The married Pickerington couple’s trips to the grocery store sometimes trend toward exercises in indulgence, but it’s different this time around. The overall wellness of their young family is on the line, perhaps even their lives.

On this particular jaunt down the aisles of their local grocery, Chris Robinson, 30, and Jessica Robinson, 29, are subtracting soda pop from their pushcart and slapping cases of water down instead. Vegetables fill the spots in the cart usually reserved for chips, and lean meats are added in favor of the usual processed foods many of us enjoy, despite health consequences.

It is the eve of the Robinsons’ Fit Columbus 90-Day Challenge, and they make additions to the cart with equal parts excitement and anxiety for the mental and physical hurdles that await them when their first boot-camp workout kicks off on May 5. The Robinsons’ fitness goals are varied, but both view the changes as necessary and potentially life-saving. They’ll have the advice and knowledge of local experts at Body Rebellion Boot Camps to help them get the job done.

Chris played football and basketball in high school, so he’s no stranger to gyms and weightlifting. What has eluded him in recent years, though, is the certainty that he’s healthy enough to live a long, satisfying life with his wife and children. The former nose tackle and power forward concedes that, “I’ll always be a bigger guy,” but with two young children under his care, he says he has to ensure that he’ll be around to provide for his son and daughter, two-year-old Matthew and 12-year-old Madison.

“With the weight rooms, that comes naturally,” Chris said. “More so the cardio and the exercises are the things I need help with. That’s the thing that I want the most. I know I’m always gonna be a big guy. I don’t want to do this to physically look like something for someone else. I need to do this to get healthier. I’m African American and I’m heavy, and there’s a lot [of health risks] that comes with that. I need to get down to a weight so I can put on comfortable clothes, run with my kids … and live longer.”

Jessica is no stranger to the fitness world either, though she’s quick to admit that she hasn’t been dedicated to eating healthy foods in recent months. She points to a specific and lofty goal — losing 65 pounds in 90 days — as the jumpstart she wants from The Challenge. Her hope is that, upon successfully making that target, she will have sparked lifelong changes in her eating and fitness habits.

“After the holidays, I haven’t been to the gym as much and my eating is nowhere on track,” said Jessica, who hopes to finish the 90-day program weighing less then 200 pounds.

The Robinsons’ fitness journey will be overseen by Joanna and Cephas Pearson, co-owners of Body Rebellion Boot Camps. The Robinsons emerged from their first meeting with their new trainers on May 4 ready to make changes to their diet. Joanna said she saw that her newest clients were very eager to fully commit themselves.

“When we talked with them, I felt they were both ready to make a lifestyle change,” Joanna said. “Chris said he knows he needs to be there for his children, and Jessica is ready to meet the challenge, too. I think the biggest obstacle that I see for them is the continued motivation, but they both said that doing it together will help them keep the motivation going.”

Boot-camp-style workouts, kettlebell classes and in-home nutrition education will fit into a schedule that adds up to three or four days a week of interaction between the Robinsons and Pearsons.

“They’re going to have good workouts and they’ll definitely feel like they got something out of it,” Joanna said of the workout regimen the Robinsons will implement. “We want this to be a lifestyle change. If you’re looking for it, we can help you.”

Clearly, there’s great responsibility on the Robinsons to uphold their end of The Challenge, both during sessions and also while away from Joanna and Cephas. The motivation to achieve their goals couldn’t be greater, and this has provided all four individuals with great confidence at the outset of The Challenge.

“I’m really excited about doing this,” Chris said. “I’m really excited to be on this journey and to push us to get the results we need.” •