. They both show me the fun and joy of life. They inspire me to enjoy each day. They inspire me to laugh more and love more. They all look up to me as role models, so I want to make them proud. I want them to be inspired by me too. I spend most of my time with my students. If not, I am with my children. They are our future. I want them to have compassion and empathy. It all starts with me.