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Entries in 100 lb+ Weight Loss (23)

Saturday
Jan162016

Matt F. - Canton Township, MI  

“I’ll have a hand-cut 32-oz. ribeye, a baked potato – loaded, and a salad with ranch. Oh! And a Cactus Blossom as an appetizer, and keep the cold Coronas coming.” Ninety days ago, that would have been my standard dinner order at my favorite steakhouse. I may have even gone for a large Blizzard at DQ for dessert on the way home. That was before I had the help and support of Life Time Fitness to turn my health around.

Most of my adult life I’ve been overweight, even obese, because of my addiction to food in very large portions. As my daughter once told her friend before we took them out to dinner, “Don’t be alarmed. My dad eats a lot!”

Now, here I am, 115 lb. smaller, a healthier and happier version of that person.

It started innocently enough, when a couple of my buddies and I started talking about joining a gym to work off our nightly scotch drinking. So, after about a month of talking about it, we decided to actually do something and take a tour around Life Time. That’s when I learned about the 90-Day Challenge, and was inspired. I had my eye on the prize… I was going to lose 100 lb. and win that challenge! My wife was worried about the cost, but reluctantly agreed that my health was worth it. I even talked her into joining the gym and doing the 90-Day Challenge with me; she also lost 10 lb. and 6% of her body fat composition.

Before the challenge, Adoreya, the lead trainer at the gym, called me to set up a health assessment. She provided me with nutritional advice and workout tips for getting healthy, including instructions to drink lots of water (key to weight loss). She listened and understood my health history and my back problems, and gave me tips for using the equipment to strengthen my core without straining my back. From the very first day I went at it – working out, cutting down my portions SIGNIFICANTLY, staying busy from the time I got up to the time I went to bed. I walked nearly 1,000 miles in those 90 days – most of those miles on the treadmills at Lifetime.

The trainers gave me a lot of advice and plenty of support along the way. I think Jeff was the first to call me “champ,” and it seems to have stuck. But I didn’t always feel like a champ. There were plenty of days I was ready to give up, but just in time there was a trainer to give me the words of encouragement to keep going – telling me to keep doing what I was doing because it was working! Boaz turned me on to cardio, which was the key to my weight loss for the last 90 days.

The LifeCafe was also very helpful, providing healthy meal options that taste great! The Portabella Meals to Go is one of my favorites. Chrissy set me up with AM/PM vitamins so I was sure to maintain nutritional balance even with my smaller portions and higher calorie burn.

My life is so much better than it was 90 days ago. For starters, I feel better about myself – I’m happier and have more confidence than before. My energy levels are also through the roof. Those naps I used to take every night after work? No more! Now I have energy to grab a rake and clean up the yard after working an 8-hour day. My wife is also happier because I help more around the house and have tackled a few of those “honey-dos.”

I can’t wait to meet with my doctor next week when I go in to see if I can get off of my cholesterol medication. She will be so shocked, and so proud. My blood pressure has also come down, which was likely the next medication by body was going to require. After the scare I had earlier this year when I thought I was having a heart attack, this weight loss is just what my doctor was begging me to do. What will she lecture me on now that I’ve given up all of my unhealthy ways: quit smoking, quit drinking, lost weight.

Now what? Well, first, I’ll need some new clothes. I’ve added 10 – yes, 10 – holes to my belt to cinch up my pants. I’ve lost 20 inches around my belly and 10 inches around my waist. My 3XLT T-shirts are just hanging on me like oversized dresses. Work won’t be too happy when I request new uniforms be ordered either!

One thing is for sure, I’m going to keep the weight off and continue to work out with Life Time. I’ve already scheduled sessions with Adam, a personal trainer at Life Time, to start weight lifting, tone up and strengthen my core and back. Twice in the last 10 years, I’ve been hit with a herniated disk that put me on my back for 8 weeks or more. Both times, my doctor and physical therapists wanted me to drop weight and strengthen my core. Now, I truly feel that I’m in a position to build that core and back strength.

The shock on people’s faces who haven’t seen me since before the challenge is gratifying. I’m inspiring many others to lose weight too, including family members, co-workers, and neighbors. Watch out, Life Time. You may need to build a bigger gym for my recruits!

Shout out to KirbDog from Columbia, MD, for some crazy competition! That definitely kept me motivated each week to not let up!

Enclosure

Tuesday
Nov182014

Dan B. - 90-Day Weight Loss Challenge Winner - Spring 2014

A couple years back, I had enough of the way I looked and felt about myself. I decided to enter the Life Time Fitness 90-Day Challenge. It was a test of will and dedication that I knew I could handle and win. Top five in the nation is where I placed after completing the contest with what I thought was a solid showing. However, underneath all the praise and compliments I received there was a feeling of failure because I did not take 1st place. Sounds crazy, I know, but the competitive drive inside of me outweighed the accomplishment I had achieved. I was solely in it for the money. The term, “It’s a lifestyle change, not a diet,” was what I considered an overused cliché in the fitness world. I’d think, of course it’s a life change…the life being lived obviously isn’t getting it done, so change it if you want something different. Never understood why everybody dieting needs to hear that all the time. Well, as it turned out, the fitness world is right. My goal was only to win; I didn’t make a change in my lifestyle and gained every pound back and more. So, once I heard there was another 90-Day Challenge to enter, I felt that need to win which burns inside of me and tried again. This time I set two goals - not only to win but to work toward a change in lifestyle after it was over.

For me, competition is where it’s at. Without a challenge, a bet, or a vacation to prepare for, I have little drive. That fierce desire to win can be dangerous; but if controlled and kept in check, it can be a big advantage in a contest like this. I researched past winners a bit. I read the stories. Found ways to incorporate their plans into one that would be successful for me. Last fall, a guy named Bernard won the challenge by losing 125 pounds. In the spring, Frank Pace lost an amazing 42.48% of his starting weight. Such numbers are thought impossible, apparently not. This information set my intention; beat them both.

I suggest this before starting any diet/lifestyle change. Write down everything you enjoy. What makes you happy? Certain restaurants, friends, sports, television shows, your car, whatever….fill up your sheet of paper, list them all. Now go through and honestly ask yourself what purpose they all serve. Good, bad, indifferent…does not matter, write them down. Obviously the bad must be eliminated for now. Everybody knows why they’re overweight. Don’t lie to yourself, you know why. The rest of your list needs to be part of your plan in some way. Certain music you enjoy, of course that’s your playlist. TV shows, that’s what you watch on a treadmill when possible. Friends, see more of the positive ones less of the negative. Everything on that list can serve a roll in staying upbeat and focused. Adequate amounts of rest was a big one for me. The best way I found is to set a bed time. Watching TV and falling asleep on the couch is a bad habit. It contributes to late night snacking while nobody is around and limits quality sleep. Can’t wake up and workout when you slept like crap. Get the TV out of the bedroom also. Don’t need it in there. Go to bed. Waking up early and ready to get at it is a strong point of mine. Never has been a problem for me to wake up at 4:00 am and start my day. This is when my daily workout routine would begin. Early morning is a great time to be at the club. Always the same faces getting their work in. No crowd, place is yours for the most part. Very little social interaction; an occasional head nod and back to work. Everybody in there is focused on getting it done in a short period of time. Find what works best for you to burn the calories you wish to consume that day. This first workout, I do in a fasted state. With no carbs in your system since noon the previous day, your body only has one source of fuel…fat. Wait for an hour after to eat something and you have created a fat burning machine. In the evening, I’d often sneak in another workout.

The dietary plan I followed was roughly the same as last time; the one you often hear about, but failed before. Clean carbs only, and a limited amount of those. Oatmeal, whole grain bread, brown rice, sweet potatoes…you’ve heard it all before, but it’s critical to allow a couple weeks for your body to accept its new fuel source and help you avoid failure. The twist I put on that plan was to consume any carbs eaten, before noon. My protein intake was also changed a bit. Only fish or shrimp allowed no fat cuts of beef or pork. Some vegetables are proven to also supply protein, like broccoli for instance. That and spinach supplied the majority of my vegetables. I love both, so easy enough. No dairy. No sweets. No alcohol! I drank nearly two gallons of water a day and took the maximum suggested amount of B-12 and multi vitamins. What I believe makes my plan more successful than most is that I also counted my calories daily and committed myself to never consuming more than I burned. Simple concept, burn more than you take in….you’ll lose weight. If what you take in is clean….you can burn massive amounts of weight. Bingo. You have a recipe for drastic weight loss, without putting yourself in an unhealthy state.

For me, winning will always be the best part of any competition and what I enjoy the most. I know that and except it as who I am. This time though, I found more enjoyment in my results. Along the way I was more in touch with the improvements and progress I was making. The compliments had more meaning. The Life Time staff is stacked with great trainers and supportive people in general. Those friendships are an added reason to get in the gym. Moving forward, this time I plan on using that support as a reason to keep at changing myself. I have set a new goal. I have set a healthy weight and body fat percentage to reach and more importantly, maintain. Attendance at Life Time is the only way for me to keep at it. Even if not at such a torrid pace, I will get there. It doesn’t need to be my sole focus; a few times a week may prove to be enough. As far as my goal of surpassing the past winners, I was one for two. Took care of Bernard, but couldn’t quite reach the near 43% Frank posted. My goal of winning this year’s has yet to be determined. Win or lose this time however, I know that I gave my all and nobody entered can take my new found health away from me. Thank you again to Life Time for all of your help and support. Of course I will hate to not have won….but I’m a winner regardless; I found a lifestyle change to believe in.

Sunday
Dec012013

Julie L. - Mansfield, Texas

To understand my 90-Day transformation, you first have to know where I was just one year ago. I was 283 pounds with a body fat of nearly 50%, and I finally had my breaking point moment when the seat belt on the plane almost wouldn’t fasten. I didn’t know exactly what to do, but I knew change starts one foot at a time, literally. I set small goals for myself of getting to Life Time a few days a week to walk on the treadmill or use the ellipticals. I logged my food and watched my calories but not necessarily the kind of calories I was eating.    

I was seeing great results but by the beginning of this year, I hit the dreaded plateau. I reached out to the trainers at Life Time, who recommended the cardio and calorie point test. They also talked to me about the kinds of food I was eating and helped me to adjust my diet to better balance carbs, protein and fat, as well as enhance my performance with vitamins and supplements. With those changes and by following the cardio point workout, the pounds and inches started melting away. By May, just 9 months from when I started, I had dropped 100 pounds and 5 clothing sizes.

The cardio point workouts also helped me build endurance to where I could eventually run longer and faster. The staff at Life Time encouraged me to join the Run Club. The confidence the Run Club gave me helped me to become stronger and faster with each run.  

When the 90-Day transformation opportunity started, I was at the one year mark from when I started my journey. I was down 123 pounds and 7 clothing sizes.  I had hit all of my weight loss goals, but I knew from past mistakes, maintenance is just as important as the actual weight loss.  This was the perfect opportunity to discover how I could challenge myself in new ways and focus on getting lean. I set up my own personal challenge to enter four races in 60 days, even though I had never run any race before in my life. I ran a 5k, 10k, ½ marathon and a sprint triathlon, of which I medaled in three of the four. With this new confidence, I plan to enter my first full marathon in 2014.

I also did the D.TOX program. This opened my eyes to the amount of processed food in my diet.  I learned how easy it was to create more foods from scratch, eliminating not only toxins but unnecessary calories and sugars. I greatly increased the amount of vegetables and fruits I (and my family) eat and feel fuller with the same amount of calories. What was amazing was I had some of my best runs during this detox without traditional carbohydrates or performance enhancers. I saw how well my body can perform when fueled properly.

The biggest part of my transformation came in a completely unexpected way. Over the last few months, complete strangers have come up to me at Life Time to compliment me on my weight loss and tell me what an inspiration I am to them. After one Try-It Tuesday when I got to speak, I was incredibly touched by the many members who shared their struggles and accomplishments with me. I now make sure to pay it forward and take the time to encourage others to achieve their goals. The most rewarding moment, however, was after my first race when my son asked me if I would teach him to run so “he could win a medal too.” I am humbled by the influence my journey has had to show others what can be accomplished with a healthy lifestyle.

I have now lost nearly 140 pounds (half my size!) and have reduced my body fat to 15-16%. I have gone from a size 24 to a 4. But those numbers aren’t what represent my 90-Day transformation. I transformed into an athlete, a bit of a health chef and a motivator. It is that transformation which helps me to know I have the tools to keep this lifestyle change going, and I am excited for the path still ahead.

Sunday
Jun302013

Jonathan S. – Alpharetta, GA

In a word, the last two years have been life-changing for me.  As most of the team in Life Time Alpharetta knows, I am an extremely dedicated member who has, for the last two years, been involved in nearly every aspect of participation available to me at my club.  This includes, but is not limited to:

  • 2011 & 2012 Alpha Showdown Competitor
  • Top-echelon finisher in Local Alpha Showdown
  • Competitor at Regional Showdown
  • 2 years of consistent personal training sessions
  • 6+ Months of MyCoach (Strength Training)
  • 6+ Months of MyCoach (Nutrition)
  • Multiple months of TEAM Fitness classes
  • Multiple months of 1-on-1 Pilates Sessions
  • Participant in TEAM Bootcamp
  • Indoor Tri (Highly-ranked Finisher in 2011)
  • Regular participant in Group Fitness Classes (Spin, Yoga, Pilates)

When I signed up for personal training, Larren Epps asked me very specifically, “What’s your motivation level?  How bad do you want this?” My answer was clear, and my actions henceforth have ensured that facta non verba has been the order of the day. 

Less Quit More Fit – Correcting a Lifelong Failure

To say I had a huge chip on my shoulder would be an understatement.  For my entire life I’ve been fortunate insofar as I’ve been successful in all of my pursuits except for one:  taking care of myself and managing my weight.  Facing your demons is never easy, and facing mine took 683 days from May 1st 2011, until the morning of March 14th, 2013.

During those days it required:

  • 585 workouts
  • 2,194 miles put on my running shoes
  • 292 hours on a spin bike pushing until i almost puked
  • 1,170 Hours of Strength Training
  • 29,250 pushups
  • 409,800 times of telling myself "one more rep"

And yeah... I counted.

  1. It took telling my boss, "I'll do the work. Just don't get in the way of gym time. I need this, and you need to accept that."
  2. It took taking no flak from people in my life (who sure aren't in it now) who thought I was crazy or obsessed and kept distracting me from my goals.
  3. It took taking the highs with the lows and absolutely refusing to ever give up.
  4. It took badass playlists and constantly pumping myself up when I felt I had nothing left.
  5. It took amazing people coming into my life and providing unending amounts of support, encouragement and accountability and constantly helping me push limits even further.

After all of that, as of March 14th, I was no longer over weight. That big chip on shoulder was gone forever, and I continued to feel bent on moving forward.  I was not going to be one of those statistics—people who change their life yet rescind back into old habits. To me that would be an unforgiveable failure, and there was no way I was going to let that happen.

Continuing the Progress

March 14th was a life-changing day for all the right reasons, but I still had more chips on my shoulders from all the people who told me I couldn’t do something or I shouldn’t do something to change myself because I was fine the way I was.  The fact is, I wasn’t fine the way I was back then, and I’m not done with the work I set out to do now.  I’ve got a hunger that isn’t going to end just because of one weigh-in or one milestone being complete.

I continued to push myself forward, and week after week I continued to lean down and put on muscle while shedding fat.  It’s an odd feeling when complete strangers with whom you’ve never spoken come up to you and ask you what you’ve been doing to lose so much weight. It’s becoming a regular occurrence both in the office and at the gym. It’s humbling, motivating, and confusing all at the same time.

 I made a promise to myself that I would answer the call when life demanded that I make a lifelong commitment to pursue my dreams and pay the full fare to achieve my goals.  A vow to myself that I would earn my results with effort, with sweat, with blood, and with tears, such that—come hell or high water—I would reinvent myself and push myself to find and surpass my limits. I’m happy to say that through the help of numerous people at Life Time Fitness and the support of my friends and family, I’ve been able to make this dream a reality, but I know I’m not finished yet.  I got through the first few hurdles, but I recognize that there are many more hurdles yet to overcome.  I am thankful for the support of those who have trained me physically and mentally to this point and will continue to rely on them as I move forward.

This year in the 2013 Alpha Showdown, I’m proud to say that I gave it everything I had.  I can look my friends in the eye and know that I didn’t let them down, and that I did everything I could, that there wasn’t one more thing I could have done.  The words fail to do it justice. I don’t even remember the event other than the endorphin rush I rode the rest of the day, the tsunami of emotions, and the immensely satisfying feeling that I had when I woke up the next day as my body cried in protest while I smiled ear to ear.

You want a motivational quote?  Here’s a good one:

“I firmly believe that a man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle…victorious.” – Vince Lombardi

I’ll take this victory to my grave with a smile. For now, it’s on to the next obstacle.

Specifically I’d like to thank:

  • Larren Epps – For starting me on this journey
  • Shelby Pratt – For pushing me past my limits and breaking through plateaus while ensuring continued success at setting and achieving specific and measurable goals
  • Mateus Santos – For being a constant motivational factor and training partner
  • Jason Barry – Helping to finally achieve a lifelong goal of not being overweight (lost over 23% body fat and 70lbs over the last two years, and a total of 135lbs now over the last 5 years)
  • Luke Brito – For providing me from day one an environment of constant high energy and creative workouts to push me in ways I never thought possible
  • Miguel Ortiz – For talking me into Alpha in the first place
Saturday
Jun012013

Frank P. - 90-Day Challenge Winner

There is a lot that can be said about my journey through this ninety day program, and everything that lead up to this time in my life. Never is there a better time to change than now, but realizing that is the true difference.

Before Life Time, I had been a member of various gyms throughout the years. I had certainly reaped the benefits of exercise when I was healthy and had the time.

However, during that time, things began to change. Over doing it with weights caused a shoulder problem that continued for years. Reoccurring ankle injuries were made worse when I ran a 5k, sprained my ankle, and continued to run that race. Eventually, I felt stuck with a body that seemed to ache with any sort of exercise. To make matters worse I have a job where we often travel or host catered events for customers. This makes it convenient to go out to eat or grab snacks and sodas during those weeks. My health was deteriorating, and I didn’t think I had a solution.

Now, all of that has changed, without the need to change jobs. I love where I work and the people I work with. My friends, family, and coworkers all supported me in their own unique way as I challenged myself on this path to recovery. It also helped that my Trainer, Ryan Wakefield, was there to give me feedback and suggestions.

Early on, I was still making excuses. Ryan was assigned to me as I was introduced to LifeTime. This was a first, by comparison to other gyms. He assessed me and gave me a list of suggestions. After getting to know him better, I found out he was college educated in what he does. That was another first when compared to other gyms. After a few workouts, I postponed making a real difference. In the following months, I spent time in and out of the gym as I traveled and waited for my ankle to feel better. The news of myHealthScore had not affected me the way one would hope. My score was low and my concerns were high. It deflated my ego. I blamed it all on my injuries and the extra time I was using to focus on my career, but that wasn’t the real problem.

Sometime later, out of curiosity, I tried out a yoga class at LifePower. This ignited something in me I hadn’t realized before. My shoulder felt better. It wasn’t magic, but I had learned some new things at that class. This made me start to think about solutions instead of excuses. I began to visit other LifeTime locations as well to see what the different memberships had to offer. Little by little, I took steps to focus on myself and my health again. Eventually, this brought me back to my trainer. The gym is 5 minutes from my job, but it had been months since we spoke. My weight had increased, but my confidence had renewed. I knew I could do more with his help. We put a plan together and it helped me take initiative. There were challenges ahead of us. My ankle was still an issue, but I was going to do everything possible to make some permanent changes in my life.

For far too long, I had put muscle mass before losing unhealthy weight. The truth is that I was tired of being heavy. I had made sure to eat enough protein and didn’t want to do too much cardio for fear of losing the muscle I felt I could barely hang on to.

My new plan however, was simple. I was inspired by the Joe Cross film on juicing some time ago. I had only done a ten day juice fast before, but I thought I could do a series of those during the challenge while eating fresh fruits and vegetables on the other days. I started all of this while I eased into my new exercise routines. The initial results were amazing. It compelled me to try even harder before I nearly collapsed from exhaustion one day.

Then I remembered the things that got me into this mess. Maybe sometimes I try too hard. I eased back and put forth a new plan slowly into motion. This prompted me to communicate my crazy ideas and decisions with Ryan. He gave me feedback and I listened. I combined his ideas with the things I knew I needed to do. All of it helped me to continue. I made sure to stretch every muscle and every limb religiously before and after every workout. I drank plenty of water throughout the day. I cut out most of my TV time and pointless internet surfing from my daily routine. I pushed harder during my work days, so I wouldn’t end up with late night work. More importantly, I always made time for the gym. Each day I felt better and each day I tried just a little bit harder.

Looking back and thinking about the time I spent at the gym makes me realize how much more I enjoy it now. It is truly a great escape from anything going on in my life. Sometimes, I looked to get motivated there, and that wasn’t too difficult. The atmosphere and experience from being at different LifeTime gyms is great. I wasn’t always working out; Many times I was just enjoying the facilities. The whirlpool, the sauna, the steam room, or the lifetime café are great places to take a break and get reinvigorated.

However, it didn’t always feel that way. Sometimes I wanted to quit, but I thought about those who don’t. When I wanted to stop and do other things, I thought about the person I was never going to be again. The people I kept in my mind were athletes, competitors, and the men and women in our armed forces. They were always an inspiration to me when I was young, so I decided to think about these people when I wondered about my limits. As time went by, during my workouts, my mind floated everywhere. However, the encouraging words that people had given me kept me on track as I kept changing my body every day.

In fact, after this journey, I now see someone completely different in my mind. Last I checked my resting heart rate was at 48 and myHealthScore showed great improvement. The pains from my old injuries are almost non-existent. My immediate plans are to participate in more activities at LifeTime. Now, I want to see myself trying to win races. I can see myself struggling to beat others to the finish line for the simple joy of competition and the celebration of health. My new promise is to compete and train for sprint triathlons. The other great news is that my trainer will be joining me on a race together this summer. Anyways, this is my story, but I wish everyone a good one of their own.