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West Hall grad's weight loss featured in national infomercial
Flowery Branch native now a full-time fitness instructor in New York City
Rachel Lauria, a Flowery Branch native and current New York City resident, lost weight after being cast in the Cize infomercial. The dance-focused workout routine helped the West Hall High School graduate drop 100 pounds over 10 months. She now teaches the program.

Rachel Lauria can be found on Facebook at Cize it up with Rachel or on Instagram at rachelcizeitup.

Rachel Lauria was an aspiring dancer who moved to New York City to follow her dreams in 2012, but upon arrival in the big city her path changed.

The Flowery Branch native got a blood clot in her left leg, leaving her unable to dance. Lauria said doctors told her high-impact activity such as dance likely wouldn’t be possible in the future. She believed them for a while, especially since the clot inhibited her from walking and straighten her leg. She had physical therapy to regain muscle.

“After I was walking again, I couldn’t dance or exercise. So I started gaining weight as I just wasn’t happy,” she said.

Lauria said she had been overweight her entire life, from elementary school through high school. But “the clot was just the main reason I gained weight this go around,” she said.

After gaining 100 pounds, she wasn’t sure what she was going to do with her life. That’s when she found Cize, a dance-focused workout program, that was casting a test group in New York City.

Lauria recalls going to the audition in April 2015, unsure if she’d be selected.

However, she was picked, which meant completing Cize workouts six days a week and watching what she ate. By the end of three months, she appeared in an infomercial for the program.

“It’s the day that changed my life, because if I hadn’t gone to that audition I would never have changed,” she said.

Cize was a new workout program by fitness guru Shaun T and Beachbody that taught participants how to dance off extra pounds. No prior dance experience is necessary.

Lauria explained the routine is broken down step-by-step. She said the programs are easy to follow. By the second or third time, muscle memory kicks in, making the movements easier.

After the first few days of Cize, Lauria was no longer unsure about the program.

“After three months of doing it, I lost 57 pounds,” she said.

And that was just the beginning. Although the test group was over and the infomercial shot, Lauria continued with the program and dropped more pounds. Cize program organizers noticed. And when Lauria lost 74 pounds, more video for the infomercial was shot.

Then, in February — 10 months after beginning the program — Lauria had lost 100 pounds. She then recorded more video for a yet-to-be-released infomercial.

When the first infomercial was released in October featuring her own weight-loss story, Lauria had an unexpected response.

“My social media blew up with people contacting me,” the 25-year-old said, adding the opportunity has allowed her to reach people all over the country. “My entire career has changed toward this fitness career.”

Now she is a Cize Live instructor and works as a full-time fitness instructor teaching Cize six to eight times a week at New York Sports Club, 24H fitness, and Steps on Broadway in New York City. She is also in the Beachbody Master Trainer Ambassador program for Cize Live as a master trainer, who trains other instructors.

(Video courtesy of Jose Lara with Agape Eternus Photography Studios)

“It’s kind of been a whirlwind for the last year,” Lauria said.

From the infomercial, Lauria has been asked to be in the dance videos for the next levels of the program. She’s also danced on stage at events with Shaun T.

“It’s allowing me to dance again, which is the original reason I came to New York,” she said.

Lauria started dancing 14 years ago. She said she had always been on the bigger side but just pushed through and kept on dancing.

Lauria remembers making up dances and performing them for her parents as a child.

“I think I was just born with the desire and love to dance and express myself that way,” she said.

At age 6, Lauria started taking dance classes but gave up because she was embarrassed and made fun of because costumes didn’t fit her right. When she was in middle school, she realized how much she missed dance and gave it another try.

“That’s when I started dancing and not worrying about my weight, but doing it cause I loved it,” she said.

Lauria said she loved the rush and joy she felt when dancing.

After graduating from West Hall High School in 2008, Lauria auditioned for Walt Disney World and accepted a job as a parade performer. Three years later, she decided to make the jump to New York City. She moved back to Georgia for a few months to save money and then made the move.

“Clearly it didn’t go as I planned,” she said. “The week I got up here I was in the hospital with my blood clot.”

And it was very difficult to overcome, she said.

“I still do have it,” Lauria said of the clot. “I’m just going to have to live with it.”

Part of living with the clot required Lauria to change her diet and exercise. Positive results have followed.

“I’ve been able to become healthier and it’s (less risky),” she said. “I manage it.”

Her parents, who live in Flowery Branch, had a bird’s-eye view of their daughter’s struggles. They also have been a source of support for her through her health scares.

“It was terrifying,” JoAnne Lauria said of Rachel’s blood clot. “We almost lost her, but everything turned out all right.”

JoAnne recalls how they thought Rachel’s dance career was over.

“Dancing was what she wanted to do most and what she was best at,” JoAnne said.

Since Cize came into her life, doors have opened up, her proud mother said.

“I’m ecstatic that everything is going well for her,” JoAnne said, adding she prayed for something like this to come into Rachel’s life and change her direction.

“I’m her mother and you worry about your child,” she said.

And Rachel’s weight loss has had a ripple effect. She has gone on more auditions and been considered for a wider variety of parts.

“(There are) so many people she’s inspired,” JoAnne said. “Not only in New York but in other states that have contacted her, Facebooked her, about her journey.”

JoAnne said Rachel has always been a source of inspiration for her peers.

“She’s always inspired people somehow, I think that’s what her journey is,” JoAnne said. “She’s a great kid.”

Rachel’s journey may have been interrupted with a blood clot but has continued with her determination.

“It will always be there and always be a part of me, but it didn’t stop me,” Rachel said.