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She won challenge by losing the most

Briana Profitt, 29, recorded the highest weight loss percentage during the 2018 challenge.

Briana Profitt, 29, recorded the highest weight loss percentage during the 2018 challenge.

What started out as a New Year’s resolution has turned into a lifestyle change for Briana Profitt.

The dental hygiene student from Neon signed up last year for personal trainer Brandy Cook’s 12-week fitness challenge at the Letcher County Recreation Center. It was January 1. Briana’s daughter Meredith was nine months old and she wanted to lose weight she had gained during pregnancy.

“When I started, I couldn’t even do a sit up,” said Profitt, 29. “I was in the worst shape of my life.”

At the end of the 12-week challenge, Profitt lost 25 pounds. Of more than 80 people who completed the challenge, she had the highest weight loss percentage of 12.69 percent.

“It was hard but so worth it,” said Profitt. “Everybody who stuck with it, won.”

Profitt continued attending Cook’s classes, which follow the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) format in order for attendees to burn the highest amount of calories in the shortest amount of time along with decreasing body fat. She developed friendships with some of her classmates and ran her first 5K, 8K and 10K races.

“Everybody is so supportive and encouraging,” said Profitt. “I love being here, the atmosphere and the girls.”

She also changed her eating habits. She now eats lots of fruit, vegetables, fish and chicken.

“I don’t have to think about dieting,” said Profitt. “If I eat unclean my body feels sluggish.”

During 2018, Profitt lost a total of 41 pounds. “When I started, it was all about losing weight,” she said. “I don’t look at the scale anymore. It isn’t about being skinny.”

Profitt says exercising is empowering and clears her mind. She speaks highly of Cook and how she played a roll in her fitness journey. “She is so motivational,” she said.

Profitt is assisting Cook with this year’s “New You in the New Year” challenge by motivating and demonstrating modifications of exercises to beginners.

“I often look at these amazing people that are starting out, hearing them say they will never be able to do a regular exercise let alone an advanced one and wonder who will be leaders come this time next year,” said Cook. “It’s also awesome to see friendships form of people who otherwise may have not met in life. We truly become one big fitness family. Our motto is ‘one team one goal.’”

Profitt said people who complete the 12-week challenge will be surprised with the results.

“We all started somewhere,” said Profitt. “Your body will do things that your mind says you can’t.”

Profitt says that everyone has bad days and urges them not to get discouraged. She recommends finding an exercise partner who will encourage and provide accountability.

“If you have an off day, you just have to look forward and keep moving,” said Profitt.

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