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A love letter to POUND…

I never understood people who were passionate about exercising. You know those people who find joy and solace in running; pushing themselves to a point where endorphins take them 26.2 miles. I didn’t understand… until I discovered POUND.

Having been heavy most of my life I have tried different forms of exercise over the years. When I was a freshman in high school I joined our Cross Country team. I joined because there was a boy who I thought was cute on the team. The uniform they issued me barely fit (can you say camel toe?!) and while running that first day, I swallowed a May fly. I never went back. Eating a bug trumped cute boy.

I’ve owned a lot of exercise equipment… some I can’t even remember but they all quickly became a place to hang my clothes. I’d start something and soon get bored or frustrated and stop.

When I joined a gym, I tried various classes over the years. Some were okay, some I would hyperventilate through and one where the instructor chastised me in front of the whole class because he felt I wasn’t working hard enough. That was my last group class for a long while. Oh – and once I overheard two men making fun of me while I walking along the track; although that didn’t stop me from going to the gym every once in a while, it did hamper my ability to mentally “want” to go. Yeah – the bullying doesn’t end when you grow up folks.

So what happens when you don’t exercise and eat your feelings in the form of a can of butter cream frosting for years? You become a stand-up comic… and you get Type 2 Diabetes.

Charlene before

Being a stand-up allowed me to make fun of myself before others could. It also gave me joy to make people laugh. Having Type 2 Diabetes helped pressure me to lose weight; and I did, but it was a very slow process. I tipped the scales at 292 pounds during this time and over the next 12 years I lost 62 pounds. I changed “some” of my eating habits and found “some” exercises that I liked and stayed with for a while. In August of 2014, I found my passion.

I saw a post on Facebook from a friend who was looking to have people participate in a 60-day test study for an exercise program called POUND. I was nervous because after years of being heavy, I have bad knees: arthritis, torn meniscuses, etc. Even more than that, I was scared of being humiliated. What if they laugh at me? What if they make fun of me? What if my knees don’t hold up? I checked out the website and decided to go for it. Hell! Although I played flute in high school, I always wanted to be a drummer.

And drum I did.


FROM DAY ONE I fell in love with this workout. I got amazing instruction from Kirsten, Cristina, Amber, and Paydin on how to get the most out of the workout and modifications to save my knees. I was never once told I wasn’t working hard enough, although the beads of sweat pouring down my face probably spoke volumes. I was hooked by the adrenaline, the music, the pounding and the stress release. Most importantly, the camaraderie with the POUND girls and the rest of the people in the program was amazing.

When I started POUND, I weighed 230 pounds. After 60 days I weighed 198. WHAT!?!? 30 pounds?!? Gone! I hadn’t been below 200 pounds since the mid’ 90s! When it ended, I joined a gym specifically because it offered POUND classes. I figured it was an investment in myself and one month later I went to my doctor for my yearly physical. I weighed 189 and was told I no longer need my cholesterol nor my diabetes medications. Needless to say, I was over the moon happy about this.

Months later I’m still doing POUND. I managed to adjust my work schedule to get in as many workouts during the week as I can. Yes, I’ve become that person! I found an exercise that I’m so passionate about that in April, I’m going to get certified to teach! I started as someone who was afraid of my limitations and being made fun of to someone who is so excited about POUND that I’m going to help other people. I want to help anyone who feels too intimidated to get into a class and show them they can do it because the POUND girls did the same for me.

Thank you team POUND!! You’ve changed my life!

Charlene “future POUND Pro” Ward


UPDATE: Charlene became a POUND Pro in Pasadena CA on April 19, 2015 🙂 She still attends classes regularly and is excited to begin teaching!


4 Responses

  1. What an INSPIRATION Charlene! Wow, Just WOW! You look fantastic!
    Thanks so much for sharing your story. If i ever make it your way, i will take one of your classes- i bet you’re fantastic!!!!!!

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