Member Spotlight | How Personal Training Changed This Man’s Life

Member Spotlight | How Personal Training Changed This Man’s Life

“I love having someone push me past where I would go by myself and showing me new workouts.”

David W.

LAF Pro Results® Member

David’s Story

At 245, I was much heavier than I had ever been. My changing job schedule was always an excuse to not go to the gym. [When] my dad had a stroke, I decided I needed to get my butt back in shape. I [used to] run marathons in 2000 and 2001.

I joined LA Fitness in Round Rock, went a few times, and then my work schedule changed again so I didn’t go for a while.

Somewhere around January of last year, the manager called and says, “I noticed you haven’t been in in a while. Would you like to modify or maybe cancel your membership?” Well, that was all the motivation I needed. After a couple of weeks, I signed up for training and the rest is history!

What are your current fitness goals?

I hit the first, which was to get down to 196 lbs. from 245 lbs. My next goal is to get down to 15% body fat.

How has personal training impacted or changed your fitness routine?

I love having someone push me past where I would go by myself and showing me new workouts.

If you could give others one piece of advice, what would it be?

Keep it up! Make it a point to go to the gym. 

Before: January 2018 | After: May 2019

After: February 2019

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Member Spotlight | 121 lbs. Lost in a Year!

Member Spotlight | 121 lbs. Lost in a Year!

“Seeing the changes that I’ve made already has just helped me make sure I never ever want to go back to the person I used to be and am so much happier and more confident in my own skin.”

Jordan L.

LAF Member, LA Fitness

The Slippery Slope

After high school, I accepted a soccer scholarship to a big university to play soccer, and early on in my freshman year, I ripped my rotator cuff, basically ending any chance I had of playing. I lost my scholarship and eventually left the school with no backup plan because it had always just been “sports”.

While the injury healed I didn’t have a chance to work out or stay active and began to gain weight, and by the time my shoulder was fixed I had no desire to stay in shape at all and just kept sliding further and further up the weight chart.

Eventually, I just accepted that this was me now and gave up on caring. My diet was mainly fast food and whatever junk I thought sounded good from the store, but hardly ever anything proportioned or healthy.

The Wakeup Call

At the beginning of 2018, I woke up and realized I couldn’t even put my own shoes on and knew something had to stop. With the help of one of my good friends, who is an actual fitness nut, I began researching new diets and exercise routines and we hatched a plan.

On May 1st, 2018, I stepped on the scale and saw it said 378.6 lbs. I nearly fell over.

I knew I was heavy but to see a number that high instantly put true fear into me. I was worried about life, longevity, health issues, and multitudes of other things. So on May 1st, the journey began, and I prepped my first few days of meals and then everything else so that I couldn’t be tempted to have just a quick little snack or anything else.

It was about this time that my fiancé had gastric bypass surgery and was on a limited food intake as well, so we thought it would help both of us. The weight came off fast, and I nearly threw a party when I lost my first 50 lbs.


The Real Change Begins

By this time my clean strict diet was 2nd nature and I rarely had urges to cheat. Every 3-5 weeks I would go have sushi, a big steak, or Korean BBQ of some kind as a reward meal, but for the most part, I was content with the diet I was eating.

I would (and still am) eating two meals a day consisting mainly of lean ground beef, chicken, eggs, turkey bacon, avocados and organic peanut butter for a snack. It is insanely strict, but I look at it like this: I had fun eating whatever-whenever I wanted, and it got me overweight. So it was time to do whatever was required to get it off and get myself back to a place where I was happy with who I was.

In October of 2018, I ran my first Tough Mudder in Northern California. I was running about 8-10 miles a week on the treadmill at the gym and lifting weights 5 days a week and I felt phenomenal. But I very quickly became aware that I was still too heavy and had much progress still to achieve when I was on the course. I ran the race with my best friend and fiancé, and together we crossed the finish line in a little under 4:30. It was an amazing experience and sort of re-lit my desire to push harder and farther in my training.

I kept up with the training and increased to 12-18 miles a week running, but this time I was doing it outside on trails and in the hills to incorporate realistic elevation changes and to get some fresh air. Many people dislike treadmill miles and once I began to run outside I understood why.

I live a little over a mile and a half from my local LA Fitness so I started to wake up and run to the gym, sit in the sauna and stretch out for 20 minutes, and run back every morning. It was the perfect split that I needed and combined with 6 nights of weights per week I went solo into my second Tough Mudder in April of 2019 and managed a race time of 2:56 on one of the tougher courses in the Tough Mudder line up in the country.

The race is at Glen Helen off-road park and the hills there are absolutely insane. My Garmin tracker registered almost 2,600 feet of elevation gain over the 9-mile course. It definitely pushed me to my limit.

One Year Later

On May 1, 2019, with 1 year of life change under my belt, I stepped on the scale and it read 257.7 lbs. I had lost 121 lbs. in a year and had gone from a size 54 “loose fit” Dickies to size 36 501 Levi’s and from 4XL-Tall t-shirts to XL t-shirts.

I felt accomplished but knew that I had so much more to go. I’ve kept up on everything and plan to for as long as I possibly can. Seeing the changes that I’ve made already have helped me make sure I never ever want to go back to the person I used to be and I’m so much happier and more confident in my own skin.


What’s next for Jordan?

I would still like to lose another 30-50 lbs. I don’t necessarily have a goal weight, but more of a performance goal. I am fairly hooked on running obstacle course races (mainly the Tough Mudder series) and for now, I know that I will need to be down closer to 200 lbs. to be able to run the time and distances I want.

My short-term goal is to be able to run either the 8-hour “Tougher Mudder” race and complete somewhere in the area of 17-20 miles in those 8 hours. Or to be able to run the 10 miles “classic” race both Saturday and Sunday in one weekend with both race times being under 3 hours.

My long-term goals include a sub 1-hour 10K on road, as well as completing the 24 hours “World’s Toughest Mudder” and managing 50 miles. 

How Training Changed His Life

The training was really the missing part of my routine, and I feel what has helped me stick to my diet and help achieve my goals. When I started this journey, I changed my diet and not really my activity level. I started eating really clean, whole foods that were calorie deficient and since my job has me working mostly on my feet, I didn’t really need to train much.

I was walking 5-6 miles per day at work, so my activity levels were already fairly high. But after about 3 months, I realized I was getting soft and had no muscle development and that my skin wasn’t really shrinking. And the thought of looking deflated scared me, so I stopped on the way home from work one day and signed up at the gym.

I started with a 3 day per week routine just to get everything used to moving and working again and eventually ended up in the gym 6 days per week. Once I started to see muscle growth and my body actually changing shapes rather than just shrinking, I was hooked. I used the gym as the place to go whenever I was craving something off-diet, or down on myself about something, or thinking I should have been making more progress.

It turned into the place I went when I just needed everything to go right, and because of that some of my initial weight and performance goals got knocked down quicker than I expected. When I ran my first Tough Mudder I was on course for almost four and a half hours, and while I never stopped moving on course it was clearly a snail’s pace. Once I dove harder into my training my race time dropped to 2:56!

Jordan’s Advice

Don’t give up, anyone can do it. Honestly, I think the hardest part of everything was to get started. Not cheating on your diet or giving up when you’re having a rough week is obviously a challenge. But one of the biggest and hardest things to overcome is that fitness and diet advice is usually given by people with single digit body fat, cut physiques, and years of discipline and dedication under their belt.

While it is easy to think this is motivation, it really was intimidating at first. A few friends that have jumped on the get healthy bandwagon said it best. A lot of the advice or influencers or even coaches don’t understand that you can’t just “stop being fat”, and it’s hard to take advice from someone who looks like they’ve never had the same struggle or barrier of entry that you are currently facing.

Changing your life and body is a long-distance race, not a sprint. But so much on social media makes it seem like if you don’t lose 150lbs in 6 months that you’re a failure and clearly weren’t drinking enough of their special cleanse they’re promoting.

I have a friend who helped me a lot the first few months and made me check in every day. He said it didn’t matter if there was progress or not. As long as I had a better day eating/exercise wise than I had been having, it was a good day, and that really is what pushed me through until I was able to stand on my own and be my own motivation.

I’ve had people reach out to me on social media after posting my story that said they were also too intimidated by a lot of the people in the fitness world to start, and that seeing my story had helped them want to get back at it. I’ve helped them the best I could, but I think the biggest problem for heavy people currently is that there just aren’t enough not-perfect-physique people in the industry to ask for advice. 

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Member Spotlight | Seize Your Destiny

Member Spotlight | Seize Your Destiny

In life, anything is possible. Never give up. Never give in. And always keep pushing forward.

Stefan R.

LAF Member

No pain in life could compare to the heartache I felt as I awoke from a grand mal seizure on the racquetball court in 2010. Even worse, the all-too-familiar ghostly look of horror in the eyes of my friends who surrounded me. One minute I was playing competitively, the next minute the paramedics were once again strapping me to a gurney, reassuring me that even though I didn’t know my name, my location, the day and date or even the year, everything would be alright.

The ambulance doors locked, and the paramedics began to haul me off on my fourth journey to the hospital in two years due to epileptic seizures. I had lost control of my path in life and could no longer handle living. I couldn’t work out, I couldn’t play racquetball, I couldn’t drive and simply put, as a 39-year-old man, I was in pain.

This seizure completely demolished me. Even after my last attempt at achieving normality through brain surgery in 2007, the seizures made a dramatic return in 2009-2010 to wreak havoc on my life. Now for the fourth time in my life, I had lost my driver’s license due to epilepsy and had to ask myself, “If brain surgery did not work…what was and what is my reason to live?”

From 2004 to 2012, my journey included two epileptic car accidents, multiple grand mal seizures at work, in the racquetball court, in the weight room, even cracking my head open on the locker room tile floor, and the last one, while running on the beach for fitness in 2011.

This time period included two hernia surgeries, a pulmonary embolism, three endoscopies, loss of my home, my car, my wife, and in the end, bankruptcy, causing the loss of everything materialistic in my life. In 2012, I hit rock bottom.

During this journey called life, I grew up with racquetball. Racquetball was my life and it was a positive, healthy part of my life for many years. When life got tough, when I was stressed, when all else failed, it was time to “Beat the Ball!” I played for 15 years until this gap of nearly 7 years occurred. But as a motivational speaker taught me, “If you can look up you can get up!”

Giving up was not an option. Materialistically, everything was gone. Everything but my passion to live. Then, I changed my life, one step, one breath, one prayer at a time. I began to see life as a challenge, a challenge I needed and a challenge I welcomed. I then saw obstacles as something that I had to go through in order to grow through in life. There was light not yet seen at the end of the tunnel, yet one I had to believe in. And through awareness, I began to change and grow.

We are who we surround ourselves with in life. We are what we eat. We are what we drink. We are what we think. Our thoughts create our reality. Our ego knows too much and therefore when we are able to quiet our ego, our spirit will awaken. I was able to awaken my new life with a whole new spirit.

Through a healthy lifestyle change, the attitude of gratitude and the power of manifestation, and through meditation, over medication, I knew that what life gave me was what I needed in order to grow.

I faced death head-on, literally, and woke up in jail on October 9th, 2012 and saw what I did not want to be in life. I saw what I had turned into, I saw what I would become, and I saw where I would end up if I did not stop digging.

On January 1st, 2013, I came back to the racquetball courts in Vista, California LA Fitness, just two months after spending 6 weeks in the Vista county jail. A jail (in all irony) that is located just a few hundred yards behind the racquetball courts. At this time when I walked on the courts, ankle bracelet and all, I had developed the power to know that I was not yet done living life!

Now, every time I park to play racquetball, I see my past. A past I do not want to forget. A past I am truly thankful for now as I spent much needed time awakening to a whole new life. The next 5 years included healing, learning, growing and manifesting my divine destiny. And I did it!

Through meditation & manifestation, awareness & attitude, combined with prayer and positive thinking, I was able to holistically cure my epilepsy 100% and have been off medication and completely sober ever since.

On the courts of LA Fitness, I played for 5 years straight and began winning tournaments and winning numerous medals along the way. In 2018 I recently brought home two Gold Medals in the National Racquetball Championships to complete my comeback goal!

In life, anything is possible. Never give up. Never give in. And always keep pushing forward.

Coach Stefan Rudolph


Some slight edits may have been to the original copy due to grammatical errors, length, and/or for clarity. 

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Member Spotlight | Let’s HIIT It! Part 2

Member Spotlight | Let’s HIIT It! Part 2

“Challenge yourself, anything’s possible.”

Ed B.

HIIT by LAF® Member

I want to share my experience with my fitness journey at LAF to hopefully motivate and inspire all those who may be struggling to meet their fitness goals. I also want to show that anything is possible if you put your mind to it!

My story is divided into two parts. The 1st part (read here) focused on my fitness training and the second part is focusing on my experience with the HIIT by LAF® program.

I’m 67 years old. I’ve had a history of knee issues and a partial knee replacement on my right knee.

When I decided to resurrect my fitness journey at LA Fitness, my main goal was to get my legs/knees back in shape. So, I decided to get a personal trainer to assist me to achieve that goal. That is when I met Lauren H. (HIIT by LAF® trainer).

It has been 15 months since I started training. I couldn’t get off the floor without some assistance or go up and down stairs very easily. It took about 9 months to get my legs/knees back in shape. Now I’m pain-free. I don’t have to get injections in my knees or take any medications.

My success comes from Lauren’s leadership and months of hard work on my behalf. My flexibility, strength, mobility, and stamina have improved dramatically. I no longer need assistance getting up off the floor and I can go up and down stairs without any problems. As I continue to get stronger, Lauren brings on new challenges.

Lauren has taught me the following:

  1. Challenge yourself.
  2. Never give up.
  3. Nothing is impossible.
  4. Work hard.
  5. Practice the power of positivity. (Still working on this!)
  6. Set a few short- and long-term goals, then crush them.
  7. Believe in yourself.
  8. Nutrition and caloric intake (still working on this too!) This continues to be a hard one for me! I need to find an easy way to prepare nutritious food without the fuss.
My Journey with HIIT by LAF®

Last October I had the opportunity to take a free HIIT by LAF® class. I was amazed at how I was able to get through it. So, I decided to join. It’s been 6 months since my HIIT journey began and I just moved up to my third HIIT level which is silver. The other amazing thing is that I continue to always finish with the most MEP’s (My Effort Points) and the most calories burned at the end of each HIIT Class. HIIT continues to be a great way to relieve stress for me as well!

In the floor portion of HIIT, if I have difficulty with an exercise there’s always an alternative exercise available. In the cardio portion, I switch off between bike and rower since I can’t have high-impact on my knees.

I recently signed up to participate in a 90-minute HIIT challenge. On the day of the challenge, I was nervous and asked myself why I did this because I am usually gassed after a 50-minute HIIT class. After numerous texts back and forth with my personal trainer Lauren, who is always focusing on the positives, I settled down. Then it was HIIT time.

Once the HIIT challenge began, the only thing that I was focused on was HIIT. I not only successfully finished the 90-minute challenge, but I won it. It would have been a huge accomplishment for me to just finish the 90-minute marathon, but winning the challenge meant anything is possible. It was like winning an Olympic Gold medal.

Special Acknowledgements

A special thank you to Michaelangelo for generating lots of energy to get all of us to finish strong. Michaelangelo, you kicked all our booties as well! You’re awesome! From not being able to get off the floor to finishing/winning the 90-minute HIIT challenge and always finishing on top of the pack after each HIIT class. Wow! This continues to be surreal to me!

I’m being told that my success in HIIT is also motivating and inspiring other HIIT members. I’m really honored to have such an Impact!

My next HIIT challenge will be to “HIIT” the gold level in 6 months. Beyond that, platinum, which will take 1 year. My ultimate goal is to be the first 70-year-old to make it to the HIIT Hall of Fame (HOF) level by 2021.

I’m blessed to have Lauren H. as my personal trainer. I couldn’t have done it without her expertise. Lauren is truly the master of her craft. Lauren motivates, inspires, and brings out the best in her clients. Lauren may be small in stature but can kick your booty! I forgot to mention that Lauren is the “Master of Pain” as well!  I continue to work with Lauren to keep my legs/knees strong and work on getting the rest of my body in shape.

Ed’s Advice for Others Out There

Finally, find out what works best for you! Challenge yourself and work hard and never give up – You can reach your fitness goals too! I’m proof of that! I’m on the wildest fitness journey of my life! The combination of a personal trainer and HIIT has worked miracles for me. I look at this as an investment in my health. HIIT wouldn’t have been possible without Lauren’s expertise and my dedication to work hard.

From the start of my journey, Lauren already knew what end results were possible. I was the skeptical one!

Thank you, Lauren! Thanks to all the personal training and HIIT coaches at the LA Fitness Tinley Park location! I’m also friends with a few of them. I also made friends with many of the HIIT members too!

I wish you all the best on achieving whatever goals you set!

Remember, you’re never too old to “HIIT” it!

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Member Spotlight | From Overweight to Underweight to Just Right

Member Spotlight | From Overweight to Underweight to Just Right

“The one piece of advice that I would offer others during their journey is that EVERY DAY counts. Take on each day better than the last and with time, effort, and faith, you will achieve amazing things. You don’t have to master it all in one day.”

Courtney C.

LA Fitness Member

I struggled with my weight up until I was 20 years old. I was overweight for most of it and wanted to change. I didn’t start my diet the right way, I was just starving myself for hours and hours at a time, eating the minimal number of calories and doing excessive amounts of cardio. All I wanted was to be skinny, even if I was unhappy because I couldn’t eat a lot.

Now, being skinny is not the goal. Being healthy is the goal. I do cardio a few times a week, lift six times a week, and eat a lot. I eat all healthy and organic things, constantly making sure I am meeting all my goals carbs, proteins, and fats.

I don’t want to be starving, I want to be healthy, energized, and happy and that’s what I’ve become. Thank you for letting me share my story. 

Current Goals:

  • Currently, I am trying to increase my physical strength by eating a caloric surplus and pushing myself harder and harder every single day in the gym. I am also working on my flexibility and endurance. 

Follow on Social:

  • You can follow Courtney’s fitness journey on Instagram at: _courtneyclarkfitness_ 

Some slight edits may have been made for grammatical reasons and/or clarity. 

When Courtney was considered overweight. (June 2013)

When Courtney was considered underweight. (June 2016)

Courtney at a healthy and fit weight. (January 2019)

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