Between her job, her tight budget for food and supplements, her lack of access to the gym, and her household of seven, Jennifer Goncalves had every excuse in the book to remain complacent (but unhappy) with her body. Goncalves was not new to the world of fitness when she contested the All Access Challenge Series 2019. As a teenager, she had been an avid runner and had even taken strength training with the goal of one day running a fitness contest. She wore this lifestyle through her late 20s until injuries in her early 30s brought her down.
"Weeks would pass where I could not walk or train," she recalls. "At the same time, the demands of my family life grew as a wife and mother of five children between the ages of 4 and 1
As their exercise time decreased, their poor food choices increased. Goncalves unintentionally grabbed the weight and sank to the point she thought was the low point. She hid her pain from everyone. This affected her motivation as well as her self-love and even the way she dealt with her family.
"Most days, I did not have the energy to care for myself or my family the way I needed or wanted," says Goncalves. "I just did what I needed to do to get through the day and get through the next one, I could never just sit and relax or think, when I did everything I had to do for everyone, I had nothing to give more. "
During her Christmas vacation in 2018, this drowning, desperate feeling became unbearable. Something in Goncalves told her that now was the time to say yes to herself. It has inspired them to research online to re-prioritize fitness.
"At the time I found the Challenge series, I knew I had found it for a reason," says Goncalves. "I promised myself that I would do this from start to finish and change my life."
This is her story.
Snapshot: Jennifer Goncalves
- Size: 5 "2"
- Weight: 135.2 lbs.
- Location: Strathroy, Ontario, Canada
- Occupation: Optometric Assistant, CCOA
How did you achieve your goals?
During the first week, I only had 30 minutes of cardio daily. My body was not used to moving, and at first I could not believe how hard it was. After a week of cardio, I added weight training. On weekdays, I got up at 3:30 am and did 30-45 minutes of cardio on an empty stomach, woke my husband to work at 4:30, and then did my scheduled strength training, all before I started the day. The weekends were no different except that I did not have to get up so early. I did not have access to a gym and trained at home, so I had to modify many exercises. It was fun to think outside the box to change things.
What nutritional supplements have helped you with your transformation?
Which diet plan has guided your transformation?
Here is the basic plan. I also try to drink 16 cups of water a day.
Shake after training
Shake after training
What did your training and cardio programs look like?
During my transformation, I used three different programs. The first was a program I found at Muscle & Fitness Hers, and then I switched to Ashley Conrad's 21-day ClutchCut. I finished the last three weeks with the program of Alissa Carpios "Finding Out: How To Successfully Prepare For A Figure Competition". I also ran HIIT Cardio on the elliptical trainer for 30-45 minutes every day.
What was the hardest part of your journey?
To find time for my workout on my busy day. I do not have gym membership, so I had to do it at home. As I mentioned, I had to get up at 3:30 in the morning to work out during the week. Even at this hour, time was never 100 percent mine – I was constantly interrupted by my 4- and 5-year-olds, who were also trying to adapt to my new lifestyle. But I knew I would not find the time later in the day if I did not get up. I work 9-10 hours a day and come home between 6 and 7 pm There is always something to do with five children: dinner, lunch, swimming, homework, after-school sports, daily housework. The list goes on and on.
How does it feel to win the All Access 2019 Challenge Series?
It feels absolutely amazing to be selected as a winner! I knew from the beginning that I could achieve this goal. I had a post-it, which I stowed from January 30, 2019 with a list of my goals for the year. My first goal was to be the winner of the All Access 2019 Challenge Series and I did it! I can not wait to see what I can do and where the rest of the year will take me!
If You Can Tell Something to Somebody Going for a Bigger Transformation What Would It Be Like Yours?
Be consistent. I always have a plan. Always believe. Never give up!
How has Bodybuilding.com helped you achieve your goals?
Bodybuilding.com is full of information. I visit the website several times a day to review articles on exercise, nutrition, dietary supplements and competitions – everything I can get my hands on to improve my body. And I think it's great that there is something for all fitness levels and goals!
What are your future fitness goals?
It has always been my goal to participate in a fitness contest. I feel like if I ever try, now is the time. This journey is not without tireless hard work, commitment, determination and a winning mindset, and I have never felt so ready as I am now at 40. I would really like to see if I can bring myself to this level.
You are interested in starting your own transformation journey? Check out Bodybuilding.com All Access for the perfect plan to get started.