A personal trainer who helped a client lose fat and gain muscle in 8 months explains how she did it

Left: Corron at the start of her program. Right: Corron at 8 months.Courtesy of Stefanie Tsengas

  • Personal trainer Stefanie Tsengas said she helped her client Haylee Corron burn fat and build muscle in eight months.

  • Tsengas first had Corron master the basics and then make small progress every week, she said.

  • She said she divided workouts into push, pull, and leg exercises to hit every part of the body.

21-year-old Haylee Corron was unsure of herself when she first walked in the gym, according to personal trainer Stefanie Tsengas. The Cleveland-based trainer said in their first meeting a year ago, Corron was insecure about how to start an exercise routine, but wanted to lose fat, build muscle, and gain more confidence in her body.

Tsengas said she used Corron’s goal to create a twice-a-week workout plan that would hit the entire body and then gradually built on it to get best results. Corron said Tsengas often pushed her past her comfort zone, but showed her just how capable her body was.

Not only did Corron exceed Tsengas’s expectations at eight months, she also gained the confidence to consistently go to the gym on her own two to three times a week in addition to their sessions together.

Stefanie Tsengas

Tsengas said that adding a little more weight and reps every week is how she and her clients see results.Olivia Wenger/Courtesy of Stefanie Tsengas

Corron first mastered the basics

As someone new to the gym, Tsengas said Corron’s initial program focused on mastering the technique of basic exercises. She said she started Corron mostly on machines because they help stabilize your body and are easier to perform correctly.

Tsengas met with Corron two days a week, which she said is the average amount most people commit to. Since Corron wasn’t looking to build a specific muscle, Tsengas said she divided her workouts into push, pull, and legs, an effective way to make sure you’re hitting every part of the body. Corron did push and pull exercises one day, Tsengas said, and legs on the other.

Push exercises mostly target the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Tsengas started Corron with push exercises like the chest press, chest fly, shoulder press, dumbbell lateral raises, front raises, rear delt fly, and cable tricep push-downs.

Tsengas said that pull exercises mostly hit the back and biceps. She said lat pull-downs, single-arm dumbbell rows, pull-ups, and bicep curls were all a part of Corron’s initial program. A leg day for Corron included exercises like squats, hip thrusts, lungs, leg extensions, and leg curls, she said.

Tsengas added a little more every week

Tsengas said that she made sure that Corron was progressing in small ways every week. She gradually moved her off machines, and made sure that Corron wrote down her workouts so she could add to them every session.

“It’s always about increasing, whether it’s just doing one extra rep, adding an extra set, changing the tempo, changing the weight,” she said.

This concept, Tsengas said, is called progressive overload, which is when you continually increase the physical demands on your body in order to maximize gains.

Corron said there were many moments where it felt like a workout might be too much for her, but she was often surprised by what her body was ready for. She said she quickly built more confidence seeing how much she was progressing.

Tsengas also targeted specific muscle groups that Corron was interested in working on, like the shoulders and glutes.

Corron said she began to see more muscle definition about two months in, but noticed the most clear fat loss and muscle gain when Tsengas took photos at eight months. Corron said she also became much more confident in the gym as she saw how effective the program was. She has trained with Tsengas for over a year now.

haylee corron

Left: Corron at 0 weeks Right: Corron at 8 monthsCourtesy of Stefanie Tsengas

Consistency and commitment are essential

Consistency is the most important part of starting an exercise program, Tsengas said. Sticking with a program through mental and physical blocks, she said, was Corron’s biggest challenge.

Corron said training with Tsengas has taught her that progress is often slow, but having more confidence in herself and her body made her trust the process.

“From when I originally started with her to now, I do see a lot of change in me that I’m very happy with. But now I just want to keep going, keep going,” she said.

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