My Garage Gym Journey

I’ve shared my story time, and time again. I’ve shared it so much with others I’m practically blue in the face. I sat down to write this, looked at my husband and mentioned how I think my story might be getting repetitive at this point in my weight loss. He looked at me and said, “Why not keep telling it? It’s a great story, and its yours..”

They laughed when I tried to enlist

I was an athlete my whole life, I figure skated competitively for 10 years, and played soccer throughout high school.

I was also the girl who liked to party in college, and gained weight from drinking too much, and having shitty eating habits.

I walked into a recruiter’s office in October 2011; two months into my freshman year of college, and received a huge wake up call. They actually laughed at me when I told them I wanted to enlist, they told me bluntly, I was FAT, 200 pounds at 5’2 and 18 years old. YIKES. That kicked my ass into gear. I lost between 40-50 pounds by June 2012, went to MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) only to be disqualified for my tattoos.

Then I got pregnant

When I found out I was pregnant with Shade (my oldest) in October 2013 I was running 10 miles a day, and in the best shape of my life. But early into my pregnancy, my fitness stopped out of fear of having another miscarriage. And eating healthy stopped after being diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, I ate whatever I could keep down. Fast forward 10 months and over 40 pounds later, I was out of shape, over 230 pounds, struggling to find a routine that worked. Life as a mom is the best blessing ever, and being a mom fully consumed me. I had forgotten who I was completely, because all I cared about was my beautiful baby, and at 6 months postpartum I found out I was pregnant again. I had JUST started running again, and I hadn’t lost ANY baby weight, in fact the weight I had initially lost I gained right back from my breastfeeding sweet tooth. So I tried my best to be healthy and continued running 1-2 miles a day until I was 8.5 months pregnant with Ruby.

The heaviest I had ever been

My husband, Russell is a Marine, so he works long crazy hours, and we move… a lot. In December 2016 we moved from Florida to North Carolina into our 6th house in our 3 years of marriage.

At my heaviest, I weighed over 240 pounds

I now had two toddlers, and was the heaviest I had ever been in my life, well over 240 pounds. I tried to go to community center gyms with the kids but they would act up and I would leave more frustrated than anything. I tried working out with a girl I was at the time friends in her garage gym but she worked late, and trying to get fit on someone elses schedule was just not working. I wanted more for myself and my health, I was fed up with not fitting into anything and hating how I looked. I remember BEGGING my husband, to let me get my own garage gym. He took some serious convincing, but I’m persistent, I made lists and reasons why I NEEDED my own gym, I stated my case for days, and he finally caved.

Since we are a one income family, if I was going to get my way it was going to have to be budget friendly. Most people I’ve talked to think to have a garage gym, and have results you have to spend thousands.

If you think that, I’m here to tell you, you’re wrong. You don’t need a lot to be successful.

But you gotta shop around

I price matched, I shopped around and found all the best deals, I found someone local to build my plyo box, I added a little at a time, and everything in my little garage gym cost around $600. I got everything I wanted to start me off. Just like that, the garage gym journey was born.

I slowly figured out what worked for me, I was finally able to start getting back into CrossFit regularly, after falling in love with it in 2016. It was now 2017, new year, new me, right?! I was gonna lose all that weight! A month later I found out I was pregnant with Stella. But this time would be different, and it sure was. I was healthy and STRONG, I actually lost 20 pounds that pregnancy and delivered at almost 42 weeks. My favorite pregnancy by far.

Samantha Wojos has a spot in her garage to call her own

I price matched, I shopped around and found all the best deals

And two steps back

Postpartum the third time around was awful for me, I was constantly sick, I found out I had a nasty umbilical hernia, because of it my diet and health suffered. I ate way too much chocolate, (hello breastfeeding sweet tooth again). When Stella was 6 months old I couldn’t take the pain of the hernia anymore, and finally had the repair surgery I needed, man I wish I didn’t wait so long to realize how much that surgery would change for me, for the better. After another month off to recover it was game on.

In June I weighed over 230 pounds. We went home on vacation to see family, and when we came back I had actually lost some weight, I took that and ran with it.

Enough was enough

I decided not to try any more diets, or quick fixes. I wanted my weight loss to be authentic and not aided in any way because I want this to be something I can have for the rest of my life, I don’t want to be fifty years old and STILL dieting. Instead, I eat everything in moderation, I cut daily Starbucks trips out (my bank account is also thanking me for that one); I still enjoy treating myself, because dammit sometimes you just gotta, but more like once a month now. I get in my garage daily and I put in hard work.

3 kids and over 4 years later, I can proudly and FINALLY say I have lost ALL the baby weight from each pregnancy. I’ve lost 46 pounds, over 23 inches overall, I’ve gone from a size 16+ pants to a 10/12, XXL shirts to Mediums, and weigh 185 pounds, just under what I was when I got pregnant with Shade. I owe it all to my little garage gym, and Keelo Fit.

It sure does feel good to FEEL GOOD!!!

I’ve hit so many PRs, and milestones here. I learned how to do toes to bars, double unders, I can do full push ups now, I have improved all my lifts, mobility, and I am stronger than I have ever been. My little gym has seen me at my weakest, heaviest, and most out of shape times, and this garage gym journey has taken me all the way to the happiest and healthiest I’ve been in years.

My little gym has seen me at my weakest, heaviest, and most out of shape times, and has taken me all the way to the happiest and healthiest I’ve been in years.

It sure does feel good to FEEL good. And I’m not done yet. I will not stop putting in the work here, quietly grinding on my own in my little garage gym. I will reach all of my goals, and once they’re reached I will set new ones, and crush those. It took me all this time to remember that who I was before I was a mother matters too, and I’m glad I found that person again.

You don’t need expensive gym memberships, or thousands of dollars to start your own home gym. You don’t need pills, quick fixes, wraps or shakes. I have tried them all. You just need to be determined, and willing to put in the work.

About the author

I’m Samantha Wojo, super sarcastic military wife, and artsy fartsy/crossfit(ish) mama to 3. I enjoy a good fireball Friday, and my policy for life is treat YO self! I went to college in Buffalo New York, and double majored in fine arts and photography. I love all things crafty, clean, and organized.

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