Marla Westbrook » Mom, Runner, Burleson/Fort Worth, Texas Photographer

Fit Friday ~ Intensity Training Systems

I thought it might be fun to start a little something new on the blog so welcome to the inaugural Fit Friday!  Over the past year and a half, I have been very focused on my overall health and fitness.  Something about turning 40 flipped that switch for me, I guess.  I started running, as you all know, but in January of this year, Derek and I stepped our fitness up another level by joining the Transformation Challenge at Intensity Training Systems in Crowley.  The challenge was for 8 weeks and included 3 workouts per week and a personalized nutrition plan.  We kept food logs and check sheets to track our diet and brought them in each week for our trainer, Levi, to look over and make adjustments if needed.

A lot of our friends couldn’t imagine what we were thinking signing up for this challenge.  We were already runners, so what could we possibly need to change, they asked.  The answer is that we both felt we needed to step up our overall fitness and we didn’t think that changing our diets was a bad idea either.  Derek also wanted to get about 20 pounds of extra weight off (I know, that shocks everyone, he carries it well) and I certainly wasn’t opposed to the idea of slimming down a bit more myself.  Swim suit season is just right around the corner, after all.  😉

So, after 8 weeks of three 35 minute workouts a week, which we were very committed to attending, and significantly adjusting our diets, what changed for us?  One word…EVERYTHING!  Derek dropped 26 pounds, lost a ton of inches and fat, especially around his middle, and I slimmed off a respectable 6 pounds, several inches and a bit of body fat, as well.  But the best and biggest change for both of us is how we FEEL.  The workouts are quick, but intense and definitely made us realize that running alone was not working our bodies the way a good all-around workout does.  I distinctly remember my arms being so sore during the first week that even blow-drying my small amount of hair was a challenge.  Cutting carbs and dramatically increasing our intake of protein has also made SO much difference for us.  It’s not always easy, eating clean is work and requires a lot of planning, but WOW is it ever worth it.

Derek and I both knew before the challenge was even half way over that we were going to want to continue with ITS well beyond our 8 week commitment, so we are doing just that.  We are still going strong with three workouts a week (yes, Derek still gets up for the 5:30am class!) and we are also sticking with our diet changes.  Sure, we cheat here and there (you’ve seen our beer on FB and IG, lol), but we plan to continue with a very low carb, high protein diet because it works.

I have to say that one of the main reasons we decided to stay with ITS, in addition to being thrilled with our results from the challenge, is our trainer, Levi.  He is SO committed to each and every person who works out with him and truly makes you feel like you are part of the “family” at ITS.  He is positive and encouraging, but also pushes each of us to do and be the best we can.  Honestly, if you’ve ever considered working with a trainer, you can’t do better than Levi.  And you don’t have to be an elite athlete to join ITS, our classes are filled with people of all ages, shapes, sizes and levels of fitness.  There are no mirrors, no one cares what you look like or what you’re wearing, we’re all just there to work and get stronger and you’ll get nothing but encouragement from the second you walk in the door.  Seriously, if you’re in this area, I cannot recommend ITS enough, just give it a try, I promise you’ll thank me later.

Since I can’t do a blog post without a picture, meet Levi, his cute wife Erin (who happens to work out in my class) and their precious little guy, John, who is going to be a big brother later this year.  (thanks for letting me snag this off FB, Erin)  I’m off to ITS for my Friday workout now, hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!




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The Rock ‘n’ Roll That Didn’t Rock

Sunday Derek and I suffered through ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll half in Dallas. This was our 2nd time to do this race and honestly, probably our last. We both definitely prefer smaller races and this one is HUGE.  The whole parking situation is a pain, given that the race doesn’t start and end at the same place (why can’t they just start and end at Fair Park?!?!) and when you add that to the cost ($12 to park at the Expo to pick up your packet, seriously?!?!), it just isn’t worth it.

Anyhoo, we had been watching the weather closely, as we always do before a race and knew that conditions weren’t going to be all that runner friendly.  40 degrees with a stiff 25-30 mph north wind does not a happy runner make.  In fact, that morning, as we got dressed at the butt crack of dawn, Derek offered more than once for us to just go back to bed.  Just a few hours later, I was wishing that I had taken him up on that offer, because this race did not go well for me.  I didn’t feel awesome when we got up, I rarely do at 4 freaking am, but all the way there I knew my tummy wasn’t feeling quite right.  I chalked it up to pre-race nerves and hoped I would feel better once I got going.  Long story short…I didn’t.  I had to make a couple of pit stops along the course (which is no bueno in a race this size because there is a long line at every porta potty stop) and pretty much felt crappy (pun intended) the entire way.

It was, you could say, a lesson in perseverance though and by dang, I finished the sucker.  I definitely can’t say that I enjoyed myself, but I’m over it and am already looking forward to another half in a few weeks.  Derek promises me that races like this one will make the good ones that much sweeter, so I’m hoping that theory pans out.  We shall see…


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kelleyn - Way to go! COngratulations!

Proud Momma Post

I can’t think of a better start to the weekend than seeing my Doodle recognized as an outstanding character at his school. Each 6 weeks, a handful of students are chosen to receive the Bobcat Pride award, and Jack’s hard work and determination earned him (and us) an invitation to the award breakfast this morning. He got a sweet hand-written note from his teacher with comments from some of his classmates, as well. One of my favorites is “Jack is a good student who never pulls his slip.” Hehe, in 1st grade I guess that’s a pretty big deal. We are so very proud of our big fella!

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Kelleyn - Yeah for Jack!

Kim from 3 peanuts - Marla, Isn’t it THE best when they are recognized for the things that count in life?! Congrats to your Jack! ANd I LOVE your new site. It is beautiful!!!


Have you hugged a kid who rocks an extra chromosome today? Well you should! OK, you might not want to hug mine, he has a nasty cold, but find a germ-free cutie and hug away! Why? Because it’s World Down Syndrome Day! Get it, 3-21? It represents the 3 copies of the 21st chromosome and was created to promote awareness and advocacy for people with Down syndrome.

Here’s an oldie but goodie of our Jakob. He is truly a blessing to our family and to everyone he meets. Happy World Down Syndrome Day!

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Lisa - Sending Jakob a big giant cyber hug all the way from PA today!!!
Maybe I will get to do it in person sometime soon:)

Love this new picture of him…. gosh, tell him to stop growing.
He is looking so mature. Why can’t we freeze time for just a little bit?

Happy Thirsty Thursday…. Have one for me please~



San Fran via Instagram

Much more to come, of course, but here is a sneak peek of our awesome Spring Break in San Francicso. What a crazy cool city! We’re already looking forward to visiting again.

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Lisa - Looks like y’all had an incredible week in the city by the bay!!!
Loved seeing the San Fran through your eyes…… Much love to you, D, and the J’s~



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