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Entries in Female (141)


Racheal C. - Lake Houston, TX

I have always enjoyed a healthy competition. It helps me to deal with everyday stress. As a mother, children and their lives always seems to take priority, leaving little to no time for exercise or a healthy lifestyle—or at least that’s the excuse I so often use.

As a single mother with 5 children under my roof, busy doesn’t begin to describe my days. As a nurse, I am up at 4 o’clock in the morning and go non-stop before I lay back down at 11 at night. Always planning, coordinating and thinking how am I going to manage this? I was having constant headaches, gaining weight, never feeling rested, and looked a fright! Has cloning been perfected yet? I had to find some balance!

I know all the mothers out there can relate when I say that I am very unhappy with my body after my children. The stretched skin and changes that come with having them is very depressing and impacts a woman psychologically. Every time I look in the mirror I know that even if I lost the weight the sagging skin would look even worse. So, I put my clothes on and dismiss myself as unimportant, then focus on making everyone else happy. I dig really deep, muster up a smile, and walk out of my room a hypocrite every morning. I preach to my children about how important they are and how important it is to do what makes them happy. I teach them to not care what others think about them. All the while I am trying not to break into tears thinking of the college athlete that was fit and proud of her body and herself, now wasting away and not allowed to share how she really feels to protect her children. The anguish and shame is almost unbearable, but what we will do for our children, right?

When one of the trainers at Life Time told me about the 90-Day Challenge, I felt something that I hadn’t in quite a while—competition! Oh but wait, my children.... I told my boyfriend, and much to my surprise he volunteered to take over as mom. He told me to enter but only if I promised to win because he wasn’t going to put himself through “you know what” playing mom to 5 kids unless I was going to completely commit and win.

I cried as I threw myself into his arms. I weighed in at 158 lb. with 21.7% body fat. Now I just had to figure out how in the world I was going to work myself into the schedule. I started by talking with the kids and asking for their support. All seemed to be set and ready for me to compete. Between sports commitments, lack of sleep, 5 kids to feed, homework, chores for the household and work, I began to crumble. Letting go is no easy task. How could I be so selfish to allow my boyfriend and oldest girls shoulder my responsibilities? And then to make matters worse, 3 kids come down with strep throat! Oh God, please keep me healthy so that I can take care of them as well as myself. Instead of staying with my workout regimen, I gave in feeling guilty and ashamed for not upholding my responsibilities as a mom.

After a long night of talking with my boyfriend, I realized once again that my children were in good hands. I saw that I had fallen into a pit, and I knew deep down only one thing would get me out. Being of a sports background myself, finding the motivation and determination to dig down deep was the easy part! I just had to make up my mind that I could do this! So, I set a goal to follow a clean diet with lots of water, baked chicken and veggies, and not eating after 6 or 7 p.m. I also made sure that I was taking my multivitamins daily along with my omega 3’s.

Almost every day, I would squeeze in 30 minutes to an hour of cardio along with weight training, alternating from upper body to lower body workouts with an occasional rest day in between. My personal relationship began to grow as well. We have so enjoyed working out together and coming up with new couples’ workouts. It’s amazing how after just a week of commitment, I began to feel so much better and already started seeing results! One of my most proud moments through this was hearing the children say how awesome I was for doing all of this! Every chance they had, they were out in our garage-gym working out with me too! I have been able to reach a body fat percentage in single digits, which is absolutely amazing for a 40-year-old woman.



Sloan P. – Laguna Niguel, CA

What if I fail at eating healthily and fall back into my old habits? If I don’t try, nothing will change, and that is what I am afraid of. This was a humbling and insightful moment for me.

I’m your average Midwestern, 46-yr.-old mother of 3, who met the man of my dreams and ended up moving to California. I never thought I’d find myself journaling a “diary” about a fitness challenge. This Challenge, however, found me hungry for something more in life.

Kind of like my new puppy, Kona, finding the pantry door open... Here’s a glimpse into the life of a “REAL” Orange County housewife!

Dear Diary,

For my birthday, my husband purchased a week of personal training at Life Time Fitness.

I was paired with Ayo, who identified himself as a personal trainer, former basketball player and model.

Day 1

The Nigerian Athletic god was waiting—6’9” and very intimidating. It was almost as if I had Kobe Bryant on steroids training me.

He was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, even though my gut was already hurting from holding it in the whole time he was around. This is going to be a FABULOUS week!

Day 2

I drank 4 cups of coffee. I was amped for my next fitness adventure. He put me on the treadmill. I thought I was going to have a heart attack after all that caffeine.

Day 3

I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. (no implants here!)

Reality has set in!!!!

He put me on the stair monster with a 50-lb. weight vest! He told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life.

Day 4

I was 30 minutes late–I could barely put on my shoes. He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. He sent someone to find me.

Then, as punishment, he had me do a 5-minute plank.

Day 5

Time for biceps. I don’t have any biceps!

Day 6

Satan left a-wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing his voice made me want to smash my phone.

Day 7

I’m having the church van pick me up. Thank GOD this week is over. I will pray that next year my husband will choose a gift for me that is fun, like a root canal or a hysterectomy.

Day 23

And then it happened! I was hooked.

I realized there was a missing piece to my life. I’ve been so busy taking care of everyone else that I had neglected “me.” I felt guilty leaving the house, feeling like I hadn’t done anything productive.

My kids and husband appreciated me more. Wow, this is working out great. Who knew! After a few weeks, I had more energy! In a strange way, it’s a whole new life for me!

Then I started seeing results! This has become “my thing.”

This experience has taught me to appreciate every moment, (even the 5-minute plank). This is the only thing in my life that I have “full control” over. (P.S. Don’t tell Ayo that…he thinks he’s the boss of me.)

Day 45

Ayo decided we need to “kick it up a notch”! He thought it would be a good idea for me to train in his rubber vest!

He wanted me eating a small meal every 2 hours, taking naps and sleeping a minimum of 8 hours a night. Are you kidding me? We are in a competition to lose body fat. How the hell am I going to do that if all I do is eat and sleep? Have I been doing this all wrong my entire life? The answer is YES! The more muscle I built, the more body fat I lost.

Day 85

This is a cruel joke… It’s Halloween, and I’m sitting alone in my house with a cauldron FULL of candy, handing out candy to hundreds of trick-or-treaters! It’s taking every ounce of me to not just rip into a bar of chocolate!

Day 90

I feel amazing! I had a life-changing event when I enrolled in this Challenge. It has made such a big impact on not only what I look like (huge bonus!) but more importantly who I am. I am no longer afraid to push my inner limits.

I have “my fitness routine.” I am no longer just going through the motions of daily life. I appreciate every moment I have with my friends and family. I have the energy to throw the football with my boys and stay up late to watch movies with my high school-age daughter. I have clarity of mind to help them with their homework. I’m a better person, better friend, better wife and better mother.

I am humbled by the love and encouragement I have received throughout this journey. I could not have done this without the support of my husband, children, friends, personal trainer, and members and employees at Life Time, who have encouraged me throughout my journey. Thank you! This started as a 90-Day Challenge and ended as my lifestyle. I OWN IT!



Kimberleigh B.

Gaining from my losses...

Since the age of 12, I had been what doctors consider “overweight.” As I grew into an adult and had to face the “real world” I realized that my parents had sheltered me well. In 2005 at the age 28, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, a disease that took the limbs and lives of many of my family members. I was put on 3 medications to control my blood glucose levels, high blood pressure and cholesterol. I lost 40 pounds by walking and changing my “diet.” Over the years the weight crept back on and the diabetes prognosis was still lingering, never getting better. I was not suffering from any life-threatening issues yet, but if I didn’t do something they were sure to come.

Eleven months after my diagnosis, in July of 2006, I suffered my 1st loss. My mother died at the age of 57 from cirrhosis of the liver. After her death I dove into working and cut myself off from virtually everyone. My health was starting to go downhill again. I would do the minimum to keep my diabetes in check but never controlling it. At that time that was enough because I thought there was no reason to really fight diabetes. After all, my family members had succumbed so why would I be any different?

In November of 2008, I suffered another great loss: my father’s death. He was 67 at the time. This loss was personal because no one really knew my father was sick. Much like myself, he never shared his health struggles with anyone. He would always say he was “okay.” My brother called me November 30th, the day before my 32nd birthday, to tell me my father was gone. My father died of cardiorespiratory failure, complications from diabetes and pancreatic cancer. My last parent had died. I was now orphaned, alone and unhealthy. SOMETHING HAD TO GIVE!

Fast forward to 2015. I joined the gym and signed up for TEAM class. And in July I decided that I would participate in the 90-Day Challenge. I knew that this Challenge would not be easy, but the alternative was not an option. I was going to choose life and, though my parents never saw it in their lifetimes, I was determined to be healthy for them and myself.

I had a lot on my plate, so figuring out when I was going to work out was difficult at first. I was a full-time graduate student and had many extracurricular activities to attend, but that would not stop me. I joined Alpha class with Lawrence Witsell-Tuggle to gain more muscle mass to help with my weight loss. I would take Alpha 2 days a week. I also started TEAM Fitness with Shelly Fagen for another 3 workouts a week. On the days my workloads were not too heavy I hiked 3 to 8 miles. The elevation levels helped burn more calories while I moved at a slower pace.

As I gained more endurance, I started to jog on the treadmill. Cardio on the treadmill (when I wasn’t going hiking) was a must about 2 hours daily. My trainer, Kim Underwood, supplied me with treadmill workouts that came with the metabolic treadmill evaluation, a test that tells you what zones you should be in to burn the most fat and calories. A great help when you are spending so much time on a treadmill.

This was a lot to take on for someone who was not very fit in the beginning, but I always remembered that rest and recovery are just as important as the workout. I would rest for 2 days (split) and treat myself to the Life Time spa treatment.

After taking a food sensitivity test prior to the 90-Day Challenge to see which foods I was sensitive to, I realized there were foods sabotaging my progress, so I had to change everything. I was going to need help planning my meals and nutrition.

Kristina Sommer, my nutrition coach, was of great help. Together we came up with a plan of 1800 calories a day based on my resting metabolic testing. Because I was diabetic, high fat and proteins and a lower carb intake was a plan that worked for me. On days when I was going to my classes, my carb intake was double because I would burn calories at a faster rate. Drinking water was essential. It helped with feeling full and not overeating, so I drank half my body weight in ounces every day.

When I started the Challenge, my Hgb a1c (hemoglobin glucose level) was 8.5 mg which is extremely high (the range for non-diabetics is below 5.7). A few weeks ago, I went back to see my doctor and it is now 5.9mg. I am within reach of the range for non-diabetics 10 years after being diagnosed. I now feel like I can live my life and have the things my parents wanted me to have. Moving every day has changed my prognosis. It no longer seems bleak.

I am determined that diabetes will not take a limb or my life like it has done for so many others. My pledge to myself is that I will live my best life, I will continue to be stronger today than yesterday, and I will do this all in my lifetime.



Renee T. - Canton Township, MI

I was nervous to give up eating so many sweets, to eat healthier, to weigh in in front of someone, and to have pictures taken of me. I was fearful of people judging my before pictures while looking at my once obese body. I put off signing up for the 90-Day Challenge until the end of August because I wanted to eat as much ice cream and s’mores as I could. It was time for me to switch my mindset - in a healthy way!

Right before joining Life Time Fitness, I had an overwhelming need to face my addiction with food and needing to exercise. I would eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and I would eat on all occasions. I felt shameful about how I lived and embarrassed about the inability to do physical activities well. I needed to start caring about what God wanted for me and caring for myself more.

For a while now, I’ve wanted to do something like “The Biggest Loser,” but I couldn’t leave my kids for that long. Right after I re-joined Life Time Fitness, I was told about the 90-Day Challenge. At first I was just happy and relieved I could join Life Time again and my husband understood that it took a gym for me to be healthy. I kept saying I would work out, but with 2 kids and one on the way, I couldn’t even get myself to work out for an hour straight. Now with 3 kids and homeschooling, I am so thankful I can work out regularly.

It is such a blessing to me and my family in having a gym that provides a trusted child center. My kids get their social gym time and Mommy gets to enjoy her fun workouts - and even sometimes relaxing time in the steam room, jacuzzi, and pool.

I have checked out other gyms, but none have compared to Life Time! It offers many luxuries, including classes for my children and adult classes for me, staff who are informative and care about how I am doing, and many personal trainers to choose from.

I have learned a lot from my personal trainer, Greg Pedersen. It is very valuable to have someone show me how to stretch correctly. He stops and shows me the way to do certain exercises and muscle toning in order to not hurt myself while I strengthen my body, including how to eat healthy.

The adult classes are phenomenal! I have enjoyed all different kinds of group fitness classes. I favor the Core Blast Class taught by Kevin G. and Kickboxing Classes. Rico C., Joey P., and Suzy A. are outstanding Instructors who teach Kickboxing. And with a great ZUMBA workout, taught by Shyam T., I can have fun dancing while learning some moves.

In addition to all those benefits, it was blissful to hear of a weight loss challenge that I could do while staying at home and having my family involved. Winning $10,000 was the extra push I needed - an incentive to get healthy, lose weight, and exercise. I wanted to do it for way too long. I even insisted that my own children eat healthy, but I didn’t personally live that way. I’ve struggled with food since at least third grade. Baking and cooking run in the family, coming from a Mom whose baking is extraordinaire!

My Personal Trainer, Greg, told me about the Paleo Diet that he was going to do for 30 days. He challenged me to do it as well. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I learned how to bake yummy healthy food, and found out raw vegetables by themselves or cooked with olive oil tasted delish! Salads with lemon juice and fresh fruit - yum!

Then, for the last 2 weeks I did the D.TOX SM Life Time detoxification program. It includes fiber, protein, and the vitamins that I need. Using dairy-free milk, a cup of veggies and fruit together tasted even better.

I was working out for at least an hour a day 6 days a week. If I missed a day I felt crummy. My friends, new friends I had made, and strangers noticed my changes. They told me how I was an inspiration to them. The encouraging words and advice from them and my family helped me strive to be a healthy example all the more. I want to continue this healthy lifestyle for myself and God, and to be an example to everyone - to give people who struggle with food and exercise hope.

I had a personal goal of wanting to lose at least 40 lbs. during this Life Time 90-Day Challenge. I am overjoyed at accomplishing that goal, plus 3.7 additional lbs. and 12.6% body fat.

I don’t cry easily, although the day after I weighed in, I was at church and tears of joy came to me as I heard and sang “My Story” by Big Daddy Weave. Thanks for taking the time to care about my story.



Ashley L. - Dublin, OH

I knew in my heart that something was wrong with me. I blamed my hot flashes and absent menstrual cycles on everything but the possibility of having some sort of disease. My doctor's look of concern upon entering the room was yet one more reason to discard college stress as a reason for my ailments. "Premature ovarian failure," he termed it. My ovaries were permanently dormant for an unknown reason. Perhaps my immune system suddenly decided they were foreign, like bacteria needing eradicated. I was menopausal. I had minuscule amounts of female hormones in my system. I could never have children.

In the 30 seconds it took my doctor to give me my diagnosis, I aged 30 years. But I was only 19. At an age when other women were concerned with relationships, sexuality and PMS, I was seeking hormone replacement therapy, not to mention some semblance of womanhood.

In the initial years after my diagnosis, I struggled to accept what the disease was doing to me and what the future held. Will I always feel this poorly? Will I age prematurely? There were many more questions than answers. I learned early in life that knowledge is power, as the saying goes. I refused to accept that this disease was going to dictate my life, and that simple hormone replacement therapy, although maybe good enough for a menopausal 50-year-old, was insufficient for me as a young woman.

After much research, I began bioidentical hormone restoration in 2013, under the direction of a local Integrative Medicine physician, in essence establishing hormone levels similar to women of my age with healthy ovaries. The next year or so proved at times challenging as the gradual replenishment of meaningful amounts of estrogen yielded an uncomfortable metamorphosis. However, I knew it was necessary. I was rebuilding my womanhood.

Especially during the tough times, fitness proved as essential to my treatment. I became an avid runner, planning each day accordingly, recording distances and times, and always looking ahead to the next race. However, it became more of an issue of proving my ability to run the miles rather than truly enjoying doing so.

In any story of self-improvement and advancement, there come friends and supporters along the way. I am grateful for them all, especially my husband, who has always been my greatest source of encouragement. Just over a year ago, I met a lifelong friend, who is furthermore an accomplished fitness enthusiast and instructor, competitor, tremendous inspiration, and "lifting budding." For several months we met in the mornings and lifted heavy, a traditional 4-day bodybuilding split. My progress continued at Life Time Fitness, and I am thankful for the expertise and guidance of Jessica and Erin.

The 90-Day Challenge came at a serendipitous time, as one of my goals became achieving a "contest ready" physique and perhaps someday stepping on stage. With Jessica's encouragement, I entered the 90-Day Challenge and met Erin, my personal trainer. We discussed my goals, and workouts were planned accordingly with emphasis on "leaning out," tightening my glutes, and maintaining my strength. These objectives were met by multiple deadlift variations, hip thrusts, and squats to name a few and by making sure I kept a mind and muscle connection during the reps.

Nutrition is the cornerstone of life. My personal nutritional strategy is a unique one, largely given a sensitive gastrointestinal system. It has been trial and error over many years figuring out what foods I can tolerate. In particular, I am most sensitive to certain carbohydrates that cause bloating and constipation. Although a hassle at times, I focus on what I do tolerate, modify to taste, and plan ahead.

The metabolic testing offered at Life Time allowed me to set daily protein, carbohydrate, and fat gram targets based on my goals. I meticulously hit the target numbers with consistency. I find it vital to my success to plan, track, assess and modify as needed. In the past 90-Day period, I also traveled for a week in February and for a week in April. I remained active with walking and hiking and was diligent on adjusting and adhering to my nutrition plan during these times to remain on track. The 90-Day Challenge has now come to an end. I am beyond pleased with the results I have achieved and, furthermore, proud of myself for being dedicated to the process and never satisfied with an average effort. This transformation is truly a lifestyle I am eager to continue living. My next goal is to improve on what I have built thus far, which far exceeds anything I could've imagined the day I walked out of the doctor's office 14 years ago.