November 1, 2015

Terri Claypoole-Bray

For the past 9 years I’ve been doing what I love and what I feel I was called to do….Helping people change their lives as a personal trainer/Bootcamp instructor. I am passionate about helping anyone end their struggle with being overweight and educating people on how to eat healthy. I personally know what a struggle it is to overcome obesity and change your lifestyle. I struggled with it the first 18 years of my life!

I don’t remember a time in my youth when I wasn’t overweight. Growing up in a southern household in Oklahoma meant your typical country cooking (high fat, high carb, sugary treats, etc.) and never leaving a table without cleaning our plates. However, when I was 12, my younger sister was diagnosed with celiac disease. Of course, my mother immediately changed the way our family ate at home. I, on the other hand, continued to gorge myself anywhere I could; no place was off limits! I’d raid my friends’ or my grandparents’ houses for any morsel, but the worse part are the poor people who hired me to babysit their children. They never suspected that while they left their kids in my care that I would totally clean out their pantries as well.

The most vivid memory I have of this time, was when I was 15 years old. At a doctor’s appointment, I was asked to step on a scale and the number read 199! I was in total shock! That was the first time I realized what I had become…I was the “funny fat girl”. I felt like a beast. So what did I do about it, you ask. I got a job at McDonalds of course! By the time I graduated high school I weighed in at 220 lbs.

When I was 19, I joined my first gym with my older sister. The owner and personal trainer took pity on me and started training me. It was then that I began my journey and I owe it all to that man and his wife. They inspired me through their dedication to health and fitness to start my own quest to live healthier. I learned a lot during this time. I learned how to exercise and lift weights realizing it’s not just for boys. I learned that starving myself or living on liquid diets was not the way to take care of my body for a healthy lifestyle. But most importantly, I learned that the ONLY way to lose weight and keep it off was to be consistent and dedicated to my total wellbeing. There is no diet pill, special drink/shake, or surgery that will change your life (completely) until you decide to make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

At the age of 21, a friend introduced me to running. At first, it was not a pretty sight; but with dedication and consistent practice I got better. Then I moved to Arkansas and was introduced to the “Women Can Run” clinic. With that training, I completed my very first 5k with a 24:26 time that awarded me with FIRST PLACE in my age division! Within four years, I had gone from a size 20 to a size 6, completed a 5k and felt better than I ever imagined I could. All this was accomplished with just running, weightlifting, and clean eating.

That very same year I met the owner of a gym in Bryant who saw what he thought was potential in me. He encouraged me to become a personal trainer and to share my journey and story with others as motivation. So that’s what I did. I am now able to live my life’s passion. I am blessed to play a role in my clients’ lives as they embark on their own journey to transform their life.