Strength Training Helped Me Look And Feel My Best On My Wedding Day
Tonal member Janeé Leinberger lost 75 pounds and gained the confidence to enjoy her life.
By Janeé Leinberger as told to Karen Iorio Adelson
When my husband proposed to me in 2021, I felt incredibly excited. But I was also nervous. After 12 years together, I was at my heaviest weight and I didn’t want that to steal my joy on my wedding day. The proposal was my “aha” moment. I realized I had to get in shape.
I was athletic growing up—I played multiple sports in high school and basketball in college—so I never had to think about my weight or nutrition. That changed when I started working. I spent 14 years as a 911 dispatcher on the night shift with the local police department. I recently started a new career in cyber security, but I still work nights.
When you start working nights, they tell you you’re going to “pack on the freshman 15,” but I wasn’t worried because in the past I could eat whatever I wanted and still stay in shape. At work though, I wasn’t in a routine anymore. I didn’t have the schedule of a collegiate athlete to keep me disciplined with my workouts and my odd hours made it even harder to eat healthy. There wasn’t anywhere open at night to get healthy meals and I never packed my lunch, so I would end up snacking all night and I never ate real food.
The weight started creeping up. At first, I would just work out more and lose it, but I’d gain it right back. It got harder and harder over time. I ended up gaining 86 pounds since graduating from college. That felt devastating.
Getting Back In the Game
After the proposal, I started working out at the gym but it was a 25-minute commute each way, which wasn’t easy with my 10-hour night shifts. I told my fiancé that I had liked strength training back when I was a college athlete, and he surprised me with a Tonal in May of 2022. I’ve been going full-speed ahead with it since then.
With Tonal, it’s convenient to exercise at home on my own schedule. My days are tightly packed, but there are no excuses when Tonal is right here and I can do a 15- or 20-minute workout. I also love how easy the coaches make it to follow along in the workouts. As a former athlete, I always abide by what the coach says. Even though they aren’t in the room with me, Tonal’s coaches keep me accountable. I feel like I can’t let them down. I love getting their guidance on how to do certain movements and where you should be feeling them. Watching my strength score go up—or even down—at the end of a workout also motivates me.
From the time our Tonal was installed until my wedding this June, I lost 45 pounds. I felt happier and more confident at my wedding than I ever thought I could. It was an absolutely amazing day. Everyone was complimenting me and I was even happy with how I looked in all the pictures. Feeling so good at the wedding gave me the confidence to keep going. I’m so happy I started working out on Tonal when I did.
My wedding wasn’t the end of my journey, either. I’ve lost another 30 pounds since then and feel even stronger. I have so much more energy now than I did before I started working out on Tonal. I’ve gone back and done workouts that felt impossible in the past, and now they feel easy. I used to get out of breath just tying my shoes when I was at my heaviest.
I’m glad I lost the weight with strength training instead of cardio alone because I’ve gained muscle along the way—I’ve noticed definition in my legs and back. Because I’ve gained muscle and lost fat, people think I’ve lost even more weight than I have. The number on the scale might have changed more gradually, but I’m so much happier with how I look.
I didn’t realize how far I’d come until I saw pictures from when I started working out and compared them to how I look now. When I posted my photos in the Official Tonal Community, I got amazing feedback. The positive comments made me feel so good and motivated to keep going. I had a similar experience when I did my first live workout with Coach Joe Rodonis. I was PRing all over the place and people were giving me high-fives. It’s so much fun to feel like part of a community.
Tonal has given me the confidence to take on new challenges. I’m even training for my first half-marathon. As happy as I am about losing weight and looking better, I’m even more excited about the new opportunities my regained fitness has opened up for me.