My Life Time Fitness journey started because of my beautiful two-year-old granddaughter. My wife, Betty, and I had a difficult time chasing after her. Our daughter Jacqueline had been telling us for a few months that we should start coming to Life Time Fitness to improve our health.
Finally, around Christmas, Jacqueline needed someone to play Santa for a party. I said that I would help out and as a thank you, she bought me a one-month membership. When I started, I attended the TEAM Weight Loss class that Jacqueline had been attending. I was a little wary about participating in this type of class, but the trainer, Dan Shepard, was great. He explained the class and invited us to try it out for a week.
Being a 58-year-old and a Local 597 Pipefitter for over 40 years, my body is pretty beat up. I have two herniated discs in my back and a bad rotator cuff. I knew this class was going to be challenging for me. Each class, especially starting out, Dan modified the exercises to fit my ability. I liked how individualized it was and how everyone in the class faced different challenges.
After working out 3 times per week in the TEAM class, my daughter told me about the 90-Day Challenge. I tried to tell her I was not 30-years-old and at 58 weight doesn’t come off that easily. I was reluctant at first, but I really liked the TEAM Weight Loss class and decided to participate.
I started working with a new trainer during TEAM. His name is Nick Bartz. After my initial weigh-in, I met with Nick 1-on-1. We sat down and discussed my goals and expectations for the next 90 days. He asked what my specific goals for the challenge were. I said I wanted to get down to 230 pounds. He asked what my plan was for losing 47 pounds. I told him that I was going to stop drinking beer! Nick informed me that not drinking beer was a great start, and that 80% of my weight loss success would come from changing my nutrition. He gave me a lot of information about nutrition. He said that I need to aim for drinking 140 ounces of water per day and to incorporate more vegetables and fruits.
I started with the plan Nick laid out for me and made nutritional changes immediately. Week by week, I added new items to my diet. I wanted to make small changes that added up over time. By the end of the Challenge, I was thinking about everything I ate and made plans ahead of time. For example, at Easter I made sure to make some delicious fish instead of ham, and every morning for breakfast I make an egg white omelet loaded with green veggies! These small changes have really been the difference throughout the Challenge.
The first week, I lost over 10 pounds. All the trainers at Life Time Fitness-Orland Park were impressed, and I felt the support I needed to continue my journey. I kept working out, but it was getting harder to fit into my schedule. I spoke with Nick about adding another time slot for TEAM. He spoke with some of the other participants and decided that opening up a 5:30 p.m. class would benefit many of us. When the 5:30 p.m. class opened, it allowed me to come to the club, swim a mile and then do the class.
I continued to work out every week and incorporated weekend workouts as well, inviting my friends to try out the club. I even tried yoga for the first time with my wife! At 58, my body has responded very well to the weight loss. I find it easier to work out and complete everyday activities.
Now that the challenge has ended, I am down to 200 pounds and 15.9% body fat. Compare this to my starting stats at 276.7 pounds and 34.8% body fat. I want to continue to transform my body and to strengthen the weak areas like my back.
I would have to say that the Life Time Fitness Company’s name is so fitting. This Challenge has been a life changing experience for me. The real key to my success came from the support I received from my family, the staff at Life Time and my friends. If they ask me to play Santa next year, I will have to buy stuffing for the suit. My stomach is no longer a bowl full of jelly, but I am as jolly as ever. Until then, I will enjoy chasing after my granddaughter and keeping up with her as she gets faster. I’m looking forward to building a lifetime of memories with her.