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Matt S.

My name is Matt, and I wanted to take a moment to share some of the transformation that has happened in my life since joining Lifetime and especially since working with Brent Shehane. For the past 11 years I have been on an increasingly dangerous path of  obesity. I was already struggling with being overweight when I moved to Arizona, but over the past 11 years it moved from just struggling to a point where I had just given up. I felt powerless to do anything about my weight and what was even worse, I was trying every fad diet and quick weight loss gimmick that was on the market.

 This past year I turned 40 and I went in for my 40 year old physical. At that time my doctor decided to have a very candid conversation about my physical health and obesity. As of last fall, I was fluctuating between 360 and 364 pounds and was struggling with borderline high blood pressure and was showing some symptoms of adult-onset type 2 diabetes. At that time, my body seemed to be at a tipping point and I had to make a decision to either face life using medication to accommodate my obesity or it was time for a change.

I had been a member of another local gym for about 9 months at this point, however the environment of this gym was not one that I enjoyed and frankly I made the choice to use that gym because it was cheaper. The first decision I made was that I had to find an environment that would inspire me to at least be more receptive to go to the gym. From the first time I stepped into Lifetime, I felt like I had found a home and a place that inspired me to finally do something about my weight. After a few weeks, I had made a little progress with a few pounds, but I also realized that I needed to make a more radical change!

When I joined Lifetime, there was a promotion for $150 towards services available at Lifetime. My wife encouraged me to use it to try out a personal trainer since there was a session with a trainer

included with the new membership. I wish I could say that the first session with Brent was inspiring and left me hungry for change. That wasn't the case. The first session was a wake-up call to just how much I had let my body deteriorate. For the first time I saw that I was living in denial and I could not dig myself out of this hole without some accountability.

 What was clear to me after meeting the second time with Brent and doing my health assessment was that I needed to give something else a chance. I had tried everything else short of surgery and I was so hungry for hope. The greatest challenge as a man is that being overweight is such a personal issue and I needed to have someone I could work with that could inspire me and yet be tough enough on me to push me beyond what I "thought" I could do. Brent has done a masterful job of both. He started from the very beginning by developing a plan for me with nutrition. I am now proud to say that I have a food journal that has become a new way of life for me. As he inspects my journal each week, he continues to help me focus on  healthier choices, while at the same time teaching me how to help my metabolism work for me in weight loss. The second thing that he did that has made all the difference is that he painted a realistic picture of what the journey towards my target weight would look like. The fact that it was realistic helped me to put things into a little better perspective. It has helped me to focus on the bigger picture and not just the short term goals each week.

The most personally gratifying thing that Brent has done for me is that he is teaching me how to push myself farther than I have ever pushed myself, and also he has helped me to begin the process of  planning on a long-term strategy for weight management and physical fitness. The amazing thing since I joined Lifetime in November is  that I have now lost 50 pounds and I am halfway towards my primary goal of losing 100 pounds! Can you imagine the excitement of my wife as she is watching the weight loss, but also the lifestyle changes in how I relate to food. I have better energy, more physical stamina and I have had more opportunities to give hope to others that are just as discouraged and desperate as I was.

As I look towards the future, I had first thought of my journey with  Brent and Lifetime in context of a year's commitment to lose weight. Somewhere over the past few months Brent has helped me to move towards a different line of thinking: This transformation is a new me! A new me that has the opportunity to embrace these lifestyle changes as the new normal for the rest of my life. I have a joke in my family of all the names that I call Brent when I am going to the gym for my training sessions with Brent. The fact is that my wife and I owe a debt of gratitude to Brent that would be impossible to repay. I have no delusions of grandeur about how God has helped me to take steps to finally do something about my weight, but I also do not believe in coincidences. It is no coincidence that I am working out with a trainer that has an ability to help push me to do what I  was either unable or unwilling to do before now.

This past week was the first time in over a decade that I looked  into a mirror and I saw a reflection of me that finally registered in my brain as a face that has hope. It has taken a long time to get here, and there is not a day that goes by that I don't remember the humiliation and pain associated with obesity that was out of control. I am grateful for Lifetime Fitness and the environment that you all create to help a person like me that has never really get excited about going to the gym at least have a chance to feel comfortable in the process. I am even more grateful to Brent for seeing something in me that I didn't even have the courage or  imagination to see in myself at the beginning. The work that he has  invested into my life has made such a difference and i hope at I have the opportunity to "pay it forward" in the lives of others!

Matt S.

Outreach Pastor


Trey A. - Lakeville, MN

"Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat."   -  Socrates

For most of my adult life I have one upped Socrates; eating (food) is my passion.  I love the history of food, I love how it is grown/raised, I love how it is displayed in the marketplace, I love how it is prepared, I love how it is served, I love to cook for others, I love to eat in restaurants, but mostly, I love to eat. 

My career has allowed me, actually encouraged me, to travel to the greatest food capitals of the world and I have indulged myself at each and every one.  I’m not a food snob, however, fast food is not my downfall.  It’s food with flavors both common and exotic, robust wines and strong beers, fragrant breads and savory meats.  And the never ending varieties one can cull from the seemingly simple combination of pasta, tomatoes and cheese.  My life became a journey to whatever new tastes came my way without any restraint or moderation.  No balance, no concern for nutrition, no understanding of what food means to the body.  It was all palate (taste) and brain (satisfaction).

I was always thinking about the moment, never thinking about the future.

Sure, when I would finally hit a point where my clothes would not fit and it was too embarrassing to go buy yet another bigger size, I’d cut back. I’d go low carb; or low fat; or both.  I’d default to “guy logic”  - cut out bread and beer for a while and it will all be good.  I’d lose a few pounds go down a pants size and go right back to my previous routine.

What about exercise?   I’ve never been an athlete, beyond playground games I never played organized sports (I don’t count golf, it’s just another avenue to eat and drink) so an occasional attempt to diet or join a health club (mostly stumbling around the racquetball court or lounging in the steam/sauna) became fatiguing, frustrating and fruitless.  I was clueless when it came to my nutritional or physical health and apparently equally clueless about my general health as well.  At 43 I had a heart attack.  Although there was some immediate attention focused on losing weight, exercising and eating better, even the medical community chose to provide me with pharmaceutical alternatives to changing my lifestyle.  For the next ten years I had an acute awareness of my need to change my lifestyle, but without direction, motivation or professional support, I was not surprised to find myself without results.

Thankfully I have not had another heart attack, but at 53 I was exactly where I did not want to be, back to the same place I was at 43; overweight, no stamina and constantly battling to fit into my clothes.

On February 14, 2010 I joined Life Time Fitness.  My daughter (then a HS Senior and the same non-athlete as me) wanted to join LTF for exercise and to join some of her friends who are members.  I thought if we joined together we could provide each other with support and accountability.  Within two weeks it became clear that we had different interests (surprise!) and schedules.   But we both enjoyed the club and were committed to continuing, even if independently.

I was still clueless when it came to exercise and decided I should seek some help.  I started by talking with Judy Strand in the Personal Training Department.  Judy helped me identify the type of program that would best meet my individual goals and after further discussion suggested a Personal Trainer who would fit my personality and general fitness goals.  She recommended Vicki Cloke and set up an evaluation appointment.

When Vicki and I first met, she too helped me identify a program that would support my individual goals and started with an assessment of my state-of-fitness, or lack thereof.  My personal goals were straightforward; I wanted to reduce my waist by 4 sizes (a tight 44 to 38), have more energy and if possible a little bit of muscle tone.  Oh yeah, I still want to eat what I want. I took the position that I was too set in my ways and enjoyed food too much to completely change my eating and drinking lifestyle.  I conceded it didn’t have to be everyday and I could/would make improvements in my general diet.  However, I did not want to go on a structured diet, and when the weekend came around I wanted to pretty much have no rules.  I didn’t need to over indulge but I wanted to exercise and eat effectively during the week so as to allow me to continue my enjoyment of fine dining (and cooking) once or twice a week.  My business travel would also provide some challenges, as I would not always be able to get to LTF to exercise and healthy meals would often be a challenge.  I realized by taking this route my results would be slower, but I felt this was something I could commit to and maintain as a lifestyle, not a short-lived program.

The commitment was (and is) two-sided.  Vicki (and other LTF professionals) have been there for me every step.  After the initial physical assessment to determine starting strength, stamina and agility we discussed using science to truly map how my body uses the food (calories) I feed it and how best to exercise for improved health and weight loss.  Through continuing metabolic testing Vicki has been able to adjust my cardio, strength and nutritional program to help me achieve and maintain outstanding results.  Ten months later I exercise 5-6 times a week, meet with my Personal Trainer, Vicki, once a week.  I use a heart rate monitor to track my workout results, find time to exercise even when I am traveling and use a phone app to track my daily nutrition. I’ve lost 85 pounds reduced my waist by 7 sizes (44 to 32), reduced my suit size by 6 sizes (52 to 42) and remarkably, my physician has eliminated two of the drugs I was destined to take for the rest of my life and I am tracking to eliminating the final one this spring.

I feel better, both physically and mentally.  I’m told I look younger (after 50 who doesn’t like to hear that?).  But, most importantly, for someone who loves to eat, I have found foods that both taste good and are good for me for weekday dining - come the weekend, I continue to pursue my uncensored passion for food, but now in good health and with an eye towards the future.

-- Trey A., Lakeville, MN


Kim & DeAnna G. - South Austin, TX

The Ghanems find success with weight loss and through commitment as a couple and a program to help guide them along the way.

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