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If your goal is to have a future in the military, you have to be fit – no ifs, ands, or buts about it! For Haley Sato, the desire to join the reserves spurred her to begin her fitness transformation, which in turn shifted her overall goals. Now focused on studying nutrition and participating in her first NPC figure competition, Haley has come a long way in the four years since she decided that her life needed a change.

“I was a college freshman getting out of breath walking up a flight of stairs between classes. For an 18-year-old who, at the time, wanted to have a future in the military – this was unacceptable. I decided to turn my life around."

Haley-at-the-American-Museum-of-Natural-HistoryAs an 18-year-old with a desire to join the reserves, Haley actually made it all the way to swear-in day. To make a long story short, however, it wasn't the right environment for Haley; she was ultimately sent home. She had lost 30 pounds in preparation, and all of a sudden, it felt like a waste.

Over time, however, she became even more determined. Slowly but surely, Haley continued to progress with her fitness and nutrition. While her fitness transformation technically began in 2012, Haley never thought it would become the pivotal point in her life that it eventually did.

Now Haley is a personal trainer, USAW strength coach, NASM flexibility specialist, and full-time nutrition and exercise science student. When she's not training herself or working to help others train, she loves to read, visit museums, and socialize with positive, supportive people.

The effect on one's social life, in fact, is one of the challenges Haley pointed to, and instantly recognizable to anyone else who has begun their own fitness transformation. Many people didn't understand her need to strive toward goals in service of bettering herself; in turn, Haley took the roadblock as an opportunity for self-discovery, which she recognizes as now having greatly benefited her.

“Once I started surrounding myself with the right people, I felt continuously pushed, supported, and motivated to work harder for everything I wanted in life. Finding like-minded, goal-oriented people was the true inspiration I needed."

Haley is currently nervously yet excitedly preparing for her first figure show, so she is on a specific training regiment broken down into a split for each body part. Her coach, IFBB pro Kelly Lyons, suggested two shoulder days to help shape her frame, and the rest is a standard mix: legs, glutes/hamstrings, back/bi, chest/shoulder/tris, etc.

Haley-VegasIt was her coach, in fact, that recommended Haley invest in a 6 Pack Bag to help herself stay on track with her meal prep. “I immediately ordered the black Camille Tote and later went on to order the Expedition 300 for those long school days," Haley stated.

“What's better than being able to fit your meals and notebooks in the same bag?!"

Since she's now only a few weeks away from the show, her diet is particularly strict. While she doesn't follow a specific macro diet, she does pair certain macros with the body part she's training that day. Her basic rule is this: a protein, green vegetable, and fat with three of her meals. “It might sound basic, but it's nice to be able to count the foods you eat on your two hands and know that you have zero packaged or processed foods going into your body," Haley said.

Her 6 Pack bags have been immensely helpful during the process. Four weeks into her current figure prepping, she had a two-week trip to Los Angeles and Las Vegas scheduled – and she was beyond anxious about her vacation nutrition. People told her she was crazy for completely sticking to her full-blown meal prep schedule while on a trip, but she was successfully able to drop weight and stay on plan thanks to the easy and compact meal storage provided by both of her bags.

For the time being, Haley is completely focused on her first figure show, although long-term goals include building her career as a personal trainer and someday even owning her own gym. And while Haley appreciates the physical components of her fitness transformation, she is particularly proud of her mental transformation. She explained, “I have a thicker skin. I no longer sweat the small stuff. I have goals that I'm working toward, but I also have balance."

“Find the right people who will support you, stick to your goal, and enjoy the results," Haley added. After all, the joy is in the journey – and we're proud as can be to have played such a beneficial role in hers! For more Haley, follow her on Instagram: @muscles_and_donuts.

Yearning for even more inspirational tales? Read them in our Fitness Transformations Series! Then find the right meal management bag to start your own fitness transformation. From gym totes and sports backpacks to gym duffle bags and briefcases, 6 Pack Bags has the perfect companion for portable meal prep no matter where your travels take you.