When one door closes, sometimes – with a lot of faith and courage – another door will open. Meet Crystal Talley, 51, from Lorton, Virginia, a true fighter, who in spite of many obstacles, has endured and blossomed to inspire others to never give up on themselves or their dreams.
One Door Closes
In December 2014, Crystal found her high-paying, top leadership role as a government contractor at the Pentagon come to a screeching halt. Suddenly, after years of hard work and dedicated service, this highly successful U.S. veteran (she served 8 years in the Army National Guard) found all the trappings of career success gone.
In addition to losing her job, she lost her car, which was repossessed because she could no longer make the payments. Before all that, however, Crystal had been through a number of horrifying experiences, enough to make most people want to lay down and quit. Over 15 years ago, she finally broke free from an abusive husband. She had to raise two children on her own (they are now 24 and 27). She survived the 9-11 assault on the Pentagon. She suffered family trauma when her sister murdered their father (the sister is serving life in prison) and then her son was sexually assaulted.
“My career was really all that was holding me together and then suddenly it was gone,” she said. Crystal realized it was time to regroup, like it or not. “I thought at the time, ‘Heck no, this is not how the story is going to end, I am not going out like this!’” she said proudly.
So what did she do? She fought back. Hard. And she started by healing her mind and her body. Those were the only things she could do.
Alive But Not Really Living
During her dark times, food had become Crystal’s safe harbor to mask her depression as she endured one traumatic event after another. Slowly but surely, the number on the scale crept up until she hit her max of 330 pounds. With the final blow of losing her job, she realized she had to face a tough reality: either lose weight or risk losing her health, too. It was around this point Crystal realized she had been alive but not really living.
Determined to make some changes, Crystal began losing weight. She got down to 225 pounds on her own but hit a plateau. That’s when she turned to Corry Matthews, franchisee of Max Muscle Manassas and Max Muscle Springfield in Virginia for help. With Corry’s expertise, top-quality products, and Crystal’s fierce determination, things began to fall into place.
Helping Women Learn To Love Their Bodies
Matthews, who has been helping customers lose weight and achieve better health for many years, said women tend to put every single person, event, and challenge ahead of themselves. “Women give to everyone around them and forget about themselves,” she explained. The first thing Matthews does with all new clients is to help them see the people they are meant to be and to realize how incredible they are.
Matthews explained that once her customers can say and mean, “I love me, I accept me, I am happy with me,” then they can break their unhealthy food habits and make better food choices. “With Crystal, her body was broken due to so much stress and trauma for years. She didn’t love herself or see her true potential,” Matthews said.
Matthews set Crystal up with a proper nutrition plan – one that was economical enough for her to afford. She also gave her a discount on the popular pre-workout drink, FBXXX, which helped Crystal get pumped for her early morning workouts. Matthews also encouraged Crystal to join the NOVA MaxForm 2015 Challenge, a four-month contest sponsored by Matthews’ store beginning in December 2014. This was exactly the kind of motivation Crystal needed.
Her Body Had To Follow
Along with signing up for the NOVA MaxForm, Crystal also entered the Gold’s Gym Challenge that was going on at the same time. She knew she could do it. “I had already won in my mind, but my body had to follow,” she said. This kind of single-minded, no-option-but-to-win, mentality is what had helped her in the past and it would help her again.
Because she had no car, Crystal had to take two buses from her home very early every day to get to the gym. This meant a 4 a.m. trek in all kinds of nasty winter weather from one bus stop to another just to get to the gym and home again. Still jobless, she had no money for fancy organic health foods but thrived on the affordable nutrition plan Matthews provided her. She even got her protein from tuna in a can. No matter what the obstacle, Crystal found a way to overcome it.
As her weight-loss journey went on, Crystal wrote a book about her experiences. Many times this meant writing by a battery powered light bulb because she couldn’t afford electricity.
In February 2015, Crystal published her first book, Get in the Game (Celebrity Branding), and she quickly became a bestselling author. She said the book couldn’t have been written without the support and sponsorship of leading corporations, businesses and organizations such as A CALL TO MEN, Men Can Stop Rape, Gold’s Gym International, Max Muscle Manassas, 1n6, and Women of Color Network.
In March 2015, Crystal won the NOVA MaxForm 2015 challenge and also won the Gold’s Gym Lorton Challenge. Crystal said she is grateful for her trainer, Jason Urbanski, at Gold’s and for Matthews at Max Muscle. To date, she has lost 160 (and counting) pounds and has gained a whole lot of confidence and a new body. Crystal not only gained her life back, but she created her dream career – writing and being a motivational speaker!
New Doors are Opening
Doors are opening all over the place now for Crystal. She is finishing up a second book, which will be out next year and she is becoming a sought-after motivational speaker and coach. “My passion isn’t changing people, my passion is helping people change themselves,” she said.
CRYSTAL’S STATS & MORE
At her highest, Crystal weighed 330 lbs. She started the Nova MaxForm contest at 225 lbs with 39.35% body fat. At the end of the contest in March 2015, she weighed 191 lbs. with 31.6% body fat. At her last weigh-in, she was 170 lbs. with 26% body fat.
“I love my muscles!” Crystal said. She is up to flipping a 370-pound tractor tire at the gym. “I was just so excited about training and getting stronger and the exercises getting more challenging!” It’s no doubt that Crystal has learned to love her body (especially her muscles!).
By Jackie Classen