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Saturday
Feb202016

Rich B. – Dublin, OH

From my youth to my mid-twenties, I was always fit. I rode and raced bicycles, played basketball on a regular basis, and I was in the gym at least 4 times a week. All of this changed when I turned 26 and started my own business.

Eating out during business meetings and for convenience became my normal routine. Drinking beer became my top choice for relaxation. As a result, it took about 6 months to undo a life of fitness. One day I woke up and thought, “What happened? I’m fat!” I went from 200 lbs. to 270 lbs. in a blink of an eye. Not a day has passed in the last 15 years that I haven’t made plans to lose weight and start a healthier lifestyle. I’ll start “next week” became my mantra.

The 90-Day Challenge was my catalyst to something truly amazing. I was going to the Dublin Life Time 2 or 3 times a week when I noticed the sign for the 90-Day Challenge. Without giving it much thought, I signed up. The initial consultation with Gabriel Rodriguez was truly eye opening. I thought I knew everything I needed to know about dieting and nutrition. Eat some protein, keep my calories down and I’ll be just fine. I had no idea about good and bad carbs or the importance of eating the right fats. I also did not know the right amount of protein I needed in my diet. It is amazing how far off my perception of good nutrition was!

I downloaded an app for my phone to track my nutrition macros. I then put together a plan using information from Gabriel and by doing some research on my own. The Try-it Tuesday Nutrition Workshop put on by Ashley Ohearn helped me to strategically plan so I could achieve my goals. The workshop also explained the timing of the nutrients we eat, not just the quality and quantity.

The change in my diet had astonishing results. Initially, I was perplexed by how much food I had to eat. I was on a “diet,” but I was never hungry. I even had to force myself to eat at times. However, that first week was tough! Removing the copious amounts of sugar, beer and other bad carbs from my diet caused me to go through a period of “detox.” My body missed those easy sources of energy as it transitioned to burning the complex carbs I was now eating. I felt sick and depleted, but I expected this based on my consultations with Gabriel and Ashley. After that first week, things turned around. My strength was increasing, and my stamina improved. I am feeling better during and after my workouts than ever before. It worked!

I will say that using the app gave me the structure I needed to achieve my nutrition goals. If it wasn’t part of the plan, I didn’t eat it. I can honestly say I didn’t have one “slip” during these 90 days. My wife played a huge part in helping me maintain my nutrition goals. Although she had much less to lose, she too signed up for the Challenge as an act of solidarity. Our household was cleared of temptations that were not a part of our plan. She also did an amazing job of researching new foods and meals that would support our goals. I could not have done this without her!

I worked out 5 to 6 times a week, and for me, mornings were the chosen time. What better way to start your day than hitting the gym hard and achieving goals! One of the factors that helped me stick to my morning workout schedule is the energy at the Dublin Life Time that early in the morning. When I arrive at the gym between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m. the place is electric! No one is yawning and looking sleepy. Everyone is working out with the same intensity as I want to have. Many of the trainers knew I was part of this Challenge and were always providing encouragement and advice. Gabriel and Brian Sickles were 2 of the trainers I could rely on for wisdom and support. I can’t give them and the other members of the “morning crew” at Dublin Life Time enough credit for giving me inspiration and motivation.

Early in the 90-Day Challenge, I had visions of diving into a pile of chicken wings washed down with a pitcher of beer on day 91. Not a chance! I have worked too hard and feel too good to go back to old habits. In these 90 days I ran in the Emerald City quarter marathon and the Columbus half marathon, and in both races met or exceeded my finish time goals. Worth noting, these are the only 2 times I ran outside this year. I trained entirely on a treadmill at the gym. I started ridiing my bike and racing after a 25-year retirement, and in my first race finished 2nd! I feel as though I have traveled in a time machine to my younger, healthier self. I’ve become addicted to people telling me how good I look. You can never hear that too many times!

At age 41, I’m looking forward to my healthy future now more than ever. This is one 90-day experiment that I will continue for a lifetime!

Thank you, Life Time. This was an amazing gift!

Enclosure

Saturday
Feb132016

Ryan S. - Burr Ridge, IL

The Motivation or “Too Fat for a Bouncy House”

“Dad, you gotta come in the Bouncy House with us!” pleaded my oldest (7-year-old) son. It was my youngest son’s first birthday, and we had rented a Bouncy House for the party. I was approaching 250 pounds for the first time in my life, and the inflatable castle bore a 210-lb. weight restriction.

Kevin, the rental guy, assured me I’d be fine, but there was no way I could take that gamble. I could go on to lead a distinguished career curing cancer and discovering intelligent life on Mars, BUT if I collapsed a Bouncy House from the sheer enormity of my size, I would FOREVER be known for that and that alone….

“I’m sorry, Ryder, it’s really just for kids.” It was pretty hard not to sense his disappointment, and with my recent weight gain it had become a pretty common scene. Anything with a moderate amount of physical exertion had become a Herculean task. Trip to the zoo? How about a movie instead… Walk to the park? How about we play on the Xbox?… I had become an excuse aficionado, but for some reason I had finally had enough. I was about to turn 35, and I had 3 boys under the age of 8. I needed to get healthy for them, so they could have the dad they deserve.

The Beginning or “Jumping into the Deep End of the Pool”

I decided to ”rip off the Band-Aid” and began by eliminating as much garbage from my diet as possible. No more soda and alcohol. Now the only beverage I would drink is water and plenty of it. Trips to the drive-thru were gone,, too. For the first month I decided I would eat until I was full but only if I was eating healthy, useful foods. I focused on lean protein, healthy fats, and unprocessed carbohydrates. I did moderate cardio to get myself back into the swing of things before I introduced weight training to my process. I started with 45 to 60 minutes of cardio every evening, alternating between the treadmill, the stationary bike, and the elliptical.

The Middle or “There’s No Turning Back Now”

By the second month, I had begun to notice some changes and to gain a little bit of my self-confidence back. I was doing an hour of cardio daily without issue and began to incorporate a weight training routine as well. My daily 60 minutes of cardio was followed by 60 minutes of weight training. I did a 3-day rotation, cycling Back & Biceps, Chest & Triceps, and Shoulders & Legs. My daily hour committed to the “New Me” had now become 2 hours per day, and I didn’t mind it at all! I was really starting to feel committed to the Challenge and the lifestyle change that was evolving. I had further refined my diet, limiting proteins to egg whites, chicken breasts and fish. My carbs only came from green vegetables like sautéed spinach and steamed broccoli.

The Burnout or “How Did I Ever Think This Was a Good Idea??”

By Week 8, I was feeling great. My weight was down, my energy was up, and I felt like a reenergized version of myself. And then by Week 9, I was miserable. I had completely burned out. Almost overnight, I felt emotionally spent. I didn’t think I was making any more gains and just felt as if this was all for nothing. A week earlier I was looking forward to the next day’s workout, and now I was thinking about throwing in the towel for the first time. Then I talked to Steve and John, 2 of the trainers at my Life Time. They listened to what my process had been and the struggles I was having. They suggested I change my routine, specifically incorporating 2 things I had never considered before: Intermittent Fasting and Training in a Fasted State. Thankfully, I listened.

The End or “Ryan 2.0”

The change in routine was exactly what I needed. In order to train in a fasted state, I had to switch from daily late-night workouts to daily morning workouts. I had never been a morning person and was dreading the switch. But it was amazing – I not only enjoyed working out in the morning, but I looked forward to it. There was an amazing sense of accomplishment I had never expected having run 5 miles before most people were even awake for the day. Without question, I showed the greatest gains of the entire Challenge during the final 30 days.

I awoke each morning at 4:30 a.m. and was at Life Time by 5 a.m. for my workout. I began a 16:8 Intermittent Fasting Schedule, consuming all my daily calories between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Forever a night-owl, I saw my bedtime change from 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. to 9 p.m., going to bed just after my wife and I tucked the kids into bed.

The physical improvement in my health and appearance have been nice, but they are just footnotes to the real transformation that has taken place: my identity. I have far more energy to expend on my children than I ever dreamt I would have. No longer a night-owl, I’m up each morning with a brand new attitude, ready to attack each day and the opportunities it offers instead of dreading the challenges it may present.

Enclosure

Saturday
Jan302016

Michael H. - Lake Houston, TX

I will forever remember the year 2015. It will echo through my thoughts for the rest of eternity. To say the last 90 days have been a “Challenge” would be the ultimate understatement. Sometimes we have to endure much before we are able to see the prize.

I am no stranger to challenges, but wow. I began just like anyone else, prepared to better my physical state. I worked with Brady and Susan when I started my journey. I began to see tremendous changes taking place when the bottom fell out.

The first life challenge came in the form of my ex-wife moving almost 2 hours away with my children. We had 50/50 custody, and I only found out when I did because my 7-year-old daughter asked me if I had seen their new house! My children have been my world since my divorce. I was overly involved in their lives, coaching, putting my job on the back burner just to put them first in my life, etc. Needless to say, I was completely crushed. The 90-Day Challenge became a distant memory. I fell into a deep depression and was unable to focus at my job and life in general.

The next blow came when I lost my job. I saw it coming, but I was paralyzed and unable to do anything about the situation. The best way I can describe how I felt was like the movies when they show a person who is fully aware of all the bad things that are happening to them but physically unable to respond or do anything about it. I would literally lay balled up on the floor in tears because I needed my children and feared I would only get to see them every other weekend.

Unfortunately, the next challenge came in the form of physical anguish. I was in a hurry to take my oldest daughter to the movies with a friend, but the rest of my children wanted to start a fire out back. I will spare you the details, but the next thing you know I am on fire right in front of my children. I suffered 2nd degree burns on the right side of my body all down my face and arm. I felt like I was melting for a couple of days, and I won’t tell you about the blisters and peeling and having to tell my children it was going to be okay without breaking into tears because of how life was falling to pieces around me.

Here I am, broken, jobless, and with 2nd degree burns down a good portion of my body when my 10-year-old son comes up and gives me a great big hug and tells me how much he loves me. He sits down next to me and just begins to talk like nothing had happened and everything was going great. He tells me how he knows I am hurting but that everything will be okay and that I need to keep my head up and press through. Through the shower of tears, I felt strength like none I had ever felt before. Then my son told me he wanted me to finish strong and win the 90-Day Challenge. He told me that he would work out by my side, and so we began. I pushed myself despite the pain from the burns to make my son as proud of me as I was of him.

I have lost around 60 pounds and my son has lost 20. The next thing you know, I weighed in, and I was in first place! My family implemented all that Susan had taught us. The first and most difficult thing we did was to reduce our portion sizes. Then we increased the size of our breakfast. In my case, I made a point to eat breakfast for a change! We made sure to round our meals with proteins and complex carbs, and my son had to throw in some of the ice cream food group every once in a while.

I would like to say thank you to Rachel, Hope, Chaney, Kamron, Hayden, and Grace. I couldn’t be more proud of each one of you and grateful for all you did to see me through this time, and of course I especially want to thank Hayden and say how proud I am of how much progress you have made and the weight you have lost. Lastly, I would like to thank the dear friends I have made at Life Time for all the encouragement each time we pass at the grocery store or elsewhere. I would especially like to thank Susan for putting up with me, and thank you, Brady, for providing me with motivation.

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

Saturday
Jan092016

Kirby D. – Columbia, MD

Five months ago my doctor invited me to accompany him on a Saturday to visit a rehabilitation center. At this center men my age (51) were recovering from heart attacks and strokes. He said I was well on my way to being a patient there. I was suffering from the same metabolic problems that they had. I had high blood pressure, morbid obesity (302#), diabetes, pancreatitis, an enlarged heart and extremely high cholesterol levels.I was scared and didn’t know what to do. I didn’t go to the rehab center but what I did might have saved my life.

I remembered a fitness club where I use to take my young children swimming in Columbia, Md.  They also had an awesome workout area upstairs so I thought what the heck I might as well go take a look at it.  As soon as I entered the door 2 friendly front desk employees said hello and how can we help you.  I told them I might want to join and they said great and introduced me to Justin.  Justin never once pressured me into joining and gave me a thorough tour of the facility. Afterwards I knew I had to join. He said try it for 30 days and if it didn’t help me, then I could simply quit with no strings attached.

I told him all my health problems including my frozen right shoulder and he set me up with Thomas Crooks, who is a personal trainer that specializes in clients with medical issues.

Four months ago (July 2015) I headed to my free training session and analysis with Thomas.  He weighed me in at 286# and put me on the arc trainer to warm up.  After f5 minutes my legs gave out and I couldn’t breathe.  He went on to test my shoulder and found out I had no flexibility and no strength. I told him I used to be a very good athlete, and he looked me square in the eyes and said with confidence that I would be again.

Three months ago (August 2015), my weight was down to 270# and I was now able to lift weights.  My physical therapist released me, and said what Thomas and I had accomplished with my shoulder rehab in one month normally would have taken a whole year.  I had lost 16# and for additional incentive I signed up for the Life Time Fitness 90-Day Weight Loss Challenge.

My workout routine consisted of a 15-minute cardio warm-up, one hour of supervised weight training, and then 30 minutes of fat-burning cardio on the Life Fitness Elliptical 3 times a week.  Fat-burning is maximized by maintaining my heart rate at 60% of my maximum.  For me that was 120 beats per minute. I also did elliptical cardio3 other days a week and made sure I took one whole day off each week.  Utilizing the Life Time pool for swimming and relaxing was also very important.

As the saying goes, true weight loss is accomplished through nutrition more than anything else. Thomas set up a diet consisting of 1200 calories per day with 100g of lean protein and the rest being complex carbs and good fats.  I did not consume any alcohol or eat any simple carbs or bad fats.  I also ate most of my calories early in the day and never ate after 7pm.

Two months ago (Sept. 2015), I was consistently losing 5 to 10 lb. per week until I stepped between 2 stones and suffered an avulsion fracture in my right ankle.  As I limped into the upstairs weight room, I thought the Weight Loss Challenge was over for me.  I told Thomas what happened and he said, well let’s get to work.  He never gave me a chance to quit.  My warm-up consisted of stretching and back rolling, and my weight training was all upper body. Afterward, instead of the elliptical he told me to hit the lap pool for 30 minutes. The weight kept coming off. I was truly amazed.

One month ago (October 2015),  my ankle had healed enough for leg training and cardio and my shoulder was getting stronger than ever.  My weight loss started to increase, but more importantly my fat was burning off quicker than ever before.

Now (Nov. 2015), to make a long story short, I would like to thank Life Time Fitness and their 90-Day Weight Loss Challenge for changing my life forever.  They have given me a whole new healthier lifestyle and the best personal trainer anyone could ever ask for.

Enclosure