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Success Stories

Saturday
Sep052015

James G.—Orland Park, IL

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.  

Enclosure

Saturday
Aug292015

Urielle J.—Sugarloaf, GA

All good trainers take pride in their work especially when their clients get to wear a lean and physically fit body. A great nutritional coach/trainer like Peter Ayoade influences his clients’ health not only through their appearances but also through the way they feel about themselves. This holistic approach helped me achieve a more complete transformation. When I started Boot Camp with Peter, he first made sure that I took care of lingering joint and back pain through proper nutrition and corrective exercises.

Scientific studies show that there is a direct correlation between sleep deprivation and weight gain. Our hormones which control metabolism and lean muscles are affected by sleep. When sleep deprivation occurs, certain hormone levels decrease causing the body to crave sugar. Other hormones like cortisol increase to compensate for stress and the lack of quality sleep. In turn, this disruption triggers an increase in abdominal fat.

To reverse these unpleasant change, I joined the Transformation Challenge. Right from the start I knew that aiming for transformation meant that my mindset had to firmly focus on eating for results as opposed to instant gratification. Like most accomplishments in life, consistency begets success in health and fitness. Usually, after mere efforts at mindful eating and exercise we become complacent and assume that our efforts should’ve quickly transpired into goals. At that point, we begin to think that we cannot improve our bodies. However, with the help of a nutritional coach/trainer like Peter, many of these self-defeating thoughts and myths were rejected once he presented certain scientific facts.

Early on in the challenge I took the resting metabolic assessment (RMA) test. This test revealed my caloric requirements for optimal nutrition. When my fat loss hit a plateau Peter then suggested a reassessment which indicated that my RMA had successfully increased requiring new adjustments to my plan. 
I also had to make many adjustments to accommodate my food allergies and sensitivities. After all, I am allergic to most of the protein drinks and supplements on the market. Through trial and error, I have had to learn to customize my diet based on my body’s needs. Luckily, I have been able to purchase hypoallergenic, calorically calculated and great tasting meals on the go at the Life Time Café when I am pressed for time. I strive to maintain a whole foods diet as opposed to processed and genetically modified foods. It is also reassuring that food allergy testing is offered at Life Time.

The 90-Day Challenge is no different from other real life challenges. Meaning, goals are best achieved with support. Without my thoughtful and very pleasant friend Lilia Canela, whom I work out with, this journey would be more challenging and less fun. Also, working out with the dynamic Team Peter members, which I view as a supportive community, is energizing and motivating. We work out by Peter’s motto “performance over pounds.” Throughout boot camp we are constantly challenged without shortcuts. This is exactly what the body needs to transform. We sometimes cannot believe how much we get done in an hour under Peter’s watchful eyes.

My fitness routine also included cycling classes with Seday, David and Stewart, who reinforced my endurance and power with added fun from their carefully chosen upbeat songs. They never miss a chance to remind us that we can surpass that hill. One of my favorite things about Peter and the instructors at Life Time is their emphasis in our capacity to do our best. 

Aside from the visual transformations that my body has undergone are the improvement in biomarkers. For example, my HDL or good cholesterol, which was within limit a few months ago at 40, skyrocketed to an optimal level of 80. 

As can be seen and felt, Life Time fits into my lifestyle because health and fitness reign here holistically. I learned a lot from this journey, and I am very grateful. I had the support, and Life Time has provided the means of achieving those goals with the help of an exceptional coach like Peter. Successful body transformation requires a carefully balanced eating plan without shortcuts. The ability to surpass what we did the day before and maintain that consistency is what transforms us. Otherwise we stagnate and become incompatible with healthy living. When we can we should. With that said, I have transformed from 25.6 % body fat to 13.6%.

Despite my history of an active lifestyle; during these past few years I had fostered unhealthy habits through unmanageable stress, inactivity and sugar indulgences. I have worked twelve hour nightshifts for years, which did not seem too bad until I started graduate school three years ago. This stressful scheduling of functioning day and night defeated healthfulness. I then joined Life Time a year ago to revive with a healthier lifestyle.

 

Enclosure

Saturday
Aug222015

Darius R. - Summerlin, NV

Life Time helped me accomplish in 90 days what I could not do by myself for 23 years. Like others I had this inner voice repeating, “It’s time to do something about this extra weight!” For me, it began when I tore my ACL and was unable to maintain my very active lifestyle. The beginning of a very rigorous academic schedule further exacerbated the problem. A few years later, just as I attempted to increase my activity again, I tore the ACL in my other knee. Needless to say, more weight gain resulted.

For the years that followed I tried popular diets, took up cycling and went back to playing soccer. Each time I would lose 15 to 25 pounds, only to lose momentum before I reached my goals. I simply could not find the real motivation it takes to get my life back physically - until now… during Life Time’s 90-Day Weight Loss Challenge!! Thank you, Life Time, for giving me that added spark that it took to get the work done!!!

A few years ago I was talking to my old college roommate who had kept himself in good shape. I asked him, “How am I going to lose this extra weight?” I remember his response vividly. He simply put his finger to my head. I responded, “I just have to find a way to flip the switch?” Looking back, I was so close many times to having the mental drive and determination to get my life back, but the motivation was missing. Now I realize that for me, competition was the key, and Life Time provided that to me by giving me the chance to compete against all of their nationwide Challenge participants.

From the day I put on the Challenge wrist band, I resolved to do a few things. I began by telling everyone around me about my goals to increase my accountability. Secondly, every time I was tempted to cheat, I resolved to look at the band, visualize my goals, mentally review the commitments I had made to myself and to others and take the opposite step. If the thought was to lower the intensity, I would reach down and speed it up. I wasn’t always successful, but I believe that this attitude helped. Most importantly, I resolved to make it to the gym every day if I could. During this Challenge I was able to go to the Life Time gyms while traveling in South Jordan, Utah and Chandler, Arizona in addition to my local club.

I began the Challenge by eating mostly fruits and vegetables with protein shakes and the occasional lean protein. My diet was supported by walking and a gradual conversion to running at least 3 miles a day. A few months after entering the Challenge and having limited success, I finally found “Committed Nancy.” I had followed her progress and noticed that she was the leading female competitor. I tracked her down just in time. I had begun to plateau and was getting frustrated. Nancy encouraged me and introduced me to her trainer, Sally.

Since meeting Sally and Nancy, we have been a Life Time Team. Sally immediately went into “tough trainer” mode even in our first discussion. Looking back, she was testing my resolve and laying down the challenge that I would need to respond to in order to reach my full potential. Using her knowledge of nutrition and training, she immediately changed my routine. I was reluctant, but I saw her success with Nancy. What was originally a high fruit and vegetable diet converted into a strict protein - low carbohydrate diet. She also increased my exercise intensity by pushing my run/jog mileage to approximately 8 to 10 miles a day and introducing me to the nutritional benefits of Generation U-Can, amino acid supplements, and daily vitamins available to me in the Life Time Café.

Through Sally my progress was accelerated with Nutrition and Metabolic Coaching as well as regular participation in TEAM Weight Loss and other group fitness classes. Sally also took the time to run with me late in the competition. I can’t say enough here about what she did to help me reach my best results.

With this competition ending around Mother’s Day, I have to thank my wonderful wife and the mother of my five beautiful children for all of her emotional and nutritional support.

I truly feel like the old Darius is back and a depressing burden has been lifted. Thank you again to Life Time and its incredible members and staff!!!! If you are close to committing but just need that extra motivation, I recommend Life Time’s 90-Day Challenge to help you finally “Flip the Switch.”

Enclosure

Saturday
Aug152015

Pamella A.—Woodbury, MN

Someday is now.

I began this 90-Day Challenge for different reasons. At 54, I began to think about how I want to spend the rest of my life. I'd like to be healthy, fit, in better condition and more nutritionally balanced. So I said to myself, let's do it.

I was an athlete in my youth. My 20s, 30s and 40s were spent active but with no fitness program in place. My 40s were the most challenging. A cancer diagnosis at 40, followed by extensive abdominal radiation and gall bladder removal - all leaving me with long term digestive side effects. A herniated disk left me with nerve damage to my left leg. Finally, a divorce.

I signed up for this challenge with a purpose. Getting my life back together meant regaining control of my physical and emotional well-being.

First, I set a goal, had a vision, and set a plan in place.

Goal: To get lean, in much better cardio condition. I decided that I was in it to win it. Lofty, I know, but true. In order to be a contender, I knew my numbers needed to be high, so I set a 60% change in body fat as a main goal. 

The vision: I could envision how I'd look at the end, and I could feel the excitement.

The Plan: Set with my personal trainer Gary Larson:
Strength training 3 times a week. 
7-9 hours cardio on the exercise bike, 
4800 meters in the pool weekly.

I enlisted nutrition coaching and metabolic coaching and invested in a Suunto heart rate monitor and watch through Life Time that is pool savvy also.

I charted my workouts on my computer, logged my eating daily, and photo documented my progress every time that I weighed in. This all helped keep me focused and on target. I consistently was dropping body fat, and I tweaked things when need be.

Weigh-in weekend I purchased all of my supplements for the journey, saving an extra 10% at the Life Café: whey protein, Dynamic Greens, Womens AM/PM, fish oil, calcium, probiotics, glutamine, HCL enzyme. I ordered MIO body care because I know that my skin had been neglected as well and was going to take a hit through this process.

Nutrition: This was critical. The logging helped immensely. 
Sunday and Wednesday were meal prep days. I ate clean, every 2-3 hours, organic, as well as grass-fed, free-range and wild-caught fish for my proteins. No dairy, no alcohol, no cheating. I was super disciplined.
125-150 gm carbs/day
80-90 gm protein/day
45 gm fat/day

I thought it was important to incorporate this Challenge into my regular life. I attended celebrations and made treats for special occasions without sampling anything. I traveled to a show in Kansas City for 5 days and stayed in a hotel with a kitchen and workout room with my meals prepped in advance - all with my focus forward on my goal. I did my strength training at the beautiful Overland Park Life Time. Thank you for your hospitality. That week I continued to drop body fat. 

I ended up with upper respiratory flu for 3 1/2 weeks, which left my workouts altered and out of the pool, but I kept a positive attitude and stayed focused.

I had major personal stresses just like everyone else, but the changes I was making became a great release for me and helped provide a much needed balance.

It was incredible to watch my ranking on the leaderboard continue to go up and to see the excitement on my trainer's face. Gary reminded me of a Vince Lombardi quote: "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence." 

I am super lean and feel amazing. I love going to the gym. Our Life Time is one of the oldest in the company, without some of the amenities but it is beautifully maintained and staffed. There is always a friendly hello and help if you need it. I am very humbled by the kind words and support of the members and staff. I even found the courage to tell people that my goal was to win this challenge. I love my Life Time and would love to bring a title to Woodbury. 

All things are possible through Christ who strengthens me. That went through my head daily. 

It is important for me to thank my family, especially my mom who inspires me daily, my friends, clients, my PT Gary, and even my dog for cheering me on with their faith and belief in me. 

Hopefully, my story will inspire you to put a someday on your calendar.

 

Enclosure

Saturday
Aug082015

Nick H. – Maple Grove, MN

At the start of November 2014, I was at the lowest point in my life. I was someone who had been overweight his entire life, and at 26 years old, I was 335 pounds. All I did every day was think about my past and how my life wasn’t going anywhere. All I thought about were the memories of being bullied, situations where people dismissed me, never being able to have a relationship, and how every letdown seemed to be because of my weight. I was simply just an unhappy person. The only thing that kept me sane was my love for sports, and I always had a passion for weightlifting. However, even though I was a multi-sport athlete for most of my life, I always struggled with my weight.

So what was the turning point for me? I think it started in February 2014, after a bad doctor visit where I weighed over 350 pounds that day. I remember getting slammed by my doctor for my health, and after the appointment I cried in my car. I knew I had to do something, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. Little did I know, my answer was coming later that year when I signed up to Life Time Fitness and I would meet my trainer Ashley O’Hearn.

I will start by saying I would not be where I am today without the support of Ashley. I met Ashley through my complimentary personal training session for signing up at Life Time. During our first meeting we discussed my goals, background, and diet and made plans to meet once every two weeks. I explained to Ashley though for me to be successful, what I needed most was someone to hold me accountable. Since that time we first met, Ashley has more than delivered on that promise. Between all my workouts she was checking in on me, and she’s been there for me through thick and thin. What also helped me succeed in working with Ashley was she was able to capitalize on my athletic background. She knew she could push me hard as she wanted, and it was something I needed. Ashley helped me rediscover I had something special in me, which led me to taking on the step of the journey in the 90-Day Challenge. 

Going into the 90-Day Challenge I had already lost about 50 pounds, which I will account to sticking to my workouts, and I had finally stuck with a diet. My diet at this point consisted of mainly good fats, a lot of protein, and cutting out carbs. I also used supplements, some of which I purchased from Life Time, including fish oil and Lean Source. Since November, I have not had alcohol, fast-food, sweets, or anything processed. This self-control was critical to my success during the 90-Day, and it’s something I plan on sticking to in the future. As for my workouts, it was a combination of strength training and cardio/circuit workouts, which I did five to six days a week. One of the things that helped me out was taking a metabolic assessment, which enabled me to make the most out of my workouts. Outside of my workouts, I had started riding my bike again, took up swimming, and I even got into running seriously – so much so, I have even signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon this upcoming fall. It’s quite a thought to consider what one can do in less than a year.

The 90-Day Challenge though was not an easy task for me. I was plagued with injuries and illness throughout. During the Challenge I strained both lat muscles, both triceps, my left hamstring, my right oblique, was recovering from a previous shoulder surgery, and had food poisoning. I kept telling myself people have had it worse, and if I just kept my faith I would make it through and be rewarded for my efforts. The other obstacle I had to overcome during was the stress of everything going on in my life. I worked two jobs, one a 40-hour a week desk job in social services, and a part-time job in a liquor store. It was something I had to do to make this work financially for me because you don’t think about things like literally replacing your entire wardrobe on a monthly basis. Getting the motivation to work out when you’re injured, exhausted both mentally and physically, and trying to balance work was not easy. There were times I wanted to give up, but luckily, I had people in my corner like Ashley, and seeing consistent results kept me going. In the end, everything I had to deal with was worth it, and I could not be more proud of what I accomplished so far.

It is hard to describe what the last few months have meant to me. I went from being someone who could never find meaning in his life, to someone who could not be more excited for the future. I'm so grateful to have been blessed to meet Ashley O’Hearn, and to have received support from everyone including other Life Time staff, family, and friends. I never would have thought people would come up and tell me I’m an inspiration to them. I still have a lot of work to do to further improve my health, and it’s going to take some time to change my perception of myself. I have overcome a lot personally these past few months, but I have no doubt I will be ready for whatever is ahead of me.