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Cindy Shanley, Managing Editor, Pearland Administrative Offices Building


It took trial and error, but Cindy, who was out of shape and overweight, finally found the program she’d been searching for. In 2019, she signed up with a HIIT Houston personal trainer who listened to her goals – lose weight, become stronger, and build up endurance – and developed a personalized fitness plan just for her. Down over 100 pounds, in 2020 she started training for powerlifting competitions.


What was the catalyst for your focus on being healthier and fit?
My youngest sibling passed away from complications related to Type 2 diabetes. It made me more aware of how family history and genetics might affect my health. Overweight and out of shape, in 2019 I started looking for a program that could help me improve muscle strength and endurance while simultaneously losing weight.


How did you go about finding the right program?
I work in Pearland but live off Highway 290. I wanted a gym in Pearland where I could go right after work and am so lucky that I found HIIT Houston, a small gym located off Broadway/FM 518. HIIT Houston has group classes, but I had decided I wanted personal training and a trainer who would challenge me, keep my workouts interesting, and push me when needed. When the owner, Minh Tran, who’s the gym’s head coach and now my trainer, explained his philosophy of training, I immediately felt HIIT Houston would be a good fit.


What’s your approach to fitness?
With guidance from my trainer, I track what I eat on MyFitnessPal, making sure I’m eating the right balance of lean protein, healthy carbs, and ‘good’ fats. He adjusts the amounts based on the progress I’m making and structures customized workouts to get the results that will reach the series of goals I’m working toward. I typically work out six days a week – three days at the gym and three days at home. The workouts he designs are a combination of cardio, high-intensity interval training, and weight training that involves free weights and body weight.


What keeps you motivated?
I’m pretty determined and don’t give up easily, which has worked in my favor. Once I commit to something, no matter what it is, I put my all into it. Otherwise, to me, it’s not worth doing. Seeing results is the best motivator and my trainer varies my workouts so they’re never boring. Working out is hard but fun, and I enjoy it!


How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your workouts?
I never stopped working out and continued making progress and losing more weight. When gyms were shut down, Minh went above and beyond to continue providing members with a great workout experience. He held small group classes in the park and Zoom workouts, posted online workouts, and loaned out gym equipment. He continued to train me, one on one, in his garage and I did a lot of working out at home in my backyard. Since gyms have reopened, he limits group classes to eight people and is a stickler for social distancing and sanitation. When I’m there working out, I’m safely separated from the class.


What advice would you give others wanting to be healthier?
First, be sure you know what your goals are. I set big and small goals that keep me moving forward. Once you’re ready to start, put in the work because you’ll only get out if it what you put into it. I don’t do every workout perfectly, but I give it my all. Anything less would be cheating myself and wasting my trainer’s time. Make it a priority. I have a bad habit of putting myself last, but now I don’t let anything get between me and my health goals.


What are the keys to success?
I’d put commitment and consistency at the top, along with surrounding yourself with the right support. Having the right person cheering you on, motivating you, keeping you accountable to yourself, and making you feel you can accomplish anything makes all the difference. Whether you have a significant other, best friend, family member, workout group, or an awesome trainer like mine who goes above and beyond, it should be someone you trust and can count on.


What’s next for you?
In late 2020, Minh began training me for powerlifting competitions, which involves three barbell events: squat, deadlift, and bench press. The plan is to enter competitions in 2021. I never imagined this is what I’d be doing, but I’m up for the challenge and, with Minh as my secret weapon, looking forward to seeing how far I can go.