A Story of Healing, Recovery and Triumph with Robin Loeffel (@robinreshaped)

We all start somewhere. So, let me tell you where I started…

If you read my bio, you may be thinking where is the degree or where is the certification? Well you didn’t miss anything because none of my formal education is in health or fitness. I am 100% self-taught. So, you know what that means? If I can do it, so can you! Now let me be clear—I did not do this on my own. We all have a personal journey, but we need others along the way to teach us, encourage us, push us, and do it with us! 

I have always been active. I was an athlete from a very young age and was a nationally-ranked competitive cheerleader at the collegiate level; however, I was never educated on how to properly train or fuel my body. After graduating college, I started to experience crippling pain in my joints. I could not put pressure on my toes, so I had to walk on the outsides of my feet. I could not button my shirt or turn a door knob. I was distraught as this disease was seemingly taking over my life. 

Fast forward through the pain meds and steroids, I was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, psoriatic arthritis, and given a treatment plan. It took a while to find the medication that worked for me, but once I did, I had new life! While I was exceedingly thankful for a solution to the pain, my body image and self-confidence had taken a hit. I weighed more than I ever had, but more so than that, I just didn’t feel like myself because I wasn’t active. 

I could move again, but I didn’t know where to start. Running is self-explanatory, so I began there. I ran a few half marathons, but I wanted more. I wanted change. I had spent months going to a gym just to get on the treadmill because I didn’t know what else to do. I took the blessing of mobility and coupled it with courage. I was scared, I was confused, but more than that, I was driven to overcome it. 

As I slowly conquered the gym-timidation, I quickly fell in love with weightlifting! I would research exercises, proper form, and what muscles to connect with when doing these exercises. I would go to the gym during the less busy hours to practice new things. I also found friends who were willing to help, so now I try to open my eyes to who else might be feeling insecure like I was once. Never forget where you started. I now tell everyone that going to the gym is my happy hour every day after work. It has provided the outlet that cheerleading used to be for me. 

Once I added weightlifting to my cardio, I saw changes compositionally but was not fully meeting my goals. The missing piece—nutrition. I tried Whole30, which was great for learning about ingredients used in foods and detecting food allergies but not for losing body fat. But then, I found macros! I learned about proteins, carbs, and fats, and how much of those my body needs to reach my goals. I was allowing myself to eat foods I had restricted and labeled as “bad,” in moderation. It was a game changer for me! Proof that you must have both training and nutrition dialed in for optimal results.

As I have progressed in my health and fitness journey, I have loved connecting with other women, affirming them, and helping them. Through social media, many people have helped me continue to learn, and I hope to do the same for others! I wanted to leave you with a few tips that have helped me over the years in hopes that they may help you reach your goals too:

If you need help, ask! Seek out people in your gym, in your communities, or on social media. Then, do the research. Don’t just do something because someone told you to, understand the why behind it.

You will NOT get bulky. Push yourself in the gym. When those muscles tear and repair, they will build lean muscle mass that will burn fat and give you the body composition you are looking for.

Do not aim for perfection, aim for consistency. One bad meal or one missed workout will not break you, but many good meals and good workouts, will make you!

This will take time. The goal should not be a specific weight loss goal with a rigid timeline. You should absolutely set goals, but don’t expect things to change overnight.

Life is too short to not have fun! Enjoy the process, the progress, and the rewards. You can do hard things! 


Robin is a native Memphian who loves her BBQ—everything in moderation friends. She has a bachelor’s in English, a minor in Spanish, and an MBA. She was a nationally-ranked competitive cheerleader from middle school through college at the University of Memphis—Go Tigers! She loves lifting weights, meal prepping, and connecting with and helping others through her health and fitness social media platform @robinreshaped

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