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Success Stories

Success Stories

Sunday
Apr202014

Eric M. - Woodbury, MN

303 lbs. is where I started 12 months ago in the fall of 2012, for the 90-Day Weight Loss Challenge. I lost a lot of “weight,” but I needed to tone up and finish what was started. I needed to lose body fat – not “weight” and replace fat with lean muscle. The body transformation contest held by Life Time Weight Loss was the perfect opportunity. Throughout this story, I will share the steps taken to go from 25.8% body fat to 12.56% in 90 short days, as well as the major changes in my life and the seemingly endless opportunities that are to come.

I abused my body for over 25 years. I struggled with emotional eating and lying to myself about just how overweight I was. It is important to recognize that because this transformation was not a 90-Day goal. THIS is how my body is supposed to operate, THIS is how I should feel, and these are things I never felt before, nor thought possible. I now ENJOY being FIT as well as the discipline and activities to stay that way. It’s rewarding on so many levels, and there is no turning back. 

Bob Holper, my trainer at the Eagan Life Time and Mike Bjornson at the Woodbury Life Time were instrumental in guiding me through the entire process - both the exercise plan and, more importantly, the nutrition. As well, there were countless other personal trainers, staff and other members who checked in with me and consistently shared their optimism and support. That carried me through the days that were difficult. It was anyone from a trainer fielding one of my many pesky questions to the front desk, LifeCafe and other support staff recognizing the changes in my body and energy that made all the difference to my 90-Day experience. Life Time Fitness is more than just a “gym” to me: it is a “CLUB.”

The diet was very disciplined, consisting primarily of fat and protein, as well as select “clean” carbs at various intervals. Typically, I would go with 2 days of non-starchy vegetables (along with the protein and fat), then 2 days of that with the addition of complex carbs such as brown rice, quinoa, wild rice, etc. After doing this for a while, I would switch to a 5-day, no carb cycle followed by an extremely high carb day to throw the system off. Cutting calories was never a part of the equation. For that reason and the fact my metabolism, fitness and energy are at levels I never thought possible, this is a diet and workout regime that is very sustainable on a regular basis and not simply for doing the contest.

The workouts pushed my limits, and that is what I expected of my trainers. We certainly did our fair share of weight training but worked in cardio on a regular basis, as I had a lot of fat to cut, perhaps more than the average contestant. The more we worked, the more fitness opportunities became available. Hiking, zip lining, cycling, running (my weight had always prevented this), swimming (and feeling more comfortable in a suit!), hot yoga, and even climbing to the top of a mountain in Colorado just to name a few. I see the Life Time Triathlon in the near future as well…perhaps taking my training to another new level once again! None of this would have happened without Life Time Weight Loss and the competitive spirit inspired by the 90-Day Challenge. 

The changes that I made and what transpired over the past 90 days is a part of a big picture quest to live an INCREDIBLY healthy lifestyle. This is a “whole” body transformation, from abusing and taking my body for granted to treating it like a temple. What I did, what I ate and how I feel are absolutely sustainable for the rest of my life!  

 

Sunday
Apr132014

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! 

Sunday
Apr062014

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:

1.  MOTIVATION

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!

2.  NUTRITION

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.

3.  EXERCISE

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.  

4.  SUPPORT

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.

6.  RECOVER

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.  

7.  REPEAT

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

 

 

Sunday
Mar302014

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!

 

 

 

 

Sunday
Mar232014

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.