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Training hard for 12 weeks: Photos show physical changes

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Editor’s note: The Lancaster News is tracking the progress of Katie Stogner and Jeff Holden as they undertake the Island Sun Tanning and Fitness 12-week Challenge for 2012. Here is their second progress report. You can also follow their progress at stevelewisplan.com.
Katie’s story
Four weeks down and I am so glad I did this. I have made some serious progress already, although I have a long way to go. I tend to be a little impatient, so to finally see some significant changes really helps me focus.
I am excited about the difference I can feel in my energy level.  At each and every workout, I feel much stronger and I have much more endurance.
I actually look forward to these brutal workouts to see how much better I am becoming. They are still extremely hard, but I can tell I am improving.
I had to take pictures at the end of the first four weeks and, while I knew my body was changing, I was really surprised and pleased when I compared the pictures to the ones that were taken four weeks ago.
Seeing the progress I have made makes me want to work that much harder to reach my goal at the end of this challenge. It is going to be difficult for me to work full time in Charlotte, take care of my baby and drive to the gym to train with Steve, but I am committed to getting back in shape. 
Sometimes, I feel like I am putting an unbelievable amount of pressure on myself, but I really feel that by doing this so publicly, I will be much less likely to give up when the going gets tough.  This is about so much more than how I look at this point. This is about meeting a goal I have set for myself and about how I feel mentally, as well as physically. Working out is a huge stress reliever for me and it makes me feel better equipped to deal with everything else I have going on in my life.
Jeff’s story
Well, I’m almost five weeks into the challenge and everything is working great. I’m feeling a lot better about myself now that I’m getting back in the gym like I’m supposed to.
I’m also getting some good compliments on my appearance. People say they can see a difference already and that just puts a fire in me to do better. It really makes me want to work harder and show people that I can do a lot better the next month.  After just one month, my energy level is up all day. I feel good all day and I’m not dragging at the end of a hard day. That in itself for me is a plus. 
I am really looking forward to the next seven weeks, because now is when I really start to see some big changes. I’m gonna turn up the cardio now that I have got my wind and can keep my heart rate up like I need to.  I can’t wait until the eight-week pictures are taken.
Steve’s last words
Tomorrow will be the start of our fifth week and all I can say is “the proof is in the pudding.” Take a look at Jeff and Katie’s four-week pictures at www.stevelewis plan.com. As you will notice, their bodies are definitely changing. 
I can’t stress the importance of taking pictures before you start a nutrition/exercise program.  You will never realize the gains you’ve made without pictures.
After three weeks, Katie was very discouraged because she had only lost four pounds. But after she took her four-week pictures, she was very pleased and surprised at the changes she had made.  You don’t realize these changes looking in the mirror every day.  They both have lost about 10 pounds each now.
Remember, when you eat properly and lift weights, you will gain lean muscle and lose body fat. Therefore, the scales may not move as fast as you would like, but pictures never lie.
I couldn’t be more pleased with how hard both of them have worked.  Their workout intensity has inspired me to go harder, as well as lots of others. It takes dedication and sacrifices, but there is no price tag on your health. Besides your health, you will look better, feel better, have more energy and a better attitude.
Stay tuned because you will be amazed when the final pictures are revealed. Until next time, please follow them at www.steve lewisplan.com.
– Fitness expert Steve Lewis is owner of Island Sun Fitness and Tanning and Island Sun Fitness for Women.