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Entries in 90-Day Transformation (16)

Saturday
Feb212015

Leila M. - Rochester Hills, MI

I always enjoyed training and going to the gym. The whole lifestyle always made me feel good in the past. When my husband and I moved from Brazil to the U.S., the story changed - mainly because I had to leave behind a part of my heart, my oldest daughter. Now a teenager at 15-years-old, she lives with her biological father. Besides moving to a different country with a different culture and a language I haven't mastered and being without close friends and family, the worst part was leaving her there and bringing with me the worst possible baggage: a broken heart.

That situation sucked the life out of me. I stopped going to the gym. I ate more and more, and I was beginning to lose the battle against depression.

Then we moved here to Michigan, close to a Life Time club. Almost by chance I joined and rediscovered the joy in exercising and eating healthily. There, people told me about the 90-Day Challenge, and without too much expectation I enlisted. It was mostly to fight my depression, I see now. With that came the Boot Camp Team, the best squad I could have become part of. 

It is hard to find words to describe how supportive my fellow team members and, most importantly, my instructor Brian McKinney are. Always in a good mood, he is ready to help with any difficulty in the process whether or not it is related to the Boot Camp. Above all, he is an outstanding professional, always worried about the proper form, how are you feeling, and (like I said) always with a smile on his face. Contagious! And my teammates are also incredible people who put a smile on MY face. 

With all of that, only good things could have come: I am again dedicated to exercising, mental health and healthy eating with the support of nutritionist Samantha Bielawski, who is also always there to help in any way she can.

The Rochester Hills Life Time club, the new friends I made, and the 90-Day Challenge are helping my process of adaptation here in the U.S. tremendoustly and fulfilling, at least partially, the void left by my daughter, my family, and my friends back in Brazil. These last 3 months have been exhausting but at the same time fun! It was worth it. I am really proud of the results and do not plan to stop here. My thanks go to the Life Time Rochester Hills gang! Thanks Brian, thanks Samantha, thanks Joe [Dabrowski - for keeping us in check] and everyone else who guided me during this learning phase.

And to my teammates from Boot Camp: keep going, ladies! You too, Johnny€!

 

Enclosure

Saturday
Dec062014

Jack B. - 90-Day Transformation Challenge Winner - Fall 2014

Life Time literally changed my life. I’m going to be 40-years-old three days after the Challenge ends. And I’m not only in the best shape of my entire life, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen my abs—ever! I was a “husky” kid, became a fat teenager, gained the “freshman fifteen” in college, and never looked back. I’ve always been too embarrassed to go swimming. My doctor told me earlier this year that being overweight helped cause my umbilical hernia. And my seven-year-old daughter recently noticed my stretch marks and asked, “Dad, what are those things on your stomach?” I knew something had to change. I joined Life Time earlier this year when the first club opened in California, and when I saw the signs for the 90-Day Challenge, I knew it was the kick in the pants I needed. I also knew I needed three ingredients to succeed: motivation, a workout plan, and a diet overhaul. 

In all sincerity, Life Time itself gave me all the motivation I needed to succeed. Let me explain. I’ve belonged to a couple of gyms over the years but couldn’t go more than two (maybe three) times a week. I work a lot and have to watch my daughter because my wife works in the evenings. Life Time’s Kids Academy and its great hours allowed me to do something I’ve never been able to do before: work out six days a week. In fact, my daughter loves the Kids Academy so much that she actually asks to go on a daily basis, which helped motivate me to get off my rear every day and go too. The trainers are also more friendly and helpful than anywhere else I’ve ever worked out. At least four different trainers talked to me every time they saw me, gave me fist bumps, told me I looked great, and gave me advice. This positive feedback really helped keep me going. Even the locker room attendants motivated me by saying “Wow, you’re really leaning out” and “Man, you’re getting more ripped every day.” I’ve never experienced this at any other gym. The staff and trainers at Life Time actually paid attention to me. They recognized me. They celebrated my success genuinely. This was exactly what I needed to keep moving forward for 12 weeks. 

The second ingredient of my transformation was my workout plan. I should mention that my plan was probably very different than many others. This is because I had hernia surgery four days before I began the challenge (notice the bandage in my “before” picture). This was frustrating because I had to complete the challenge in different stages. Luckily, it worked. During Week 1, I couldn’t exercise at all. So I spent this week focusing on two things: my diet and my exercise plan. First, I dropped my calories, got an app that tracked my food, and threw away all the junk food and processed garbage in my apartment. Second, I spent the week reading and researching ways to lose weight without losing muscle. 

The last ingredient of my transformation was a radical change in my diet. Before the Challenge, and for my whole life, I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, usually donuts, burgers, frozen burritos, pizzas, cheesecakes, chips, and cookies. If it was processed, had sugar, and/or had fat, I ate it and asked for another. I knew I needed to clean up my diet. But one of the trainers recommended I also try “carb timing,” so I did, and, boy, did it work! On workout days, I didn’t eat carbs, except for green vegetables, all day until right before and after my workout. 

From the start, I knew the 90-Day Challenge was just the beginning. The “after” is even more important, not just for me, but because I also want to be a positive role model for my daughter. I know I can embrace the changes I’ve made for the long-term because they are simple: eat right and work out regularly with intensity. In fact, I’ve already made an “exit plan” by mapping out my post-challenge workouts and diet so I can keep this commitment going into the “after.” I need to thank my wife for her support. But, really, I owe Life Time a thank you as well. This is the best birthday present I’ve ever received, and although I gave it to myself, I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you!

Saturday
Dec062014

Sara H. - 90-Day Transformation Challenge Winner - Fall 2014

I am a 31-year-old mother to 4 wonderful children and a wife to the most amazing man. Four months ago I looked in the mirror and realized I needed to change some things about myself, but didn't think I had the time or energy. I thought I had it all together, running a tight household ship until I had my baby last March. With my kids having a demanding school schedule, along with after school sports, I was always taxi-ing someone around. Between feeding the baby, cleaning up a mess, watching my kids’ practices and spending time with my toddler, I didn’t have any free time for myself. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change my life for the world, but I was exhausted and felt like every day I got out of bed for everyone but me. I found myself getting lost in the shuffle and not knowing who I was anymore. After talking with my husband, we decided that joining a gym would be some much needed time for myself. 

This amazing journey began after becoming a member at Life Time. I was ready to jump in with both feet and get started; to lose my baby weight, get fit and healthy and find myself. I started by taking a few group classes and was really enjoying them, but knew I could use a little extra help. I knew I needed a trainer but didn't even know where to start. I met with Kayla and she referred Tyler Stephens as being a good fit for me. Tyler and I met a couple times and he told me about the 90-Day Challenge and thought that it would be something that I would do well with. So I signed up! 

That next week I set the most difficult goal for myself and decided I would strive toward winning the challenge. I wasn’t sure if it was possible, but I was going to give it all I had. I started telling people about the contest and that I wanted to win. “Do you have time for that?” “Do you really think with so many people that you could possibly win?” “Don't you feel selfish for taking that time away from your family?” were the responses I received. Growing up in the shadows of my family it had become difficult to feel successful at anything. Coming from an upbringing of always being “second best”, I wanted to prove to those people, and mostly to myself, that I was capable of achieving greatness - that I possessed the determination and discipline to compete in such a rigorous contest. 

I talked to Tyler about it and he helped me set some realistic goals that I could start working towards. He was so amazing and helped me every step of the way. He always pushed me and challenged me beyond what I thought I was capable of doing. Along with training with him three times a week, I also started cycle classes several times a week. Through this process I also "learned" to swim. I swam a lot, which is amazing considering I had never swam a lap in my life. It was a rough start but once I got the hang of it I really enjoyed those quiet workouts in the pool. I became educated in Life Time supplements to maximize my performance, as well as nutrition which I followed religiously. 

As the weeks went on it became difficult to stay motivated. 90 days seemed like forever and I was tired. I could hear those voices telling me I would fail. It was hard to go workout after long hours of work or early Saturday mornings. Sometimes the only time I could find was late at night, but with the support of my husband, I only missed ONE workout. I had a few rough weeks where I platued and struggled. I had just stopped nursing my baby and I was having a hard time adjusting. Tyler and I sat down and reevaluated things and continued on. He also introduced me to hot yoga. I didn't even know Life Time offered such an amazing workout and way to de-stress. It was just what I needed to get back on track. 

I have learned so much from this journey. I am a mother, a wife, a taxi driver, a house keeper, a cook AND an athlete! Thank you Life Time for this life changing experience! I set a goal and achieved it through blood, sweat, tears and copious amounts of squats. Now I can proudly hold my head up with a newfound confidence to those both who supported me and said I could never do it. Regardless of the outcome, I will always feel like a winner and my gratitude and new outlook on life and fitness are beyond words! 

Tuesday
Nov182014

Luke B. - 90-Day Transformation Challenge Winner - Spring 2014

My journey began in a cycling class. Yes, I was already at the club. I was wearing my favorite pair of workout shorts, and I changed positions on the bike and pop! The top snap popped open. My first thought was that the snap must be faulty, or worn out from excessive washing. The truth of the matter was obvious: it was my tummy’s fault. Not long after that the fitness instructor announced the 90-Day Challenge. My first thought was, “Yes, I’m doing it.” Then “they” showed up. Just like in a Bugs Bunny cartoon: a little devil and a little angel. The devil said, “Don’t be ridiculous! Do you realize what that’s going to entail? No booze, working out all the time, and say goodbye to French fries.” French fries? The little angel rebuked him, saying, “You can do it! You have been praying to get rid of that belly. You can do it. Do it for your family.” Yes, I will do it. I decided to sign up right after class. All I was hoping was to not have to buy another pair of pants the next size up, and to fit better into the clothes that I already had.

I had always been athletic in high school and college. I was proud of my physique, but after a hernia operation and the birth of my daughter (sympathetic baby weight), I had let myself go. I was content with wearing baggier clothes and honestly I love food! I had been going through the motions of going to the club a couple of times a month. I had quit and signed back up with Life Time 4 or 5 times over the past 10 years. The real kicker was that I am in my forties and my wife and I were discussing having more children. With the way I was looking and feeling, I wasn’t sure. I really want to be able to dance at their weddings and look good doing so. I was committed.

Sign up was February 8. I weighed in and looked at the Try-It Tuesday signup sheet. The first session was a lecture on nutrition. That sounded like a skip. I thought I knew everything I needed to know. Wow, was I wrong. I learned so much. I think we all have a grasp of what’s good for us and what’s not. It’s that gray area. You could call it the “cheat zone.” Where we know that something is bad for us, but not that bad. Not like when we tell ourselves eating French fries is getting our vegetables, but more like orange juice has tons of calories. My plan was coming together.

The next Try-It Tuesday was a tour of Whole Foods. It was amazing. There are so many options. Life is full of choices. What we eat is a choice. Why not learn tons of options so that it is easier to make sound choices. Thank you, Whole Foods, for your standards and training your employees so well. They are a great resource. Not only for low-calorie, nutritious produce options, but great cooking tips as well. Just the fact that a grocery store has a list of unacceptable ingredients for foods is amazing. Plus, their website is awesome.

The “challenge” really began on February 15, the morning after Valentine ’s Day. My wife and I spent the night at a wonderful bed and breakfast. We awoke to a smell. Not smoke. That would have been easy — just exit. It was homemade maple caramel almond French toast hot dish. How is that legal? Only in Minnesota would that be the norm. We walked downstairs and sat at a beautiful dining table with 10 strangers. They were all smiles and ready to get their grub on. The innkeeper carried out the individual plates like Stanley cup trophies. She set a steaming plate in front of me. I said, “I can’t eat that.” Honestly, that was the nicest way I could think to respond. I was consumed by the “hangries” (hungry and angry). I felt like a starving lion over a fresh kill, but not allowed to feed. My wife lovingly placed her hand on my knee and said, “Honey, I’m so proud of you.” I gave her a look. It may have been a growl. I brushed her hand away. It was on!

Support was fundamental in my success. My family was 100% behind me from the get-go. My wife is amazing. We work out together, which I recommend to any couple. She is incredibly inventive in the kitchen, with a wide variety of healthy preparations. I couldn’t have done it without her. The support of the staff at Life Time was awesome as well. Be it Group Fitness, Try-It Tuesday events, staff, Personal Training and, of course, the guys and gals that make those awesome shakes at the cafe, thank you.

Supplements were something I had never taken before. I would occasionally take a vitamin C, but never a regimen of pills and powders. I felt that probiotics were helpful. The staff at the LifeCafe were very knowledgeable. They advised me on fish oils, protein powders, Dynamic Greens, creatine, and LeanSource weight loss supplements. I also always added liquid egg whites and chia seeds and flax from Whole Foods to my shakes.

I’m not going to lie; my training routine was pretty hardcore. We have a small gym in our basement. I would get up at 5:30 a.m. and lift weights for about an hour. Then, I’d go to work. I would try to lift over lunchtime for about half an hour. More specifically, I would do a big muscle group like back, legs, chest, or shoulders in the morning. Then smaller muscle groups like triceps, biceps or abs over lunch. Then I would do some light cardio in the evening. It sounds like a lot, but it was fun to break it up. On the weekends I would do Group Fitness and an awesome small group boxing class. Another thing that I found useful was writing down my workouts and goals. It gave me a sense of accomplishment and accountability.

Equally as important as training was nutrition. We are trained to say “diet” as something short term. By definition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person. In other words, what we do and do not put into our bodies every day. Not for 10 days. But for your lifetime. I don’t believe in coincidence. Great choice when y’all named the club.

After the nutrition lecture and Whole Foods tour, I had to hit “clear.” Delete what I thought I knew and what I did in the past. I started incorporating what I had learned. Most importantly, I incorporated what I knew I should and shouldn’t put into my body. It’s like when we bring 10 items into a dressing room. We know what size is going to fit. The others are just wishful thinking. Maybe this time that cupcake will slide right by and not get stuck on my belly. We know what and how much to eat in order to lose fat and fuel muscle. Filling our tanks for the distance we need to drive. In the past I was filling my tank for a cross-country road trip when I was just going down the road a bit. I cut out all processed foods. I began eating single-ingredient foods like chicken or broccoli, as much as possible. When I picked up a food, I looked at the ingredients so I made sure I knew what they looked like. For instance, salad dressing. I know what olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper look like and they’re ingredients that I can spell and pronounce. The fewer the better. I consumed a high-protein low-carb regimen including meats, fish, and eggs. Usually, I ate liquid egg whites cooked or in shakes. Awesome and easy. Protein powder in shakes, both whey and vegan. And lots of veggies. Mostly they were steamed or raw. My carbohydrates were mostly eaten in the early part of the day. Baked sweet potatoes and eggs — yum. And thank God for hot sauce. I put that “stuff” on everything.

Throughout this whole transformation, my body changed because my mind changed. It was fun. We have to wake up and appreciate the gift of the amazing machine God made for us. Treat that machine like a prized hot rod and it will run great and look amazing. Win or lose, the before and after picture is the trophy. I never thought that I would ever feel this good again. I feel like I am in my twenties. I truly believe that anyone can do this, and everyone should do this. If not for yourself, for your family. We must realize that nearly all major killers of the Western world — heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, hypertension, and dozens of cancers — were unknown to our ancestors. Modern medicine didn’t exist, but they had legs and used them.

I want to thank Life Time for this opportunity of learning and training, and my wife for the support and encouragement. And I want to thank God for everything.

Tuesday
Nov182014

Tanette S. - 90-Day Transformation Challenge Winner - Spring 2014

The Life Time Fitness 90-Day Challenge was not only transforming to my body, but I discovered the strength within me to transform my mind and life as well! It was beyond an incredible experience for me, reminding me how great life can be and feel when you’re healthy and fit from the inside out. Through the ups and downs of this journey, I learned to refocus my life, my priorities and, most importantly, I learned that exercise is a magical element to my well-being and now-much-happier life.

Like most moms, my life was beyond busy and over scheduled. My primary focus was on my family, my full-time volunteer duties, and running my own custom design cake business. At the end of the day, there was little time left for me or the things that would have allowed me to take better care of myself. Then a family tragedy back in 2010 occurred, where my sister lost her child in an auto accident. No words can describe what this does to a family. If left me heartbroken, devastated and searching for more. Within the grief, fitness was the last thing on my mind and the grief triggered my instinct to feed my soul with food (mostly unhealthy carbs). Once I started down this road, it took on a life of its own.

Fast-forward to the summer of 2013 when I decided to join the Life Time Fitness in Parker for the AMAZING outdoor pool, but it ended up that we found SO much more! My boys, now 7 and 9, were in heaven with the many activities available to them. I even started working out and did some training sessions with Jennifer Hoban, who I had an instant connection with. I tried the T.E.A.M. Boot Camp classes with Jon Getz and met the Life Time Fitness Nutrition Coach Janelle De Buzna when I participated in the Detox program. But when the pool closed, so did my workouts and once again I put my fitness on the back burner.

Then in December, I learned about the 90-Day Challenge from my trainer, Jenn H., which as a very competitive person was music to my ears. It couldn't have come at a better time, with my increasing weight and out-of-control sweets eating. Really seeing myself in my “before” picture was the jump-start for my motivation. About to turn 43, the lack of exercise, the emotional eating I had become accustomed to, along with my changing hormones, all quickly caught up with me, and I found myself in the worst shape of my life. Feeling miserable in my "skin," I decided I’d had enough! I was fully ready for the challenge and to finally make some changes.

I got serious and created a detailed month-to-month plan, outlining very specific and aggressive goals for each month in regards to my eating and exercising. I wanted to lose 30 pounds and drop my body fat by 12%. I tried to anticipate every single challenge or excuse that I might be faced with during the 90 days, including my schedule, my preexisting hip, neck and knee pain, and how this might limit me, as well as special occasions that were frequent in my close family and always involved foods I’d need to avoid.

My goals beyond the numbers were to release all the negative thoughts in my mind that might keep me from doing this, to become lean and strong (I wanted to see some muscle), feel great about myself, increase my energy and joy in my daily life, get back to clean eating habits, and do this all in the most natural and healthy way. And of course, I wanted to win the Challenge!

I went from eating a diet filled with pasta, bread, tons of dairy and sugary treats (easy to do since I'm a baker) to going to a 100% clean diet with no processed food, caffeine, alcohol or meat. I started back up with the T.E.A.M. Boot Camp class with trainer Jon Getz 3 days a week, which gave me an incredible total-body workout. I LOVE this class and have already signed up for more! I also recruited a workout buddy and did cardio like Tabata and HIIT routines 2 days a week, or picked up a group fitness class. "Try-It Tuesdays" gave me a great chance to try different classes and meet different trainers at the gym, and kept things interesting and fun throughout the challenge! I also pushed myself to do these at 6am every Tuesday!

All these great changes were good, but they put my body in shock, and only 5 days into the challenge I came down with a horrible head and chest cold which ended up lasting close to 5 weeks. Every day I wanted to sleep, but I forced myself to the gym. Plus, my neck and hip issues became worse with each and every workout. I kept pushing through, thinking "no pain, no gain." I couldn't stop, after just starting. However, a month into the challenge, I was in constant pain and the inflammation in my body was so out of control. I hadn’t seen a change on the scale since week 2 and was close to quitting.

Then I received Flourish, the Life Time Fitness newsletter, and read an article about making it to the halfway mark. I was shocked and frustrated, and felt defeated facing the fact that I wasn’t on track to reach my goals by the midway point. After reading the article, I realized I HAD made many positive changes and I decide to stop focusing on where I wasn't and focus on where I was. I also realized I needed to adjust my plan. Reading this article helped me rediscover that change begins with the power of my thoughts!

With a more positive attitude and determined outlook, I started aggressively working with my holistic doctor/chiropractor, and reached out to Life Time Fitness’s most amazing nutrition and weight loss coach, Janelle De Buzna. Janelle quickly set a plan into motion with dietary recommendations and supplements that were in alignment with my doctor’s action plan for me. She gave me the tools needed to track each meal and suggestions that will forever change the way I balance my meals going forward. She also had me add in the dry sauna after every single workout. I worked up to 20 minutes and then increased to 25 to 30 minutes toward the final weeks.

Searching for answers to my unending pain, x-rays showed I had major issues (compressed vertebrae and a twisted spine and sacrum, to name a few). This forced me to stop all impact exercises and running. Jon worked with me to modify every Boot Camp workout along with corrective work at home; my pain began to drop drastically. I was amazed that I could still get positive results despite my physical limitations. By week 8 my body took a huge breath and said, “Thank you!” Another AMAZING thing that happened in week 8 was I got my menstrual cycle back after not having it for 14 months, a sign that my overall health was getting back on track and a great reminder of how beneficial exercise and diet are to overall health.

Now that I was listening to my body and doing everything Janelle asked of me, my body fat and weight were also finally starting to respond. I started noticing less fat in my belly and definition forming in my arms and legs. I had more pride, confidence and physical strength. I walked through the club and it felt like a second home to me. My husband said I was glowing! I even treated myself to a new pair of shoes. I also bought the Vivo Fit at Janelle's suggestion to track my calories, steps, and even my heart rate. It’s been an amazing tool to help keep me moving, motivated and on track.

Between weeks 8 and 10, my schedule was crazy and stress was on the rise, which may have been the cause of my body fat going down one week and then up the next. I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride. I was meeting with Janelle weekly, and she made some minor adjustments to my eating plan and encouraged me to keep going. I also added metabolic testing with my trainer Jenn H. to determine my heart zones and how effective my body was at burning fat. This has already been an invaluable tool for more effective workouts.

I was increasing my focus and pushing myself on days when I had nothing left to give, and then just as I was starting to feel amazing and on track, I was struck by the death of a dear family member and the following day, another loss of a lifelong friend. This threw me into deep sadness and brought me back to the feelings of helplessness when I lost my nephew. I felt myself yearning for my unhealthy comfort foods to feed that broken soul. Getting consumed by the pain of loss, I forced myself out on a snowy Sunday afternoon to try my first-ever Slow Burn Yoga class. To my surprise, I loved it, and it was exactly what my soul and body needed. It brought me inward and allowed me to escape momentarily from the grief going on around me. I left that class knowing I had a new method for dealing with my sadness instead of emotional eating, and it was called Yoga! That class also taught me that a small change can sometimes make a big difference.

Then, just when I made it through the two funerals, another family member passed away. I couldn't believe this was happening again. But I felt so grateful for the Life Time Challenge, because it reminded me that now I had healthy outlets for my grief and I was already forming new habits. Through these losses, I realized that life will always keep throwing me curveballs, and I just need to stay focused on not letting them knock me down.

I am so grateful to Life Time Fitness for creating an opportunity like the 90-Day Challenge. This Challenge allowed me to discover my inner strength, wisdom and power that had been hiding inside of me all along. Everywhere I came up against a new challenge or frustration, there was a positive solution through my new Life Time community. I was constantly encouraged by my “J” team, Jenn H., Jon G., Janelle and even Jeff May, one of Life Time’s general managers. I was able to prove to myself that I can get in shape no matter the obstacle. I proved I have the willpower I need to say "no" to bad food choices. I now schedule myself and my workouts into my life. I am proud of my accomplishments, and I know that the excuses and stories I would tell myself in the past were the walls that I needed to break down and rebuild into doorways. So now when I walk through the doorways of my life, it is with my inner strength and inspiration that I have been truly TRANSFORMED.

In the end I hit my goals and I lost 24 pounds (150.6 to 126.5) and I lowered my body fat percentage from 26.2% down to 14.1% — a 46% change in my overall body fat!! As it ends up, the numbers are just a tiny piece of a much bigger journey, a journey that changed me forever.