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Success Stories

Saturday
Feb062016

Sloan P. – Laguna Niguel, CA

What if I fail at eating healthily and fall back into my old habits? If I don’t try, nothing will change, and that is what I am afraid of. This was a humbling and insightful moment for me.

I’m your average Midwestern, 46-yr.-old mother of 3, who met the man of my dreams and ended up moving to California. I never thought I’d find myself journaling a “diary” about a fitness challenge. This Challenge, however, found me hungry for something more in life.

Kind of like my new puppy, Kona, finding the pantry door open... Here’s a glimpse into the life of a “REAL” Orange County housewife!

Dear Diary,

For my birthday, my husband purchased a week of personal training at Life Time Fitness.

I was paired with Ayo, who identified himself as a personal trainer, former basketball player and model.

Day 1

The Nigerian Athletic god was waiting—6’9” and very intimidating. It was almost as if I had Kobe Bryant on steroids training me.

He was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, even though my gut was already hurting from holding it in the whole time he was around. This is going to be a FABULOUS week!

Day 2

I drank 4 cups of coffee. I was amped for my next fitness adventure. He put me on the treadmill. I thought I was going to have a heart attack after all that caffeine.

Day 3

I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. (no implants here!)

Reality has set in!!!!

He put me on the stair monster with a 50-lb. weight vest! He told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life.

Day 4

I was 30 minutes late–I could barely put on my shoes. He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. He sent someone to find me.

Then, as punishment, he had me do a 5-minute plank.

Day 5

Time for biceps. I don’t have any biceps!

Day 6

Satan left a-wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing his voice made me want to smash my phone.

Day 7

I’m having the church van pick me up. Thank GOD this week is over. I will pray that next year my husband will choose a gift for me that is fun, like a root canal or a hysterectomy.

Day 23

And then it happened! I was hooked.

I realized there was a missing piece to my life. I’ve been so busy taking care of everyone else that I had neglected “me.” I felt guilty leaving the house, feeling like I hadn’t done anything productive.

My kids and husband appreciated me more. Wow, this is working out great. Who knew! After a few weeks, I had more energy! In a strange way, it’s a whole new life for me!

Then I started seeing results! This has become “my thing.”

This experience has taught me to appreciate every moment, (even the 5-minute plank). This is the only thing in my life that I have “full control” over. (P.S. Don’t tell Ayo that…he thinks he’s the boss of me.)

Day 45

Ayo decided we need to “kick it up a notch”! He thought it would be a good idea for me to train in his rubber vest!

He wanted me eating a small meal every 2 hours, taking naps and sleeping a minimum of 8 hours a night. Are you kidding me? We are in a competition to lose body fat. How the hell am I going to do that if all I do is eat and sleep? Have I been doing this all wrong my entire life? The answer is YES! The more muscle I built, the more body fat I lost.

Day 85

This is a cruel joke… It’s Halloween, and I’m sitting alone in my house with a cauldron FULL of candy, handing out candy to hundreds of trick-or-treaters! It’s taking every ounce of me to not just rip into a bar of chocolate!

Day 90

I feel amazing! I had a life-changing event when I enrolled in this Challenge. It has made such a big impact on not only what I look like (huge bonus!) but more importantly who I am. I am no longer afraid to push my inner limits.

I have “my fitness routine.” I am no longer just going through the motions of daily life. I appreciate every moment I have with my friends and family. I have the energy to throw the football with my boys and stay up late to watch movies with my high school-age daughter. I have clarity of mind to help them with their homework. I’m a better person, better friend, better wife and better mother.

I am humbled by the love and encouragement I have received throughout this journey. I could not have done this without the support of my husband, children, friends, personal trainer, and members and employees at Life Time, who have encouraged me throughout my journey. Thank you! This started as a 90-Day Challenge and ended as my lifestyle. I OWN IT!

Enclosure

Saturday
Jan302016

Michael H. - Lake Houston, TX

I will forever remember the year 2015. It will echo through my thoughts for the rest of eternity. To say the last 90 days have been a “Challenge” would be the ultimate understatement. Sometimes we have to endure much before we are able to see the prize.

I am no stranger to challenges, but wow. I began just like anyone else, prepared to better my physical state. I worked with Brady and Susan when I started my journey. I began to see tremendous changes taking place when the bottom fell out.

The first life challenge came in the form of my ex-wife moving almost 2 hours away with my children. We had 50/50 custody, and I only found out when I did because my 7-year-old daughter asked me if I had seen their new house! My children have been my world since my divorce. I was overly involved in their lives, coaching, putting my job on the back burner just to put them first in my life, etc. Needless to say, I was completely crushed. The 90-Day Challenge became a distant memory. I fell into a deep depression and was unable to focus at my job and life in general.

The next blow came when I lost my job. I saw it coming, but I was paralyzed and unable to do anything about the situation. The best way I can describe how I felt was like the movies when they show a person who is fully aware of all the bad things that are happening to them but physically unable to respond or do anything about it. I would literally lay balled up on the floor in tears because I needed my children and feared I would only get to see them every other weekend.

Unfortunately, the next challenge came in the form of physical anguish. I was in a hurry to take my oldest daughter to the movies with a friend, but the rest of my children wanted to start a fire out back. I will spare you the details, but the next thing you know I am on fire right in front of my children. I suffered 2nd degree burns on the right side of my body all down my face and arm. I felt like I was melting for a couple of days, and I won’t tell you about the blisters and peeling and having to tell my children it was going to be okay without breaking into tears because of how life was falling to pieces around me.

Here I am, broken, jobless, and with 2nd degree burns down a good portion of my body when my 10-year-old son comes up and gives me a great big hug and tells me how much he loves me. He sits down next to me and just begins to talk like nothing had happened and everything was going great. He tells me how he knows I am hurting but that everything will be okay and that I need to keep my head up and press through. Through the shower of tears, I felt strength like none I had ever felt before. Then my son told me he wanted me to finish strong and win the 90-Day Challenge. He told me that he would work out by my side, and so we began. I pushed myself despite the pain from the burns to make my son as proud of me as I was of him.

I have lost around 60 pounds and my son has lost 20. The next thing you know, I weighed in, and I was in first place! My family implemented all that Susan had taught us. The first and most difficult thing we did was to reduce our portion sizes. Then we increased the size of our breakfast. In my case, I made a point to eat breakfast for a change! We made sure to round our meals with proteins and complex carbs, and my son had to throw in some of the ice cream food group every once in a while.

I would like to say thank you to Rachel, Hope, Chaney, Kamron, Hayden, and Grace. I couldn’t be more proud of each one of you and grateful for all you did to see me through this time, and of course I especially want to thank Hayden and say how proud I am of how much progress you have made and the weight you have lost. Lastly, I would like to thank the dear friends I have made at Life Time for all the encouragement each time we pass at the grocery store or elsewhere. I would especially like to thank Susan for putting up with me, and thank you, Brady, for providing me with motivation.

Saturday
Jan232016

Kimberleigh B.

Gaining from my losses...

Since the age of 12, I had been what doctors consider “overweight.” As I grew into an adult and had to face the “real world” I realized that my parents had sheltered me well. In 2005 at the age 28, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, a disease that took the limbs and lives of many of my family members. I was put on 3 medications to control my blood glucose levels, high blood pressure and cholesterol. I lost 40 pounds by walking and changing my “diet.” Over the years the weight crept back on and the diabetes prognosis was still lingering, never getting better. I was not suffering from any life-threatening issues yet, but if I didn’t do something they were sure to come.

Eleven months after my diagnosis, in July of 2006, I suffered my 1st loss. My mother died at the age of 57 from cirrhosis of the liver. After her death I dove into working and cut myself off from virtually everyone. My health was starting to go downhill again. I would do the minimum to keep my diabetes in check but never controlling it. At that time that was enough because I thought there was no reason to really fight diabetes. After all, my family members had succumbed so why would I be any different?

In November of 2008, I suffered another great loss: my father’s death. He was 67 at the time. This loss was personal because no one really knew my father was sick. Much like myself, he never shared his health struggles with anyone. He would always say he was “okay.” My brother called me November 30th, the day before my 32nd birthday, to tell me my father was gone. My father died of cardiorespiratory failure, complications from diabetes and pancreatic cancer. My last parent had died. I was now orphaned, alone and unhealthy. SOMETHING HAD TO GIVE!

Fast forward to 2015. I joined the gym and signed up for TEAM class. And in July I decided that I would participate in the 90-Day Challenge. I knew that this Challenge would not be easy, but the alternative was not an option. I was going to choose life and, though my parents never saw it in their lifetimes, I was determined to be healthy for them and myself.

I had a lot on my plate, so figuring out when I was going to work out was difficult at first. I was a full-time graduate student and had many extracurricular activities to attend, but that would not stop me. I joined Alpha class with Lawrence Witsell-Tuggle to gain more muscle mass to help with my weight loss. I would take Alpha 2 days a week. I also started TEAM Fitness with Shelly Fagen for another 3 workouts a week. On the days my workloads were not too heavy I hiked 3 to 8 miles. The elevation levels helped burn more calories while I moved at a slower pace.

As I gained more endurance, I started to jog on the treadmill. Cardio on the treadmill (when I wasn’t going hiking) was a must about 2 hours daily. My trainer, Kim Underwood, supplied me with treadmill workouts that came with the metabolic treadmill evaluation, a test that tells you what zones you should be in to burn the most fat and calories. A great help when you are spending so much time on a treadmill.

This was a lot to take on for someone who was not very fit in the beginning, but I always remembered that rest and recovery are just as important as the workout. I would rest for 2 days (split) and treat myself to the Life Time spa treatment.

After taking a food sensitivity test prior to the 90-Day Challenge to see which foods I was sensitive to, I realized there were foods sabotaging my progress, so I had to change everything. I was going to need help planning my meals and nutrition.

Kristina Sommer, my nutrition coach, was of great help. Together we came up with a plan of 1800 calories a day based on my resting metabolic testing. Because I was diabetic, high fat and proteins and a lower carb intake was a plan that worked for me. On days when I was going to my classes, my carb intake was double because I would burn calories at a faster rate. Drinking water was essential. It helped with feeling full and not overeating, so I drank half my body weight in ounces every day.

When I started the Challenge, my Hgb a1c (hemoglobin glucose level) was 8.5 mg which is extremely high (the range for non-diabetics is below 5.7). A few weeks ago, I went back to see my doctor and it is now 5.9mg. I am within reach of the range for non-diabetics 10 years after being diagnosed. I now feel like I can live my life and have the things my parents wanted me to have. Moving every day has changed my prognosis. It no longer seems bleak.

I am determined that diabetes will not take a limb or my life like it has done for so many others. My pledge to myself is that I will live my best life, I will continue to be stronger today than yesterday, and I will do this all in my lifetime.

Enclosure

Saturday
Jan162016

Matt F. - Canton Township, MI  

“I’ll have a hand-cut 32-oz. ribeye, a baked potato – loaded, and a salad with ranch. Oh! And a Cactus Blossom as an appetizer, and keep the cold Coronas coming.” Ninety days ago, that would have been my standard dinner order at my favorite steakhouse. I may have even gone for a large Blizzard at DQ for dessert on the way home. That was before I had the help and support of Life Time Fitness to turn my health around.

Most of my adult life I’ve been overweight, even obese, because of my addiction to food in very large portions. As my daughter once told her friend before we took them out to dinner, “Don’t be alarmed. My dad eats a lot!”

Now, here I am, 115 lb. smaller, a healthier and happier version of that person.

It started innocently enough, when a couple of my buddies and I started talking about joining a gym to work off our nightly scotch drinking. So, after about a month of talking about it, we decided to actually do something and take a tour around Life Time. That’s when I learned about the 90-Day Challenge, and was inspired. I had my eye on the prize… I was going to lose 100 lb. and win that challenge! My wife was worried about the cost, but reluctantly agreed that my health was worth it. I even talked her into joining the gym and doing the 90-Day Challenge with me; she also lost 10 lb. and 6% of her body fat composition.

Before the challenge, Adoreya, the lead trainer at the gym, called me to set up a health assessment. She provided me with nutritional advice and workout tips for getting healthy, including instructions to drink lots of water (key to weight loss). She listened and understood my health history and my back problems, and gave me tips for using the equipment to strengthen my core without straining my back. From the very first day I went at it – working out, cutting down my portions SIGNIFICANTLY, staying busy from the time I got up to the time I went to bed. I walked nearly 1,000 miles in those 90 days – most of those miles on the treadmills at Lifetime.

The trainers gave me a lot of advice and plenty of support along the way. I think Jeff was the first to call me “champ,” and it seems to have stuck. But I didn’t always feel like a champ. There were plenty of days I was ready to give up, but just in time there was a trainer to give me the words of encouragement to keep going – telling me to keep doing what I was doing because it was working! Boaz turned me on to cardio, which was the key to my weight loss for the last 90 days.

The LifeCafe was also very helpful, providing healthy meal options that taste great! The Portabella Meals to Go is one of my favorites. Chrissy set me up with AM/PM vitamins so I was sure to maintain nutritional balance even with my smaller portions and higher calorie burn.

My life is so much better than it was 90 days ago. For starters, I feel better about myself – I’m happier and have more confidence than before. My energy levels are also through the roof. Those naps I used to take every night after work? No more! Now I have energy to grab a rake and clean up the yard after working an 8-hour day. My wife is also happier because I help more around the house and have tackled a few of those “honey-dos.”

I can’t wait to meet with my doctor next week when I go in to see if I can get off of my cholesterol medication. She will be so shocked, and so proud. My blood pressure has also come down, which was likely the next medication by body was going to require. After the scare I had earlier this year when I thought I was having a heart attack, this weight loss is just what my doctor was begging me to do. What will she lecture me on now that I’ve given up all of my unhealthy ways: quit smoking, quit drinking, lost weight.

Now what? Well, first, I’ll need some new clothes. I’ve added 10 – yes, 10 – holes to my belt to cinch up my pants. I’ve lost 20 inches around my belly and 10 inches around my waist. My 3XLT T-shirts are just hanging on me like oversized dresses. Work won’t be too happy when I request new uniforms be ordered either!

One thing is for sure, I’m going to keep the weight off and continue to work out with Life Time. I’ve already scheduled sessions with Adam, a personal trainer at Life Time, to start weight lifting, tone up and strengthen my core and back. Twice in the last 10 years, I’ve been hit with a herniated disk that put me on my back for 8 weeks or more. Both times, my doctor and physical therapists wanted me to drop weight and strengthen my core. Now, I truly feel that I’m in a position to build that core and back strength.

The shock on people’s faces who haven’t seen me since before the challenge is gratifying. I’m inspiring many others to lose weight too, including family members, co-workers, and neighbors. Watch out, Life Time. You may need to build a bigger gym for my recruits!

Shout out to KirbDog from Columbia, MD, for some crazy competition! That definitely kept me motivated each week to not let up!

Enclosure

Saturday
Jan092016

Kirby D. – Columbia, MD

Five months ago my doctor invited me to accompany him on a Saturday to visit a rehabilitation center. At this center men my age (51) were recovering from heart attacks and strokes. He said I was well on my way to being a patient there. I was suffering from the same metabolic problems that they had. I had high blood pressure, morbid obesity (302#), diabetes, pancreatitis, an enlarged heart and extremely high cholesterol levels.I was scared and didn’t know what to do. I didn’t go to the rehab center but what I did might have saved my life.

I remembered a fitness club where I use to take my young children swimming in Columbia, Md.  They also had an awesome workout area upstairs so I thought what the heck I might as well go take a look at it.  As soon as I entered the door 2 friendly front desk employees said hello and how can we help you.  I told them I might want to join and they said great and introduced me to Justin.  Justin never once pressured me into joining and gave me a thorough tour of the facility. Afterwards I knew I had to join. He said try it for 30 days and if it didn’t help me, then I could simply quit with no strings attached.

I told him all my health problems including my frozen right shoulder and he set me up with Thomas Crooks, who is a personal trainer that specializes in clients with medical issues.

Four months ago (July 2015) I headed to my free training session and analysis with Thomas.  He weighed me in at 286# and put me on the arc trainer to warm up.  After f5 minutes my legs gave out and I couldn’t breathe.  He went on to test my shoulder and found out I had no flexibility and no strength. I told him I used to be a very good athlete, and he looked me square in the eyes and said with confidence that I would be again.

Three months ago (August 2015), my weight was down to 270# and I was now able to lift weights.  My physical therapist released me, and said what Thomas and I had accomplished with my shoulder rehab in one month normally would have taken a whole year.  I had lost 16# and for additional incentive I signed up for the Life Time Fitness 90-Day Weight Loss Challenge.

My workout routine consisted of a 15-minute cardio warm-up, one hour of supervised weight training, and then 30 minutes of fat-burning cardio on the Life Fitness Elliptical 3 times a week.  Fat-burning is maximized by maintaining my heart rate at 60% of my maximum.  For me that was 120 beats per minute. I also did elliptical cardio3 other days a week and made sure I took one whole day off each week.  Utilizing the Life Time pool for swimming and relaxing was also very important.

As the saying goes, true weight loss is accomplished through nutrition more than anything else. Thomas set up a diet consisting of 1200 calories per day with 100g of lean protein and the rest being complex carbs and good fats.  I did not consume any alcohol or eat any simple carbs or bad fats.  I also ate most of my calories early in the day and never ate after 7pm.

Two months ago (Sept. 2015), I was consistently losing 5 to 10 lb. per week until I stepped between 2 stones and suffered an avulsion fracture in my right ankle.  As I limped into the upstairs weight room, I thought the Weight Loss Challenge was over for me.  I told Thomas what happened and he said, well let’s get to work.  He never gave me a chance to quit.  My warm-up consisted of stretching and back rolling, and my weight training was all upper body. Afterward, instead of the elliptical he told me to hit the lap pool for 30 minutes. The weight kept coming off. I was truly amazed.

One month ago (October 2015),  my ankle had healed enough for leg training and cardio and my shoulder was getting stronger than ever.  My weight loss started to increase, but more importantly my fat was burning off quicker than ever before.

Now (Nov. 2015), to make a long story short, I would like to thank Life Time Fitness and their 90-Day Weight Loss Challenge for changing my life forever.  They have given me a whole new healthier lifestyle and the best personal trainer anyone could ever ask for.

Enclosure