SparkPeople Challenge Winner Trains With Jillian Michaels

By , SparkPeople Blogger

When Debbie Morales discovered she won the grand prize after finishing the FitFusion & SparkPeople 28-Day Check-In Challenge, she was shocked. After all, it's not every day you win a trip to train with Jillian Michaels in Los Angeles.

But win it, she did. In order to be eligible for the grand prize, Debbie had to complete 28 straight days of workouts with the FitFusion trainers via their on-demand video series. Tailored especially for SparkPeople, these workouts could be completed at home on almost any device in 10-, 20- and 30-plus-minute time frames. The challenge cycled through workouts that targeted the entire body—buns and thighs; chest, arms and back; and abs and core. The FitFusion challenge also included built-in rest days.

Unfortunately, after winning, Debbie wasn't able to go to L.A. right away to train due to a neck injury she had sustained prior to completing the challenge. "I had to delay our training session for a long time since my neck injury had gotten worse. I couldn’t move my arms without pain," she says. "So, as much as I wanted this opportunity, I had to let her know that I didn’t know when I was physically going to be able to do it. In fact, we still had to modify my upper-body exercises [when we did finally train together]."

Debbie's Journey Comes Full Circle

Although Debbie had been very active over the past 10 years, she joined SparkPeople right around when she decided to really try to get in shape and gain muscle. "I was trying to lose those last five pounds. I was never overweight, I just wasn't comfortable with the weight I was at and I wanted my clothes to fit better without having to go up a size. I joined SparkPeople to be with like-minded people who wanted to be active and simply get in shape. I wanted to gain more muscle tone and to lose some body fat," she says.

This goal eventually led her to SparkPeople's Biggest Loser Challenge team. Debbie started as a participant and ended up finishing as a co-captain of one of the teams. When she finally stepped down from the challenge team, she also took a step back from SparkPeople for a while.   

Then, when Debbie decided to log back into SparkPeople, she saw the FitFusion challenge and was intrigued by the joint venture between SparkPeople and "Biggest Loser" star trainer Jillian Michaels. At that point in her life, Debbie says she was looking for a new challenge and this felt like the perfect fit.

Ironically, the first thing Debbie says she learned about herself throughout the course of the challenge was that she had bad timing, as she had already sustained her neck injury. "I injured myself and had to modify a lot of the workouts," Debbie explains. "I was frustrated because I used to be able to do these workouts with no problem. However, I decided to stick with it even if I had to greatly reduce what I was capable of doing."

Once she was cleared to workout again, Debbie was ready to meet Jillian. After making the one-hour drive to Malibu with her best friend and fellow SparkPeople member Jane, the two women were ready for a sweat session they'd never forget.

And sweat they did. "Jillian was great! She essentially gave us two different workouts," Debbie explained. "I wish I could have her as a trainer every day!"

As for the actual workout, Debbie says, "We warmed up on the treadmill with some hill walking and then light jogging. Jillian focused on lower-body exercises for me but really pushed my friend Jane. We both did step-ups; I used a weight bench and Jane used a lower plyo box. We also did two different variations of squats. Jane used the assisted pull-up machine and did modified pushups while I did a minor upper-body workout of chest squeezes and back [exercises] on one of the machines."

"Then we did a little bit of core work and [went] on to the stair machine! As much time as I've spent at the gym, I've never used the stair machine. We were only on there for three minutes but Jillian pushed us to do 10 flights in that time—I even had to go back and do it one more time! We also did one-legged bridges and planks. Who knew you could sweat so much in
such a little bit of time? And, of course, we ended with a good stretch."

Debbie Gets It Done 

Jillian was happy to work out with Debbie and Jane, saying how much she loves helping others achieve their health and fitness goals. "I love my work and it brings so much meaning into my life," Jillian says. "To play a part in someone's journey toward a better life is an honor, no matter how small. It's something I have and always will cherish."
Jillian was thankful that Debbie and Jane had the willingness to show up, because in her mind, that's what matters the most, "Showing up for life and being in the moment," she says.

Jillian hopes that Debbie and Jane's takeaway is that they got a sense of their true potential and are feeling empowered to try new things when it comes to their fitness. "When it comes to fitness you don’t have to be miserable. The key is moving. Just four, 20- to 30- minute sessions a week can have a huge impact, even if you are training at home," she explains. "Showing up for yourself and making time for self-care will have a huge impact in the long run on all facets of your life—from great health to a strong sense of self-worth."
If you are afraid to try new things that you feel like might be too hard or out of your comfort zone, Jillian's advice is this: "Abandon the notion of perfection. It’s not about perfect; it’s about progress. By putting yourself out there, you are exposing yourself to new things and progress is inevitable." 
And, regarding the workout, Jillian says, "They crushed it!"

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Congrats! Report
PLCHAPPELL 10/19/2018
Fun dtory Report
awesome...thanks.... Report
SUGARADDICT5 9/19/2018
What a cool opportunity to meet Jillian in person!!!!! I work out several days a week to a variety of Jillian's DVDs and have always wondered if having her there in person would push me harder. Report
JEWELZEE- 9/19/2018
Why is Jillian wearing sunglasses? Report
JOAN214 9/18/2018
This is so great. It sounds like it was a great opportunity and a lot of fun. Good for you. Report
CHRIS3874 9/18/2018
Awesome!! Report
NANCYPAT1 9/18/2018
Nice! Report
NANCYPAT1 9/18/2018
Nice! Report
AUNA_SKATE 9/18/2018
Congratulations on your win! Woohoo! Sounds so amazing. I bet you learned a lot you could take home and do at your house! Report
BIRDDOG20 9/18/2018
Woohoo! Awesome experience, I'm sure! Congratulations! Awesomeness, awesomeness, awesomeness! Report
PATRICIA-CR 9/18/2018
You rock! Report
LIS193 9/18/2018
Great! Report
SPINECCO 9/18/2018
Great story. Thanks. Report
PICKIE98 9/18/2018
Congratulations! Report
LEANJEAN6 9/18/2018
Wow! very fit people! Report
AZMOMXTWO 9/18/2018
thank you Report
AMYRCMK 9/18/2018
Congratulations! Report
NEPTUNE1939 9/18/2018
TY Report
Congratulations! Report
TCANNO 9/18/2018
well done on the win Report
KITTYHAWK1949 9/11/2018
interesting. Report
GABY1948 9/11/2018
thank you Report
DEBVNE 9/11/2018
Congrats on crushing a Jillian Micheal’s workout...not everyone could. Huge YaYs for you! Report
2DAWN4 9/10/2018
Thank you for sharing this article! Report
ROBBIEY 9/9/2018
awesome Report
FITWITHIN 9/9/2018
Congratulations! What a great opportunity to train with Jillian. Report
1SUZIQ11 9/9/2018
Congratulations! I have a feeling if I had to do a Jillian workout I would die! Report
BABY_GIRL69 9/9/2018
Yay you continued success Report
GABY1948 9/9/2018
great Report
KATHYJO56 9/9/2018
Congratulations and well deserved Report
ZRIE014 9/9/2018
nice Report
AJB121299 9/8/2018
nice Report
_CYNDY55_ 9/8/2018
Great article, Thanks! Congrats! Report
RHOOK20047 9/8/2018
What a unique opportunity! Report
Inspirational! Report
Thank you for the article. Report
ZRIE014 9/8/2018
good article Report
JERSEYGIRL24 9/7/2018
Wow, someone I actually know from SP (not in person). I thought that was you, Debbie!! Great job!!! Report
RHOOK20047 9/7/2018
Great story. Report
MNABOY 9/7/2018
Nice! Report
MNABOY 9/7/2018
Nice! Report
EO4WELLNESS 9/7/2018
Congrats @BLOOIZEANGEL Report
KHALIA2 9/7/2018
Great! Thank you! Report
GABY1948 9/7/2018
Great article Report
DMEYER4 9/7/2018
congrats Debbie well done Report
Congratulations Debbie! Report
JANIEWWJD 9/7/2018
Fantastic article!!! Report
Congratulations on your win. Thank you for this article. Report
ANHELIC 9/7/2018
Thank you for this article. Report