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Success Stories

Saturday
Jul042015

Lisa M. - Rochester Hills, MI

Eight years ago my husband and I were newly married and excited to start a family. However, after some time, we learned that our dream would be more difficult than we ever imagined. After three years of fertility treatments, numerous miscarriages, thousands of dollars, and countless tears, we were finally blessed with our first son. Fifteen months later, we were overjoyed with our second son. Not yet complete, our third son came but not without one more exhaustingly difficult and often heartbreaking round of fertility treatments. Finally, we had our family. 

After years of physical and emotional highs and lows, my weight ballooned, and my unhealthy habits continued to get worse. Finally, just for good measure, I struggled with post-partum depression. Unproductive and disorganized, I knew my boys needed their mom and my husband needed his wife, but most importantly I wanted a healthier and more joyful existence.

Before the 90-Day Challenge my diet needed improvement. I would eat a healthy meal, but follow it up with my kids’ leftovers and something sweet. As for working out, I would go to the gym a few days a week but without a plan. I wandered around, mostly doing cardio. Admittedly, working out was not high on my priority list. Not only do my husband and I have three young sons, but we also own and operate two small businesses. Life is busy.

In January of 2015, I met with Brian McKinney, a trainer at Life Time. I started training with him one day per week. After a month, I was ready to step it up. I had always wanted to do the 90-Day Challenge and felt that this could be the push I needed to get the results I wanted. We formed a plan on day one to help me achieve my goal during the 90-Day Challenge. I made a commitment to working out with Brian one to two days per week, doing the Boot Camp team training three days per week, and adding in yoga whenever I could. I also met with a nutritionist to make changes to my diet and to get the supplements my body needed. 

To get my workouts in, I had to get to the gym at 5 a.m. every morning. The first few weeks were tough, but eventually it became automatic. My diet was the biggest struggle. With the help of a nutritionist, I went on a very clean, balanced diet, cutting out gluten, dairy, sugar, and caffeine. In the morning, I began taking the UCAN, which really helped me power thru my workouts and followed it up with a post-workout protein shake and sensible breakfast. 
It was hard to not lick the syrup off my kids’ plates!

A few weeks into the Challenge, my progress started to plateau, so I decided to do the food sensitivity test through Life Time. To my surprise, I was sensitive to eggs, almonds, brown rice, green peas, as well as all dairy and gluten. Eating became a real challenge. Thankfully, with the help of Samantha Bielawski (Life Time nutritionist) she helped me come up with great healthy alternatives, which made a huge difference for me. She also added more supplements.

To maintain my focus and motivation, I never took off the 90-Day wristband. I also took weekly pictures of myself to track my own progress. But hands down, my greatest motivator was my trainer Brian. He was knowledgeable, encouraging, and kept me focused in and out of the gym.  There’s nothing like a text message from your trainer to kick you in the butt when you need it.  He would switch up and tweak my workouts, as well as upping my weights and correcting my form. No two routines were the same. I cannot thank you enough, Brian, for constantly pushing me and providing me the support and encouragement I needed. You are excellent at what you do. 

Also, thank you Joe Dabrowski and Brian McKinney for the awesome Boot Camp routines you created. They are always fun, slightly competitive, and very challenging. Boot Camp has taken my strength and endurance to a whole new level. The accountability of Boot Camp is huge, and the friendships formed are priceless.  GO BOOT CAMP!!!
 
Before the 90-Day Challenge, I always thought of my belly as kind of my badge of honor. Now, I refer to it as my “Success Story.” This Challenge was the push I needed and has provided me a lifestyle change benefitting and strengthening my family, my business, my marriage, and my mental health. I not only look healthier, but I also FEEL AMAZING! Thank you Life Time Fitness for providing me this opportunity to change my life and for helping me find immeasurable joy.  

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Saturday
Jun272015

Christine L.—Sugar Land, TX

As an educator and instructional specialist, one would think that losing weight would be as simple as knowing what to do. When I first signed up for the 90-Day Challenge, it was with the growth mindset that I would be adding to my workout repertoire. Felicia Roth, my Life Time Fitness Pilates instructor explained to me that it would be much more than just workouts. Nutrition plays a larger role. 

About two weeks before the contest began, I shared my plan with family, friends, and co-workers. I wanted to make sure that I was held accountable. The more I planned, the more excited I was to do this! I finally decided it was time to turn my unhealthy lifestyle around beginning with nutrition. I used to think “Oh, I can eat this today. Losing weight is easy. I will be better tomorrow.” The problem was that I never changed my attitude tomorrow. If losing weight were easy, everyone would do it!

One week before the contest, I received news that I would need to have a hysterectomy. While it is a common procedure, it devastated me. My initial thought was that the contest was over for me. Even worse, the idea of losing weight and my excitement came to a crashing halt. I talked with everyone I could: my family, friends and doctor. Some believed that the surgery should happen immediately, while my doctor maintained that it was up to me. As a working mother with a busy family, I needed a plan that I could wrap my head around.

After researching the surgery and what it would take for recovery, I found a greater purpose for losing the weight. Going into surgery with a healthy body could make a huge difference in recovery time. My plan for weight loss was re-ignited and now more importantly with a focus on health versus looks. My doctor agreed that the surgery could wait out the ninety days. My determination to become healthy for my family became a top priority.

One of my goals was to attend every Tuesday session and listen to my coaches and instructors. Felicia looked over my menu plan and made adjustments to my nutrition. She showed me Life Time’s lean source and Vegan Max. There was so much I realized that I needed to know and learn. I did not know that eating too little or not getting enough sleep can have negative impact on weight. I also did not know that heart rate and interval workouts were the key to burning sugar.

The first thirty days were by far the hardest. I focused on preparing my own meals and making time to go to the gym. I had to depend on other people to help me stay focused and to get my kids to their nightly activities. I realized that this was not a journey that I had to face alone.

Whenever I craved something unhealthy or my children wanted something, they would sacrifice and learn with me. My youngest son even would tell me, “Mom, you don’t want that. It probably has mold in it.” Most importantly, my children and husband began to eat more healthily and understand the importance of nutrition.

My biggest challenge for the first thirty days was eliminating Diet Coke from my daily routine. Many places encourage diet sodas while losing weight. Felicia wanted me to eliminate all chemicals from my body and was the first (other than my husband) to emphasize how bad soda is for the body. It was a reminder that I am changing my health and not just trying to lose weight. Felicia was helping to keep me healthy.

By day sixty, not only did I stop craving Diet Coke, but it tasted bad to me. In fact I found that anything that had sugar was too sweet and unappealing. By day ninety, I found that even alcohol did not appeal to me as it once had. 

It truly was not easy and ninety days seemed like an eternity, but now that I have done this I cannot imagine going back. Yes, I will probably let myself have a cheat here and there, but I am not interested in eating and drinking things that I know will ultimately affect my health. 

While I did not get much opportunity to enjoy this new body before undergoing major surgery, I believe that I am able to move and heal better knowing that I am carrying 45 less pounds than I was just a few months before. Once I heal, I plan to continue my healthy lifestyle for my family and myself. It is no longer about “being skinny” but about being able to enjoy my life!

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Wednesday
Jun172015

Eduardo A. - Novi, MI

Thanks to Life Time, I’ve recently started hearing, “WOW! You look way younger now. What is your secret?” But there are no secrets about losing weight with a healthy diet and adequate fitness routine. No magic pill, fat-burning lotion or risky surgery and, definitely, no harmful steroids.

I am a 34-year-old single father to a hyperactive three-year-old son. I work as an OBGYN doctor delivering babies and, many times, from complicated high-risk pregnancies. My complex career, busy work schedule and fast-paced life contributed negatively to my unhealthy lifestyle. I was obese. I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol with a strong family history of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. As a result of my obesity and sedentary lifestyle, I completely ruptured my Achilles tendon three years ago, leaving me unable to walk for months. Eating was a way for me to deal with stress.

I have recommended diet and exercise to a lot of my patients for years. In February 2015, I suddenly realized that it was time to take my own advice. I walked into Life Time Novi hoping to lose some weight and feel healthy again. My new trainer, Michael Ward, was very professional. He advised me to eat more fat in my diet; however, I was quite skeptical. Even knowing how important fat is for our bodies, I still wanted to lose fat and gain muscle — and fast. Mike convinced me to eat more fat even faster with good scientific, serious research. Mike was instrumental in changing my eating habits completely with a diet high in proteins. I have been intermittently in other gyms, but nobody talked to me about healthy diet before or provided me real support to achieve my goals. Thanks, Mike.

Since that moment, I have followed the information and advice provided by Life Time through its website articles (www.lifetime-weightloss.com and www.core3training.com), and from the multiple trainers at Try-It Tuesday events, Workout Workshops and TEAM Fitness. I really had fun in all these activities.

I love the Child Center, amenities, hours of operation and positive environment at Life Time. Trainers, staff and other members constantly encouraged me.

I am convinced that diet is more than 90 percent of the way to succeed in the weight loss battle. Counting and logging calories daily worked very well for me. Life Time guided me to find my right diet, exercise intelligently and make mental fitness a priority as well.

My reward after these 90 days of discipline is a new lifestyle that is adding back years, maybe decades, to my life. I do feel younger. I lost 44.8 pounds (22.75% of my initial weight). My blood pressure and cholesterol values are normal without medications. My joints are stronger. I feel energetic, like when I was in my early 20s, and I am in the same clothing sizes as when I was a teenager. Also, I don’t snore anymore at night.

The 90-Day Challenge was the best $25 I’ve ever invested in my life. In the beginning, I felt that it was a nearly impossible goal to compete with some bodybuilders from around the nation in this Challenge. But once I started checking the leaderboard, it gave me the motivation to focus and fight to find the best me in those three months. Otherwise, I would have stopped when I lost the first 20 pounds because I was happy even with that.

My recognition is to all the people who work at Life Time. You are not just helping people to lose weight; you are also making a better world. In my case, I am a better person, father, and even a better doctor after this 90-Day Challenge. I am more positive and happier with life. The nutrition habits of my son are improving as well. I have more energy to play with him, to the point that I recently ran a 10K race pushing my son in a stroller for an hour. He was a great running partner telling me “faster, faster” at the finish line. Great memories! Also, I am more knowledgeable about food and nutrition in general. This will help me to counsel my patients with better guidance on how to have a healthy lifestyle, especially for my diabetic patients who need to control their sugar levels so closely. In addition, I have more stamina for my long hours at work delivering babies safely.

To conclude, I am in the best shape of my entire life and I won’t go back. This notorious transformation is staying with me. I just ran my first trail half-marathon a few days ago, and I finished in position 319 out of the 622 runners who finished the race. Also, I plan to start training for a triathlon in the future.

Thanks to Life Time, I feel as if I can accomplish anything now!

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Wednesday
Jun172015

McKenna B. - Warrenville, IL

Life Time's 2015 90-Day Challenge has changed my life forever!

Overly dramatic, you say... This is my story.

It was January 2000, my senior year of high school. Two young men were drag racing on the highway and, as fate would have it, I was on that highway too... As a result, I was involved in a near deadly car accident. At the hospital, my mom was informed that I would NOT make it through the night and she should prepare for the worst. Amazingly, though, I beat the odds by surviving the first night, but spending the next three days in a coma. Then it became scary. For the next two months, I didn’t know my name or anyone in my life. In the end, I had a severe concussion, two cracked ribs, nerve damage throughout my legs, and I couldn’t turn my neck or even walk. The pain was so intense that I couldn't keep food down. During recovery, my doctors told me that I was lucky to be alive. However, they also told me that I would have memory loss and physical pain, and I would need Vicodin for the rest of my life.

In the 15 years since my accident, my weight has gone up and my self-confidence has gone down. I have daily pain and poor coordination, and to say I’m not good at sports would be a compliment.

Before the Challenge started, Ashley with Member Services encouraged me to participate. I thought, “It’s not expensive, so why not?” She persuaded me to get involved with “Try-It Tuesdays” and covered the group fitness classes. I knew she was right and decided to try a variety, from Spin to a special meditation class. She also connected me with Julia, a personal trainer, and signed me up for swimming lessons. I now had some direction.

When the Challenge started, I was shocked when I weighed in. My weight was 123.5 lb. and my body fat was 23.4%! I'm 5'0" and people say I'm petite, so how can a quarter of me be fat? Now I was really motivated, so I went online and researched workout programs, diets and philosophies of those who have succeeded before me. Reading past winners’ stories and looking at their photos really motivated me. I felt if they could do it, I could do it too!

I started a strength-training regimen. I have to admit that, even having worked out with Julia, the weights and machines can be very intimidating. But I wasn't going to let them beat me.

At two weeks in, it was actually starting to be fun; I was getting comfortable with the exercises and making gains. However, in week 3 I added new exercises and a new routine. I was out of my comfort zone, and I really felt like quitting. Add to this my crazy work schedule, some days working 16 hours, plus a two-hour work commute. Exercising eased some of my stress, but I was also asking myself, “Was it worth it?” One day, after a long day of work and a harder workout, I checked the Leaderboard. I was in the top 15% for the transformation category! That was exactly the boost I needed; I was re-energized.

I continued to push by getting four to five hours of sleep some nights and working out at all hours of the day. Thankfully, Life Time is open 24 hours! It was week 5; I was feeling good, but I worried that I was pushing my luck. With all the injuries associated with my car accident, I felt like something bad was about to happen. I was lifting heavier and heavier, especially in squats. Then I strained my lower back. But I didn't want to stop. I was afraid if I took time off, I wouldn't start again. Until one day, I was flat on my back with tears running down my face, thinking about the day two kids drag racing completely changed the quality of my life.

Fortunately, my trainer and a few others encouraged me to take it easy and explained the importance of stretching. I still had to take two weeks off and ease back a bit on my exercises. But I was still in the hunt!

As the Challenge comes to a close, I am happy to say that I am in the greatest shape of my life. And after taking classes like swimming, cardio dance, yoga, meditation, and nutrition, I feel that I am the most athletic I have ever been in my life!

Other than basic soreness from working out, I am extremely excited to announce that I have been pain-free and Vicodin-free for over a month!

I have to say though, while looking back, I loved the journey. It was tough, but now I'm not intimidated. I'm confident, and I love working out!

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Wednesday
Jun172015

Todd H. - Plano, TX

“How did I get here? I cannot believe how bad my health issues have become!” (Loss of gallbladder, irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure, multiple kidney stones, difficulty breathing, sleep apnea, chronic back pain, gastrointestinal issues, pancreatitis, and a mass in my chest which was, fortunately, benign.) My mom and uncle died very young of pancreatic cancer. “Is this going to be my fate as well? How much longer do I have to live? What about my wife and kids?” These were questions I kept asking myself. Tough questions and hard answers to deal with. I did not know if I was ever going to live to see my kids graduate high school! The thought of getting healthy seemed impossible.

I prayed for healing on what I could not control and for help on what I could control. There was one consistent and resounding message from my doctors: change my unhealthy ways to lead a healthier life.

While searching for solutions, I happened to drive by a Life Time Fitness center. “Wow, lifetime fitness.” That was a concept that I wanted desperately in my life. Yes, I want to live a full active life. “Could this be the place that helps me achieve that goal?” I regained hope and joined right away. I met expert physical trainers who tailored a program for me. TEAM Weight Loss would be the first step in achieving my goal.

A month later, I learned that Life Time was sponsoring a 90-Day Challenge for weight loss. Here was a great opportunity for me. With the help of my trainer, we set ambitious goals to achieve. I thought they were impossible, but I was up for the challenge. My plan started with one motto to get healthy: “Exercise daily and eat clean (no processed foods).” Within the first few weeks, I lost over 20 lb. It was not easy, though. Unhealthy temptations were always around. I wore a 90-Day bracelet every day. Anytime I thought about being unhealthy, I looked down on my wrist and remembered the commitment I made to change. Support was always there from my fellow TEAM members and trainers. Every week I tried a new personal training class, Cardio Burn, TRX, Kettlebells, Boot Camp and Alpha, to name a few.

Finding food that was truly non-processed was very difficult. Labels stated “all-natural,” but then had artificial ingredients added in. I decided to meet with one of the nutritionists, and I learned so much about the right kinds of foods. They offered a personal Grocery Store Tour as well. Armed with knowledge and a nutrition plan, I was back on track. For years, I was so hard on my body; it was full of waste and toxins. I tried Life Time’s D.TOX program combined with their Dynamic Greens, AM/PM vitamins and Meals to Go. (Bruschetta Chicken with Quinoa was my favorite.) After just two weeks, I felt energized again.

Then came Weeks 7 and 8. I hit a big plateau, barely losing a pound. Frustrated and confused, I sought my trainer’s advice. I was getting in better shape, so I was actually overtraining using my initial metabolic assessment. I took the test again, and my results were drastically different. After modifying my routine, and adding in Pilates and more weight training, my weight started dropping again.

At the end of the 90-Day challenge, I achieved even more than I had thought was possible.

• Weight Loss: 286.4 down to 197.8 – 88.6 lb. (30.94%)
• Body Fat: 41.2 down to 22.5 – 18.7 (45.39%)

The 90-Day Challenge has given my life back to me. I have many things to be thankful for. My blood pressure is back to a normal range, my resting heart rate is in the high 50s, and my back is getting stronger each week. I love seeing the smiles on my family’s faces again because now I have energy to participate in activities with them. My outlook on life is renewed. I look forward to achieving many more milestones on my journey to lifetime fitness.

I share my story with the hope that I can help inspire others who may be struggling. The biggest lesson I learned is that you cannot be successful all by yourself. Ask for help, and you will find there are many who will jump to support you. I could not have been successful without support from my wonderful wife and kids, work and the people at Life Time. It is different from any other fitness center I have experienced. You are greeted by name and treated like family there. There are too many to name them all, but special thanks go out to all of the trainers who provided never-ending support and encouragement (Erin, Hulen, Jocelyn, Q), nutritionists (Christine, Linda) and LifeCafe (Dalton, Jacob). They made the impossible possible.

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