Any Insaniacs out there?
The 39-year-old New York woman is proud mom to son Benjamin, nearly 2, and recently lost the 60 lbs. of pregnancy weight gain with T25 – a fitness program she worked on with her BFF, celebrity trainer Shaun T.
We’ve seen Tania front and center with Shaun T in Insanity – and mostly all of his workout DVDs – and we’ve envied her six-pack abs. But the woman known as ‘The Machine’ admits that maintaining her weight loss is a constant struggle.
As a former backup dancer for none other than popstar Britney Spears, Tania says struggling with body image was “a norm” in her field. And it wasn’t until she met Shaun T and started Insanity that she got control of her life.
While Insanity is called the “hardest workout ever put on DVD,” T25 is being called “the smartest.”
“I was the biggest skeptic when Shaun asked me to do the T25 focus group,” Tania shares. “I was actually terrified. I was afraid that I would not meet his expectations and I was afraid what everyone would think about ‘The Machine.’…After all of the workout programs that I have been in, Focus T25 is my only workout now.”
Continue reading Tania’s inspirational story, and also hear from her BFF, Shaun T…
“Contrary to popular belief, I have struggled, and I still struggle with weight. Growing up as a dancer kept me fit, however my diet was extremely unhealthy. The poor diet caught up with me when I got to college. Freshmen 15? How about Freshmen 40! I went up 4 sizes in 6 months.
Again, I was still working out every day as a dancer, but never adjusted my diet. One day, I realized that I couldn’t afford to buy all new clothes in bigger sizes, and quite frankly, I was miserable. I decided that I had to make some changes and after a long year of hard work, I lost the extra 40 lbs.
Struggling with body image was a norm in my field. As a professional dancer, I was constantly scrutinized for my body. I learned to get a thick skin and I just dealt with it as best I could, but I was never truly satisfied with my body image because let’s face it, the industry is BRUTAL!
The irony is that now that I’m just months away from being 40 and post baby, I can finally say that I am in the best shape of my life and I really love what I see looking back at me in the mirror.
I helped Shaun T create Insanity. I was involved in the 60-day test group where we develop and test the workouts on a group of people who dedicate 60 days with us and get put through the torture [laughs]. During this 60-day period, my body completely transformed.
Shaun T and I met in 2004 on a job where we were both dancers in The Ten Commandments musical starring Val Kilmer and Adam Lambert.
After seeing sketches of our ‘barely there’ costumes, all of us dancers decided to workout every morning before rehearsal and Shaun T said that he teaches fitness classes so he offered to train us all.
Since then, I have worked side-by-side with Shaun on every single workout program he has ever created — as his BFF. The only videos I am not in are the Asylum 1 & 2 workouts because I was pregnant.
I was completely uneducated about nutrition when I was dancing. I just figured that I could eat whatever I wanted because I was young and working out all day long. I used to eat cookies or chips and soda for breakfast. ICK! Then I went to the opposite extreme of yo-yo dieting before a big dance gig came around.
It wasn’t until I entered the fitness industry did I finally take control of my diet and indulge myself in nutrition. It’s amazing how much better your body feels when you treat it well.”
Tania goes on to talk about being transformed by motherhood.
“My little Benjamin is my life and my heart (as well as my husband!). Motherhood suits me well. It truly is my biggest accomplishment and it is absolutely better than any other feeling. Benjamin is a healthy and happy boy who is approaching his second birthday.
I can’t believe little ‘ole me gained 60 lbs. [during pregnancy]. When I stepped on the scale the day I delivered my son, I saw 185 and was flabbergasted.
To be honest, I wasn’t worried at all about gaining weight. I loved being pregnant and I loved my body being pregnant. My son was always measuring on the larger size at each ultrasound but my doctor was definitely monitoring my weight because I was getting pretty heavy.
After my son was born, I had no idea what was going to happen to my body. Honestly, I thought that I would never ever get back to my pre-pregnancy weight! I just figured that this was my new mommy body and that was that.
Then, Shaun kept saying that he couldn’t wait for me to get back in shape so I could get back to work and be in his videos again — he said it didn’t feel right not having me there. Each time he would say this, I would just agree and say, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll be back in shape!’ But deep down inside, I was really sad and always said to myself, ‘I will never be in your videos again.’ I would get really emotional and heartbroken.
Having a C-section was not ideal for me. It was not planned at all. At my final ultrasound, my son was measuring over 10 lbs. and my doctor was getting concerned that my son hadn’t dropped at all and he was just going to get bigger and bigger now that I was at 40 weeks.
We discussed a C-section but I was adamantly against it but after weighing the pros and cons, I opted for the C-section. Here is the funny side of the story: it’s now 2pm at the doctor’s office and it’s Rosh Hashanah. My doctor was leaving shortly to observe the holiday and wasn’t returning for a few days so he says to me, ‘We can do this today or you’ll have to wait three days.’
Another three days seemed like an eternity when you’re at the end of your pregnancy. So, we opted for that same day. We had to go home, grab our bags and head to hospital by 4pm and we lived clear across town and had to face horrible L.A. traffic. So, it was basically a mad dash and chaos trying to make it to the hospital. All the while, I’m trying to call my family and Shaun to let them know that I was having a baby!
Shaun immediately booked a ticket to fly out from New York to be by my side. At the hospital, while the nurse was hooking me up the monitors, I kept complaining about gas pains and she looked at me and said, ‘Um, that’s not gas honey. You’re in labor!’
WHAT?! I’M IN LABOR?
Then I immediately changed my mind about the C-section, called my doctor in and told him to change plans and that I wanted to go through the labor and deliver on my own. Then I changed my mind again — so many emotions run through you that I couldn’t get my thoughts together.
Fast forward to the operating room…the anesthesiologists are literally seconds from giving me the spinal to prepare for the surgery and I yelled, ‘STOP! I don’t want a C-section!’ Oh my, what a day. My doctor, who is the kindest man, made everyone halt and freeze while he just talked to me to try to calm me down. Then I opted for the surgery after all. The cons outweighed the pros and I didn’t want to chance it especially after having a late miscarriage in my second trimester prior to this pregnancy.
In the end, we definitely made the right decision because my doctor said that it would have been an emergency C-section anyway because the umbilical cord was wrapped around my son’s neck and he hadn’t dropped at all. It would have been a long and hard labor for both mommy and baby that was potentially an emergency surgery anyway. Phew!
Recovering from a C-section is gnarly, for lack of a better term. I couldn’t believe how weak my core was! I went from having an ironclad 6-pack to 60 lbs. of weigh gain and having my abdominals cut. It was painful and quite a struggle. I didn’t think I would ever get my strength back and realized I was going to have to settle with a post C-section tummy which meant no more workout videos and definitely no more sports bras.
I was the biggest skeptic when Shaun asked me to do the T25 focus group. I was actually terrified. I was afraid that I would not meet his expectations and I was afraid what everyone would think about ‘The Machine.’
It was an extremely difficult and sometimes treacherous road. I was emotional and my priorities were different. I needed to focus on being a mother and not on being a Machine. I couldn’t even hold a plank for 2 seconds much less get through an entire workout. I felt awful and out of shape.
It was pretty emotional but my husband did it with me so we had each other for emotional support. After the first month, I couldn’t believe the results! I was starting to feel like my old self again, much to my surprise. It was pretty unbelievable.
I lost 16 lbs. and look and feel even better than I ever have. My body became long and lean, not bulky. My before and after photos don’t even look like the same person! After all of the workout programs that I have been in, Focus T25 is my only workout now!
I work full time and I am a mother. I have zero time but there are no excuses with T25 — everyone can find 25 minutes. Honestly, it’s the only thing that motivates me to workout everyday — it’s only 25 minutes total of my day. To be in the best shape of my life post pregnancy, and almost 40, by just working out 25 minutes per day — why would I do anything else?
Be patient with yourself. Don’t compare yourself to those you see on TV. Everyone is different and every body is different. There is this absurd obsession with being bikini ready in less than 3 months of having a baby. In the first 3 months, you’re barely sleeping and never have time for yourself but that’s okay. Your priority is your baby!
It took me nine months to put on the weight and it took me exactly nine months to get it all off. Those last 15-20 lbs. were the most difficult and T25 was the answer!”
Shaun T also adds his thoughts on Tania’s amazing transformation from T25 and his best advice to busy moms who think they don’t have the time to workout.
“Tania really did it herself. She helps me create the workouts. She helps me keep my life in order too. She’s a great mom. Like I always say, ‘I’m just a tool in the toolbox for workouts and if people choose my method I am very happy about that.’
But Tania was still a Machine. She had to modify the workouts and that was the key. She was able to build her body back. Slowly and effectively by staying dedicated.
My best advice is to find the time. Make fitness a part of your day as you would do anything else. I think fitness gets lost in the ‘chore’ category. Health is very important. It should be like brushing your teeth.
Find something that you want to do, something you enjoy and you will succeed. T25 is perfect for women because they can do it in the time that the baby is taking a nap. It is only 25 minutes and a lot can happen in 25 minutes. All you have to do is pop in the DVD and before you know it, its over.
I work every body part with this program and of course, Tania is modifying for those who are just jumping back into it. It is so well rounded and fun. And you will see results — I promise!
I had a time in my life where I had to struggle to lose 50 lbs. of fast weight gain. I know what it’s like to go through the process of losing weight. I think thats why I can relate to so many people and their stories.
It’s sometimes really tough to start a workout program and lose weight, but dedication to self is key.
What drives me to help people reach their fitness goals is that I want people to be happy. I want people to have energy. I want people to feel confident and powerful.
I think when people are happy with themselves inside and out, there is so much positivity in the world. It breaks down some insecure barriers that cause internal strife.
I know I can’t reach everyone, but my goal is to reach as many people as possible and help many more people smile when they think of themselves and when they look in the mirror after putting on a hot outfit before going to a party or out with their significant other.”
Editor’s Note: My life has been transformed by Insanity and I cannot wait to start T25!
With the help of Insanity, I have lost 20 lbs. and 17 inches. After having three children, I am both shocked and thrilled to say that I am in the best shape of my life — and yes, I’m almost 40 as well.
For more information about Shaun T’s fitness programs and how you can transform your life, see the story of Beachbody coach Leanne Surowski.