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We know the science behind weight loss.

Every Life Time Weight Loss program is built specifically for you. That’s because every program at Life Time begins with a myMetabolicProfileSM assessment. This profile identifies areas of concern that may get in the way of your weight loss. After this assessment you’ll choose a plan based on your specific needs and lifestyle. One size doesn’t fit all, particularly when it comes to weight loss plans. That’s why we get results that are more than just short-term; we put you on the path toward achieving and maintaining a healthy weight for a lifetime.

We offer programs ranging from pre-packaged to completely custom. Or you can choose weekly Healthy Living Challenges. These informal gatherings allow small groups to meet with a Nutrition Coach and discuss various topics or concerns for the week in a casual setting. Talk to a trainer for help determining which program is right for you.

With your unique metabolic profile, our experts will create your own personal plan to lose weight. See How It Works


Success Stories

Success Stories

Sunday
Aug242014

Mark L. – Warrenville, IL

Average. That's me…just an ordinary, average guy. I have never been an athlete; I am not wealthy; I don't have a high-profile job; and I am just as easily overlooked in a crowd as the next guy. My whole life I've just kind of been a regular, average guy. So, when I began seeing the Transformation Challenge posters popping up at the gym, I took notice. I found myself staring at the “before” and “after” photos of past contestants in amazement. The changes these regular people underwent were so incredible that they seemed almost unreal.  I soon found myself wondering just how I might look in a “before” and “after” photo. After a couple weeks of daydreaming about what I might look like with an awesome body, I had one of those tiny cartoon light bulbs illuminate above my head. This challenge was all about making choices....

Clearly, I had already made the choice to go to the gym with the intent to better myself. However, had I really been making the best choices? Was I always getting in a full workout, or did I regularly find reasons to end my workout early and head home? Likewise, was I making good choices with my diet or with my sleeping habits? The truth was no, I really was not. I wasn't making horrible choices, so I found it fairly easy to convince myself that the decisions I was making were “good enough.” But in reality, I was actually making poor choices, and my “blah,” average body was a direct result of these poor choices. I took one long look at myself and decided that today was as good a day as any to begin making better choices regarding my life, my health and my appearance. I went home and spent some time reading about the challenge on the Life Time Fitness website. I then marked my calendar for Weigh-in Weekend, pieced together a basic plan of attack and, next thing I knew, I was competing in the 90-Day Transformation Challenge!

My transformation plan of attack had three basic components: Exercise, Nutrition and Rest. I acknowledged that all three components needed work, so I began with the element that seemed like the easiest win - rest. It took some rearranging and plenty of planning ahead, but I managed to juggle around all the parts of my life enough to get in eight hours of sleep (or something very close) almost every night. I have three young sons, so continuous sleep was seldom possible. However, if my total hours of sleep added up to eight, I considered that night a victory. Consequently, I was waking up feeling refreshed and energized every morning.

My greatest hurdle when exercising has always been myself. I would all too often go to the gym without any set plan, wander around for a while lifting this and that, lose focus and eventually convince myself that I'd be better off heading home for the day. I knew that I needed to make better choices regarding how I spent my time at the gym and which exercises I was performing for the day. The day I signed up for the 90-Day Challenge was the first day I marched into the gym with a pre-set workout plan. I never wavered off of my plan, even on the days that I really didn't quite feel like working out. After a few weeks of sticking to a schedule, I discovered that my workouts were actually becoming easier - at least the mental portion. No matter how you spin the concept, burpees never actually get easier!

Aside from keeping myself focused and following the plan, the exercise component of my transformation was fairly straightforward. Each week I would complete five days of weightlifting and core exercises, coupled with three to four days of cardio. I also made a point of taking a rest day after every three days to give my body adequate time to recuperate. At my trainer’s suggestion, I tracked my weights, reps and notes in a journal. I quickly discovered that watching my numbers increase was highly motivating and kept me excited for my next workout. A few times I had to travel away from the gym. On those occasions, I would take a kettle-bell and find a little corner of the world to run through a HIIT workout. Finding the strength and discipline to fit in all of my workouts, as well as sleep a full night, was certainly challenging at times. However, the real challenges began when I attacked the nutrition element of my plan.

Growing up, I basically lived on cereal, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and boxed noodles with ground beef. For the most part, my diet really hadn't changed much over the last thirty-seven years. Common sense told me that these processed choices weren't the ideal foods for my body, but I was not entirely clear as to what would be better alternatives. So, like any guy would do, I turned to the Internet for advice. I quickly found a diet that I believed suited my needs and dove in head first. Two weeks into the competition, I found myself angry, confused, hungry, tired, gaining weight and eating something in the ballpark of six bananas a day. I needed guidance, and I needed it quickly.

I am not overly stubborn or proud, but I really stink at asking for help. If I could offer just one small bit of advice to any future participants in the 90-Day Challenge, it would be this: Ask For Help!!! Life Time Fitness is more than simply a gym. It is a group of properly-trained, highly-motivated individuals whose sole purpose is to help average people like me become awesome. My trainer had been checking in with me and kindly reminding me that she was readily available should I need help with any part of my transformation. I truly wanted to believe that I could do this all on my own, but I took a good look at my body and diet and realized that I needed some guidance from someone with actual knowledge. Shortly thereafter, I scheduled an appointment with my trainer to get a MyHealthScore and review my diet and transformation plan.

In all honesty, I would not be even close to where I am today if my trainer had not steered me in the proper direction. She took a look at my diet plan and promptly directed me to the club dietitian. With the help of my trainer and the dietitian, I started a regimented high-protein, high-vegetable diet with a moderate amount of healthy fat (and I took a hiatus from excessive banana-eating). Additionally, I was introduced to amino acids, fish oil and multivitamins...which had a huge effect on my energy and how quickly I recovered after difficult workouts. Before long, I found myself checking in with my trainer and nutritionist regularly and found that they were genuinely interested in seeing me improve myself.

Toward the last month of my transformation, I hit something of a wall. I noticed that I wasn't burning fat as easily and my energy had dropped to a level that I wasn't comfortable accepting. I met with the dietitian, and we reviewed my attack plan and diet. My workout schedule was fine, but she suggested that I was eating too little fat (which I didn't realize was even possible) and that I should add in a bit more healthy fat each day. This slight increase in fat actually allowed my body to release some of the old stored up fat. She also suggested that I make UCAN superstarch a daily part of my diet. The addition of UCAN into my pre- and post-workout meals helped me sustain the energy I needed for a full day. With the help and support of my Life Time team, this average guy quickly began burning fat and building muscle again.

These past 90 days have been incredible. I have learned so much about myself, about self-discipline and what I am capable of accomplishing. I'm not going to lie...this is the most challenging thing I have ever done. Every single morning I had to take a look at myself in the mirror and make a choice. Do I continue trying to improve myself and my life, or do I take the easy way out and quit? Some days were certainly tougher than others, but I made the choice every single day to stick with my plan. I found discipline and strength in myself to do things I would never have imagined possible. However, I also had to humbly rely on many people around me to succeed. My family supported and endlessly cheered for me, and my “Team” at Life Time coached me every step of the way.

I am now undeniably, undoubtedly, officially no longer just “average.” I am incredible! I feel like I could take on the world and accomplish any goal I set my sights on. I have confidence, I feel great, I eat healthier, my family eats healthier, and I am not afraid to take on new challenges. This has been a truly transformational experience that will fully shape my life moving forward. This is Awesome!

Sunday
Aug172014

Melissa S. – Austin, TX

I saw the sign. That’s how it all started. There was something in the word “transformation” that stopped me in my tracks. Three months ago I felt like my mind, body and spirit were confused and lacking direction. I was tired of failing to keep it together. I had never been healthy, but after gaining weight through two pregnancies and experiencing gestational diabetes, I knew that if I did not do something drastic, things were only going to get worse. Weight gain, brain fog, mood-swings, low energy and always feeling like a victim to my cravings -these things were controlling my life. After doing some soul-searching, I made a decision and then announced this decision to my friends and family. I signed up for the transformation, and from that point on my commitment was fueled by the vision of what I wanted for my life.

I first began seeing real weight loss when I adopted the Paleo diet about a year ago. With little effort, I lost 37lbs. I felt great, had better skin and plenty of energy. However, over time I found that my emotions were controlling my level of commitment. I hit a plateau and found myself drinking heavily, experiencing anxiety and feeling out of control. I realized that it wasn’t just my diet that needed an overhaul.

The first month, I felt unstoppable. I started the 90-Day challenge by cleansing my diet of sugar, alcohol, sodas, processed foods, etc. It was enormously empowering to attend birthday parties and celebrations with people who were shoveling pizza and cake into their mouths and not feel tempted. As I said before, the vision of what I wanted was so powerful and tangible that there was no food and no amount of peer pressure that could take it away from me. That month I took back control. And while it wasn't easy, it was simple. I had to make the time to prepare my foods and walked 45 minutes each morning before eating breakfast. I was on fire and full of energy. I was very fortunate to have Sam, a certified trainer, show me how to properly lift a variety of heavy weights without injury and work out more efficiently.

In my second month, I took things a step further and introduced regular yoga practice. This increased my strength, flexibility and ability to focus and meditate, thus clearing my anxious mind on command. One thing that stood out about the second month was my husband’s involvement. He had always loved me the way I was and insisted on eating fried, carbohydrate-laden comfort foods. When he saw my results and the transformation that was taking hold of me in every respect, he became more supportive than ever and even participated himself!

My relationship to food had officially changed. I no longer saw food as a hiding place in dark times. I rather saw food as a way to nurture and heal my body and mind and give it what it desperately needs to thrive - not just survive! I realized that I had been abusing my body with inflammatory foods and toxins that were causing my body to prematurely age, making me irritable and further degrading my health and happiness.

I would like to say that this transformative process continued steadily along an exponential curve, but that wouldn’t be honest. In the third month, I dropped from 10th place in the nation to 27th and was flooded with self-doubt and self-accusation. I wondered if I had really given it my all, and the immediate temptation was to view this as a failure and give up. On top of that, I became afraid that I had alienated myself or brought on criticism from friends because I had lost so much weight. I know this sounds absurd - because it IS absurd! It was during this time that I experienced a significant personal victory. I was able to recognize that I had been using the competitive aspect of this challenge to motivate me, and when I was no longer “winning” I had to reach deep within me to find if I truly believed in my heart that I was worth all this effort. I had to know and believe that even if I did not win a prize or recognition for my efforts, that MY transformation was itself the ultimate reward.

Now that this 90-Day Challenge has come to a close, I reflect on the most notable changes in my life. I now know that I run the show. I now see someone in the mirror that I had never had the courage to believe could exist. I am stronger mentally, physically and spiritually. I have incredible clarity about my life and how to get what I want from it by defining my goals and making a plan to attain them. I have surrounded myself with those who inspire and encourage me and who let me borrow their belief when I had none for myself. I want to thank Sam, the wonderful crew in the child care center, my friends and my family for boundless support.

If you considered joining this challenge and for some reason did not, I encourage you to reconsider. This challenge is for those who still have a dream and a vision for their lives. If you are satisfied with where you are and have no desire to change, then it is not for you. But if you have the itch for a transformation that is about more than just your weight or body, and if you believe that there is so much more you could be and do in this lifetime, then rearrange your life to make it happen. You will be so glad that you did! Feel free to borrow my belief.  

Sunday
Aug102014

J.R. C – South Jordan, UT

I was an active kid and gravitated toward team sports growing up. In high school I ended up getting a significant amount of interest from colleges for football. Logically, I decided to start cutting back my other activities and narrowed my focus to football. I ended up with a scholarship but only played one year before deciding college football wasn’t what I wanted to pursue. When I left football it was the first time in ~15 years that I could remember not being involved or committed to a team or having a scheduled practice or games three or four times a week. My brain and body took a vacation. Soon thereafter, I joined the military. After my initial obligation was complete, I remained in the reserves and went back to school where I met the most amazing woman on earth. As amazing as she is, she obviously had a major flaw - she said yes when I asked her to marry me. 

We were only married a year when I was called to active duty and deployed to Iraq in 2003.  The deployment changed me, my outlook became grim, and I was eventually diagnosed with PTSD.  We had children - two boys three years apart. Becoming a father gave me a new sense of pride and a strong sense of responsibility to right the wrongs of the world for my children and future generations.  Before I could start changing the world though, I needed to change, both for myself and my family. I realized one day back in August of last year that I wasn’t contributing to my family as the husband and father that I had always pictured myself as being. I had just been going through the motions when it came to the treatment offered by my healthcare provider, instead of fully engaging and owning the responsibility to change myself. Though I knew that I wasn’t alone in my depression and I had the most tremendous support from my friends and family, I finally made the conscious decision that there was no reason for myself or anyone around me to suffer any further for things that could not be changed. I decided the change needed to start with getting my health back. I was 6'5”, 310 lbs, and just over 35% body fat, with unhealthy cholesterol and a triglyceride levels. I made a commitment to myself that from that moment I would move forward and make every day count. 

I had no idea how to proceed. Being involved in athletics and the military my whole life had kept me healthy.  As a result, I never had an interest or concern for obtaining or sustaining health. I knew being healthy meant being active, and I knew that spinach was a healthier choice than French fries. Unfortunately, the places where I ate never served spinach. They did, however, serve plenty of French fries. I, like many, equated health with weight loss. I’d tried several times to lose weight, usually through fad diets where I rode the roller coaster of losing weight and gaining it back, followed by a feeling of failure and ultimately, accepting being fat as who I was. 

With my new outlook and commitment, I decided to reach out for help from professionals. I began researching gyms in my area. One of the most important deciding factors would be flexible hours. I work a 12-hour swing shift and rotate back and forth from nights to days, so I needed 24/7 access to a gym. I also needed support. I found everything I was looking for and more at Life Time. My transformation started when I sat down with Rich Aldridge, a member engagement adviser who got to know me and find out what goals I wanted to achieve. Armed with knowledge about my background and goals, Rich proceeded to explain, in very real terms, how Life Time fit into achieving those goals.  He offered several options and ideas, including group fitness activities, online diet and multiple customizable health improvement resources available to me through www.mylt.com. He also gave me names of a nutritionist and personal trainer that he felt would be a good fit for my personality. He also educated me on Life Time’s tremendous resources for children, which addressed a big concern of mine: getting my kids educated about healthy choices early so they will have the tools needed to live long, strong, happy and fulfilling lives. 

On Oct 10, 2013, I sat down with Brittany Machala, who administered my initial “myHealthscore” assessment.  The results were nothing to be proud of by any means, and were downright depressing: 52/100 on the Life Time “myHealthscore.” Brittany was great. She explained to me that number was not representative of who I was. It was simply the reality of where I was. Having the number gave me even more determination to make the necessary changes that only I could own.  Next I sat down with Mary Dimmick, the nutritionist that Rich had recommended. I knew from the moment I met her that I needed her in my corner. She introduced me to the first stage of the nutritional path I was to take.  She referred to it as the “nourished starvation mode.” Mary knew this would be a difficult stage for me, since during our initial interview I'd fully disclosed to her my belief that beer and buffalo wings must be an excellent source of vitamin B, since they both begin with the letter B and I didn't have a vitamin B deficiency. 

This first stage basically consisted of limiting my caloric intake, restricting carbs, and adding micro-nutrients, healthy fat and protein. Prior to meeting Mary, I hated vegetables and gagged at the thought of an onion or pepper even touching my food. My salads were more dressing than salad, and my protein was greasy animal fat flavored in sodium and sugar-rich sauces. The only “healthy fats” were the peanuts inside my M&M’s. Nonetheless, I made the commitment and fully entrusted my diet to the professional. After a couple of weeks, I noticed amazing changes in myself, more internal than external, but I knew that, even without six-pack abs and a chiseled chest, the changes in my diet alone were helping me sleep better and focus better and were giving me more energy for being active with my kids and for being a better husband to my wife. I was on the right track. 

Next, I consulted with metabolic specialist Casey Ruff. He tested my AMA (Active Metabolic Assessment), which gave me my heart rate zone numbers. Those numbers ultimately kept me from over-stressing my heart during workouts, which was a significant concern raised by my doctor when he saw my comprehensive metabolic test results. The heart rate monitoring gave me confidence that I wasn't going to die on the treadmill, while every step I took was trimming the fat I needed to get rid of,  building my endurance and making me stronger. 

Next up was Russ Sherman, who became my personal trainer. Russ is an energetic and motivating individual, just the type of person I was accustomed to associating myself with throughout athletics and the military. I knew right away I was going to need him at my side while I faced my challenges in the gym. He got to know me and my goals, and he explained his role as a personal trainer and how he would help me achieve my goals and even surprise myself by going beyond them. We started with an initial strength, range of motion and agility assessment, then moved to improving joint stabilization. We progressed to dynamic movements while monitoring my heart rate during the workouts, allowing me to maintain the best level for optimal fat burning results without over-stressing my heart.

As my body fat dropped, Mary began to introduce complex carbs into my diet and increased my daily caloric intake from ~1500 to ~2000 per day. Russ continued to challenge me with every workout.  As part of my self-commitment, I didn’t question him or show any doubt. Instead, I put my head down and did what he told me, even though an internal voice asked me, “Are you sure we're ready for this?”  Without fail, during every workout I surprised myself by doing something new that I hadn’t thought possible. My confidence increased daily and helped me start making regular activity and workouts a part of my daily life.

In December, I missed three weeks of training and consulting with my team because of the death of my grandmother in another state. Even though I had consciously made the best choices I could while I was gone, I wasn't able to go to a gym or prepare my own meals for those three weeks. I was nervous that I would have to start all over again. When I returned and had my first meeting with Mary, I was relieved to find I had successfully been able to maintain my weight and body fat. I also maintained my strength and endurance levels that I’d gained from working with Russ. That’s when I knew I could do it on my own. 

I still had a couple weeks left on our initial agreements, but the moment I'd been dreading from the day I started my consulting and training was quickly approaching - life without the support of Mary and Russ. What I hadn’t counted on was the complete support I felt from the entire Life Time Team. I had learned that challenges and goals were a good thing, that they would keep me focused and fulfill my competitive spirit. I took on the 90-Day Challenge with my newfound knowledge of nutrition and my rekindled desire for physical activity. 

The first challenge was an eating plan that I could follow while at work. Since I work a 12-hour shift with alternating day and night schedules, all while inside a clean room environment, I knew this was essential. The chips seemed stacked against me, but my determination and outside support made it possible. With trial and error, I eventually learned to prepare a week’s worth of meals at a time and eat six meals a day for a total of 2000 cal/day. I did circuit training with resistance four days a week and cardio six days a week with one rest day. I used several of Life Time’s supplements to further enhance my progress.

With the 90-Day Challenge ending, the last two weeks were especially challenging, as I needed to further cut even more carbs and sodium from my diet while transition to the night shift schedule again, guaranteed to throw off my circadian rhythm and body clock right before pictures and final weigh out. After confronting the last minute challenges and adapting to the changes, I am now confident I can maintain my new lifestyle. 

I decided to have Casey retest me on the second to last day of this challenge, to see how much progress I had made since starting my journey with Life Time. My “myHealthscore” changed from 52/100 to 100/100 from that day back in August of last year when my weight was 310 lbs and my body fat was 35%. With the help of Life Time, I lowered my weight to 232 lbs, and my body fat is now 8.4%.  Something I hadn’t foreseen, but that has become an enormous source of satisfaction, is seeing the new respect in my son’s eyes - and his many requests to flex my “big muscles.”  It has also inspired my family to be more active. My son has forgotten about his video games and frequently requests that someone come outside to play soccer with him. By continuing the healthy eating habits, most of the supplements, and challenging myself and family with obstacle races, eventually I hope to participate in the Leadville100 Mountain Bike Race. 

Sunday
Aug032014

Mohenad I. – Tempe, AZ

NOW or NEVER

Three months shy of my 35th birthday, I decided to register for Life Time’s 90-Day Challenge. Not knowing how much time, investment and effort it would require on my part, and whether or not I would be able to sustain my commitment and discipline throughout, I was reluctant to register to only disappoint myself.

Ever since college I tried every diet and workout, and despite my best efforts I never did realize the vision I had of my “ideal self”—which was to be lean and to have muscle definition and to get to a point where I would only have to maintain provided I stayed active and ate healthy. Fast forward 10 to 15 years, with the increasing demands of life, family, graduate school and work—and this goal remained elusive.

I had friends who were my age who either were genetically gifted and worked hard or were on the other spectrum having accepted the effects of a slowing metabolism or a lifestyle that put their optimal health and well-being on the backburner. A combination of a yearning to be the best in everything I pursue and to be a role model for my children and family, it was not in me to resign myself to this fate without putting my best effort forward—especially given that I lived a relatively healthy lifestyle while honoring my body (i.e. no alcohol or substance abuse) as well as appreciating the fact that our health is a gift from God and a blessing we must cherish.

It was NOW or NEVER and time to practice what I preach—namely PASSION, PERSEVERANCE, and PATIENCE.

On this Mother’s Day and the week of my 35th birthday, I have surpassed my expectations, resulting in a more than 74% Body Fat (BF) reduction, going from 26.1% to 6.7%. Although there is more work to do physically, this was only a small part of the true transformation that occurred over the course of 3 months.

MOMENT OF TRUTH

Once I decided I was going commit to the 90-Day Challenge, theories were going to be put to practice where I would be my own research scientist with a hypothesis and using myself as the test subject.

Weigh-In Day | Feb. 10th 2014: I was shocked to learn that at 186.1 lbs my BF was 26.1%. I knew it was not going to be easy to lose the belly fat that has eluded me—especially since for the past 2 years on-and-off when I was not travelling I was consistently attending a set of group fitness classes at Life Time Tempe—namely, yoga, spinning, Insanity, ALPHA, and Run Club. My diet prior to the 90-Day Challenge consisted of high protein/low carb/low fat food with the occasional “cheat meal” turning into a “cheat day”—which more frequently than I would like to admit became 2 days or 3 days, telling myself I would restart “clean” at the beginning of the week or (worst) the 1st of the month.

All this changed once I signed up for the 90-Day Challenge because now for the first time I obtained my BF number and was on a mission. Either I was going to decrease it by at least half to 13% or allow it to increase and manifest itself into other debilitating conditions. More importantly, I was now accountable to others – Alex Nunez, my personal trainer, and Charlotte Lund-Abrahamsen, my nutritionist. These two, without any of us realizing at the time, would become fast friends as the weeks went on. The more they saw me commit, the more support, encouragement, and insights they offered.

GOALS

Knowing exactly what I wanted to achieve: 1) become leaner; 2) reduce body fat to between 8-10%; 3) improve my strength and continue an ALPHA-like training program that will push me more than I would push myself; and 4) finally understand any of the missing elements/lessons in my previous attempts to do the above on my own post-Challenge.

It was time to get SERIOUS, be HUMBLE, and put the TIME, INVESTMENT and EFFORT in. I had to put my faith and trust in my coaches that they would bring the right toolkits to work—and sure enough they did.

From the very beginning I established a set of guiding principles for our journey together, not knowing where we would end up when it was all said and done.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

360 Approach – From my past experiences of working each element—nutrition, cardiovascular, and resistance training—in isolation and because I was in relativity good overall health and conditioning, our program had to be designed in a comprehensive format adjusting the plan as required and in real-time.

Knowledge is Power – Using the the weekly assessments as our reference points, we would adjust the plan and path forward based on science-based research on a macronutrient level, best practices and constant iterations.

No Regrets, No Excuses – If I miss a day or life takes over for whatever reason, I must be patient, roll with it and put the time in and intensity during the remainder of the week.

All Natural – In order for this lifestyle to be sustainable, and in case my work takes me overseas, I was adamant about sticking to an all-natural diet, with herbal supplements – no synthetics.

Minimum Effective Dose. 100% Effort – When I am at Life Time, I give it 100% effort because that 1 hour or 2 in the day is never going to return. Why not make use of it, make it count and get out of the way!

RULES

With any prolonged activity and to obtain “buy-in” from those whom I am responsible for and have responsibilities towards, I established a set of rules to ensure all my obligations are being fulfilled:

1.     My activities within the 90-Day Challenge could not affect my daily responsibilities towards God, family, work, my children’s educational and extracurricular activities and community service.

2.     I would buy, prepare and cook all my own meals given I was going to be on a restricted diet and the rest of family was not.

PROGRAM DESIGN – A FUNCTION OF TIME, INVESTMENT & EFFORT

My objective was that the time I spent at Life Time is as efficient as possible, and in order to do so, I needed to understand myself better at a physiological and metabolic level. The tests that I found to be the most beneficial and recommend for all members who are serious—removing the guesswork and frustrations—are the: Active Metabolic Assessment (AMA), Cholesterol & Lipids Test, and Food Allergy Profile. Once my AMA was completed, I invested in a heart rate monitor, so I can now track at what intensity and duration I burn the most fat.

The other parts as I mentioned are spending the effort towards nutrition & meal planning, training (comprising of mostly Group Fitness classes such as Insanity, yoga, run club, and spinning); and most importantly rest/recovery and sleep.

Going into Weigh-In Weekend, I did not know what to expect. Soon I found myself speaking to Daniel H., who guided me through the process. We then had a conversation about my goals, and he in turn outlined the products and services available. I prioritized and invested in the products/services that would have the most impact at a minimum expense. Based on my goals of continuing to pursue an ALPHA workout, where we do Olympic-style lifts, High Intensity Training (HITs) and/or cardio interval training, Daniel paired me with Alex. We started with 1 PT session/week for the 1st Month and eventually reached 2 PT/week.

In the following days after the initial weigh-in, I sat with Charlotte, where we discussed my goals, and she provided a meal plan where I would eat the same 5-6 meals with little variation. A combination of high quality/lean proteins, healthy fats, and a specific set carbohydrates—all of which were tailored based on the results of my Food Allergy Profile. My meal plan focused on what is easiest to digest, lots of water, wholesome vegetables, and lean fish. I would dedicate 2-3 hours preparing my meals on Sundays and Wednesdays for the week ahead, mainly boiling quinoa, and washing/chopping vegetables for salads with my lean protein. A couple of weeks into my meal plan, my cravings for desserts diminished completely even if my wife and kids were enjoying the occasional pint of ice cream, where in the past it would have been gone by morning! During our sessions, I learned so much, for example: it is preferable to consume nitrate-free cold cuts, sweet potatoes are a great complex carb, not to cook with olive oil, and that we must consume healthy fats in order for our bodies to burn body fat. Once a week, I would break the monotony of my meals by going to my favorite organic restaurant Herbs N Flavors owned by a fellow Life Time member/90-Day Challenger and restaurateur, where he would whip me up a special veggie bowl with quinoa and shrimp—and we would check in on each other’s progress.

As we got underway, we introduced all natural supplementation. I made a conscious decision to purchase all my vitamins and supplements from Life Time Fitness because I wanted to: (a) test my "360 approach," (b) consume the highest quality and natural ingredients available, and (c) verify the claims made by Life Time by taking their high quality-sourced products and proprietary blends. It’s my view that the vitamins and probiotic did improve nutrient absorption, fish oils decreased inflammation, and the UCAN stabilized my blood sugars. On a daily basis I would have 2-3 protein shakes per day. Since I was not consuming a lot of fruits and vegetables, I would take Dynamic Greens that provided me with all the vitamins and minerals I required. We adjusted supplementation monthly based on the BF assessments.

PROGRESS

A week or two before the halfway point, as I was seeing consistent results—and more importantly on the Leaderboard both for Life Time Tempe, and nationally that I was in the Top 100, I became even more motivated to reach the Top 50, 25, and 20. At the halfway mark in late March, I committed to 2 PT sessions/week with Alex, and in turn he committed 110% to me. He designed a program and meal plan for me for the weeks ahead and told me what muscles to target when we weren’t training together. At around the same time is when I hit a plateau—no progress due to external factors perhaps or to my body telling me to stop and take a break. Alex adjusted my training and diet to focus on small muscle groups and individual muscles.

The first time when I thought I had a chance to break the Top 20 is the week I became #1 for Life Time Tempe. This was the motivation I needed to keep pushing and make progress to be #1 for the Club. As soon as we broke Top 20, then I had to go all the way. The 90-Day now became a competition with myself and my mind and how far I could go while maintaining the life/work/family balance. I now have to make my coaches, Group Fitness trainers, fellow members, The Club and Arizona proud. It was in this last month when Alex pushed me to the edge, and I was in autopilot mode giving it 100%—and in the last 2 weeks we would train together because we both wanted to go all the way!

THE UNEXPECTED

Something amazing started to happen—this outward transformation well into the second and third month became an internal transformation. Because of the discipline of sleeping early, waking up at dawn, going to the gym, nourishing the body correctly, and feeling energized throughout the day allowed me to be even more grateful for the vessel we have been provided. My faith increased as a result of these actions, and meaningful engagements and interactions with others occurred randomly, and constant internal reflections throughout the day became the norm.

I have made more friends at Life Time in 3 months than the 2 years I have been back as a member! The camaraderie I found in Duane’s Insanity class was electrifying—as I looked forward to seeing Lisa, Michele, Calvin, Christine, Barry and Octavio weekly. The basketball tournament and early morning pick up games were always played in good spirits, and the sponsored activities added much needed variety in my daily routine.

I reflected on who inspired and motivated me—through their own pursuits and overcoming challenges, who were the most pivotal people in my life, and recalling those stories and experiences when I needed the drive to finish strong as the 90-Day Challenge became about so much more.

It became vividly clear the easiest pursuits in this world are not very beneficial, while the hardest pursuits are very beneficial, and it is the struggle that makes us stronger and gets us closer to our true selves.

So, if you are in blessing, you have to be grateful. And similarly if you are going through a challenging time you have to be patient and realize it is temporary and we can’t force our destiny—and just because we can’t force fate doesn’t mean our pursuits should be abandoned, but rather find a way to go around, above or through the wall.

KEY TAKEAWAYS 

  1. Discipline + Structure + Planning = Balance. With the Discipline of sleeping early—following the circadian cycle, and nature’s rhythms by waking up early to get at least the first cardio or workout session in and out of the way, to Planning the day through a series of mental or physical checklists—be it your grocery list, meals, and/or your workout ahead of time provided Structure. Combined, these provided me with a sense of Balance and resulted in the feeling of more energy and a sense of accomplishment that lasted for the entire day. My goal in all this was to reduce the number of decisions I had to make in a day. Having a specific program tailored to you and/or planned ahead of time allows you to focus on your life’s priorities.
  2. Have a Support System. This is crucial! Surround yourself with only positive influences, and similarly be accountable to your trainers, friends and family because no one will care more than they do—and always have a vested interest in you.
  3. Be Present. Be Patient. Be Passionate. – Engage wholeheartedly in whatever you are doing whether you're spending time with friends, family, or helping a stranger. Live in the present—where the future is not a concern, and the past is not a worry.
  4. Seek Knowledge. Life is made up of a series of building blocks—with knowledge you become empowered by understanding the why and how of what you are doing.
  5. Stay on Track. To stay on track—and never go back—you must track! Record your daily routine for a week. What time do you sleep and wake up? When you wake up, monitor how you feel. When do you get hungry or sluggish during the day? When do you have the most energy? Record what and how much you eat. You can go as far as when do you go to the bathroom if you like. All this is important to understand your daily habits and rhythms as you commit to undertaking your transformation.
  6. Mediate. Take time for you to reset and align, and understand that struggle and patience go together, and the best attitude to have is patience, and patience takes time and effort.

Only at the end of this 90-Day Challenge is when I realized that the events and people in your life are purposeful, appropriate and non-random, so make them count by being always true to yourself and honest with your dealings with others.

Acknowledgements

To honor a few who have been instrumental in my transformation at Life Time, I would like to mention in no particular order: Tamara B., Cynthia S., Nikki D., Duane M., Marsha R., Andrea S., Trevor B., Nicole W., Josh E., Marc V-B., Charles S., Tim S., Courtney G., Brent F., Chuck C., Josh E., Daniel H. and Mohammed A. To Andrea, Holly, Jordan, Johnny and the Child Center for allowing me to do my thing while the kids learn to swim and play. To Caleb K., Chance A., Joanne L., Marcus A. and all their colleagues at the Front Reception and the Maintenance Crew always being available 24/7 with a smile on their faces. And the crew at the Café who never said no to my requests. Last but not least, to Bahram for having the vision, tenacity and grit to build by far one of the finest family-oriented fitness clubs in the U.S. - and courage to evolve the brand into a lifestyle and way of life.

Most of all, thank you to Alex and Charlotte. This journey would not have been possible without your commitment to me—in addition to Julie B. who saw me at the finish line to represent Life Time Tempe.

I must also recognize fellow Life Time Tempe member, Tim B., who inspired me to enter the Challenge in the first place after losing the most BF% in the entire US in the Fall 2013 Challenge! Along the way, his encouragement and advice inside and outside the locker room was priceless.

Thank you Life Time Fitness, Inc., Life Time Tempe and to my family, old and new friends for being part of this incredible journey!

 

Sunday
Jul272014

Ben T. - Kingwood, TX

My journey began a long time ago when I was in middle school. It started out as an unhealthy one with bad eating habits and a lack of motivation to change them. I was always one of the heavier kids in school, and I was even jokingly called “The Candy Man” because I had a bit of a sweet tooth. With all of those factors in play, one might say healthy eating and exercise were not part of my life. With more unhealthy habits and zero motivation to exercise, as I got older the weight just kept piling on. I then got married to my wonderful wife, Erin, and began a career as an Air Traffic Controller. Air traffic controlling is a demanding job that requires high levels of responsibility, making it one of the most stressful jobs. Unfortunately, stress is one of the leading causes of unhealthy eating habits and excess fat storage. My wife and I had a son in 2010, and when he started to walk and run, I found myself struggling to keep up with him. That is when I realized that if something did not change soon, I wouldn't be there to enjoy life’s precious moments with my family as we grew older.

I then took the first healthy step in my journey when I joined Life Time Fitness in January of 2012. When I joined, I was at the heaviest I had ever been - 248 pounds - with high blood pressure, and I couldn't even run a mile. The personal training staff eagerly jumped in and helped with fitness tips and nutritional guidelines, and taught me how to set my own fitness goals. The trainers told me about the 90-Day Weight Loss Challenge. This struck me as the perfect opportunity to start by setting a competitive goal. With a healthier diet and a lot of cardio I won first place at my Life Time location and came in 10th in the nation. My blood pressure dropped, and I felt great, but I needed a new goal. At that point I decided to try for a duathlon, then a triathlon, and then a marathon. After tackling all of these goals, I then ran two half-marathons and achieved a qualifying time for the Houston Marathon, which I plan to run in 2015.

As I kept my journey alive, the holidays were not so kind to me. At the end of 2013, I found myself slipping back into bad eating habits. At that point, I decided to make another change in my lifestyle and set a new goal. Soon after the New Year, I saw the sign for the new 90-Day Transformation Challenge. I signed up immediately, and again the Life Time personal training staff was great at getting me motivated to make the change. Dustin at Life Time Kingwood suggested that I should add supplements to my diet to help balance my body’s needs. I started by taking L-Glutamine, fish oil, and multivitamins and could instantly feel a difference in my energy levels. I also did research to discover what I was really putting into my body when I ate the way I had been in the past. I compiled a new diet that consisted of all natural things like lean meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries. I took away all processed and complex carbohydrates, like rice, grains, and pastas, and recorded everything I ate. I used a food diary application on my phone to record all of my calories in and calories burned. My main goal this time was to lose fat and gain more lean muscle mass. Running, stair climbing, swimming, and biking were my main sources of cardio, and this time I added weight training to my routine to create a perfect balance. All of that together jump started my metabolism and helped my body burn fat more quickly.  

I started the transformation challenge at 207.5 pounds and 21.4% body fat. 90 days later I am proud to say that I am now at 166.7 pounds and 4.4% body fat.  Not only do I feel and look better than I have in my entire life, but I have completed another goal and can’t wait to find a new one. I think that the most important thing for anyone, regardless of age, gender, or weight, is to find what works best for your body. Set goals that inspire and motivate you, and never let anybody tell you that you can’t do it, because YOU CAN!!!