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Entries in 90-Day Challenge (134)

Saturday
Oct242015

Chris D. – Scottsdale, AZ

Life is about making the most of what you’ve been given and the amazing things that can happen to you when you decide to change.

I was always a skinny child - not interested in sports or exercise. When all the other boys began to bulk up and lift weights and become men, I remained a thin and unaffected “boy.” Physical fitness and exercise was not part of a daily regimen. At the time, I failed to see the future health benefits, much less the immediate stress relief. I watched as my friends gained strength and mass while I remained in a boy-like frame. That experience, during the critical years of puberty, took its toll on my self-esteem as I aged.

As a child I was not a “picky eater." However, that lent nothing to gaining weight. I was able to eat everything and anything without thinking about or receiving consequence. My body simply had a very rapid metabolism. I could not build bulk in either fat or muscle.

In graduate school, I was diagnosed with lyme disease, which provided additional unwarranted stress and fatigue. With a diagnosis of lyme disease compounding the challenges of my self-esteem, poor body image took its toll both physically and mentally. The entire experience of lyme disease, thin body frame, and being non-athletic created some lasting insecurities.

After seeking treatment and some time recovering, I felt better but not perfect. I realized I needed something else, and this was the first unsuccessful attempt at change in diet and exercise. I went in blindly and could not effectively manage a truly proper diet and a disciplined exercise routine. There were tons of resources available on websites, and I had no idea which to follow.

At this point in my life I moved to Arizona to begin my career. In my professional life, I began to continue being stressed both mentally and physically. I realized I needed to make some big changes. This didn’t mean go out and buy a new car or take luxurious vacations. It was something closer to home. It was something basic.

Around that time, a friend introduced me to his personal trainer, and we hit it off right away. My relationship with Life Time Fitness began. At first, it was a struggle to maintain discipline and learn how to effectively achieve the results I desired. By this time in my life, I had had it with giving up and falling back into old habits. I decided to keep going. That’s when I learned about something called a 90-Day Challenge. It appealed to me because my true competitor has always been myself. It seemed like a great match with a realistic time frame and goal to rocket me to a healthier lifestyle.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, I chose to focus on daily and weekly goals. I worked with my personal trainer and invested in bloodwork and dietitian consults to maximize the benefits of membership and my results. I was going to make this count as a life changing venture. This helped me noticeably bulk in muscle.

I had heard about the benefits of yoga and decided to try out Life Time’s hot vinyasa yoga. This helped relax my mind and increased my flexibility to continue with my weight lifting goals.

I found such solace in staying fit. It has helped me feel mentally rejuvenated and physically fit. The only way this was possible was through commitment, a willing to change, and especially the opportunity presented to me through Life Time.

Enclosure

Saturday
Oct172015

Annette S. - Eden Prarie, MN

My passion for fitness and healthy eating started very early in my life. I participated in sports starting in grade school, and this continued in high school. Fitness has remained a part of my life whether through a health club or with home gym equipment and videos, and many other recreational activities.

When I had my children, it was very important to me that they lead healthy lives. I encouraged them to be involved in sports not necessarily with the goal of being the best or winning, but that they would experience the exuberance of being physically and mentally fit. I am a Registered Nurse, and after many years in the medical field, my opinion is that the standard American diet along with our sedentary lifestyles are the cause of many of the most common health issues and illnesses today.

Also, I have an eating disorder that started at a very young age. I have had a very strained relationship with food to say the least. I have gained and lost pounds many times and tried almost every diet and fitness trend on the market. I believe that most weight issues in our society include some level of an eating disorder.

I most recently joined Life Time in June of 2014. In July, I began the Utopa Weight Loss Program that included personal training, registered dietitian consultations and lab analysis among other things. I have been extremely impressed with Life Time’s comprehensive approach and my team of experts. My team has been very emotionally supportive, and these trusting relationships and friendships have very much been instrumental in my Life Time program success.

Although I began Utopa last summer, my eating disorder continued to interfere with my results as it has so many times in the past. This past January, my Personal Trainer, Betsy Anderson at Life Time Athletic in Eden Prairie invited me to participate in the 90-Day Challenge. After much thought and soul searching, and after failing to lose very much weight during the Utopa program, I decided to give it a try. At the same time, I decided to join Overeaters Anonymous. Overeaters Anonymous is a fellowship of individuals who desire to stop eating compulsively. It is the 12-step version of Alcoholics Anonymous for people who use food as their drug of choice.

I have struggled with my eating disorder most of my life, and I am convinced that it is by far more difficult to beat this addiction than any other such as alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes due to the fact that we all must eat to survive. We can’t chose to abstain from eating, but we can chose to abstain from other addictions. Additionally, we must make food choice many times throughout each day and at every moment the choice to abstain or not abstain from compulsively overeating must be made. It is proven that the pleasure centers in the brain that react to narcotics and other addictive substances are the same ones that “light up” when a person eats certain foods or overeats.

Overeaters Anonymous, the 90-Day Challenge, and the Life Time comprehensive approach to both my outer and, more importantly, my inner health may be what ultimately leads to recovery from my eating disorder. The knowledge my Personal Trainers and Registered Dietician shared with me helped me to finally change my diet and supplementation to meet all my physical needs, helping to decrease the addictive food cravings. Additionally, I started Team Weight Loss, which not only focuses all my fitness efforts on weight loss, but has led to accountability and great friendships with my leader and my co-participants. I don’t believe that I could support any weight loss or eating disorder program that DOESN’T include all of the components that the Life Time weight loss program does.

The excellent foundation of knowledge that my Life Time Utopa team started, along with my 90-Day Challenge team have been invaluable. My hope is that I will never again have the extended periods of relapse into disordered eating and unhealthy choices that I’ve had in the past. Michael Schmit, RD at Life Time Athletic, Eden Prairie said it best, “Annette, I don’t want you to feel good, I want you to feel GREAT!” The past 90 days are the longest period of time that I can remember being free of the destructive force of my eating disorder. I feel “GREAT”! Thank You, Life Time Fitness, for this gift of freedom.

Saturday
Oct032015

Jeff E. – Westminster, CO

My life was recently in a transitional phase.  After losing my long-time job as a bank executive at 57-years-old, I relocated from Chicago to Colorado with Connie, my wife of thirty years.  I planned on taking some time off from work to recharge my batteries and to contemplate what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. That was the plan at least. In reality, I was spending most of my time puttering around the house and watching television.

To nobody’s surprise, my sedentary ways had taken a toll on my conditioning: my weight had crept up, I was smoking close to a pack of cigarettes a day, and my eating habits were reflective of my appearance.  A far cry from my college days when I earned 7 varsity letters and weighed 50 pounds less, I was unable to climb a set of stairs without needing to pause and catch my breath at the top.

With my wife’s encouragement, I joined Life Time Fitness in the fall of 2014.  My initial attendance reflected my mood – uninspired.  I was extremely overweight, and several recent surgeries only increased my lack of motivation.  In all honesty, I was a mess – physically and spiritually.  But I knew I had to go. So once a week or so, I would head to the club, usually smoking a cigarette or two on the way there and back.  I put in little effort, and my improvement was minimal. 

Shortly after the New Year, I underwent emergency surgery and during my recovery I received an email about the fitness challenge starting up the following week. I realized that this was the extra push I needed, and I made the commitment to join the 90-Day Challenge. 

After a disheartening initial weight measurement, I finally settled in for the long haul. I knew that in order for this to work, I would need to set a few rules for myself. First, I needed to go to the club.  Not haphazardly, but every day.  Second, I needed to change my eating habits – not by tackling an impractical diet, but by implementing manageable, life-style changes. Finally, I decided to go to as many of the weekly “Try-it Tuesday” classes as possible. My goal wasn’t to win the Challenge but to slowly regain control of my life and to get to a better “me.”  I wanted to lose weight the right way by taking it a day at a time and making complimentary decisions along the way that would align with my goals.

Armed with this newfound motivation, I started going to the gym every day for a workout. Strictly Strength, Barbell Strength, and Elevation Strength were no longer optional; they became essential parts of my routine.  On days when I wanted a change of pace, literally, I would walk the treadmill at a maximum incline.  I sampled other classes and found myself getting stronger with improved endurance.

I kept going to the club, missing only one day a month (on average).  Class after class, with treadmill walks sandwiched in between, I started to notice my progress.  On week eight, I had progressed to the point of running on the treadmill.  A crucial aspect of my success and attitude throughout this process was the instructors. They understood that not everyone was at the same level of physical fitness, and they encouraged me to work at my own pace – major props to Sarah K.  and Stacie A.

When I wasn’t at the gym, I maintained focus on my eating strategy.  I stayed within my calorie targets every day.  From attending “Try it Tuesday” classes, I gained more insight on the value of nutrition and implemented changes to my eating habits that I knew would be essential to combating my issues.  The changes I have made to my eating habits are changes that I plan on maintaining in the future. 

Participating in the 90-Day Challenge gave me the gumption to quit smoking cold turkey around week 6, get back to playing basketball around week 7 (I’ve been playing 4 games every Saturday morning without feeling like I’m about to die), and start riding my bike again.

My results have been very encouraging. My weight and body fat percentages have both dropped significantly.  While I am short of my initial goal, I am looking at a longer time frame than the 90 days set forth in the challenge – I am looking at this as a challenge for life.  I will get to my goal in short order, and I am already considering setting new ones. 

I really want to thank Julie Z. for her encouragement as well as all the trainers and instructors who inspire me every time our paths cross.

Overall, I am proud of myself and my results. If I can do it, anyone can!

Enclosure

Saturday
Sep192015

Austin D. - Fairfax, VA

January 27th marked my 29th birthday. Typically by this time, my New Year’s resolution is a faint memory, and I’m back to my guilt-free bad habits. This time was different. I was 30+ days strong quitting smoking cold turkey, and I was feeling great! I wanted to become “the best me in 2015,” and I felt like momentum was on my side. My wife had mentioned the 90-Day Challenge 4 or 5 times over the course of a week, but most of it went in one ear and out the other. Nevertheless I gave her the nod and figured as long as I weighed out I get my money back. What can I lose? 

My family (parents, wife and son, age 2) joined the Life Time Athletic Center in Fairfax, Virginia, in April 2014. Initially, I was the only one that did not use the facility regularly. My wife participates in the 6:00 a.m. Boot Camp fitness program three days a week and enjoys the group fitness classes. My parents consistently participated in the Team Weight Loss program three days a week, and my son enjoyed the swimming pool and the child daycare. I really did not have any excuse not to get more actively engaged in improving my physical fitness. It was just something I never scheduled. 

Tragically, it wasn’t until the passing of my wife’s younger brother that I made the conscious decision I was going to give this my all. I dedicate the last 90 days and this Challenge to the lasting loving memory of my wife’s beloved younger brother, who passed unexpectedly February 7th, 2015. He was 23.

The Challenge was something my wife had previously spoken to him about. During weigh-in weekend seeing the advertisements for “I can do all in my lifetime” really struck a chord close to my heart. I would do this for Jean-Luke. You never know when your time will expire. There is no better time than right now to take control of your life.

I understood that if I were going to take this seriously, it meant giving up a lot of the comfort foods that had helped me with my smoking urges… and it also meant no alcohol. I seriously doubted if that was even possible for me. 

Not knowing where to begin, I reached out to the excellent training staff at Life Time for advice. One of the first recommendations was to take a metabolic assessment, which I did. The Life Time trainer explained the importance of target heart rate training. They also did my overall physical fitness assessment, which provided the baseline from where I was starting. She answered all my questions and also went as far as to email me a copy of the Life Time “Live Well, Eat Well” manual so I could get a better understanding about nutritional tips that I should consider to reach my fitness goals. The “Live Well, Eat Well” manual was an invaluable tool in assisting me in my health journey. I completely changed my diet and started eating regularly scheduled meals 5 times a day. I realized the benefits instantly! 

I can honestly say this 90-day Challenge has made a significant difference in my daily life. I am now in a regular routine. My wife goes to the 6:00 a.m. boot camp, and I typically go at the end of the day after our two-year-old son has gone to bed. The fact that my club is open 24 hours a day makes it super convenient. I work out at the gym 5 days a week and try to get a light cardio or yoga class on the 6th. I must admit that I enjoy the classes. 

Dedicating myself to this Challenge was one of the hardest things I’ve done, and the first two weeks were brutal. I didn’t know which was harder - pushing myself past the point of exhaustion in the gym or watching people eat things I couldn’t. It got easier. I found healthy replacements to my much needed munchies, and I didn’t miss them anymore. and the results started to pour in.

During the Challenge I went from 14.9% body fat to 3%. If someone would have told me that was even possible six months ago, I am not sure that I would have believed them. I’m confident that the initial metabolic assessment and support from the Life Time training staff made a significant difference for me. I always work out with my heart rate monitor and my LT connect app to track my workouts. 

The 90-Day Challenge has made a significant difference in how I live my daily life. From maintaining a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water and incorporating a good physical workout into my schedule I am very glad that I participated and had the opportunity to “meet and beat” the 90-Day Challenge. 

Enclosure

Saturday
Sep122015

David O. - Florham Park, NJ

I gained a lot of weight in the past year. Every day I would wake up with stiff joints, knee pain and zero energy. 

My job responsibilities increased, and there was a lot more demand on my time to meet strict deadlines. I had almost completely stopped working out at the gym. I made a lot of excuses to myself like, “I’ll go tomorrow” or “I’m too tired today,” and go home after work, sit on the couch and watch TV. It was easy to make excuses not to eat right and exercise.

My diet had gotten really unhealthy. I was eating large meals throughout the day and unhealthy snacks at night. After continually buying larger jeans, I reached the point where I knew that something had to change.

Then, one day I was at Life Time, and saw the signs for the 90-Day Challenge. I thought, “I should do that.” I knew it was what I needed to help me get my health back on track.

Weigh-in weekend came, and I signed up with one of the trainers at Life Time. He talked with me about my goals and what I hoped to accomplish during the Challenge. He advised me about the benefits of working with a personal trainer. I took his advice and signed up for a personal training package on the spot.

The first couple weeks I worked out on my own: walking on the treadmill, using the stationary bike and elliptical machines. As I did this, I observed many of the Life Time trainers working with their clients. I knew I wanted to work with someone that made working out fun. I noticed Felicia infused fun into her sessions, and she was very attentive with her clients.

Three weeks into the Challenge, I started personal training sessions with Felicia. It was the best decision I made. She set up interesting and challenging workouts for me. Most of the exercises I had never done before. She adjusted the workouts to continually challenge me as my strength and flexibility increased. I’m so glad I didn’t do it alone, as I would have only done cardio workouts. She helped make the journey successful for me and made personal training fun. 

I completely changed my diet. At the beginning of the Challenge, I only drank vegetable juice with a little apple in it. Thirty pounds came off quickly. I felt very hungry and knew I couldn’t maintain a strictly juice diet, so I read about diet and nutrition and started to eat small, healthy meals. Felicia introduced me to Liz, the Life Time nutritionist, and I received lots of valuable information on supplements and eating healthy.

For breakfast, I ate oatmeal with walnuts or cottage cheese and fruit or egg whites. Luckily, there was a good salad bar at the work cafeteria, so I made a delicious and healthy salad with lots of vegetables, beans, chickpeas and balsamic vinegar dressing for lunch. After my daily workout, I would eat a small dinner with chicken or steak with vegetables. I also started drinking Life Time’s Fast Fuel Complete shakes.

Every Tuesday when I weighed in, Felicia was there to support me with encouraging words and a big high-five. I continually received encouragement throughout the 90 days, which included weekly emails that helped me stay on track. Many of the trainers at Life Time asked me how it was going and if they could help in any way. I am so grateful for their belief in me.

Life Time has become a big part of my life. I take my gym bag with me every morning, so I can go directly to the gym after work. Everyone who works at Life Time is great. From Christina at the front desk, who always warmly greets me with a smile and always says something positive, to the people who work at the activities desk and say hello.

As the 90-Day Challenge comes to a end, I am feeling so much better and a lot healthier. I am full of energy, and there is no more waking up with pain and stiff joints. Thank you, Life Time, for giving me my life back. I look forward to seeing all the friendly faces at the gym tomorrow as I continue my weight loss journey.  

Enclosure

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