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Success Stories

Success Stories


Colleen R. - Alpharetta, GA

My husband and I had been trying unsuccessfully for several years to start our family. Despite having every test imaginable done on us, the doctors could not find any reason that we couldn’t conceive. My cycles have always been very irregular, and I suspected that was the culprit. I decided that the extra 30 pounds I was carrying around couldn’t be helping either, so I decided to get healthy. There was one slight problem. I am a yo-yo dieter. I have tried every fad and every pill. I’ve done those shake diets and tried calorie counting, points counting and even tried eating food delivered to my door (yuck), but the weight never stayed off. My problem was the “diet experts” said "eat this and you will lose weight." But I never knew why I was losing, and more importantly I was never given the tools to keep it off in the long run. 

I decided this time that I was going to focus on eating healthier on my own with fruits, veggies, whole grains and proteins. Isn’t that what we are supposed to eat? I downloaded a food diary and started tracking what I ate. The diary calculated a certain amount of calories for me to eat daily, so I followed that and very, very slowly I lost a few pounds. 

 A great customer at my work was starting a run club at Life Time Fitness, and she asked me and my co-workers if we would like to sign up. Now, I have never run a day in my life, but I liked that it was inexpensive and I didn’t actually have to commit to the gym to join the club. She also mentioned there would be informational meetings after the run sessions that were free, so I decided to join. 

After my very first run session, my friends mentioned there would be a nutritional meeting after the run that they wanted to check out, so I tagged along. The meeting was run by Jason Barry, one of Life Time’s dietitians and personal trainers. During the meeting I realized something: I had tried every diet under the sun trying to find something that worked for me, but I never thought to seek out help from someone who actually knew what they were talking about. LIGHTBULB! I jotted down Jason’s email address, and the following week I had my first meeting with him. He gathered lots of information about me including our difficulty with conception and my eating habits. He suggested I try a few things, like focusing on eating lower carb meals and beginning to remove gluten from my diet. He gave me links to informational articles, research, and podcasts that outlined the benefits of eating this way. I was so excited. Not only could I lose weight but also learn how to take control of my eating so it wasn’t just a flash in the pan but something I could follow for the rest of my life. He had given me the information that I needed for it all to make sense. 

I signed up for 6 sessions with Jason and started learning more and more about low carb and gluten free eating. I absolutely loved it. I searched the Internet for new and exciting recipes to try, and each night I was making something awesome. I didn’t feel like I was dieting at all. It was actually fun! After the change in my diet, I started to not only lose weight, but I started to get my cycles on a monthly basis (a huge deal for me). Each session, Jason would give me more tools and more information to address any issues I was having (heart burn, trouble sleeping etc.). It was so awesome to be able to get real solid answers about my nutrition and health. Three months later I was down 20 pounds and - to our great surprise - my husband and I found out we are expecting….TWINS! I know that without Jason’s nutritional guidance my husband and I would have turned to fertility treatments in hopes of starting our family. Turns out we needed someone in our corner to help us focus not just on losing weight but on getting healthy the right way! Thank you, Jason Barry and Life Time Fitness! 


Mary S. – Austin, TX

I say “NEVER QUIT TO BE FIT!”  After many times of failure to lose weight I finally found the steps to success, and it all started with Life Time Fitness. I lost 70 lbs. and have kept it off over a two year period. I was facing high blood pressure, severe fatigue and a diet consisting of fast food and laden with lots of carbohydrates. I had a choice of either getting on prescribed medication to treat the high blood pressure and fatigue or turn things around myself. I chose the latter and have never looked back.

These seven steps have been my Keys to Success:


It is a mind over matter thing, no doubt. You have to put aside all the self-doubt and just do it! Know that YOU are in CONTROL of the choices you make. And if you fail (and you will), you just have to persevere until you succeed. Have tenacity to Never Give Up!


Nutrition is key. Eat unprocessed foods as much as possible. Read labels, and if you can’t pronounce the ingredients then don’t eat it. What worked for me was to pack ALL of my food, including beverage in an insulated bag, and I throw in an ice pack to keep it cool all day. No more drive-thru lunches or dinners for me.  I gave up wheat pretty much and enjoy a gluten free diet.  As well, I challenged myself to give up sugar and to my surprise learned that food tastes better, and I stayed fuller for much longer periods of time.  I enjoy salads without dressings and get an ample supply of protein on a daily basis.


What works for me is VARIETY. I have to mix it up, or I get bored. Do things you like to do, and you will stick with it. A typical week for me looks like this – Monday 4:45 a.m. Weight Training at Life Time Fitness, 5:30 p.m. Free Core Workout at Jack and Adam’s bike shop and maybe a light run or drills afterwards. Tuesday 6 p.m. Tennis Lesson and USTA Team Practice afterwards. Wednesday 4:45 a.m. Weight Training at Life Time Fitness and 5:30 p.m Free Core Class with light run afterwards. Thursday 6:15 p.m. Run with Free Quality Workout group at Luke’s Locker. Friday 6:15 a.m. Weight Training at Life Time Fitness and evening softball game or maybe a tennis match.  Saturday 8:00 a.m. Free Austin Meetup Group Run, and  Sunday I pretty much dedicate to REST and RECOVERY. I work in other activities like cycle, swim or yoga when time or opportunity arises. I learned that if you look around you can find a variety of exercise activities for free, and the different settings help keep me motivated and challenged.  


Find a support system that works for you, and even turn the negatives into positives to motivate you. There is nothing like showing the doubters that you did it! Here I would like to give special thanks to my Life Time Fitness Trainer Sally Ng for holding me accountable for my own actions using food journals and exercise logs and showing me the value of adequate cardio exercise on a weekly basis; my Life Time Fitness dietician Melanie Reyes for teaching the Eat To Live classes that focused on the importance of a healthy diet, which benefited not only myself but my family and friends through the example I set by changing my eating habits; Personal Trainer David Garza who offered free MTX classes, where his unstoppable energy fired me up to never quit; my run coach Alexis Camacho who graciously gave his time and energy to teach effective running form and boxing drills; and finally my friend Marcy McNeil who encouraged me to join RunTex’s free running group. You see, I believe it takes a group support system to motivate you through the highs and lows of your fitness transformation, so don’t try to do it all on your own by shying away from people. Have fun with it and meet new people.  

 5. REST

It took me a long, long time to learn the value of Rest. Allow ample rest periods after hard workouts, and remember the importance of quality sleep without background TV or radio noise. Get plenty of quality REST and SLEEP! I went from 4-5 hours a night to 6.5-8 hours a night of sleep. My body recovers much more quickly, and the weight stays off when I make sure to keep rest in the picture.


Undoubtedly, if you go at your training hard, you will incur injury, and most of it will be minor muscular aches and pains. Learn to deal with it. I incurred plantar faciitis, shin splints, hamstring pull, Runner’s Knee, tennis elbow, and minor shoulder injury, all of which I recovered from to become stronger and healthier. The key is to recognize the injuries early on and to adequately rest and recover and seek physical therapy when needed.  Also, learn the importance of stretching before and after exercising and foam rolling to stay injury free.  


Evaluate the steps listed here, and repeat the process over and over again. Expect failures, for with it will come the bountiful number of successes in all aspects of your life. Have fun on your health voyage.

In summary, I think weight training is key to staying strong and injury free while the running and cardio keep the weight off, and the other activities like tennis and softball demonstrate to me the effectiveness of my training regimen. The people I have met along the way are phenomenal and keep me striving for new goals and challenges.  Have fun staying fit and healthy!

Club Location: Austin, TX

Interests:  Weight Training, Running, Tennis, Softball, Cycle




Jessica C. – San Antonio, TX

From Trainer Brad Bowen of Life Time Fitness, San Antonio at The Rim...

I have been working with a client who was training to run a marathon and started with the San Antonio Rock & Roll Half Marathon in November of 2011. We were successful and started preparing for the Austin Marathon to be held in February 2012. Unfortunately, the day before Thanksgiving 2011, my client was training outdoors and was hit by a drunk driver. She suffered head trauma, fractured her skull, had a broken femur and pelvis. She was hospitalized for almost 2 months. The doctors told her that she would never walk again without pain and that running was completely out of the question. Her weight dropped down to 93lbs due to her loss of appetite and depression.

So, she did what any athlete would do. After 6 months of Physical Therapy, we started training again. We worked on a lot of corrective exercise and alignment and then moved on to training for 5Ks and 10Ks. I'm happy to report that she is not only running again, but she was invited to - and just completed - the Nike Women's Half Marathon in Washington D.C. just after the Boston Marathon incident. We thought that the race may not happen, but it did and she rocked it out! We are now training for her Full Marathon in October. I hope her story inspires and motivates people to overcome temporary limitations and stay true to their dreams!






Marcia L. - Lenexa, KS 

I never thought I would be up to the 90-Day Challenge, let alone survive three grueling months of it. I joined Life Time Fitness in January of 2011 to drop a few pounds. I did mostly cardio, met with a few personal trainers, so I thought I was doing what I needed to do. I wasn't going to the gym as much as I probably should have.

Growing up, I was always the skinny kid and could not gain weight no matter what I ate. I was always very active as a kid, but then again what kid doesn't want to run around all the time and play? When I was 19, my Dad passed away after suffering a massive heart attack at the young age of 49. This put a huge strain on my Mom and brother and sister, who were at the time 14 and 15. I was mad for a long time that he didn't take better care of himself, but that was a defining moment in my life to live life to the fullest because it can be taken away at any moment. After getting married and having my two amazing sons, that's when the weight finally decided to creep up on me.

I met with one of the trainers at Life Time for about 7 months prior to a trip. I felt really good about the progress I was making but then had to stop working out after finding out I had to have a hysterectomy because of pre-cancer. Two months later, I was blasted with yet another surgery – an appendectomy. I pretty much stopped going to the gym altogether and cancelled my membership in December of 2012.

Getting back to reality

For 3 months I thought I would work out at home, but that wasn't happening, so I joined Life Time Fitness again in March of 2013. This time around a trainer was needed to accomplish what I wanted. I met with Personal Trainer Drew. He was the best support system for my goals. He always had workouts for me that I knew I could do or learn to do. I also met with a dietitian to figure out what I should and shouldn't be eating as well as what supplements to be taking. I was surprised at the food that I was putting into my body that I thought was healthy. Over the course of a few months I did lose about 10 pounds after doing a round of the D.TOX for 2 weeks.

Support system leaving

Unfortunately, my dietician left and then my trainer did. I thought to myself what the heck is going on? Maybe I shouldn't do this anymore. Before my trainer left, he introduced me to my current trainer, Joey. The workouts are intense but definitely what I needed for this 90-Day Challenge. He has really got my body in better shape than I thought possible. My body fat went from 23% to 15%. Amazing!!! Thank you Joey and Life Time!

Extra incentive

The $10,000 is definitely a huge motivator for me but in a different way. Even though I could use the money to return to school or for updates to my house, I know the money would be more beneficial elsewhere. Most, if not all the money will be donated to one of my favorite charities, Children's Mercy. The kids and staff at Children's Mercy are amazing. Even though the challenge is over, that doesn't mean I am going to take it easy. I am excited for my next adventure.


Sarafia S. – San Antonio, TX

I know I have a purpose for my life. However, somewhere down the road life happened. I am in my 30’s with four children ages six, five, three, and one. I am working on completing my master’s degree, and I have also diagnosed myself with severe P.M.S. (putting myself second). Even after ending up in the hospital nearly dead because of my poor eating habits, I still failed to find the motivation from within myself to get up and make a difference in my life. The Life Time Fitness 90-Day Challenge transformed my life by educating, motivating, and equipping me with the knowledge to make wiser nutrition choices while also being more active in my life.

I read somewhere that there is no diet that would work better than just making better nutrition choices. I decided doing the Life Time D.TOX would be a great investment in my health. On Saturdays the nutritionist Erica would hold detox support classes. The first couple days of the fourteen day process were rough for me because my body was flushing all the toxins out causing me to have decreased energy. However, on the third day I noticed my energy began to increase. I also realized that I was not receiving everything my body needed from just food, so I added the Life Time am/pm multivitamin, flavored fish oil, and calcium supplements to my daily nutrition. My reason for doing the detox was to prepare my body for healthier food choices.

I signed up for the newsletter Flourish because I knew I needed as much helpful information to get me through my journey. Eat Right Live Well, written by Tom Nikkola, Director of Nutrition & Weight Management, was the most life changing guide I have ever read. After reading the guide, I no longer felt the burden of calorie counting. Instead, I ate more than the required serving size of vegetables. Sometimes I would go to the Life Time café and purchase to-go meals. This was helpful for me at home because my husband was not on board with my healthy eating change. Lastly, I consumed 95% water during my day, which was a complete change to my gallon of sugary orange juice that I would normally consume in a day. The information I received from the email newsletters was beneficial in educating me on nutrition, which led to me conquering my poor eating habits.

Throughout my life when I did not have the knowledge or skill in a certain area, I would seek a professional for assistance. When I had a toothache, I would go to the dentist. When I was sick, I wouldn’t hesitate to visit my family doctor. After completing my military career, I found myself five years into trying to lose weight on my own with no results. I realized no matter how well I knew my body I needed an expert to assist me. Partnering with a Life Time Fitness personal trainer was the best decision I have ever made for my health.

I received more strength mentally and physically by working with a personal trainer. My personal trainer is Zack Wilkerson, and he has been a personal trainer with Life Time Fitness since 2008. He has a master’s of science degree with a focus on exercise science. Zack prepared me for the challenges each week by sending his daily newsletter filled with tips, inspirational stories, and realistic goals. Zack amazed me by using his tablet to show me a 3d body image of the muscles we were going to work and why we were working on them. I also completed an active metabolic assessment test, which allowed me to identify my target heart rate zones.  Knowing my heart rate zones and having a Motoactv heart rate monitor allowed me to have effective workout sessions. My sessions were effective because I knew what zones would help my body to burn fat and not just sugar. By partnering with a personal trainer, I obtained the mental and physical strength to be self-sufficient on my own.

My training sessions were intense but efficient. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I attended the 9:00 a.m. T.E.A.M Boot Camp class also instructed by my personal trainer Zack. T.E.A.M stands for training, education, accountability, and motivation. We completed 30-60 second rotations of push-up jacks, burpies, kettle bell swings, tire flips, and sprints to name a few. This class is what my workout plan needed for accountability.

The second part of my work out plan was personal training on Tuesday and Thursday. I would start with an eight-minute warm up run. On Tuesday we would work on my upper body, and  I would do four sets of 10-15 reps arm curls, chest press, over-head press, and low row to name a few. On Thursday the focus was lower body. I would complete 4 sets of anywhere from 10-20 reps of dead lifts, rdl lift, squats with weights, leg press, and lunges to name a few. After 40 minutes of that, we would cool down each day with stretches and foam rolling. Every day when I was not at the gym I did at least 60 minutes of cardio, which consisted of running 6 miles. After exercising I would feel great and excited about the new change in my life.

The change that I have obtained during this challenge has been empowering. I went from 183 lbs. to 157 lbs. (38% to nearly 20% body fat). During the journey I lost more than body fat. I lost a close friend of mine, and it was an unexpected situation. I closed my child care center in order to relieve the stress of owning a business, which in return allowed me to focus more attention on my own children. Lastly, my husband and I separated, and I moved from our home into an apartment. From the outside looking in, no one would have guessed I was enduring through so many things. The only reason I was able to stay on track was the support of people who did not know they were impacting my life in a positive way.

To Zack (personal trainer), Illiana, Beckie, Kelly, Kyli, Courtney, James, Stephanie (child center crew), Dawn, Trish (Life Time check in ladies), Erica, Kim, Jessie, Tammy, Darla, Nina, Lara, Jo, Morgan (Boot Camp Crew), and Natasha (best friend and accountability partner) - THANK YOU! I believe God used each of you to help me to value my life. Now I will be able to watch my six-year-old daughter one day open her pediatric clinic, one day witness my five-year-old son being drafted into the Spurs NBA team, cheer on my now three-year-old son as he competes for Gold in the U.S Olympics, and lastly celebrate with my now one-year-old daughter as she departs for college on a full academic scholarship.

I know I have a purpose in life, and even though life will continue to happen I am more confident and self-motivated. I know my worth and my value to my children, family, and friends. Now it is your turn. Congratulations on taking the first step! Here’s to Life! Liberty! And the pursuit of a Healthy Life Style!