Tony B. – Maple Grove, MN
My journey really started about five years ago after graduating college.
Being a collegiate athlete, I was always in pretty good shape, and never thought much of it. After graduating college, I started working a full-time job, and everything was great. I could eat doughnuts for breakfast, grab fast food for lunch, meet friends for happy hour, and go out to eat a few times a week. Since I was a kid, I loved everything about eating – more specifically the foods that will expand my waistline like beer, soda, cookies, chips, candy, fast-food, and pizza. These were the things I would turn to when things were good and I was celebrating, or when things were not so good and I was eating to cope. Emotional eating was a slippery slope for me, and I really hit bottom after I was laid off in 2010. I didn’t realize what I was doing to my body on a daily basis until all of a sudden I weighed over 250 pounds with 26.6% body fat! I knew that I needed to take action but was too embarrassed to go to the gym. For the next couple of years I had started multiple “diets” and tried a number of different home workouts to no avail. I would always start but could never maintain any consistency, which was discouraging and pushed me toward what I considered my comfort foods.
For the last couple years I have used every possible excuse to avoid the gym. Finally, after listening to me complain for years, my friend Joey Olson, who is a Life Time trainer at the Maple Grove club, had had enough and challenged me to compete in the 90-Day Challenge. Joey explained to me how many people participate and that we are all trying to accomplish the same thing, which really helped me put my insecurities aside. I was all in but wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to affect my work or my family life.
The first week was tough. I was so sore, but the hardest part was keeping my urge to eat junk food under control. Ashley O’Hearn, who is a nutrition coach at the Maple Grove Life Time, helped me put the “diets” behind and implemented a realistic and maintainable nutrition plan. I had started seeing results at the end of the first week, and it motivated me to keep pushing through one day at a time. As the days passed, the pounds kept coming off, and my energy levels were through the roof. Life Time Fitness has so many options to keep my workouts fun and challenging. Some days I would train with, Joe who was able to motivate and push me to my limits. Working with trainers and the small class instructors not only introduced me to new workouts but were great resources for nutrition as well.
Joe and Ashley opened me up to the different protein and supplement options that would help me push toward the results I wanted. I take the daily supplements they recommended and will continue to do so. I use the Life Time’s AM and PM multivitamins, omega-3 fish oil, Cal/Mag, and glutamine to help with soreness and give me energy. They also turned me on to Life Time’s Vegan Max Protein that I use daily following my heavy strength workouts but also use to help curb cravings throughout the day. I never knew there were any options beyond whey protein. The protein and supplements have become a part of my everyday routine, and (as a treat) I like to mix in a Mocha Madness from the Life Café…it is awesome!
Through the first month, I concentrated on eating clean with lots of veggies and lean proteins. By the middle of March, I had already dropped 20 pounds! At this point, I started to plateau and, with the help of the Life Time trainers again, we tweaked my nutrition plan to limit carbohydrates and increase lean proteins. It was difficult at first, but I loved the fact that I wasn’t counting calories. The weight started coming off again, and my motivation was rejuvenated.
Now with the 90-Day Challenge coming to an end, I couldn’t be happier with the results I have been able to achieve, and I am not done. I do not like to brag about the results I have seen, but I hope sharing my experience will inspire others to go after their health and fitness goals. If I can do it, anyone can. I am down almost 50 pounds and have cut my body fat over 65 percent! I owe it all to Life Time Fitness and their staff for building a foundation of health and fitness that I will take with me. This isn’t a 90-Day Challenge for me but the beginning to the rest of my life. Through this experience, I have come such a long way from the couch potato I was at the beginning of the year. My quality of life has improved so much, and I feel like I can do anything. There is no challenge too big, which is perfect timing because my wife and I are expecting our first baby this fall!