Member Spotlight | A Father and Daughter Unstoppable Duo

Member Spotlight | A Father and Daughter Unstoppable Duo

“My basic goal is to keep fit and above ground as long as possible so I can enjoy Wednesday spin classes with my daughter! Exercise and good nutrition are the keys for a long and healthy life.” 

Peter B.

LAF Member

Current Fitness Goals

Kathryn B.: Now that I’m retired from the world of professional cycling, I still continue to keep fit on a regular basis but with a lot less intensity & racing! I ride 3 days a week, do yoga 3 days a week, and I always leave the door open to mix it up and go hiking, swimming, running, lifting, etc.

Every Wednesday, my dad and I meet for Cycle Zone spin class at LA Fitness in Tucson (East). We call it Spin n’ Din… we work out then grab dinner. It’s a highlight of my week to do spin class with my dad, who is 82. Our instructor Lainna is great and we’ve become friends with “the regulars” in the class.

My dad is too humble to admit it, but he inspires a lot of people in the class. They’re motivated that someone in their 80s is there working out with them. I’m inspired too. It brings a smile to us all when he calls out “whoop! whoop!” and sings along with the hip-hop workout music. It makes me laugh every time he sings along!

It’s also such a great message that his presence imparts on us – it doesn’t matter how old you are or how fast or slow you go. Fitness is all about showing up, pushing your personal limits on your own terms and doing what you can. My dad proves that by being there. Being able to work out with my dad absolutely makes my day. 


Peter B.: My basic goal is to keep fit and above ground as long as possible, so I can enjoy Wednesday spin classes with my daughter! Exercise and good nutrition are the keys for a long and healthy life. Less stress will also help one along the way.

How has personal training impacted or changed your fitness routine?

Kathryn B.: Now retired from two decades as a pro athlete – triathlon & cycling – I no longer use a personal trainer, but I do keep tabs on the latest fitness advances. The personal trainers at LA Fitness are always engaged, upbeat & knowledgeable. It’s great to see them working with clients of all ages and abilities.


Peter B.: I have not utilized personal trainers but would recommend one to those initially embarking on an exercise program. I have observed the trainers at LA Fitness and note their high qualifications as well as attentiveness to clients. For those seeking competitive training, I would encourage them to look into The Leukemia Society’s Team in Training program. They train you over four months to participate in an endurance event of your choice, providing excellent training schedules, advice and group/team support along the way. One’s competition is oneself, to maintain training and discipline and to go the distance. It is open to anyone of any fitness level and with a charitable purpose as well. I benefited from and greatly enjoyed this program for many years, beginning in my youth (age 66).

 

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

Kathryn B.: When it comes to fitness and workouts, my advice is to try everything once so you know what’s out there! Whether it’s spin class or Zumba® [class] or pick-up basketball or swimming, I encourage you to step outside [your] comfort zone and try everything once! If you’re used to going to the gym alone, try a class. If you always take classes, try a one-on-one personal training session or use a cardio machine that you’ve never touched before. I think it’s really healthy to mix things up and try something new.


Peter B.: I would direct my comments to those who have heart issues or wish to avoid them. Had I not been very fit ten years ago when I barely escaped cardiac arrest after a buggy (virus) ate at my heart, I wouldn’t be here now. Had I not engaged upon a regular and moderate exercise regimen during my recovery, I wouldn’t be doing so now. My advice: get off the couch and get the heart pumping each day mixing strength and aerobic training. Personally, I prefer the Erg (rowing – gets 70% of body muscle and is very aerobic), swimming and cycling; all smooth and easy on old bones.

Also recommended for all is a book entitled “Younger Next Year” which provides great motivation and understandable medical/physiological information on how and why exercise and nutrition act positively on one’s body, right down to the cells. It explains how ten years can be added to one’s life. Again, get off the couch and go for it!

Social Handles:

  • Twitter/Facebook: @kathrynbertine & @pbertinesr  
  • Instagram: @Kathryn_Bertine

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Member Spotlight | Competing in an NPC Bikini Competition 6 Months After Giving Birth

Member Spotlight | Competing in an NPC Bikini Competition 6 Months After Giving Birth

“Nothing worth having ever comes easy. There will be obstacles, nay-sayers and failures but with hard work and persistency success is possible.”

Nastassja W.

LAF Member

My name is Nastassja Williams. I switched over to LA Fitness from another big box gym after feeling ashamed and embarrassed after losing a lot of weight, only to gain it back a few months later. I was looking for a fresh start and LA Fitness was the perfect fit. I trained here in preparation for my wedding last year and for my entire pregnancy up until the day I gave birth. I like to think that staying active helped with my speedy 2.5-hour labor and delivery.

During pregnancy, even with working out and eating clean, I still gained 40 lbs. and was at my heaviest at 193 lbs.

After giving birth, I was determined to not only “get my body back” but to feel good inside and out and set an example for my daughters. I trained hard every day waking up at 4 am. In addition to being a full-time nurse practitioner, I am a wife and also the mother of a teenage daughter and newborn.

I am proud to say that I am 6 months postpartum, down 67 lbs., and have just competed in my first NPC bikini competition. The outpouring of love from family, friends, co-workers, strangers and postpartum mommies has been overwhelming and humbling. 

I feel so compelled to share my story and let people know that anything is possible. I remember standing in the mirror one-week postpartum thinking that this would never be possible.

The most rewarding moment came last week when my teenage daughter woke up at 4 am and asked if she could join me at the gym then afterward said she had a good time and could we do it again. Now that moment right there made the ENTIRE journey worth it and I had the best workout ever.

My goal in life is to uplift and inspire the most important girls in my life – my daughters.

My fitness goal initially was to hit my pregnancy weight, then it changed to my ideal body weight of which I have now surpassed by 4 lbs. 

My fitness goal now is to maintain. We all know that losing it is far easier than keeping it off. I try to set periodic goals for myself to prevent complacency. I have always wanted to participate in a triathlon.  I plan to train for all aspects of that at LA Fitness. 

My advice would be that nothing worth having ever comes easy. There will be obstacles, naysayers, and failures but with hard work and persistence, success is possible. 

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


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Member Spotlight | Change Your Outlook, Change Your Life

Member Spotlight | Change Your Outlook, Change Your Life

“Life is full of hard times. You can either stay [on] that path or you can learn from it and [rise] above it. Don’t let life throw you a curve ball without knocking it out of the park.”

Wendy Z.

LA Fitness Pro Results Member

I am thankful for the staff and trainers at LA Fitness. They are always so encouraging and friendly every time I visit.

I am 45 years old and last May I went through a very tough divorce. That is when I decided to change my life. I started to focus on self-love and what makes me happy. The first thing that I did was move to Florida, and I absolutely have loved living here. Then, I joined LA Fitness after a friend recommended it to me. 

When I first started, I could barely do 15 minutes of walking on the treadmill. Now I am known as the dancing queen because I put on music and dance on the treadmill. 

Now, my routine is 30 minutes on the treadmill and 30 minutes on the weight machines. 

I have also changed the way I eat. I have become a vegetarian and cut out meat from my diet, and after doing so it’s given me so much more energy. So far, I have lost 85 pounds and I feel fantastic. I continue to lose weight and have shifted my focus to toning my muscles. I have inspired many of my friends and family to also take steps to a healthy lifestyle and they have also joined the gym. 

My advice to everyone is this: Life is full of hard times. You can either stay on that path or you can learn from it and rise above it. Don’t let life throw you a curveball without knocking it out of the park. 

Some slight grammatical corrections have been made to the original testimonial. 

The motivation and determination [have] to start within yourself first and follow through with it and not give up. We are here just to help guide our clients and see them through, but the fire to do so must come from inside yourself.

Sharon Read

Pro Results® Personal Trainer, LA Fitness

Wendy Z. and LA Fitness Pro Results® Trainer Sharon Read.


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Do You Have High Blood Pressure? Find Out with This New Online Interactive Tool

Do You Have High Blood Pressure? Find Out with This New Online Interactive Tool

Nearly half of the adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. This means that you or someone close to you has a blood pressure reading at 130/80 or higher.

It wasn’t always this way – just a couple of years ago 1 in 3 Americans had high blood pressure instead of nearly 1 in 2.

So why the change? Does this mean we’re getting less healthy?

It’s quite the opposite. Based on years of scientific study, the change means we’re actually more aware of the effects of elevated blood pressure.

Two years ago, the definition of high blood pressure changed from 140/90 to 130/80 (technically 130+ or 80+, but we’re keeping it simple here). The result is that more people became classified as having high blood pressure. It doesn’t mean that thousands of people became ill overnight, though. It means we want people to know that high blood pressure is serious, and that it can begin damaging your blood vessels and organs at lower levels than previously thought, particularly if you don’t act to keep your numbers from rising.

It’s worth noting that blood pressure tends to rise naturally as we age, so it typically hasn’t been on the health radar for people under age 45. However, with the new definition, an important health alert was sent to people in their 20s and 30s to pay attention to their blood pressure levels. Among men aged 20 -44, the rate of high blood pressure nearly tripled. Among women in that age range, it doubled.

The American Heart Association has created an interactive tool that can help you not only identify your health risk according to your blood pressure level, but also provide notes on what actions you can take to ensure it stays at, or gets to, a healthy level. You can check it out at www.heart.org/BPlevels.

Making changes that matter can have a significant impact on your blood pressure levels. In fact, most of those who suddenly find themselves with high blood pressure under the new definition will be given a “prescription” for lifestyle changes – not medicine – that can lower their pressure.  Even for those who do require medication to control their levels, lifestyle changes help those meds work better and can even help you stay on lower doses. Some examples of a lifestyle change prescription include:

Physical activity:

  • 90 – 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity can drop your top blood pressure number (called systolic pressure) by 5-8 mmHg.
  • 90 – 150 minutes per week of dynamic resistance exercise can drop your systolic blood pressure 4 mmHg

 A healthy diet:

  • Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, such as the DASH eating plan can drop your systolic pressure up to 11 mmHg.

 Sodium (i.e. salt):

  • Reducing your salt intake by about 1000 mg per day has a similar effect on systolic pressure as increasing aerobic activity – dropping it about 5 mmHg.

 Weight loss:

  • For about every 2 pounds lost, your systolic pressure could drop 1 mmHg.

The benefits of lifestyle change can add up quickly. Many of the same lifestyle prescriptions that lower blood pressure also reduce the risk of other dangerous conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular physical activity can help you lead a healthier and longer life!

Article contributed by Sondra DePalma, DHSc, PA-C, Cardiology, PinnacleHealth Cardiovascular Institute, Harrisburg, PA

American Heart Association Volunteer

Disclaimer: Some slight edits may have been made to the article’s original copy for grammatical reasons and/or clarity. 


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Super Snacking Guide

Super Snacking Guide

Eating healthy between meals is easier than you think! LA Fitness registered dietitian, Debbie James, offers solutions to common obstacles for snacking right with ideas for on-the-go snacks and overall tips.

How Fitness Improved My Mental Health

How Fitness Improved My Mental Health

“If you have a mental health condition, you’re not alone. One in 5 American adults experiences some form of mental illness in any given year. Every year people overcome the challenges of mental illness to do the things they enjoy. Through developing and following a treatment plan, you can dramatically reduce many of your symptoms. People with mental health conditions can and do pursue higher education, succeed in their careers, make friends and have relationships. Mental illness can slow us down, but we don’t need to let it stop us.”

Rachel Robins

Manager of PR and External Relations at NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with two things in life: my weight and my mental health.  

After moving from New Jersey to Florida at seven years old, I started seeing a mental health professional. I was labeled as the new girl, a title I’m not sure I’ve shed; always struggling to fit in and be accepted. That summer, my dad drove my brother and I to camp, and he had to drag me out of the car. Once I was out, I would throw myself on the ground stomping my feet on the pavement not caring who saw my temper tantrum. You could say I didn’t adjust well to the “Sunshine State.”   

In third grade, I remember getting on the scale at school and seeing a three-digit number and then hearing that number repeated down the hall.  

My pediatrician suggested attending his weekend fitness class. It was the exact opposite of what I wanted to do on a Saturday. I hated sweating. It was sticky, hot, smelly and uncomfortable. If working out equaled sweat, I wanted nothing to do with it. This is why physical education class and recess was a miserable experience for me. The Florida sun ensured I was always sweaty. And on top of it, I was the slowest runner and always got picked last. I become constantly worried that I would disappoint my team or the other kids would laugh at me.  

At the time, I didn’t understand the pit in my stomach wasn’t just hunger—it was anxiety. I was afraid of being different. Anxious thoughts would flood my mind. “What would people say about my weight?” “How am I ever going to fit in?” “Why don’t I look more like everyone else?”  

For the rest of my childhood and college years, I associated fitness with anxiety. I was also simultaneously struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. These factors led me to avoid exercise entirely. Little did I know how big of a role fitness was going to play in my battle against mental illness.  

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Fitness Helped Me Cope  

When I was 29, I made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and work out at least four to five times a week. For me to finally reach my weight goal, I had to squash my body insecurities and reverse how I felt towards fitness. I was doing quite well with both goals up until June. That’s when the depression crept in. I was still reeling from a breakup months past. I turned 30, an age I had been dreading for the past decade. I was unemployed. Curled up in a ball, I would cry and think it would be easier for everyone if I wasn’t there. I wanted the pain to stop.  

I wanted more control over my own life. No matter how many positions I applied for, I couldn’t control which companies would interview me or offer me a job. Nor could I make my former boyfriend love and care about me. But I had the power to decide if I worked out that day. So, I made a promise with myself. “Rachel, if you leave your apartment and go to a fitness class, then you can mope and feel sorry about yourself the rest of the day.”  

As much as I dislike the actual act of working out, I always left the gym in a better mood. I felt accomplished in that moment and not like the “loser” I had become in my mind. In the face of adversity, I was doing something, even if it took every ounce of energy to get myself there. The endorphins kept me going during those dark days.  

Now, I have a job and am grateful to have somewhere to go every day. I’m still not over my breakup and there are days where I have no idea what my purpose in life is. I’m nowhere near where I expected to be at this stage of my life, but I’m finally willing to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. 

My fitness renaissance has led to me rock climbing, surfing on the Atlantic Ocean, stand-up paddle boarding on the Hudson River and doing yoga in the middle of Times Square. I’m still insecure. I still battle my mental illnesses daily. But now the gym is my haven—a place where I am a superhero—a place that saved my life.  

Visit nami.org for additional treatment options and to learn how to find support in your community. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7 or text NAMI to 741-741. 

Rachel Robins is the Manager of PR and External Relations at NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. A new resident of Washington D.C., but a Southerner at heart, you can probably find her at the local barre (class).  

Disclaimer: Slight edits may have been made to original copy for grammatical corrections and/or clarity. 

 

Surf Photo – October 2016

Hike Photo – November 2017

Infographic provided by NAMI. 


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