“I reached a milestone today in my HOLOFIT rowing, and I want to share with you my story.”
Elisha is one of our amazing HOLOFITTERS, who managed to reach her goals and change her health and fitness habits. She opened up and shared her journey, in hopes to inspire others to begin their own success stories.
Buckle up! This is going to be an endurance read!
Also, this is me being vulnerable, so please be nice, or move along.
You all know I’ve had some ups and downs over the past months, and I know that my times and rowing accomplishments will never seem like much in this land of fitness enthusiasts.
However, I have seen so much progress over the past 8 months that I was literally brought to tears while rowing this evening.
Years ago, before my 5-year-old was born, I was a powerlifter. I was overweight even then, but I was fit. I’ve been significantly overweight for literally as long as I can remember, with various periods of fitness, or not.
In August of last year, I reached my highest weight of 338lbs. I was already months into the process of qualifying for bariatric surgery, but had continued to gain weight anyway. I had to lose weight before I qualified for the surgery, as they wanted me to prove I could stick to a healthier lifestyle.
I remember sitting in the hospital parking lot after that weigh-in, crying in my car. Something clicked that day, and I made a change. I started measuring my food, tracking my intake, and walking on the treadmill or rowing occasionally. Exercise was the hardest, and I started looking for ways to make it more interesting. You know, so I would actually do it.
Sometime in September I discovered HOLOFIT. I didn’t have a VR system, but my boyfriend at the time got me one of the Samsung headsets that you snap your phone into, and I made it work.
I was immediately in love with the app and wanted to row basically every day
Side note: The graphics are SOOOO much better on the Oculus Quest 2! There are details I never even saw with the old headset. The environments feel entirely new!
At first, as someone significantly overweight and not at all used to working out anymore, rowing was so hard. I started rowing 10 minutes at a time, then 12, then 15. I think the longest session I managed at that time was about 26 minutes, and that was 3000m.
I never completed a single full lap of any of the environments. I never collected all of the trophies. (This was all explore mode, btw.)
I managed to lose 35 pounds by the time I actually had bariatric surgery. Yes, a large part of that was the dietary restrictions, including an all-liquid diet immediately prior to my surgery, but I absolutely credit HOLOFIT with helping me build consistency with my workouts during that time period.
November 18, 2020 I had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy and a hiatal hernia repair (hernia was discovered during pre-op testing). They weighed me in at 304 pounds that morning.
Being major abdominal surgery, they told me no workouts other than walking for 2 weeks. At the 2-week post-op they told me I could exercise, but since rowing can be intense on your abs, no rowing until at least 6 weeks. I was finally cleared to start rowing again in early January.
And I did, but I had to go slow again. I started working with a physical therapist to deal with some muscle imbalance issues resulting from minor scoliosis. My goal has always been to rebuild my strength and get back to lifting, but I knew it would take some time.
Around the end of January, I started having some abdominal pain, which continued to get worse for the next two months. After several visits to the doctor, my PCP, and what seemed like a billion tests, my surgeon decided to remove my gallbladder. My gallbladder itself wasn’t extremely bad, but it was showing signs of deterioration that are very common after weight loss surgery and was only going to get worse. More than that, there were some blood vessel growths on the outside of my liver that basically adhered my gallbladder to my liver, which is where most of the discomfort was coming from.
I ended up having my gallbladder removed on short notice on April 1, 2021. (Short notice because they told me it would be scheduled in June, then called me the next day and told me to be there the following day.)
At my two-week post-op appointment for gallbladder surgery, my doctor told me I could go back to exercising, including rowing, as long as I keep it lower intensity for another few weeks, and no weight lifting above 10 pounds.
That was Thursday.
I’ve been walking daily, either outside or on the treadmill, but that’s the extent of the exercise I’ve done in the past 2.5 months. I did row a bit on Thursday, but not with HOLOFIT because my 12yo was using the VR.
This evening I decided to row, because I’m so sick of the treadmill. I picked the Tropical environment in Explore mode.
Here’s the thing:
Not only did I finish the course, I made it a full two laps and collected all of the trophies, for the first time ever.
I wasn’t fast – that 7km took me 50 minutes – but I felt good after 15 minutes so I kept going, and then I still felt good after 25 minutes, and then I realized I was back where I started and I wanted to see if I could do it.
I literally cried when I collected trophy 18/18. Then when I was done, I called my BFF to tell her what I had done and cried some more.
I can’t explain to you how much my life has changed.
As of today, I am down 96 pounds from my highest weight, and 62 pounds from the day of surgery. I still have more weight to lose, but I already have so much more energy and stamina than I did just 6 months ago.
I have more follow-up appointments mid-May, where I’m hoping the doctor clears me to do whatever workout I want, and physical therapy clears me to start lifting heavy again.
Regardless of what happens with my lifting, I’m excited to see the progress I have made so clearly demonstrated with HOLOFIT. It’s hard to see progress on a day-to-day basis, and having something that so obviously shows me how far I’ve come is awesome motivation to keep going.
I love HOLOFIT. I have from the moment I discovered it. I tell everyone who mentions rowing … or VR or exercise or health in any way … that they need to try HOLOFIT. I am so grateful to have rowing back in my repertoire.
7km in 50 minutes and collecting all the trophies may not seem like much to anyone else, but to me it is a sign that my life is changed for the better.
I am truly thankful for HOLOFIT. I am truly thankful for this community, and the engagement and encouragement I find here.
I can’t wait to tell you all about the next goal I smash.
Thanks for being here, Holofitters.
And thanks for listening to my story.
To get to know other Holofitters, get motivated, arrange workouts and discuss anything fitness related – join our online Community! It’s the place to share your experience, read about other users’ experiences and also serves as a fantastic accountability hub.
P.S. We have an ongoing Spring Challenge which you can check out in the group.
The challenge ends on May 14th 2021. No fixed dates for each specific workout, the goal is to finish all 12 of them within these 30 days. So if you haven’t already, there`s plenty of time to join in!