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Success Stories

Saturday
Jul252015

Chris L.—Sugarloaf, GA

Let me begin by explaining my reason for starting this 90-Day Challenge. I had completed my original 90-Day Challenge in the fall. The problem was that I was not satisfied with the way that it had turned out. I had half-heartedly went through the motions for 90 days, all the while making excuses about not having enough time to get to the gym or to make good food choices. This seems to be a common theme for the average person. I work a challenging job that requires me being there 50-60 hours a week. I have a family and a home that I have to take care of. I only have time for food on the run. Does this sound familiar? These were some of the excuses that I used. I began to question myself after the first challenge. Was this true? Was this the best I could do? The answer I came up with was a very big NO! 

I started this challenge with a few different ideas in mind. I needed to find areas of my life that I could consolidate to allow me time for me. After all, that is exactly what this challenge is, a challenge for yourself. I realized that I was wasting precious time everyday on the Internet, watching television or other random activities that added no quality to my life.

I made it a priority to get to the gym 5 days a week for 45 min. It didn't sound like a lot, but I started to see improvements after the first week. These improvements were in all aspects of my life, both mentally and physically. I started preparing meals for 3-4 days in advance. This allowed me to eat healthy and not give into the fast food machine that I had been a part of for so long. The dietary changes that I made weren't that difficult. I cut out fried food and simple sugars. I started eating leaner cuts of meat (fish, chicken, pork loin). I made sure to eat 5-6 different veggies everyday. If I didn't have enough food prepped, the Life Time cafe had a great selections of meals and shakes. They even help guide you to the different areas of the menu if you have different food requirements (I changed to a vegan diet 4 weeks in). The changes in my overall health, not just my appearance, were astonishing. I began to have more energy during all times of the day. I didn't have issues with that bloated feeling that you get after eating heavy fatty foods. I simply felt GREAT.

These were not things that I learned on my own. These were things that were taught on different Try-It Tuesdays (food, nutrition, exercises, etc.). I would implore everyone to take part in these amazing learning classes that are part of the 90-Day. I was also taught about HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Regardless of how great of shape you think you are in, these sessions will rock your world. I have many sweat laden shirts to prove it. It's a workout in 20-30 minutes for busy schedules. This is all included with the Challenge. I can honestly say that the trainers who take their time to assist with these classes are special individuals who deserve a BIG THANK YOU from all the participants.

I have NEVER been in better shape in my entire life. I owe a lot to the staff at Life Time Sugarloaf. I have come a long way and plan to continue my path. I was just like everybody else. I made excuses, and then I crushed them. I challenge everybody to challenge yourself everyday. You will be glad you did. You don't have to believe me to believe in yourself.

I have forever changed my thinking about the gym. It is more than a gym. It is definitely a lifestyle. That is what Life Time Fitness is all about. They help you create a healthy lifestyle for a lifetime. I was skeptical of big gyms before, but never again.

Thank you to everybody at Life Time.

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Saturday
Jul182015

Jessie B. – Des Moines, IA

The last 90 days have been a complete transformation for my mind, body and spirit. As an adult I have participated in many fitness programs but until now I had been unable to find success. I am competitive, lived in an active household as a child, and learned discipline from years of intensive gymnastics and dance, yet I became overweight in my twenties. Since that time, in every attempt to lose weight I would strive for perfection, fall short, and give up. With each failure came added pounds on the scale and a reinforcement of negative thoughts I had about myself. Three months ago I decided it was time for a different approach. I began to journal and meditate. I realized that hating my body at 220 pounds was just as unhealthy as hating my body when I weighed 110 pounds. I had become obese, but I needed to forgive myself for letting it happen. Happiness would not come when I weighed out but through celebrating my body and what it is capable of.

I am lucky enough to be a member at a Life Time Fitness and to workout one-on-one with a personal trainer named Morgan. She is kind and understanding while providing motivation. She listened without judgment to my needs and offered guidance. Along with Morgan, the rest of the staff at Life Time in Des Moines began to follow my progress and created a healthy place for me to spend my time. I began lifting weights three times a week. With guidance I was able to work muscle groups I had ignored, balance out areas of weakness, and eventually lift amounts I had not imagined. I have developed a passion for lifting and how strong it makes me feel inside and out.

I also began to walk/jog three-six miles a day, swim laps a few times a week, and push my workouts to the limit. I stretched and did yoga multiple times a day to combat my tight muscles. I set my bike on a stand in my living room. At first I could only peddle for ten minutes. Now that is just my warm up! At Morgan's suggestion I climbed on the stair stepper, and towards the end of the Challenge I began to row. I found joy in each milestone. That joy propelled me through blisters, joint pain, aches, sore muscles, fatigue, sickness, and a sprained ankle. I no longer workout just to reach a goal but to bring peace, balance and joy to my life.

Outside of the gym I began to live a more active lifestyle. I used these 90 days to reevaluate my priorities. My overall health is important to me, and now my daily decisions reflect that. Dinner out was replaced with physical activities like golf or tennis. House and yard work became twofers, creating balance in my life while blasting calories. I shed emotional baggage, and it helped me make better decisions.

I started my Challenge by cutting foods from my diet. I cut sweets, bread, pasta, soda, juice, and alcohol. During week two I was miserable. I shed tears in the grocery store longing for the foods I had denied myself. I had to adjust my approach, so I began focusing on the things I could eat. I allowed myself unlimited veggies and began to try new foods. I focused on increasing my lean protein intake, but also allowed myself small splurges such as pork, beef, cheese, and sour cream. I found room in my diet for splurges by eating 1200-1700 calories five days a week and 800 calories or fewer the other two. I learned to listen to my body and ate the foods that made me feel strong and energetic. I found that drinking at least 120 ounces of water a day was beneficial even if it meant frequent trips to the restroom. If I strayed from my diet, I forgave myself and moved on. In the future I will continue to splurge on rich foods, but I believe I now have the skills to do it in a healthy way.

I have found an inner peace that no number on a scale could have produced. My weight loss was not linear, and the work I put in did not always translate to a drop in pounds. My challenge was about more than my weight. So, when the pounds did come off it was just an added bonus. Our bodies are complicated miracles, and I now appreciate mine in ways I never thought possible.  

 

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Saturday
Jul112015

Carrie H. – Summerlin, NV

As I sit down to write this essay, I am overwhelmed with emotions. Three months ago, I could not have imagined I’d feel grateful, ecstatic, healthy and strong. This is the exact opposite of how I felt when I started this adventure.

This has been an extremely personal journey as the last 2 years have been difficult. My Dad, a diabetic, was diagnosed with cancer and passed away 6 months ago. He always told me not to make the unhealthy choices he had made. I fell into a state of depression, was not taking care of myself and felt like I was living in a fog. I miss my dad every day, but he has truly been my inspiration throughout this whole challenge.

I have struggled with my weight for years. My weight gain started after having my two boys. I tried many diets, and my weight yo-yoed back and forth, but nothing worked permanently. I worked full time, ran my boys to all their activities and lost myself somewhere in between. Being a mom has always been my top priority, and I felt guilty taking “ME” time. My weight and health suffered.

In February of this year, I knew I had to make a change and met with a doctor about my nutritional options. We put a plan in place, and I was starting to get really motivated. Then my good friend, Yolie, said she was going to join the 90-Day challenge at Life Time and encouraged me to try it with her. I thought it was a great idea to combine my new eating plan with the accountability of the Challenge. Plus, having a girlfriend to workout with was an added bonus.

On February 8th, I completed my initial weigh-in, and I was embarrassed by the number on the scale. On that same day, I was introduced to George Aranda, my trainer. I immediately signed up for personal training, and Yolie and I were on our way. My workout schedule consisted of five days of cardio and training with George once a week. Our workouts were tough, and I was often so sore I could barely move. My diet consisted of lean meats, lots of green veggies, and limited carbohydrates. I started to lose pounds and felt my confidence coming back! Then George suggested that I get the metabolic testing done so I could maximize my cardio workouts. That is when I met my second trainer, Kim Underwood. I completed the test and decided to sign up for her metabolic training. Kim pushed me to limits I never could have imagined to achieve on my own. That is when everything change,d and I began to get the BIG results in my weight loss. I started to see my name on the local leaderboard and then eventually on the national leaderboard. I had forgotten how competitive I was and how good I could feel!

I would like to thank my amazing and supportive family. Especially my husband who would encourage me to go to the gym when I just didn’t have the energy and would tell me, “This is when the strong get stronger.” I thank Yolie and my friends, who have given me much encouragement, and thank my mom who has always given me unconditional love and strength. Most of all, I am grateful to my dad, who I know was with me every step of the way. I think he would be proud!

I would also like to thank Life Time - this 90-Day Challenge has been a true lifesaver and has provided my family with a happy, healthy mom! I must give a huge shout-out to my trainers, Kim and George! I could not have done this without them. They always pushed me to be my best and cheered me on daily!

I have to say that it wasn’t easy, but losing 43.8 lbs. was well worth the effort. I am excited because this is just the beginning. I will continue on this unbelievable journey that has changed my life forever. 

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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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