Renee Bargh is in the spotlight every day interviewing the likes of Tom Cruise, Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Lopez on the red carpet as the host of Extra.
But a hectic work schedule and a busy LA lifestyle wining and dining meant her diet had slipped, and she could never quite achieve the toned and defined figure she wanted working with a host of different trainers.
Feeling strong, healthy and 100% body confident again was Renee’s goal.
It was seeing the incredible results Kevin McHale achieved at Ultimate Performance Los Angeles when she filmed with the Glee star for Extra at the Brentwood gym that motivated her to start her own 11-week body transformation.
Renee was able to halve the amount of training she was doing in a week and get twice the results.
After 11 weeks, Renee is in the best shape of her life after dropping 9lbs, losing inches off her waist and sculpting the toned figure she had always aspired to have.
A certified health coach and yoga devotee, Renee has been blown away by the results she achieved lifting weights three times a week, and has a new-found passion for resistance training.
“I never thought I would love weight training. I will never stop doing this kind of training!
“Not only is it the physical effects and how I look, but it’s how I feel.
“Feeling strong is something I always aspire to and never thought I would actually get to know what that feeling felt like.
“I did not think I would even lose weight. I was just happy if I could get a little bit of definition. But I’ve lost body fat, weight and inches. It’s far exceeded my expectations.”
Renee explains how she achieved her transformation, what she changed with her diet, and how lifting weights three hours a week has had such a big impact on her body shape.
The first time I came to U.P., was for a shoot for Extra. It was with Kevin McHale and I saw Kevin’s transformation and that’s what inspired me to come to U.P.
I could tell just by looking at him just by how happy and how confident he was and how good he felt with his results.
Then when I saw his before and afters, I was like ‘amazing!’ That was all it took for me.
My motivation for wanting to do the transformation was just to see how far I could push myself, because I’ve never done anything like this.
When it comes to working out, I love to go to yoga and I love to take it easy, or dance and do things that feel good. But I’ve never really enjoyed working out or training at a gym.
I’ve never seen results. I’ve never seen muscle definition or anything in my body.
So when I saw these results and when I came to the gym and saw the wall of photos, I was like ‘okay! If those people can do it, I can do it! I want to see what I can do.’
It’s funny when I think about it because I thought I was really fit when I started at U.P., I thought I was strong, I felt healthy and I thought my body looked great.
I didn’t feel 100% confident, but I was like ‘I’m strong.’
Then after about a week at U.P. I realized that I had been doing everything wrong and that I was not strong and that I was not fit, and that I was not that healthy and that I was eating terribly, and I was just on this routine of going out for dinners every night and drinking wine all the time.
The minute I took that out and cut it out and started training, it was just a crazy shift. It blew my mind.
A good year before I started here, my diet was great and I was on a really good path.
Then I somehow fell off that and got really busy with work and social life, and was going out for dinners all the time.
I was probably going out for every meal of the day and drinking wine a few times a week.
I’m not a complete lush just guzzling wine every day! I was drinking a lot of wine, weekly, which I realise was just stacking on the calories.
I never looked at calories because I’ve always been smaller, so I’ve always been like ‘it’s fine!’
But the minute I started at U.P. and started going clean and cutting the wine out and cutting the sugar and bad fats out, and general eating out, the results were just crazy!
I think I lost about 9lbs, gained a few pounds of muscle, and I know I lost 2 inches from around my waist which was really cool because I had jeans which were really ‘argh!’ to get the buttons done up.
Now I put them on and I have to put the belt on with them. That was pretty cool. That was the biggest thing for me.
I didn’t expect to lose weight. Actually, going into this I didn’t want to lose weight. But I’m so happy that I did, because it wasn’t weight that I needed.
I think I’ve lost 8-9% body fat, which is great.
Day 1, I felt pretty defeated. Day 1, I thought ‘I don’t know if I can actually do this.’
Now, I’m addicted to it and I’m obsessed, and I actually hate that I miss my trainer Eddie and I miss training when I’m away or I’m working and I can’t get to some weights.
That’s so wild because I never thought I’d enjoy weight training and doing this kind of stuff.
Now I’m kind of obsessed.
Now I’m thinking ‘how do I get stronger? How do I get more muscle definition?’x
I have never been a big believer in dieting in the past. I really believe in listening to your body.
A couple of years ago, I had gone cold turkey and cut out sugar, gluten, wheat, dairy and alcohol, and meat.
That lasted around eight to 11 months and was very extreme and I had no social life and all of my friends will tell you that I was the most boring person to be around.
It was so extreme and impossible. It was great – I looked great and felt great, but it wasn’t something that was realistic that I could carry on.
Then once I stopped on that, I’m ‘all or nothing’, so I was back to ‘all’ rather than the nothing.
So, I feel like now, with what I’ve gained at U.P., I just know how to make healthier choices and it’s all about balance.
My diet changed drastically when I started my transformation. I tried to go as clean as I could. I stopped going out for meals. I started meal prepping.
I went from eating a lot of rich, heavy foods, like pasta a few times a week, to no pasta.
I think that the diet is a really big part of it and it’s really important and it did have a huge impact on the way that I feel and my energy levels.
I feel like I’ve been sleeping a lot better. Before I came here I’m pretty sure I had insomnia.
Even if I don’t get the best night’s sleep, I still have more energy than I did before.
My diet changed. I was pescatarian when I started – I wasn’t eating meat.
I found that I needed more protein, and that’s when I actually started seeing results when I started adding in chicken and a little bit of red meat here and there.
I don’t eat much meat, but it’s definitely helped see results quicker and it’s definitely helped me with the energy to get through the workouts.
The key thing I learned was that it’s not about dieting or restricting yourself.
I learned that I could actually eat more than I was before, as long as it’s the good stuff – vegetables, grains and things that will fill you up for longer.
You have got to feed your body. If you’re hungry, don’t starve. I think that’s been the case or the mindset that so many people are in when they’re trying to get shredded or they’re fasting, they think they shouldn’t eat.
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The training at U.P. is like nothing I’ve done before. I don’t think it’s like anything that exists anywhere in the world.
I’ve been to so many gyms around the world. I’ve tried so many personal trainers and while some have been really fun and some have been great, I’ve never had the experience where everything hurts and every muscle is being worked and I’m feeling the workouts in such a way that I want to throw up, or cry, or pass out.
That sounds horrible, but here you leave going ‘Oh! I just worked out!’
It made me realize that at so many other gyms and with so many other trainers you can just phone it in and fake it, and that’s what most people do when they go to the gym and they don’t see results.
That’s what I realised when I came here. You can’t fake it. Eddie watches you like a hawk and if your knee is just 1cm out of place or your shoulder is, or if you’re abs aren’t contracted properly, he is watching every single thing.
There’s no room for error. You can’t not get in shape. It’s impossible!
I thought I would have to train five or six times a week to see these kinds of results.
I’ve been training three to four times a week – more three times a week, because of my crazy schedule.
I’m not famous. But I have a job and I work a lot. I have a really crazy, busy schedule. I’m shooting all day every day and a lot of nights.
That was the biggest challenge for me – making the time and finding the time.
It was just an hour. If you can’t find an hour in your day either before you start work…
For me, it was in the afternoons in between shoots.
I would literally run in here, usually with a full face of makeup, then do my session, quickly shower and run back out and be back on the red carpet an hour later.
It’s totally doable. You can do it. If you say you don’t have time, it’s just an excuse.
Body confidence is the biggest thing. One of the biggest things in my job is being in front of the cameras. You can see everything. The camera adds some pounds.
Then when you’re doing photoshoots, you want to look your best and feel your best.
I felt like I looked okay, but I would definitely be a little self-conscious in certain places and certain areas.
Now I genuinely feel so comfortable in my own skin, which is what I hope and wish for everyone, because it is the best feeling.
This U.P. experience has given me confidence.
It’s given me strength and it’s inspired me to work harder than I ever thought I could work, train harder and just live a happy and healthy life, as cliche as that sounds.
I think it’s so important that we put our health first and it needs to be number 1. I feel like at this place, it just encompasses all of that.
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DISCLAIMER | Results may vary | Results are based on individual circumstances | Timeframes for results are not guaranteed | Willpower is always required!