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Entries in Success Story (144)


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.



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!



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.



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!



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.