We’re so excited to share Kailen’s amazing story and transformation with all of you! This gorgeous Tone It Up team member from Kentucky was one of this year’s BIKINI SERIES grand prize winners and has an incredible outlook on life. We’re in love with her sweet spirit, passion for living life to it’s fullest and her determination to push through whatever obstacles that may arise. She is such an inspiration to us!
Tell us about yourself.
I am from Frankfort, Kentucky. I am currently staying home, as I am continuing my chemotherapy treatment & battling stage four breast cancer. I have to rest a lot to keep up with life, but I am also writing a book about my health journey and all the crazy adventures I have pressed through to be where I am today. My husband, Bryan, is the strongest, most dedicated, supportive, and wonderful man I know. He, my family, my friends, and our two boxers, Rupp and Layla, help to keep me going. They, and my relationship with Jesus, are the only reasons why I can carry on! I was raised believing in God, family, and UK basketball and that still pretty much sums up my life!
Your transformation story is amazing and has inspired us all. How long was it between your before and after pics?
My before and after pics I previously submitted are from Week 1 to Week 8 of the BIKINI SERIES this year.
What made you decide to change and what was your biggest inspiration?
The biggest factor that made me want to change my life was ending my first round of chemotherapy. As soon as I was cleared by my doctors to push my body again, I was determined to become the healthiest version of myself that was possible!
What goals did you set for yourself in order to make a change?
The goals I set for myself were to build the strongest muscles I could to support all of my bones that have been weakened by cancer. I wanted to be able to use 10 lb dumbbells (which I can!) and to be able to do 10 push ups (which I cannot… But I’m up to 5!)
How did you keep yourself motivated to keep going?
Honestly, every single setback in my health has been extremely motivating. Sometimes with every crunch, pushup, burpee, or lunge, I yell “screw cancer” as loud as I can, and wow, that gets me fired up! Any time I think about all that this horrible disease has taken from me, it only makes me want to push back even harder to be the healthiest person I can!
How did you overcome the setbacks?
I have always been an active person but between battling Crohn’s disease for over a decade, getting diagnosed with cancer, going through chemotherapy, having my colon removed, having one breast removed, doing radiation, having my ovaries removed, having the cancer spread all over again, going through chemotherapy again, radiation again, having the cancer spread all over again, and now being on a more mild, oral chemotherapy… I’ve had a lot to overcome. But rather than let each trial bring me further and further down, I chose to let it fuel me to press on and overcome the impossible situations.
How has following the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan contributed to your success?
The saying that K&K always use about “the workouts make your abs but they’re revealed with the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan,” is SO true! When I first became a member, I was in a place where I couldn’t perform many of the exercises so I did what I could. And that was to follow the meal plan. I made that a part of my daily habits, lost weight immediately, and when I was finally able to incorporate the workouts, I was able to perform much better because of getting proper nutrition!
What are you doing now to keep up with your healthy lifestyle?
I get enough sleep! Resting is so huge in helping me to keep my body energized and ready to be pushed hard in my workouts during the day. Other than that, meal prep and a consistent schedule of grocery shopping and cooking help me to stay on track. When I’ve already paid for the food, made the food, and portioned it out, it makes it harder to be tempted by other foods outside of the Nutrition Plan!
What is your favorite TIU workout?
My favorite TIU workout is Bikini Arms from the 2014 BIKINI SERIES. I have NEVER had ANY upper body strength and I definitely have never had toned arms. But, last year when I consistently did the arms routine, I finally started to tone up and even use heavier and heavier weights!
What advice would you give someone who needs motivation and encouragement to get healthier?
I am a very straight forward and honest person. (I have always been that way but cancer has forced me to be even more so.) So I would have to say to all my sisters out there, if I can get my butt up to workout when I have one boob, a bag of poo taped to my aspiring abs, and am taking chemo pills every other week… YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!! It’s all about how bad you want it. If something is important to you, you’ll find a way to make it happen.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself during this journey?
The most surprising thing I’ve learned about myself through this journey is that I can do more than I thought I could. I can run farther, lift more, and gain muscle where I’ve never had any before. I always thought only the girls you saw online could ever be that fit. But today, I AM that girl!
Tell us about your current goals? What are you looking forward to most in the next few months?
My current goals are to really work on my midsection and my abs. So, I want to have abs that I am proud of and that I can show off despite my ileostomy. My ileostomy and lack of one breast are simply scars that show what I have overcome, and I now want to have a body ready for the grand prize trip to Playa del Carmen that I am super confident in and ready to show off to the world!
The team wants to connect with you! Where can we find you?
Thank you for sharing your story with us Kailen! We are SO proud of you and can’t wait to see pictures from your trip to Playa Del Carmen!
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