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Behind The Scenes Outlander North Carolina

A Peaker’s Story ~ How Outlander, Sam Heughan and MPC Changed My Life

July 24, 2018
Post by Contributing Author, Tara Heller

After I had my second child, I knew something needed to change. I was ready to get my body back-  the toned and fit me. Before I met my husband, I was always running, working out and trying to eat well. However, I did it on my own. This time around, I needed a swift kick in the butt. I needed motivation. Enter, Outlander. One day I was  looking around, minding my own business and reading behind the scenes information, when I happened upon an article about how Sam Heughan stays in shape. I quickly learned that he founded this program, a movement really, named ‘My Peak Challenge’. I did as I normally do, I researched the heck out of this thing. I wanted to know as much information as I could before I joined.

If you don’t know this already, Sam loves to be outside and stay in shape. Incidentally, that is how he maintains his ‘Jamie Fraser’ physique, well that and doing some in depth training at the gym. He loves to hike, go for a run through the mountains and basically be adventurous. Through this love of being active and staying healthy, he decided to create a positive exercise and nutrition program to encourage people to be healthy and get moving. That is when My Peak Challenge was born.

Details, Details, Details

I found out the membership for 2018 would cost $119 + tax and half  of the price goes to cancer research program called Bloodwise and Marie Curie- these are two of the charities that Sam supports. I knew this was an incredible deal because it was for a year. You could easily spend close to $99+ in three months for a gym membership!

What it includes:

  • Complete meal plan (suggestion)- this helps you balance your daily macros (proteins, fats and carbs) and helps you take the guess work out of  ‘What’s for dinner?’.
  • Exercise plan- these get sent out every month through your login on the website. You can tailor the exercises to your physical ability as there are many variations for each. They are developed by Sam’s trainer, John Valbonesi.
  • Access to the private Facebook page- this has been a tremendous support, encouragement and helps with motivation.
  • My Peak Challenge t-shirt and wristband

The Challenges

There are physical and non physical challenges. As far as physical challenges, there are many challenges (in addition to the daily training) that other Peakers propose and you can sign up. For instance, a lunge, squat or sit up month long challenge.  I sign up for at least one a month! I guess I like to torture  push myself!

I have also become a runner! I look forward to my biweekly runs. They refresh me and make me feel like I accomplished so much! In addition, I participated in the Lighthouse 5K in Corolla Light Village on the Outer Banks while we were on vacation! I want to challenge myself to sign up for many 5Ks and virtual 5Ks this year, yes virtual! Virtual 5Ks allow you to run them when your schedule allows (there are deadlines) and have the medal and/or t-shirt sent to you! It is on my bucket list to participate in a RunDisney event! There are even virtual runs through Scotland!

Non-physical challenges can be getting that knitting project done that you have been putting off, discovering your true passions, getting back into painting, working through a loss, and in my case, focus on your writing. I promised myself to focus on my blog in 2018 and so far I have been doing that and enjoying it! I also added, read at least ten books (can include audiobooks) in 2018.  So far I’m at 4!

The Facebook page has been an incredible motivation and support. Also, I found fellow Peakers on Instagram and have formed ‘online friendships’ with them. We support each other daily and it’s just been so wonderful to have these communities available.

If this whole fitness/work out/healthy eating idea makes you a bit intimidated, you DO NOT have to be afraid of failure. “Each day is a new start”, is the mantra in the group. Everyone is at a different level and a different point in the process. All the exercises and training can be tailored to your ability and fitness level! However, through the exercises you are definitely pushed to new limits and I love that! Hey, it isn’t called, My Peak Challenge for nothing- it is going to challenge you, but in a life changing- ‘mind, body and soul’ kind of way!

My Results

In about 3 months (February-July) I have lost 10 lbs, and almost 10 total inches over my body. I have gone down two pant sizes and one shirt/dress size. I have to say, I am now officially a shorts girl for the first time in over 10 years! There is no hiding these hard earned legs! For the first time ever, I was not scared to go swimsuit shopping! I wasn’t even sure what size I was going to be! It has given me incredible confidence and courage. I feel so much stronger and happier! I just want to keep going!

If it were not for Outlander…

I am so thankful for My Peak Challenge and how it has changed me, inside and out! If it weren’t for discovering Outlander, I’m not sure where I would be. Probably still searching for the right fitness and nutrition plan for me, I’m sure!

So thank you Sam Heughan, Coach John, My Peak Challenge and Outlander for helping me discover a program I love and have been able to stick with!

Are you a Peaker? If so, please share your story below. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Tara Heller is the mother of two boys, who lives in South Central Pennsylvania. However her heart is the South. Although she is fairly new to Outlander, she has truly immersed herself in it. She also loves history, especially the 18th century, genealogy, visiting the coast, spending time with family and blogging at www.ladyoutnumbered321.com.
Behind The Scenes Outlander North Carolina

Behind The Scenes Of Outlander North Carolina – An Interview with Tara Heller

June 4, 2018

Here is our second installment of Behind the Scenes of Outlander North Carolina series!  We’re answering the questions: Who are we?  What’s our connection to North Carolina and Outlander? Who and what makes things tick around here? What keeps us going through the Droughtlander? What are the Outlander stories of other obsessed fans? I hope you will be comforted to read how others deal with their obsession to our favorite books and TV series. Consider these interviews our way of providing group therapy for the seriously addicted Outlander fan!

Today we are meeting our newest admin to our Facebook group, Tara Heller.

Hi there, Tara. First, tell us a little about yourself.  

Hi everybody! My name is Tara and I live with my husband and 2 boys in PA near Hershey! I am a blogger over at www.ladyoutnumbered321.com. I love to write. I also love finding interesting historical facts and researching my family tree. I am interested in traveling as time and money allows. I recently took up the hobby of running and love to be outside in the sunshine! My happy place is the Outer Banks. (I have not been to Scotland yet, so technically I can’t say that is too yet.) And of course, I’m a big fan of Outlander!

When did you discover Outlander?

Technically January 2017, but for some odd reason, I/We didn’t get into it then. We had Starz free the end of July 2017 and that is when I got hooked!

What captivates you the most about Outlander?

The historical aspect, Scotland and the love between Jamie and Claire that surpasses all time and space!

Have you read the books and if so, how many?

Yes, 3.5 books- Voyager, Drums, Fiery Cross and now I’m smack dab in the middle of A Breath of Snow and Ashes. I know I know, I committed the cardinal Outlander sin of not reading from the beginning yet – although I saw a synopsis through Season 1 and 2, right? I do own the first two books as well, so I can read them or reference them.

Which book is your favorite?

Drums of Autumn.

What has been your favorite season of the STARZ series so far?

Season 3.

Other than The Wedding, which is everyone’s favorite, what’s your favorite episode of the three seasons?

A. Malcolm, although I just love the end of Eye of the Storm because it’s action packed and ends on the shores of America and the precursor of them discovering NC!

How do you feel about some of the changes that the writers have made to adapt the show from the books?

I think there is some rushing through certain parts. But I feel like some elements can not be conveyed on screen, you have to read them. The book is the book and the show is the show. As long as we have Jamie and Claire’s love that’s all the matters.

Who is your favorite character and why?

Jamie because he’s so diverse and has been through so much and how he loves Claire fiercely. And he’s Scottish so…

Who is your least favorite character and why?

Um well, of course, Jack Randall because he’s so evil and strange.

If you could be any character in the books, other than Claire (duh!), who would you be?

Jenny because she’s Jamie’s sister but then I wouldn’t be able to be with them in NC but I’d be in Scotland, such a tough decision!

In Season 4, Jamie & Claire come to North Carolina. Yay!!! What are you most looking forward to in Season 4?

Seeing the Ridge, but scene wise, a very special meeting between two very special people!

Without revealing any spoilers, what passage from Drums of Autumn are you most hoping will be included in the show? 

The snake in the privy situation. I was reading that part on the way to Williamsburg last year and I laughed out loud and my husband looked at me like I was nuts! I immediately thought I hope I see this in Season 4!

Diana’s books are full of history. Have you learned anything about North Carolina that you didn’t know before reading the books?

I didn’t realize a lot of the revolution occurred in that region. Living in PA, we learn a lot more about what happened up here and down to Virginia.

Have you visited any of the locations that Jamie & Claire go to in North Carolina and, if so, which ones?

Not that I am aware of or know about in my reading thus far.

How did you discover Outlander North Carolina?

I was searching for Outlander Fan groups and might have searched North Carolina since it will be in NC this season and because I love the Outer Banks.

Tell us about something about yourself that only a fellow Outlander fan could relate to.

I often think how simple it would be to live back in the colonial times without technology and just having more simple living but then again things were rough too. If Claire could do it, I could – haha. I dream of running off to Scotland.

During the Droughtlander, what have you been reading and/or watching to fill the void?

I have been reading through A Breath of Snow and Ashes. We watched Victoria- Seasons 1&2, Poldark- Seasons 1&2. We are almost done with The Crown and TURN:Washington Spies. My husband watched TURN awhile ago and for some reason I was not into it. After I caught the Outlander fever it lit a fire for period pieces!

Tara will be a contributing author for Outlander North Carolina. Among other things, she will be writing about her experience with MPC and a two-part series on herbs and their uses.
Behind The Scenes Outlander North Carolina

Behind The Scenes With Outlander North Carolina ~ An Interview with Susan Jackson

May 17, 2018

We’re going behind the scenes of Outlander North Carolina!  Who are we?  What’s our connection to North Carolina and Outlander? Who and what makes things tick around here? What keeps us going through the Droughtlander? What are the Outlander stories of other obsessed fans? Over the next several weeks, I’ll be answering those questions by occasionally posting interviews with our administrators and some of our Facebook members and blog subscribers! I’m looking forward to this series and hope you will be comforted to read how others deal with their obsession to our favorite books and TV series. Consider these interviews our way of providing group therapy for the seriously addicted Outlander fan!

Our first interview is with Susan Jackson.  Susan was the very first administrator to join me at Outlander North Carolina. Her wisdom, advice and encouragement have been invaluable to me! She has also written two articles for ONC.  So, without further ado, let’s meet Susan!

Hey Susan! Let’s start by telling us a little about yourself.

I am a mother of four who lives in coastal North Carolina, and I’m an avid Outlander fan.  Besides reading, I love cooking and baking, and music.  I am a thyroid cancer survivor and have worked in education most of my life.  I hope to one day blog about my thyroid cancer journey.

When did you discover Outlander?

I started reading the first book in 2014 before the TV series started when a friend recommended it to pass the time while in thyroid cancer treatment isolation. I was hooked once Claire went through the stones. I gobbled up every book after that, and it helped pass the time during the healing process.

What captivates you the most about Outlander?

First and foremost, Claire and Jamie’s relationship, but I love historical fiction, and a well-researched story takes you back in time anyway, so the extra time travel aspect is fascinating to think about.

Have you read the books and if so, how many?

I’ve read all eight, as well as some of the novellas and the graphic novel. I loved The Scottish Prisoner, and the short story Virgins.

Which book is your favorite?

It’s hard to choose! DOA is probably my very favorite, though.  I can understand completely Jamie’s falling in love with the North Carolina mountains.

Other than The Wedding, which is everyone’s favorite, what’s your favorite episode of the three seasons?

Another tough decision—but I have to say that I’m going to sound like a bit of a prude, but The Wedding was so awkward for me to watch (and read in the books)! I felt like I was a peeping Tom on some friends. LOL! But I loved Rent from Season 1–the scenery was amazing, and A. Malcolm from Season 3. The Paris episodes from season 2 were a feast for the eyes with all the amazing costumes.

How do you feel about some of the changes that the writers have made to adapt the show from the books?

I know changes have to be made, and I’m fine (mostly) with things that have been done so far.  I didn’t like that they didn’t have Jamie and Claire mark each other with the scars before she went back through, and I wanted Claire to remain ignorant of William. And, as much as I love the show’s version of Murtagh, I feel like that’s a change that is going to be weird for me. I hope that’s not a spoiler, since we saw him get sent to the Colonies with the other prisoners.

Who is your favorite character and why?

I love book and TV Mrs. Fitz—she’s a caregiver like me, running around making sure everything and everyone is taken care of, with full bellies and clean clothes. But I can’t say that I have an absolute favorite character.  I’m going to get tarred and feathered for saying this, but Claire gets on my nerves a lot! I can’t call specific situations, but there are times I just roll my eyes and move on.

Who is your least favorite character and why?

I really disliked Dougal McKenzie—he was a jerk, and used whoever he could to get his way.

In Season 4, Jamie & Claire come to North Carolina. Yay!!! What are you most looking forward to in Season 4?

Seeing how well Scotland substitutes for our beautiful mountains. I am always dreaming of being in the mountains, so for this season not to be filmed here but look like North Carolina, well, we’ll just see about that.

Without revealing any spoilers, what passage from Drums of Autumn are you most hoping will be included in the show?

A father and daughter meeting behind a pub.

Diana’s books are full of history. Have you learned anything about North Carolina that you didn’t know before reading the books?

I’ve been reading NC history for many years, so I was aware of a lot of battles and people and how the state began.  I was surprised to learn about the standing stones at Ocracoke Island, and since that isn’t far from me, I’ll have to pay them a visit.

Have you visited any of the locations that Jamie & Claire go to in North Carolina and, if so, which ones?

Edenton is a town I visit frequently, because it’s close.  I adore the Boone area. I’ve been to Tryon Palace, and I’ve been to Fayetteville (formerly known as Cross Creek & Campbellton) many times. Somerset Plantation isn’t necessarily in the books, but  I imagine it when I think of Jocasta’s home.

If a friend was coming to North Carolina and they could only visit one place, where would you tell them to go and why?

Edenton—so much original colonial architecture, and it’s full of history as well as historical places.

What are you watching and/or reading to survive during the Droughtlander?

I re-read the Outlander books, and love biographies. I watch Downton Abbey reruns, the Outlander shows, and Call the Midwife.

Tell us about something about yourself that only a fellow Outlander fan could relate to.

Whenever I am reading/listening to the books, I find myself thinking about what Claire would do in situations I’m in. When I was first reading the books, I would actually wake up in the mornings and wonder what Claire and Jamie would be doing–as if they weren’t fictional, and we were in some sort of parallel universe.  I thought I was nuts. Then I found other fans online and a couple of groups on Facebook and realized I wasn’t nuts. Not completely, anyway.

Susan is a contributing author for Outlander North Carolina and has previously written about the infamous Stede Bonnet in Will The Real Stephen Bonnet Please Stand Up?” and “Favorite Scene Friday – Episode 304, Of Lost Things”.  Susan is also working on a series of articles about the colonial town of Edenton. The Edenton series will be part of our summer and fall series on the real people and places of Outlander in North Carolina. 

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