Making lifestyle changes means staying on task—for a long, long time, as in the rest of your life. So when I meet someone who really seems to have that motivation thing down, I want to learn from that person.

Andrea Ellis is a mother of three who teaches Insanity Live classes in Edgewood, and is a Beachbody coach.

She said her journey to fitness started in 2007, after the birth of her daughter in 2005. She’d been able to easily lose the baby weight after her first two children were born, but topped out at 202 after her daughter’s birth.

She said she was “doing excessive cardio,” and “had a problem with eating, and I hadn’t changed that.”

So she started with a home workout called P90X. The program sat on the shelf while she thought about it. Meanwhile, she dieted and her weight fluctuated; over about four years she lost 30 pounds.

In 2012, “I took a Beachbody challenge,” Ellis said. That meant a daily shake and a workout program, and the plateau broke—she got under her goal weight right away.

She said that was what gave her the push to become a Beachbody coach, as the direct sales company gives her a discount on its products as she represents them.

That also gave her the incentive to teach classes, and she is certified to teach Insanity and PiYo, and she is a physical trainer.

losing-it-14330971_10210356329922597_1387019265_n“The biggest thing for me is to help others on their journey,” Ellis said. “I know a lot of people struggle with portion control, with food—they don’t have a problem exercising. And the majority of the time I have the same struggles.”

I asked her how she finds the motivation—because the classes she teaches are at 6 and 7 a.m.

“I have a picture in the back of my head, when I was miserably 200 pounds,” she said. “I know it is so easy to sleep in on Monday, or to sleep in on Saturday—or to just completely give up. … But I’ve come a long way, and I’m not going back there.”

Setting an example for her kids is a big thing for her, and she has a big rule: Never skip a Monday.

I tried out her class not long ago, and I felt great after working out at 6 a.m.—really great. Starting the day and the week that way really set the tone for my fitness goals.

Ellis said for her the reverse is also true, that starting Monday out without a workout easily leads to a downhill slump. “When you don’t feel like it, it’s mind over matter,” she said. “Get your ass out of bed and frickin do it.”

The challenge was what initially got her interested in fitness, and what kept her going in the early days. Being part of a group and accountable was one part of it, but so was seeing whether she could rise to the challenge.

On days when she doesn’t get that morning workout in, Ellis will go to one of the challenges she posts daily in her Facebook group, “Edgewood Insaniacs Fitness.”

“There’s never a perfect time of the day, or a perfect time of the year, or the month or the week,” Ellis said. “You have to want it. You have to want to do it.”

Ellis said now her daughter challenges her grandmother to do squats or other exercise. Ellis loves that because, “I hated exercise when I was 12 years old.” So for her kids to follow in her footsteps and “think I’m cool” in leading a healthy lifestyle feels like a big deal.

“It doesn’t matter your age, or your level. Anyone can do some type of exercise,” she said. “I’m not Miss Know It All, but I know what I’ve accomplished and I use that to help me help other people.”

Here was a statement that stopped me in my tracks: “Negativity can really benefit you in a lot of ways.”

Ellis said that’s because when you think you can’t do something, because it’s too hard, or too intimidating, or too far away, or too whatever, but then you push yourself to do it, that feeling of accomplishment is very motivating.

And she said quitting smoking was easy because she had already exercised discipline and built habits in exercise that eased the process.

I asked her what her best advice for somebody who knows they need to make changes but doesn’t know how: “I would advise them to reach out to somebody who has been there, who used to have a similar mindset and that can be a positive accountability partner for them,” she replied. “I think anything that has to do with accountability is excellent.”

Part of the Beachbody program is portion control—and Ellis talked me into trying it in October. Stay tuned. I’ll prepare my own meals and recipes, only I’ll use portion control containers to serve my meals up. At the same time, I’ll be adding a home cardio workout into my routine, a country dancing thing called Country Heat that looks like a lot of fun.

Andrea Ellis has been at a healthy weight for over three years now, she said. To find out about her classes or Beachbody, contact her at 505-417-5668.

Do you have an inspiring story of moving from sedentary to fitness? You can reach me at 505-286-1212 or leota@lobo.net, or join the conversation in my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!” I’d love to hear from you.