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11 Reasons to Submit Your Success Story

By Steve Edwards

We want your success story! Even if it's not as successful as you wanted it to be, send it in anyway. Why, you ask? Because recording your personal saga will enhance your results. And it will inspire others to better results as well. No one's story is without merit. There are so many different people that no matter what your situation is, someone out there is going to relate. As our Success Story Manager Anna Eriksson puts it, "It's unparalleled validation of your transformation and a generous way to provide inspiration to people who haven't found a way to motivate themselves to get fit."

Still not convinced? Here are 11 reasons to try your luck.

  1. It doesn't matter if you don't win.
    This isn't a "win or go home" scenario. Let's face it, most people don't win. But in the scope of what you're trying to accomplish, how much does that really matter? Phillip S. was one of those who never won. He could have, for sure. He got fit, had great weight loss and body transformation, but never had the luck of the draw. The bottom line, however, was that he was fit—really fit. So he did something else for himself, a "birthday challenge" where he ran 49 kilometers on his 49th birthday. Not bad for a guy who could barely get up his stairs when he ordered Power 90®.

  2. You'll change your views on life.
    Sure, what most people want to see first are the physical changes that occur, but the most important changes are in your mind. If you set your mind right, your body will follow. Take it from recent Success Story Dawn M. "Somehow my focus changed from how much I weigh, to how I feel. Not what size I am, but how strong I am. It's no longer eating for convenience or out of boredom, but eating to fuel my body. I can't exactly explain that emotional transformation; however it really is 'a lifestyle change' for me now."

  3. You'll inspire others.
    More than anything else, our Success Stories are chosen to inspire others. Like the old saying, "when you got your health . . . " tells you, not much in life is worse than when you or someone you care about has health issues that don't allow them to participate in living. Every single Success Story is inspiring to someone. And if you're not chosen, your story will still be available on your profile. So just the act of writing it down will help you help others. Not much can be more rewarding. For example, check out Rachel F.'s story, which has certainly helped many. After battling anorexia and then massive weight gain, her Power 90 odyssey concludes with, "Power 90 has truly saved my life! It has saved me from years of abuse to my body and mind."

  4. You'll have reason to enjoy your "before" shot. Transformation is cool. The bigger the transformation, the more fun it is to look at. Go ahead and post the worst shot you can find. It may be painful for you to look at now but it will be oh-so-much-more fun afterwards. Eriksson offers some guidelines. "Take the time to find photos that accurately show your body when you were heavier. If you've avoided cameras, ask friends, family, and coworkers to look through their photos. Illustrating the complete transformation is key. It isn't enough to say how much weight you've lost if you can't concretely show the pounds and inches visually." Plus, it'll impress your friends when they see your "after" shot.

  5. You get to take a sexy "after" shot.
    Most of us harbor secret desires to look like someone in Maxim or the Victoria's Secret catalog. However, we also feel like a prima donna for primping this much and taking sexy pics that will be seen by more than your significant other. Here is your excuse and you've earned it. Plus, knowing that it's helping others allows you to throw modesty to the wind and get creative. According to Eriksson, "Take the time to take photos that really show what your body looks like now. Make sure your body is clearly illustrated in shorts and athletic bras for women." In other words, it's skin to win and, trust us, you'll be glad you've got these shots when you're older . . . like next week.

  6. You'll get smarter.
    A fit body and mind is more energetic, motivated, and self-aware. Being a Success Story was one of the things that prompted Diane D. to go back to school and earn her MBA. "The changes on the inside are just as dramatic as the ones on the outside. I am healthy, strong, and self-confident."

  7. You'll get wiser.
    Sometimes, the path to success is a lot easier than it appears. As you put the time and effort in, things often just clear up, requiring less time and effort than you originally thought they would. Listen to Success Story winner and member of our 100 Pound Pioneer Club Randy J., "The aspect of the nutrition guide that most applied to me was portion control." Was that really so hard to figure out?

  8. You'll get famous.
    Diane D. went on a local makeover show (her LASIK doc recommended her for it): Baltimore's Dramatic Makeover. The plastic surgeon took off 10 inches of skin. Not fat—only skin. "The film crew and the doctor went on and on about how I had no fat, just extra skin. I think that is a great testament to Beachbody! I took myself as far as I could go on my own. The plastic surgeon just finished the job that no amount of exercise could have. I can now wear a bikini for the first time in my life, and I am pushing 40 years old."

  9. You'll become a better writer.
    The power of change motivates people to tell their tale, and motivation is the most necessary component in telling a good story. Infuse some inspiration and allow the mind to take over. Check out this example, courtesy of Charline B.: "So there I was, depressed, stressed, and not just overweight but obese. For this and other reasons, my marriage was feeling the strain, our finances were in trouble, and I was on the verge of a complete nervous breakdown. I knew something had to change . . . To those of you who say, 'I just can't find the time to do this,' I am here to tell you that if you want this badly enough, you will do whatever it takes."

  10. You will change your life.
    We have had many examples of our members quitting smoking, or drinking, or some other life-draining habit. Your fitness journey is step one. Recording the journey will keep you on the right track. Take it from Sarah W., who has now been sober for 11 years. "Since becoming an active member of Beachbody, I have lost 55 pounds (and counting!!), 10 dress sizes, and a whopping 43 inches off my body. I have dropped my self-defeating behavior of overeating, picked up a tremendous desire to achieve, and discovered a well of strength within myself."

  11. You could become a Beachbody icon.
    Virginia was never a success story. In fact, I don't think she ever actually submitted because she's self-styled "shy." However, she's far from shy in our Message Board community where she's been a coach and general cheerleader for years. As someone who's lost well in excess of 100 pounds, her shared trials, tribulations, and amazing tales of transforming from someone who could barely walk around her block to a woman who runs marathons and coaches her local running club have inspired thousands of members over the years. She's been such an icon on the boards that we hired her to run the ever-popular 100 Pound Pioneer Club.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on a newsletter article, just email us at mailbag@beachbody.com. Check Steve Edwards' Mailbag for his responses to reader comments

You can catch up with Steve as he keeps pace with the riders of the Tour de France. Read all about his latest fitness marathon in his blog, The Straight Dope.

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7 Tips for Being the BEST Success Story

By Anna Eriksson

Ever wonder what it takes to be one of those "That's unbelievable!" Success Stories we can't help but be inspired by? Well, you'd be surprised how just a few tips can help you turn so-so submissions into "got to see!" Success Stories you'd be proud to see featured on the World Wide Web.

  1. "Before" and "after" photos. Most people avoid photos when they're carrying more weight. Here are two things you can do today:
    • If you're just starting a fitness program, it's not too late. Get out the camera and take your photos today.
    • Well on your way to your goal? Scour your past photos or ask family, friends, and coworkers for photos they've taken that captured you when you were heavier.
    • For your "after" photo, be sure the camera is at approximately the same height and distance as it was for your "before" photo (the idea is to duplicate the "before" photo as closely as possible)

  2. Your body. It must be clearly illustrated in photos!
    • Be sure you are revealing your arms, stomach, back, and legs
    • Stand straight and avoid unnatural poses
    • Don't cut off your head or any other body part
    • Take photos close enough to accurately capture your muscle tone

  3. John I.
  4. Your clothes. Don't hide behind distorting fabric.
    • Athletic bra and shorts for women, shorts only for men
    • Avoid clothes with saggy excess material
    • No logos or overpowering designs
    • Actual underwear can be too revealing, if you know what I mean. . .
    • If it requires a special waxing or double-sided tape . . . the swimsuit is too daring

  5. Lighting. Illuminate your body—most indoor lighting needs improvement!
    • Be sure you are in a well-lit area
    • Avoid distorting shadows or glaring sunlight

  6. Background. Not everyone has a maid, so household clutter is normal; just don't capture it for posterity!
    • Stand clear of dirty dishes, open toilet seats, and piles of laundry
    • Don't stand in front of artwork some may find overly provocative
    • If a lamp appears to be sticking out of your head, retake the photo
    • Try to use the same background for your "before" and "after" photos

  7. Bethany D.
  8. Your story. We want to hear about your Beachbody experience, so start writing!
    • What was your life like before your transformation?
    • Was there a turning point that spurred your desire to become fit?
    • How did you find Beachbody? What program did you select?
    • What Beachbody diet did you follow and how did it differ from past plans?
    • What supplements did you use to complete your program regimen?
    • Did you use the online Team Beachbody community tools?
    • What were your initial goals?
    • Relate what you liked about the program and how it fit into your life.
    • Did people around you react positively to your improving physical health?
    • Have you created new goals for yourself?

  9. Your video (optional). Show us who you are and tell us your story
    • Keep the camera steady and apply above lighting tips
    • Avoid any sound distortion, music, or ambient TV noise
    • Tell us about your personal experience with the program
    • Show us some of your favorite moves from the program
    • Tell us about your overall Beachbody experience

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