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Entries in Male (98)

Saturday
Sep052015

James G.—Orland Park, IL

My Life Time Fitness journey started because of my beautiful two-year-old granddaughter. My wife, Betty, and I had a difficult time chasing after her. Our daughter Jacqueline had been telling us for a few months that we should start coming to Life Time Fitness to improve our health.

Finally, around Christmas, Jacqueline needed someone to play Santa for a party. I said that I would help out and as a thank you, she bought me a one-month membership. When I started, I attended the TEAM Weight Loss class that Jacqueline had been attending. I was a little wary about participating in this type of class, but the trainer, Dan Shepard, was great. He explained the class and invited us to try it out for a week.

Being a 58-year-old and a Local 597 Pipefitter for over 40 years, my body is pretty beat up. I have two herniated discs in my back and a bad rotator cuff. I knew this class was going to be challenging for me. Each class, especially starting out, Dan modified the exercises to fit my ability. I liked how individualized it was and how everyone in the class faced different challenges.

After working out 3 times per week in the TEAM class, my daughter told me about the 90-Day Challenge. I tried to tell her I was not 30-years-old and at 58 weight doesn’t come off that easily. I was reluctant at first, but I really liked the TEAM Weight Loss class and decided to participate.

I started working with a new trainer during TEAM. His name is Nick Bartz. After my initial weigh-in, I met with Nick 1-on-1. We sat down and discussed my goals and expectations for the next 90 days. He asked what my specific goals for the challenge were. I said I wanted to get down to 230 pounds. He asked what my plan was for losing 47 pounds. I told him that I was going to stop drinking beer! Nick informed me that not drinking beer was a great start, and that 80% of my weight loss success would come from changing my nutrition. He gave me a lot of information about nutrition. He said that I need to aim for drinking 140 ounces of water per day and to incorporate more vegetables and fruits.

I started with the plan Nick laid out for me and made nutritional changes immediately. Week by week, I added new items to my diet. I wanted to make small changes that added up over time. By the end of the Challenge, I was thinking about everything I ate and made plans ahead of time. For example, at Easter I made sure to make some delicious fish instead of ham, and every morning for breakfast I make an egg white omelet loaded with green veggies! These small changes have really been the difference throughout the Challenge.

The first week, I lost over 10 pounds. All the trainers at Life Time Fitness-Orland Park were impressed, and I felt the support I needed to continue my journey. I kept working out, but it was getting harder to fit into my schedule. I spoke with Nick about adding another time slot for TEAM. He spoke with some of the other participants and decided that opening up a 5:30 p.m. class would benefit many of us. When the 5:30 p.m. class opened, it allowed me to come to the club, swim a mile and then do the class.

 I continued to work out every week and incorporated weekend workouts as well, inviting my friends to try out the club. I even tried yoga for the first time with my wife! At 58, my body has responded very well to the weight loss. I find it easier to work out and complete everyday activities. 
Now that the challenge has ended, I am down to 200 pounds and 15.9% body fat. Compare this to my starting stats at 276.7 pounds and 34.8% body fat. I want to continue to transform my body and to strengthen the weak areas like my back.

I would have to say that the Life Time Fitness Company’s name is so fitting. This Challenge has been a life changing experience for me. The real key to my success came from the support I received from my family, the staff at Life Time and my friends. If they ask me to play Santa next year, I will have to buy stuffing for the suit. My stomach is no longer a bowl full of jelly, but I am as jolly as ever. Until then, I will enjoy chasing after my granddaughter and keeping up with her as she gets faster. I’m looking forward to building a lifetime of memories with her.  

Enclosure

Saturday
Aug222015

Darius R. - Summerlin, NV

Life Time helped me accomplish in 90 days what I could not do by myself for 23 years. Like others I had this inner voice repeating, “It’s time to do something about this extra weight!” For me, it began when I tore my ACL and was unable to maintain my very active lifestyle. The beginning of a very rigorous academic schedule further exacerbated the problem. A few years later, just as I attempted to increase my activity again, I tore the ACL in my other knee. Needless to say, more weight gain resulted.

For the years that followed I tried popular diets, took up cycling and went back to playing soccer. Each time I would lose 15 to 25 pounds, only to lose momentum before I reached my goals. I simply could not find the real motivation it takes to get my life back physically - until now… during Life Time’s 90-Day Weight Loss Challenge!! Thank you, Life Time, for giving me that added spark that it took to get the work done!!!

A few years ago I was talking to my old college roommate who had kept himself in good shape. I asked him, “How am I going to lose this extra weight?” I remember his response vividly. He simply put his finger to my head. I responded, “I just have to find a way to flip the switch?” Looking back, I was so close many times to having the mental drive and determination to get my life back, but the motivation was missing. Now I realize that for me, competition was the key, and Life Time provided that to me by giving me the chance to compete against all of their nationwide Challenge participants.

From the day I put on the Challenge wrist band, I resolved to do a few things. I began by telling everyone around me about my goals to increase my accountability. Secondly, every time I was tempted to cheat, I resolved to look at the band, visualize my goals, mentally review the commitments I had made to myself and to others and take the opposite step. If the thought was to lower the intensity, I would reach down and speed it up. I wasn’t always successful, but I believe that this attitude helped. Most importantly, I resolved to make it to the gym every day if I could. During this Challenge I was able to go to the Life Time gyms while traveling in South Jordan, Utah and Chandler, Arizona in addition to my local club.

I began the Challenge by eating mostly fruits and vegetables with protein shakes and the occasional lean protein. My diet was supported by walking and a gradual conversion to running at least 3 miles a day. A few months after entering the Challenge and having limited success, I finally found “Committed Nancy.” I had followed her progress and noticed that she was the leading female competitor. I tracked her down just in time. I had begun to plateau and was getting frustrated. Nancy encouraged me and introduced me to her trainer, Sally.

Since meeting Sally and Nancy, we have been a Life Time Team. Sally immediately went into “tough trainer” mode even in our first discussion. Looking back, she was testing my resolve and laying down the challenge that I would need to respond to in order to reach my full potential. Using her knowledge of nutrition and training, she immediately changed my routine. I was reluctant, but I saw her success with Nancy. What was originally a high fruit and vegetable diet converted into a strict protein - low carbohydrate diet. She also increased my exercise intensity by pushing my run/jog mileage to approximately 8 to 10 miles a day and introducing me to the nutritional benefits of Generation U-Can, amino acid supplements, and daily vitamins available to me in the Life Time Café.

Through Sally my progress was accelerated with Nutrition and Metabolic Coaching as well as regular participation in TEAM Weight Loss and other group fitness classes. Sally also took the time to run with me late in the competition. I can’t say enough here about what she did to help me reach my best results.

With this competition ending around Mother’s Day, I have to thank my wonderful wife and the mother of my five beautiful children for all of her emotional and nutritional support.

I truly feel like the old Darius is back and a depressing burden has been lifted. Thank you again to Life Time and its incredible members and staff!!!! If you are close to committing but just need that extra motivation, I recommend Life Time’s 90-Day Challenge to help you finally “Flip the Switch.”

Enclosure

Saturday
Aug082015

Nick H. – Maple Grove, MN

At the start of November 2014, I was at the lowest point in my life. I was someone who had been overweight his entire life, and at 26 years old, I was 335 pounds. All I did every day was think about my past and how my life wasn’t going anywhere. All I thought about were the memories of being bullied, situations where people dismissed me, never being able to have a relationship, and how every letdown seemed to be because of my weight. I was simply just an unhappy person. The only thing that kept me sane was my love for sports, and I always had a passion for weightlifting. However, even though I was a multi-sport athlete for most of my life, I always struggled with my weight.

So what was the turning point for me? I think it started in February 2014, after a bad doctor visit where I weighed over 350 pounds that day. I remember getting slammed by my doctor for my health, and after the appointment I cried in my car. I knew I had to do something, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. Little did I know, my answer was coming later that year when I signed up to Life Time Fitness and I would meet my trainer Ashley O’Hearn.

I will start by saying I would not be where I am today without the support of Ashley. I met Ashley through my complimentary personal training session for signing up at Life Time. During our first meeting we discussed my goals, background, and diet and made plans to meet once every two weeks. I explained to Ashley though for me to be successful, what I needed most was someone to hold me accountable. Since that time we first met, Ashley has more than delivered on that promise. Between all my workouts she was checking in on me, and she’s been there for me through thick and thin. What also helped me succeed in working with Ashley was she was able to capitalize on my athletic background. She knew she could push me hard as she wanted, and it was something I needed. Ashley helped me rediscover I had something special in me, which led me to taking on the step of the journey in the 90-Day Challenge. 

Going into the 90-Day Challenge I had already lost about 50 pounds, which I will account to sticking to my workouts, and I had finally stuck with a diet. My diet at this point consisted of mainly good fats, a lot of protein, and cutting out carbs. I also used supplements, some of which I purchased from Life Time, including fish oil and Lean Source. Since November, I have not had alcohol, fast-food, sweets, or anything processed. This self-control was critical to my success during the 90-Day, and it’s something I plan on sticking to in the future. As for my workouts, it was a combination of strength training and cardio/circuit workouts, which I did five to six days a week. One of the things that helped me out was taking a metabolic assessment, which enabled me to make the most out of my workouts. Outside of my workouts, I had started riding my bike again, took up swimming, and I even got into running seriously – so much so, I have even signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon this upcoming fall. It’s quite a thought to consider what one can do in less than a year.

The 90-Day Challenge though was not an easy task for me. I was plagued with injuries and illness throughout. During the Challenge I strained both lat muscles, both triceps, my left hamstring, my right oblique, was recovering from a previous shoulder surgery, and had food poisoning. I kept telling myself people have had it worse, and if I just kept my faith I would make it through and be rewarded for my efforts. The other obstacle I had to overcome during was the stress of everything going on in my life. I worked two jobs, one a 40-hour a week desk job in social services, and a part-time job in a liquor store. It was something I had to do to make this work financially for me because you don’t think about things like literally replacing your entire wardrobe on a monthly basis. Getting the motivation to work out when you’re injured, exhausted both mentally and physically, and trying to balance work was not easy. There were times I wanted to give up, but luckily, I had people in my corner like Ashley, and seeing consistent results kept me going. In the end, everything I had to deal with was worth it, and I could not be more proud of what I accomplished so far.

It is hard to describe what the last few months have meant to me. I went from being someone who could never find meaning in his life, to someone who could not be more excited for the future. I'm so grateful to have been blessed to meet Ashley O’Hearn, and to have received support from everyone including other Life Time staff, family, and friends. I never would have thought people would come up and tell me I’m an inspiration to them. I still have a lot of work to do to further improve my health, and it’s going to take some time to change my perception of myself. I have overcome a lot personally these past few months, but I have no doubt I will be ready for whatever is ahead of me.  

 

 

Saturday
Aug012015

Wesley M. - Eagan, MN

As a firefighter at the Minneapolis/St.Paul airport, fitness and health are a major part of my job. I am trusted daily to care for and protect the people of our communities. To me, they are strangers, but to others they are a mother, a best friend or a spouse, and it is my responsibility to be prepared to protect them in any environment. I recently had an experience that opened my eyes to my vital job responsibilities. Our team was called to a large house fire. Things quickly became dangerous, and when we finally started to escape, I noticed that all of us were out of breath and struggled to make it out. The thought of not being able to do our jobs properly, and potentially putting ourselves and others in danger was a turning point for me. I knew it was time to make some changes in my life and at my job.

Eagan Life Time is my home gym. I’ve been working out there for almost 10 years! I approached a trainer named Sloan after noticing the 90-Day Challenge poster and asked him to tell me more. After talking with Sloan, I became very interested, but it definitely seemed like it would require extreme dedication. Both Sloan and another trainer, Alicia, told me they would be there every step of the way. After thinking about my recent experience on the fire call, I decided to commit.

Looking back, now I know why they call it a CHALLENGE! We began by talking about the multiple supplements that would support my intense physical training. I was overwhelmed at first – how would I remember everything? Sloan told me to trust him and that the supplements would be a key part of my transformation. He told me to call him anytime with any questions. We communicated daily, so much so that my wife started calling him my mistress!

Nutrition was also a huge part of my transformation. I figured the diet portion would be easy, since I enjoy food and learning how to prepare new healthy dishes. Until Sloan and I reviewed everything, I had no clue how poorly I was actually eating. We talked strategy and what to expect over the next couple of months. Not only was this beneficial for me, but I was also excited to share some of this nutrition information with my fellow firefighters. Sloan’s knowledge and personal experiences continued to inspire me to move forward and try to reach the next goal.

As my journey continued, I talked with my fellow firefighters and let them know how important our health is. We talked about how heart disease is the number one killer in the fire service, and how we needed to change our diets. We are like a family at the station and often eat meals together, so we started eating healthier group breakfasts and dinners. Not only have our eating habits changed, but I have encouraged several other firefighters to start working out. Many agreed to let me help them with their training routines, and they’ve started noticing a difference. Though this Challenge has been difficult, I feel good knowing that I’ve made a positive impact on my fellow firefighters’ health and ability to do their job.

My full-time job is being a firefighter, but I also serve in the United States Air Force. I have noticed over the past few years that my annual Physical Training test has gotten worse, and I have declined in performance. Doing this Challenge has helped me to improve my scores. Over the last couple of weeks, several soldiers have asked what I was doing to lose weight and noticed how much my body has changed. I told them about the Challenge and how the Eagan Life Time team has motivated me to keep progressing with the plan. I told them what the journey was like, and my motivation to improve my health, strength, and physical fitness for my military and firefighting careers. My journey encouraged them to want to get into better shape, and I feel good that I’ve set a positive example.

Today, I feel more confident than ever in my abilities as a firefighter. My mental, physical, and emotional strength were continuously tested, but the Eagan Life Time team has been the support I needed to follow through. I have a healthier lifestyle and know how to incorporate healthy habits into my personal and job responsibilities. I’m proud of my personal accomplishments, and I’m also proud of the influence I’ve had on my fire and military families. I know the knowledge I gained from the Eagan Life Time team will always play a role in my day to day decisions, and I look forward to living life to the fullest with my wife and family every day.

Enclosure

Saturday
Jul252015

Chris L.—Sugarloaf, GA

Let me begin by explaining my reason for starting this 90-Day Challenge. I had completed my original 90-Day Challenge in the fall. The problem was that I was not satisfied with the way that it had turned out. I had half-heartedly went through the motions for 90 days, all the while making excuses about not having enough time to get to the gym or to make good food choices. This seems to be a common theme for the average person. I work a challenging job that requires me being there 50-60 hours a week. I have a family and a home that I have to take care of. I only have time for food on the run. Does this sound familiar? These were some of the excuses that I used. I began to question myself after the first challenge. Was this true? Was this the best I could do? The answer I came up with was a very big NO! 

I started this challenge with a few different ideas in mind. I needed to find areas of my life that I could consolidate to allow me time for me. After all, that is exactly what this challenge is, a challenge for yourself. I realized that I was wasting precious time everyday on the Internet, watching television or other random activities that added no quality to my life.

I made it a priority to get to the gym 5 days a week for 45 min. It didn't sound like a lot, but I started to see improvements after the first week. These improvements were in all aspects of my life, both mentally and physically. I started preparing meals for 3-4 days in advance. This allowed me to eat healthy and not give into the fast food machine that I had been a part of for so long. The dietary changes that I made weren't that difficult. I cut out fried food and simple sugars. I started eating leaner cuts of meat (fish, chicken, pork loin). I made sure to eat 5-6 different veggies everyday. If I didn't have enough food prepped, the Life Time cafe had a great selections of meals and shakes. They even help guide you to the different areas of the menu if you have different food requirements (I changed to a vegan diet 4 weeks in). The changes in my overall health, not just my appearance, were astonishing. I began to have more energy during all times of the day. I didn't have issues with that bloated feeling that you get after eating heavy fatty foods. I simply felt GREAT.

These were not things that I learned on my own. These were things that were taught on different Try-It Tuesdays (food, nutrition, exercises, etc.). I would implore everyone to take part in these amazing learning classes that are part of the 90-Day. I was also taught about HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Regardless of how great of shape you think you are in, these sessions will rock your world. I have many sweat laden shirts to prove it. It's a workout in 20-30 minutes for busy schedules. This is all included with the Challenge. I can honestly say that the trainers who take their time to assist with these classes are special individuals who deserve a BIG THANK YOU from all the participants.

I have NEVER been in better shape in my entire life. I owe a lot to the staff at Life Time Sugarloaf. I have come a long way and plan to continue my path. I was just like everybody else. I made excuses, and then I crushed them. I challenge everybody to challenge yourself everyday. You will be glad you did. You don't have to believe me to believe in yourself.

I have forever changed my thinking about the gym. It is more than a gym. It is definitely a lifestyle. That is what Life Time Fitness is all about. They help you create a healthy lifestyle for a lifetime. I was skeptical of big gyms before, but never again.

Thank you to everybody at Life Time.

Enclosure

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