(article reprinted from Democrat & Chronicle, originally appearing September 16, 2016 with credit given to Ashley Petty, author AND subject, follow her on Twitter at @AshleyPetty_ )

When I embarked on a journey that, to date, has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, I didn’t expect to find a passion in the process. A little less than two years ago — Nov. 4, 2014 — I started my fitness trek. I had hit a wall in my life, a breaking point, and I was only 22. I was beyond fed up with the way I looked and I needed to make a drastic change. But change is...
"Well I was always a little on the heavier side. When I was 14 though, I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. I had surgery done to remove the tumor but within that same year it grew back again. I had another surgery. I was tumor free until the age of 17 the same tumor grew back. I had surgery and radiation. I have been tumor free for 11 years now almost.

I gained a lot of weight do to the depression of losing my hair and losing contact with my friends. friends. I was only allowed to walk and swim. After my last surgery I was in size 20 pants that were getting tight and weighing...
Amanda Merlau has lost nearly 150 pounds...here she is to tell you about it:

"I really enjoy being in the gym, especially on days when it is really hot, the air condition really helps keep me going. But It wasn’t always like that. Before this year going to the gym wasn't something I looked forward to doing. About 7 years ago I had surgery on my hips. This is where the struggle to keep the weight off began. Due to complications with the surgery I ended up in the hospital for 3 months with no weight bearing activities allowed. All I could do was sit, eat,watch TV, and just get...
Angela Pellett has entered two bodybuilding contests this year.  She won her class and narrowly missed the overall title in the spring and just this past Sunday, she took first in the Healthy Edge Natural Open Fit Bikini Class.

Not too bad for someonw who just started lifting weights a few years ago and who is self taught in all aspects of the sport, including diet and workouts.

Angela began practicing the aerial arts about four years ago and credits her arms and abs to the rigorous bodyweight movements required on pole and silks along with the other aerial apparatus...but she...
Courtney Zona has completely transformed her lifestyle as evidenced by her before and after photo here.

But, more than what she has accomplished on the exterior, Courtney believes that fitness is the foundation of everything positive in our lives.

She believes that AND shares that through her work as a Personal Trainer and group exercise instructor at Gruntz Fitness

Courtney loves to motivate others, as she says in her bio, "I can't wait to show you what you are capable of!"

Check out her interview on Healthy Edge Radio HERE, Courtney comes in at the 24:00 mark of...
what was your motivation to do this?

I woke up one day after a late night out and was looking through pictures that had been taken that night. I was horrified by what I saw and couldn't believe I allowed myself to get that heavy. I had always been an athlete in high school, playing tennis, golfing, skiing, ect. After High School, my eating got out of control and I neglected to take care of myself. After I saw the pictures, I decided enough was enough.

so, how did you do it?

I started slow by waking up early just to run even a single mile and do a few sit ups. I didnt change my...
Those of you who know me know that I'm always doing tons of STUFF. Playing music, snowboarding, riding horses...you name it. I used to also be really into running about 9 years ago, and have even ran 2 half marathons and a full marathon too! Back then I used to be a bartender, and I loved going into work in the afternoon and having the whole morning off to run, ride, or whatever. Once I started working a full time day job in 2010, I struggled with how exercise was going to fit into my daily routine. I certainly wasn't going to get up in the morning to do it, and it was the last thing I wanted...
Alicia Alvarez has overcome many obstacles to recapture her health and well being.  She also managed to lose 150 pounds too.  As you'll read, Alicia, who is a Harvard University graduate, simply used a scientific approach to gain her life back after seeing her weight climb to over 300 pounds.  She sought out the information, found the motivation and today...Alicia is an inspiration to those who marvel at what she accomplished in just about 12 months.  

Here is Alicia Alvarez, in her own words:

"I was a somewhat chubby child who outgrew that and lost weight...
When I stepped on the scale 5 years ago and saw a 300 plus pound number I knew I had to change my life. I was tired of not being able to run around with my then 5 year old because I had no energy.

I cut out soda, stopped eating out all the time and started moving more. I joined the gym and when i first started, I would walk on the treadmill for 2 hours a night. I eventually worked my way up to classes and started going to Zumba, then bootcamps and most recently Spinsanity!!

I have the energy to coach my daughters soccer team and encourage them to be healthy and active! It's amazing...
I started my fitness journey in 2010, after a struggle with alcohol abuse, at the Westside YMCA. Not really knowing what to do I referred to a lot of bodybuilding websites to give myself some direction on what program to do, to accomplish my goals. Self motivation was very difficult. I found myself struggling through "workouts". After unsuccessfully meeting my goals, going through divorce and struggling once again with reoccurring alcohol abuse, in March 2013 I made the jump to Crossfit Boomtown. A true life saver for me. My motivation and determination were at an all time high. I...




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