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2nd Chances

Posted By Ester Venouziou, Monday, December 17, 2012
Updated: Monday, December 17, 2012

One unexpected -- and much welcomed! -- perk in my entrepreneurship ventures was meeting Forbes Riley, actress/fitness queen/motivational speaker. She helped me believe that anything is possible. And that's an important message not only in business, but also in life


* * * * *

I'll explain, but first, the background ...

When I was in my 20s and early 30s, I was obsessed with losing weight. I joined gyms, popped pills, tried the latest diet fads. I lost weight once, on the Atkins diet, after three months of protein shakes, beef jerky and an assortment of diet pills; and for about a month, age 29, I was happy with the way I looked.

Two or three months later, the weight had started to creep back up.

I went about life, moving from Jacksonville to South Florida and then to St. Petersburg. I started a job at the then-St. Petersburg Times, bought a cute bungalow in Gulfport, launched LocalShops1.

And somewhere along the way I resigned to the fact that being fat was just the way it was going to be. There were still the occasional  impulsive purchases of the latest miracle pill, but for the most part, I simply gave up.


* * * * *

Forbes Riley came into my life like a whirlwind. A mutual friend, writer Daphne Taylor Street, asked me if I'd be up for talking with Forbes about a possible  joint promotion with LocalShops1. The next day we launched the 10-Week Spin Gym Challenge. A week later we had Forbes' studio packed with 30 women and four men who wanted to lose weight, get fit, be happy.

What happened over the next 10 weeks is hard to explain. But the results were clear right away:

  • One classmate quit smoking, after having smoked 2 packs a day for the past 30 year;
  • One went from brink of desperation to being happy to be alive;
  • One rediscovered her long-lost singing talents.

About five or six weeks into the class I started noticing my classmates were getting slimmer. Seriously so. Twenty, 25, even 30 lbs. These were people, like me, who had tried all the fads, all the pills, all the gadgets. They were people, like me, who had just about given up.

As for me, I was just barely going through the motions. The only reason I hadn't dropped out was because LocalShops1 was the sponsor, and it would have been unprofessional to give up.

I had the typical excuses for not committing 100 percent -- too busy, too tired, too whatever. But as I looked around Forbes' studio, I knew  everyone else there also had the same reasons to fail, but they chose not to. By the time I realized all this it was already Week 8.

Surprisingly, despite my minimal efforts, I had lost a few pounds and I was definitely stronger. (Yes, SpinGym works!) I was wishing we could go back in time, so I could have another chance to immerse myself, follow the program, be a success like Amy and Jackie and David and Christina and all my other classmates who finished the challenge.


* * * * *

Going back in time isn't possible, but getting another chance is! The day before our last class, Forbes told us she was offering us all the opportunity to embark on another 10-Week Challenge and complete our goals! So this time, I'm fully committed. By mid-April, I'll be 20-30 lbs lighter.


The Challenge begins in mid-January and is open to everyone. Commitment is twice a week: Tuesday and Thursday, your choice of 8 am and/or 7 pm at Forbes studio in St. Pete.  For information, email Be sure to ask about the special rates for friends of people who completed the first challenge. (Mention my name and I get a free SpinGym, too.)

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