cer, and that stuck out to me because my dad had passed away with cancer at 58 … and I thought ‘You know I can’t just continue like this.’ I’ve got 17 years left. That how I thought about it, because daddy died at 58.”
In that moment, Lynn decided to change her life.
“Something just clicked,” she said.. “I went into the kitchen, and I just cleaned out my refrigerator, cabinets, everything. It was pretty intense.”
By the time she was done, she filled three trash bags with junk food.
“I just had a moment. I’d been on every diet known to man. I’d done the whole thing. You name it, I’d done it. Something just clicked. Looking back on it, I think it was a God thing,” Lynn said.
She cut sugar from her diet and experienced withdrawals as her body adjusted to the change.
“I started out just cutting sugar cold turkey, and it was a tough two weeks. It was terrible. I felt like I was detoxing. Physically I just felt terrible, but once I got over those first weeks things got better,” Lynn said.
“The further I got into it, the more I realized how much sugar was in everything. It’s the fluctuations it causes in our blood sugar … that make us sick. We’re just constantly chasing it. Our blood sugar drops, and we’re chasing it again. … I look at it like a drug at this point. I truly believe it’s like a drug.”
It wasn’t long before Lynn started seeing results. From January 2014 to August 2014 she lost 74 pounds. She was feeling better than she had in years.
But one key piece in her transformation was missing—exercise.
“I had gym clothes in the back of my car because I did carry a gym membership. I had the intentions of going a couple of times, but I just never did. Honestly I felt like since I was losing weight, what the hell do I need to go to the gym for?” she said.
She found the motivation she needed when she hit a frustrating plateau with her weight loss. Cutting sugar had made all the difference it was going to make without pursuing more changes.
I did some research. Number one, I didn’t know what to do when I went to the gym, and number two, if I’m going to go to the gym … I wanted to get the most bang for my buck,” Lynn said.
Her goal was to burn the most fat she could in daily 30-minute workouts. She asked a trainer at her gym for help, and he gave her a very basic plan.
“I think that’s all I needed—was someone to give me a plan. It made me feel less intimidated to go in with at least a piece of paper telling me what to do, so off I went from there,” Lynn said.
She started seeing results quickly and she was feeling good. She discovered there was something magical happening to her in the gym, more than the transformation of her body. She was changing on the inside.
“There’s something about going to the gym. I think a lot of it was mental, having bad days and just going anyway and going on those days I was sore,” Lynn said. “I truly believe lifting weights is empowering … to know your body can do something you never thought it could do, to watch your body change and be able to lift more and more and more. … Lifting weights was the game changer for me. I’m lifting and becoming physically strong, but as I’m doing that I’m also becoming mentally strong.”
Though she’d cut sugar, lifting weights showed her that her nutrition still needed work. After workouts she was fatigued, and it was because her diet wasn’t on point. She wasn’t eating the right foods to fuel her body, so she started researching food.
Lynn said that motivation boards and journaling were also a big part of her transformation. She started small, with sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, and graduated to multiple motivation boards she still uses today.
“The further along I’ve gotten, the more intense the board has gotten. It helps me stay focused. I update it periodically. … I’ve found whatever obstacle I’m facing, if I can make my board focus on that, it helps me push past those obstacles,” Lynn said.
Barbell Butterfly is a name the came to Lynn one sleepless night, and at the time she didn’t have a real plan for the program. But she was inspired. She knew she wanted to help others discover what she’d discovered—that they too were strong enough to change their lives and become the people they want to be.
“I wanted someone else to know if I can do this, they can do it too,” Lynn said.
She got her personal trainer certification and wrote a business plan.
Lynn said she intended to launch Barbell Butterfly in September 2015, but life had other plans.
Eli Sapharti, the author of “Fat Boy to Fit Man,” contacted Lynn on Facebook that summer wanting to know more about her story. “He was somebody I followed on Facebook. … He wanted to run my story on his page, and I was just over the moon about it. I was ecstatic. It was a pretty big national page, so on July 9 (2015), my birthday, he runs my story. He put a montage of (before and after) pictures together. … In the email I had sent him I also gave him a blurb about Barbell Butterfly and what I was doing in case he wanted any information on it in the future. He put that in the story, and … because it came out early and I had so much interest, I went ahead and launched Aug. 3.”
The program focuses on how to make changes— nutritionally, mentally and physically.
“It’s very intensive. It’s a lifestyle change. I’m teaching you how to change your lifestyle so that at the end of six months you can do this forever. I’m giving you a tool kit, basically, and then you can go from there,” Lynn said. Women work in groups of five or six. The program starts with four weeks of nutrition education before moving into the gym and hitting the weights.
The emphasis on nutrition is an important part of the program and even includes a trip to the grocery store, where Lynn teaches the women how to shop for healthy food and read nutrition labels.
“My whole plan was I want to teach people how to eat before they get in the gym, so when we get to the gym they’ll see better results,” Lynn said.
To work out and make physical gains, the body needs fuel, and that fuel is nutritious food eaten in the right way at the right time, she said.
“Food is fuel. You’ve got to fuel your body to do the things we want to do. We can’t expect to change and transform, lose weight, build muscle and become strong and healthy by starving it. And as women that’s what we do. The first thing we do on a diet … is cut back on food. We congratulate ourselves for making it until 1 or 2 in the afternoon without eating. We’ll have some tiny salad and wonder why by 4 o’clock we’re starving to death, and we’ll eat anything that’s not nailed down. It’s just a vicious cycle. Nutrition is just so important,” Lynn said. Fear of carbs is a real challenge. “I try to get these women not to be afraid of carbs. Carbs are important. Complex carbs are very important,” she said. “It’s like putting gas in your car.”
Examples of complex carbs include brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa and black beans.
“It’s really about frequent small meals, proteins, complex carbs and getting that sugar out of your diet,” she said.
Beyond, diet, taking care of themselves mentally is another aspect of Barbell Butterfly.
“I encourage them strongly to journal, because that’s been a huge part of my journey and my success. Motivation boards also played a huge part of my success. … We can’t really get where we’re going unless we can see where we’re going,” Lynn said.
Next there’s a two-week weight-training transition and then a four-week beginner program. In total, the program lasts six months.
“You get a new routine every four weeks. Each routine is a little bit more challenging than the previous one. Our goal for most of the women that come here is still ultimately to burn fat,” Lynn said. “I try to write routines for them where they can burn the most fat in the shortest amount of time.”
Lynn’s first group lost 95.75 inches between them.
Seeing their success is emotional for Lynn. She chokes up talking about it.
“I can’t even describe it. It’s powerful. They’re empowering themselves. It’s not just about eating right and exercising. It makes them feel strong. The same thing that drove me and drives me to this day, the thing that makes me stronger and makes me feel good for going to the gym, that’s what’s driving these women. That’s the whole point of this thing. That’s what I wanted to share with them,” Lynn said.
For more information, search for Barbell Butterfly on Facebook or call Lynn at 903-280-0371.
ABOVE: Lynn Cofield, creator of the Barbell Butterfly program, empowers women through health education and fitness.
LEFT: Lynn Cofield, right, before she started her lifestyle makeover. At her heaviest, she weighed 266 pounds. She’s lost 123 pounds.