After Getting Sick With GERD, Alicia Recovered and Gained 25 Pounds of Muscle — Here's How

May 28 2019 - 7:20am

When Alicia Rancier, 30, (@alicewolves [1] on Instagram) went away to college, she fell off her healthy habits. Previously an athlete, she traded in her weightlifting sessions for study sessions and turned to fast food for all her meals. Not only did this cause her weight gain, but her health took a turn for the worse.

After being diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease [2] (GERD), Alicia's weight dropped significantly, and not in a healthy way. Determined to get her health back on track, she started weightlifting and slowly but surely built 25 pounds of muscle. Now, Alicia is a certified personal trainer who is using her experience to help others. Read her inspiring story.

Alicia's Health Takes a Turn For the Worse

Alicia admitted she had unhealthy habits in college, but it wasn't always that way. She was athletic growing up, and in high school she played volleyball and ran track. Her parents constantly went to the gym, and their habits rubbed off on her. She started lifting weights her junior year of high school and after that she said she was "hooked."

But when she got to college, her healthy habits fell by the wayside. "I stopped doing all sport-related activities and weightlifting due to my busy schedule as a student and being under tons of stress [4]," she told POPSUGAR. "When I first got into college, I was a healthy 140 pounds and it declined to 170 pounds after three years." She said she constantly made unhealthy food choices and ate fast food for nearly every meal.

These unhealthy habits caught up to her. By her senior year of college, just days before graduation, she started to feel incredibly ill: sour stomach, nausea, heartburn, and a headache. Her mom rushed her to the doctor where she was diagnosed with GERD and found out her weight had gotten up to 170 pounds. "I was in tears," Alicia said. "I was embarrassed and disappointed in myself that it got to this point."

She also had ulcers in her stomach, which made it painful for her to eat. The combination of ulcers and GERD led to her dropping down to an unhealthy 120 pounds. Alicia was miserable and depressed. Luckily, her mom gave her the push she needed. "My mom encouraged me to get back into the gym [5] to help better my life, my body, and my mind," she said.

Alicia Starts Making Healthy Changes

"When I was diagnosed with GERD back in 2012, I wanted to make serious changes," she said. "I made a promise to myself that after I graduated from college, I would get back into the gym and start making healthy choices again."

Since her GERD and stomach ulcers made it difficult to eat, Alicia took everything slow. She added more whole foods into her diet and dropped the processed foods and drinks.

She researched how to build muscle with weight training [6]. "I started a basic training program that also included cardio. Month after month I started to see changes in my physique," she said. "I started to gain muscle and my GERD was finally cured due to my clean eating [7]."

Over the past couple of years, Alicia went from 120 pounds to a healthy 145 pounds and has maintained it. "My mental health has improved over the years as well," she said. "I'm no longer diagnosed with depression, and my mindset has become stronger."

Alicia's Eating and Training Schedule

Alicia's training schedule is broken down into groups. On Monday through Saturday, she does at least 30-35 minutes of cardio. For weight training, this is what she focuses on:

She said her favorite workouts are her back and bicep days. "I perform a lot of compound movements [8], drop sets, and giant sets which makes it even harder," she said. "I love challenging not just my body but my mind as well. Bent-over rows [9], hammer curls, side dumbbell lateral raises, and flat bench press are some of my favorite exercises."

As for her food, Alicia doesn't count calories or macros, unless she's training for a women's physique competition. She does intermittent fasting [10] and eats only two or three times a day. She typically breaks her fast at 9 a.m. after her gym session with three scrambled eggs and steamed red potatoes. She has her last meal between 5 and 7 p.m., which is usually one-and-a-half cups of mixed salad, one cup of Jasmine rice, and one spicy black bean burger patty. She only drinks water, coffee, and black unsweetened tea.

Alicia Is Committed to Gaining Muscle the Old-Fashioned Way

Alicia competes in women's figure and physique competitions, and said consistency is key. "Being in the fitness industry I have been tempted by all sides to take the quick route of enhancement drugs," she told POPSUGAR. "I choose to not partake and instead I wanted to gain muscle the old-fashioned way [11] by staying consistent with both diet and training."

She said she has seen improvements in her physique every year since she started her journey six years ago. "I have found a system that really works well with my physique," she said. "Being a natural figure and women's physique pro is what keeps me motivated, and I want to prove it can be done without drugs."

Her Nonscale Victories and What's Next

Sure, Alicia has seen gains on the scale, but her new fitness lifestyle has impacted all facets of her life. She noticed that she could fit into clothes she wasn't able to before, and her skin started to clear up.

"My energy levels improved [12], I could sleep normally, I felt more confident, I felt stronger, and my mental health improved tremendously," she said. "I used to suffer from deep depression and being able to overcome that was one of the biggest accomplishments."

As for what's next, Alicia said she wants to prep for a powerlifting competition and maybe another figure competition. As a certified personal trainer, she wants to help others achieve their specific goals, whether that's losing weight [13], gaining strength, or improving their overall well-being.

Alicia's Advice For Others

Alicia said setting her goals, accomplishing them, and creating new ones keeps her motivated every day. "The support of my friends and family also helps me stay motivated [14] in and out of the gym," she said.

She is using her experience to motivate others. "Never give up! It's all about being consistent," Alicia said. "This isn't a overnight success, this is a year-round lifestyle. It will be hard at times. You will fail a lot. But with a positive mindset anything is possible."

She also wants people who are suffering from depression to know they aren't alone. "Surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed and who are supportive," she said. "All it takes is for one person to believe in you and the rest is history. But in order for everything to work, it all starts with you." How inspiring!

Source URL