A woman has revealed that she shed 35 pounds and became stronger than ever by regularly completing obstacle courses.
Kirin Hart, 38, from New Jersey, revealed in an article for Women’s Health that she was sporty from a young age, having been ‘athletic’ in school and participating in track during her four years at college.
However, the mother-of-two said her life changed after she had her children, as she began suffering with mental health issues, which ended up taking a toll on her physical health as well.
Wow! Kirin Hart, pictured before (L) and after (R) her weight loss, from New Jersey, has shed a total of 35 pounds since she began obstacle-course racing
Transformation: The mother-of-two, seen before (L) and after (R) said she was always athletic, however, she began battling mental health issues after having her two kids
Kirin had her son in March 2007, and she was still nursing him when she discovered that she was pregnant for the second time.
‘To an outsider, it might sound as if I had it all,’ Kirin said. She added that she began suffering with a number of mental health issues, as well as postpartum depression – depression that occurs after childbirth.
Sad: Pictured recently, Kirin was suffereing with a number of mental health issues, as well as postpartum depression
When Kirin’s daughter was two years of age, the mother-of-two noticed that people had started to congratulate her for being pregnant again, despite the fact that she wasn’t expecting.
At the time, she weighed around 175 pounds, which she says was a ‘heavy weight’ for her personally.
‘I was extremely self-conscious, and the pregnancy comment really made an impact on me.
‘I expressed my frustration to my husband at the time, who suggested I join a gym,’ she said.
Kirin began taking classes at a Retro Fitness gym in her area, and began doing simple cardio exercises, such as working out on the elliptical.
‘When I went from doing nothing to doing something, I lost a bit of weight,’ she said. ‘I was down about 10 pounds, and it jump-started my process of getting back into shape.
‘A short time later, my husband and I hit our first major rough patch. I was unhappy and began spending more time at the gym, where – for the first time in ages – I felt like I was developing a social network that was my own, independent from him,’ she added.
Changes: Kirin, as seen now, was regularly mistaken for being pregnant when he daughter was two, so she decided to join a gym to try and lose weight
New challenges: The mom-of-two, pictured recently, began with simple cardio exercises, before moving on to eventually try weight lifting, before taking part in competitions
Worry: Seen recently, Kirin became conscious of her weight when she was competing, at which time she weighed just 117 pounds, as she feared she was overweight
When a friend she knew from the gym suggested Kirin get into weight lifting in order to release stress, she agreed to give it a try.
‘I loved how strong I felt, and I really started to see my body change,’ she said. ‘I also felt so encouraged and motivated the more I developed genuine friendships at the gym.’
Unhealthy: When she realized that the lifestyle was damaging her mental health, she knew she had to find a healthier replacement for bodybuilding
In the summer of 2013, a friend of Kirin’s proposed the idea that she begin taking part in amateur bodybuilding competitions.
Kirin said: ‘By the fall of 2013, I had competed in two amateur competitions. I came in fourth place in both, but I didn’t do the prep work in a healthy way at all.
‘I knew I wasn’t eating enough on the very low-calorie, low-carb diet I followed. It consisted of eating six (unsatisfying) meals a day, while lifting and working out for hours on end, and also while I working full time and trying to be the best mother I could,’ she added.
She said she competed at 117 pounds. However, she was constantly in fear that she was overweight.
When she realized that the lifestyle was damaging her mental health, she knew she had to find a healthier replacement for bodybuilding.
Her husband suggested obstacle-course racing, which Kirin said involves ‘mud, being sweaty, being outdoors’ and ‘large crowds of people’.
Unsure at first, she decided to give it try. She signed up for her first Spartan race – a series of obstacle races of varying distance and difficulty ranging from three miles to marathon distances – in the spring of 2014.
New! Her husband suggested obstacle-course racing, so she tried it out, and ended up falling in love with the sport
Important: She credits obstacle courses with ‘completely changing’ her body, as well as improving her social life, as she got to know many new people
Positive: ‘While I don’t weigh myself, I know I’m somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 pounds, and I feel great about that,’ Kirin said
‘I fell in love,’ she said, referring to the obstacle courses. ‘I found races on Groupon and signed up for every event I came across. I brought my children to some of the races so they could do the kids’ competitions – they loved it!
‘Over the course of a couple of seasons, I started getting to know more and more people, once again loving the feeling of being part of a community.’
Kirin competed in the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships (OCRWC) in 2015 and 2016. In 2015, she said she was one of around 75 women from all around the world to complete the obstacles in the allocated time frame.
Kirin’s sample every-day diet
Breakfast: Oatmeal, peanut butter toast, or eggs – with fruit, and coffee with almond milk.
Snack: Fruit or vegetables, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, or a cup of coffee with almond milk.
Lunch: Protein and vegetables, or a peanut butter sandwich
Snack: Fruit, snack bar, dates with some nuts.
Dinner: Grilled chicken and roasted veggies, with pasta or beans.
Dessert: Fruit or homemade treats.
She credits obstacle courses with ‘completely changing’ her body.
‘While I don’t weigh myself, I know I’m somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 pounds, and I feel great about that,’ she said.
The mom-of-two said having muscle has been the biggest change she has seen in herself, adding that it took eight years to get her body to its current condition.
She explained: ‘It’s a gradual process. I am not the result of any kind of shortcuts; no shakes or wraps or diet teas. To be frank, I bust my ass – and I’m proud of it.’
The mother-of-two’s current workout regime sees her training at least five or six days every week.
‘I might go rock climbing once or twice a week, do ninja obstacles a couple times, plus one aerial yoga class,’ she said.
‘On the sixth day of the week, I may just do cardio on the treadmill. I’m not super strict about my schedule or patterns, and I love that my workouts never feel like workouts because I have so much fun.’
Busy schedule: The mother-of-two’s current workout regime sees her training at least five or six days every week
Smart: As well as her fitness routine, Kirin’s eating patterns have also changed since she delved into the sport, as she says she now eats ‘intuitively’
Happy: ‘I’m 38 years old, and I’m healthier on the outside and inside than I have been in a while,’ Kirin said
As well as her fitness routine, Kirin’s eating patterns have also changed since she delved into the sport.
‘I now eat intuitively – meaning when I notice my hunger cues. I also eat to fuel my body so I can do all of the activities I love with energy and safely, and I consume real food and mostly cook at home,’ she said.
Kirin credits finding her fitness niche with not only improving her physical health, but also helping her overcome some emotional issues.
She said herself and her husband have divorced since she embarked on her fitness journey. Speaking about the difficult time, she said: ‘It was a hard realization that I had become so completely dependent on him for everything from my professional life to parenting, down to the way I dressed.
‘There were moments where I actually believed I wouldn’t be able to go on without him, but I got through it and proved to myself just how strong I am.
‘I also was formally diagnosed with anxiety and depression and am now managing my mental health conditions with medication, on top of leaning into fitness and on my friends and family,’ she said.
Now, Kirin says she feels ‘good’, adding that her closest friends and family have noted that she seems happier than ever.
‘All of those things aside, I’m 38 years old, and I’m healthier on the outside and inside than I have been in a while,’ she said.
‘I am happy with how I look, which is something that I know that many women my age struggle to say. I’m proud of how far I have come, even though I know how far I still have left to go as an athlete, a parent, and as a person in general.’