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Mar 20

How Fitness Trainer Erin Oprea Changed Her Body Composition At 44 – Women’s Health

After a lifetime dedicated to fitness27 years of personal training, nine years in the Marine Corps, and two years in IraqI never thought my personal strength transformation journey would start at 45.

I started personal training at 18 years old (I am a Nashville-based celebrity personal trainer and founder of Pretty Muscles fitness app), and my fitness philosophy has been pretty simple: Learn to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle that you can maintain forever. Health is not a crash course. You can learn to love life while working on creating the best you. Slow and steady wins the race.

Ive always stayed steady. Ive never competed in fitness competitions. I never had a goal to change my own bodythat is, until a series of injuries led me to start a big strength transformation journey.

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It was horrible. To treat it, I went to stem cell therapy and did three platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy sessions. Fat was injected into the heel pad to help, as well. Then, in June 2021, I tore my ACL for the third time. In September of the same year, I tore my ACL while rehabbing from my earlier surgery. However, this time I also broke my knee cap in two. I was going from surgery, to surgery, to surgery. (Plus, I also had a boob lift!)

For about a year, my many injuries meant I had done no cardio. I was still weight training six days a week, but I was also going through perimenopause (the phase before menopause as your body starts to transition)so my body was going through a lot. But I didn't decide to make a big change until I was spurred by a question my son, Hunter, asked me one night. It was a question that would jump start my personal strength journey, challenging me to build lean, strong muscle and get back to where I was pre-injury.

After four ACL tears, a broken knee cap, and pins in my knee, I was told I would never run again. I was in physical therapy (and probably always will be) when I decided to start my journey. My 22-year-old son came to me in late June 2022 and asked if I wanted to run a half marathon with him, I said, Man, I cant run anymore. Im out.

But later that night, I couldn't stop thinking about how I had told him, I cant run. I used to be a runner, I used to do marathons. Running had always been a huge part of my life.

I have never been a big scale person and prefer to focus on how I look and feel, but I wanted to be able to run that half marathon with my son, I wanted to get back to where I was before, and I wanted to get stronger and leaner too.

So, the next morning I got up, and I got on a treadmill. Lets just see if I can't run, I said. I told myself Id run three-fourths of a mile and just see how it felt. I finished that short jog, and I felt amazing.

I took a day off before attempting to run a full mile. Then, I ran 1.5 miles, then two milesI told myself, "If I can hit seven miles and still feel good, then Im going to do the half marathon."

Once I realized I could conquer these shorter runs, I was on a mission. To prepare, I built up to running six to 10-mile runs, five days per week while continuing my strength training 6 days a week. I wasn't running for time, I was running for distance.

In October of 2022, I ran my first half marathon in years.

That meant, for me personally, going from an average of about 3,000 calories per day to between 2,000 and 2,100 caloriesbut I still made sure I had *plenty* of fuel for my workouts. (USDA guidelines recommended a range for women between 1,600 and 2,400 calories per day). I also cut my starch intake by half. (Work with a nutritionist to figure out a calorie consumption that fits your needs.)

While I don't use anything specific to track what I'm eating, I eat the same thing pretty much 99.9 percent of the time. Breakfast, lunch, dinnereverything is exactly the same.



Morning snack:


Afternoon snack:


Late-night snack:

Erin Oprea has been on a body transformation journey.

I'm seeing results in my running time. Ive decreased my mileage, and either run three to four miles a day, or I do 30 to 45 minutes of jump rope. Now, my goal is to get my speed back and to hit my Marine Corp running time.

I test myself every week, and last week, I hit 21 minutes and 20 seconds during a three-mile run. For context, when I first started running again, I was doing three miles in 29 minutes Im really proud of how far I've come already! My goal is 20 minutes and 15 to 20 seconds, so Im getting there.

Everything is on a schedule, and I love it. I stay super active throughout the day, from 4 am until bedtime (which is usually around 8:30 p.m., but lately has been closer to 10 p.m.). I usually fit in 20,000 to 25,000 steps each day. I've also always been big on stretching and foam rolling, and I always use my Theragun.

For fun, my husband and I go dancing from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. One of my favorite DJs plays at a bar on Broadway, and were home before its dark.

The coolest thing about my transformation has been the impact on my perimenopause journey. I used to have massive, puke-inducing cramps. But three months into my journey, I recognized that I was getting regular periods without side effects, which is amazing. I have had zero boob soreness and zero cramps.

I've also noticed reduced inflammation. I've struggled with tendonitis in both elbowssometimes I can't even hold my phone because my elbows hurt so badly. I credit this with cutting down on starches and being more disciplined about my food sensitivities like yeast (which I had tested). My body just feels good. In fact, my joints feel better now than they did when I was 30.

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My energy levels are highand everything is great. Ive even rediscovered my love of rollerblading!

I want other women to realize that if you want it badly enough, you can do it. And at *any* age. People are quick to find excuses and then they dont get results. Is it easy? No. But is it worth it? Absolutely.

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How Fitness Trainer Erin Oprea Changed Her Body Composition At 44 - Women's Health

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