Connect with Susan McCreath and CORE Athletic Performance trainer Robert Iniguez on the Year of You Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/theyearofyouchallenge.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Susan McCreath has been selected to participate in the Year of You, a fitness challenge hosted by the Manteca Bulletin and CORE Athletic Performance. Her journal, along with her measurements, will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.
Susie McCreath’s fitness journey has been chock full of tests and physical challenges.
In a little more than two months, the 45-year-old former collegiate volleyball player has been asked to squat, sprint and drip pools of sweat by the trainers at CORE Athletic Performance, shedding her sedentary lifestyle.
“Sometimes,” she said, “I hate that (trainer) Tommy (Sandoval) knows me by name.”
Along the way, the Year of You participant has adapted her new lifestyle to fit her old, adjusting to her daughter’s travel volleyball schedule and the ongoings in her work and personal life.
Never before, though, has McCreath faced a challenge quite like this: A week-long vacation.
Away from family.
Away from trainers.
Away from the structure of home.
The vice principal at Lincoln and French Camp elementary schools spent her spring break in the sun and surf of San Diego, reconnecting with old friends.
She acknowledged the difficulties and the temptation of living out of a hotel, but was surprised to find that the principles she’s learned at CORE followed her.
McCreath spent her first morning in paradise grinding out a workout, realizing that her break from reality didn’t include a break from the gym.
Over the course of her vacation, she performed sit-ups, push-ups, dips and burpees in her hotel room, and spent a lot of time walking around town. “Tons of walking on hills,” she said via text message, “which is different than Manteca.”
Still, she found that San Diego was nothing like CORE’s dimly lit facility along Vanderbilt Circle. She found that she missed the very trainers who have tormented and called her out by name for the last two months.
“When I came down I thought being by myself would allow me time to workout and really focus,” she wrote. “However, I have found the opposite to be true. No trainer; no people around me sweating it out has made it difficult.
“I’m like a lost puppy ... walking around a lot, but not sweating it out like I should.”
CORE owner and trainer Robert Iniguez was confident she had the strength to overcome the temptations that have haunted her in the past.
He says the former San Jose State setter has come a long way in the short time they’ve been together. Iniguez selected McCreath to be the inaugural participant in this 12-month partnership, largely because of her desperation but mostly because of her athletic background.
Most collegiate athletes, he said, don’t know how to quit when the pressure is on.
McCreath, whose weight had ballooned to 250 pounds and who suffered from high-blood pressure and sleep apnea, is starting to re-discover that inner-athlete.
That’s not to say her story hasn’t been without setback. She has caved into cravings, indulging in a driveway tri-tip sandwich during Ripon’s Almond Blossom Festival in February. She’s missed workouts for no reason other than she simply didn’t want to go.
But it hasn’t derailed her progress. McCreath has lost more than 16 pounds and inches all over her body, including 4.25 around her waist. Her muscle mass has increased, so too has her energy level.
“Her biggest success has been her diet,” Iniguez said. “Although it was a slow change, it’s getting there and it’s becoming a habitual thing.”
The vacation was a test of her discipline.
McCreath said she was careful to read menus all the way through, and she stayed away from desserts. She sided with fish and salads when her taste buds were screaming for steaks and potatoes.
It was hard, though, to turn down a beer or margarita with dinner.
“My eating and workouts would not be ‘Robert approved,’” she said. “ ... All in all, though, I am trying my best and have made way better food decisions than I ever would have in the past.”
In this journey of self-discovery and change, McCreath chalks the trip up to a learning experience – and a touchstone moment.
If anything, she says she returns home – and to CORE – a more committed participant.
“Been a great experience as this solidified that going it alone doesn’t work for me,” she said via text message. “I need a plan for working out. I need a trainer. I need others around me working out to help push me.”