Member Spotlight | From Skinny to Strong

Member Spotlight | From Skinny to Strong

“The best way to achieve fitness goals is to find a mentor who has a passion [for] fitness who can keep you motivated. If you are just starting out, it is great to find someone who started where you are and has made improvements. If you have been working out for a while and want to get to that next level of peak shape, find someone who has that similar shape.”

Caleb B.

LA Fitness Member

Before: January 2014

Current Fitness Goals 

My current fitness goals are focused on reaching my ideal weight of 155 lbs. My areas of focus are mastering squats and increasing the size of my arms and legs.

Training Influence 

The facilities at LA Fitness have made my workouts more efficient. I am able to access the equipment that I want to use even when I work out at peak times. I also have also learned from other LA Fitness members and gained lifting experiences that have helped me make progress toward my goals.

Caleb’s Story 

In my senior year of college, while I was still living in Boston, I was looking for a better gym that had all the equipment and weights that I needed. I had tried so many gyms before I became an LA Fitness member. After a week trial at LA Fitness, I decided to sign up. LA Fitness has taken my fitness lifestyle to the next level. Every day after school or work, I would drive to LA Fitness to work out. Sometimes it would take over an hour if I hit bad traffic. LA Fitness provides all the equipment and weights that I was looking for. It helps me lift heavier and achieve my fitness goals. When I relocated to Springfield, I was happy to find another LA Fitness. It had the same high-level facilities. Currently, I usually work out five to six days a week. I like working on a single muscle each day. I have put on a few pounds of muscle since I started to work out at LA Fitness. I am so happy with the changes over these past few months and I am still going. For my diet routine, I consume a lot of protein and carbs every day and drink more than a gallon of water. I usually have a protein shake after I work out. Having enough protein helps my muscle recover faster and maximize my muscle growth. 


After: February 2018

After: February 2018

After: February 2018

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Member Spotlight | Have You Ever Asked Yourself, “What’s Next?”

Member Spotlight | Have You Ever Asked Yourself, “What’s Next?”

I remember finishing my residency, getting my first job, and asking myself “what next?” I had accomplished my goal of becoming a medical doctor but along the way, I picked up habits like stress eating and bad sleep hygiene. I started medical school at a size 0 and was now a size 12. For me, my weight was a reminder that I placed other things before my health in order to achieve my goals. I couldn’t think of anything I wanted more than to change my lifestyle. I craved work-life balance. I wanted to have energy, and not by being laden with caffeine, but by being well rested. I wanted to be able to run to an emergency without feeling like I was having an asthma attack. I wanted to look in the mirror and see a woman who practiced what she preached.

So, I joined LA Fitness as an investment in myself. My initial progress was slow. I was always apprehensive of going to the gym and embarrassing myself because I didn’t know how to use the machines. I decided to join the training program for additional help. I met my trainer Ryan in 2016. I made an awful first impression by kicking him in the crotch after he asked me to do a high kick. I believe that’s the only time he has asked me to do that particular exercise. However, over time, we found our groove and dubbed ourselves #TeamRymo.

Left: Pro Results® Personal Trainer Ryan F. Right: Omosede I., LAF Member

Having a trainer basically changed my fitness journey. All of a sudden, I was half of a partnership. I got a roadmap. I got instructions. I got structure. Most of all, I got support. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Working 12-hour night shifts, means that some days, I am low on energy and motivation. Ryan has always been understanding in this regard and has been flexible with my goals and helping them fit my lifestyle.

Its inspiring to see results. My initial goals were to look healthy and work on my endurance. However, I’ve also gained strength, knowledge, and confidence.

My first piece of advice to people looking to change their lifestyle is “know thyself.” I don’t think there is one formula, or one diet that works for everyone. I think success comes when you figure out what works for you. For me, having a trainer works because it takes the stress out of having to figure everything out by myself. I like being part of the “trainees” because I’ve been able to work out with some of them, and I enjoy the sense of community. Honestly, it keeps me from slacking off because I’m being held accountable.

Secondly, “love thyself.” I had to recognize that hating my body wasn’t helping me. I decided to love the body that I am in right now. I still have to squint pretty hard before I can see a “sliver” of abs on my torso and even then, the light from the window has to hit me the right way. The body I envision isn’t here yet but as long as I’m doing my best, then it’s okay. I’m working on changing my mindset. For instance, instead of thinking of dieting as being restrictive, I’ve decided to think of it as putting good things into my body. Instead of thinking of exercise as being bothersome, I’ve decided to view it as being essential.

Last of all, “we are made for now, not tomorrow.” I’m trying to learn to live in the moment. So, do what you can today. It all adds up, even if it feels like it’s little.

April 2016

January 2017

January 2018

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Member Spotlight | It’s Worth It

Member Spotlight | It’s Worth It

I moved to Florida from Iowa a year ago. I had really let myself go, health-wise. I was tired of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin and knew, as a nurse, I had to take care of myself. That’s when I joined LA Fitness. At first, I felt really intimidated being at the gym. I started lifting and mixed cardio into my routine. Before I knew it, I was losing weight. A year later, I’m down 45 pounds and feeling great. If I could give others a simple piece of advice I would say this: It’s not easy. We all have to start somewhere and you’re going to have to push yourself hard. Don’t give up and know that it will take time! It will be worth it in the end, trust me.

Ashley L.

LA Fitness Member

Before: November 2017

After: August 2018

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Exercising During Cold and Flu Season

Exercising During Cold and Flu Season

We are in the midst of cold and flu season. Have you taken the precautionary measures to avoid headaches and runny noses looming in every office building, school classroom and store this season?

We spoke with Chris McGilmer, MD, a sports and family medicine specialist at the Kaiser Permanente North Hollywood Medical Offices, who gave his expert advice on how to best protect the immune system this season and whether or not it’s okay to work out when sick.

This is what he shared:

How does exercise support our immune health?

Exercise, along with other healthy habits, can help strengthen our immune system. A healthy immune system protects us from infection and disease, including the viruses that cause colds and flu.

Some research has found that people who exercise regularly are less prone to illness because they have a better immune system response. Plus, exercise can help us manage stress and reduce the release of stress-related hormones. This is important because stress can be detrimental to our immune function. Other studies have found that exercise can help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways – thus reducing our risk of respiratory illness – and that exercise can boost our number of infection-fighting white blood cells.

Is it okay to work out when you’re sick? When is it safe to exercise?

Exercise is recommended as long as your illness is mild and feel well enough to work out. For example, most people who have a common cold or mild upper respiratory symptoms, like a stuffed or runny nose, are generally able to work out. You’ll very likely have to lower the intensity and you’ll definitely need to monitor your heart rate and breathing. Certain decongestants and cold medications can increase the heart rate. Although some individuals with asthma and other chronic respiratory health conditions can exercise without any issues, it’s best that they reach out to their doctor to see if they can continue being physically active while they are sick.

Please keep in mind that overexertion can make you feel worse and slow down your recovery.

When are you too sick to work out? When is exercise not recommended?

If you’re experiencing a fever of 101.5 degrees or more, body aches, congestion, gastrointestinal issues, or feeling weakness, please wait a few days before working out. Also, drink plenty of fluids while you’re recovering to avoid dehydration both while you’re sick and when you return to your fitness regimen.

When is it okay to return to your exercise routine?

Typically, it’s okay to return to your exercise routine 48 hours after a fever has broken or diarrhea or vomiting has stopped. Your best gauge is your overall well-being. If you feel good, great. If your body is telling you to take another day off, listen to it!


Can you really sweat out a cold?

No. Sweating methods, such as a sauna or steam room, inhaling warm steam and exercise can provide temporary relief by relieving nasal congestion and loosening up mucus, but they will not shorten your recovery time. It normally takes seven to 10 days to fully recover from a common cold. If you choose to incorporate a “sweat out method” as part of your treatment plan, drink plenty of fluids and be on the lookout for possible signs of dehydration. When you sweat, you not only release water; you also release electrolytes.


Prevention Tips
  1. Get an annual flu shot. This is your best line of defense.
  2. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Our immune system needs a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals to function well.
  3. Get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep has been linked to a weakened immune system.
  4. Wash your hands constantly. A 20-second wash with soap and warm water is the best, but if water isn’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  5. Avoid touching your face. The most common way germs get into the body is via the face.
  6. Manage your stress levels. Chronic stress can increase your risk of illness.
  7. Avoid overtraining and exerting your body. Listen to your body and give it time to recover.
  8. If you exercise in a gym or fitness club, sanitize the equipment before and after your workout to minimize the spread of germs.

Content contributed by Chris McGilmer, MD, a sports and family medicine specialist at the Kaiser Permanente North Hollywood Medical Offices. 

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Member Spotlight | Meet Elite Fitness Athlete, Matt Harrison

Member Spotlight | Meet Elite Fitness Athlete, Matt Harrison

My Name is Matt Harrison. Six months ago, I set out to accomplish something I once considered impossible, now I am an Elite athlete.

Late 2017, at 34 years old, I found myself divorced, out of shape and satisfied with a familiar routine. I lacked hobbies, goals, and ambition. I didn’t know the feeling of pushing past my comfort zone. Life was passing me by. Feeling lost and alone, I turned to a friend who offered some wise words. He said, “Quit being a victim.” Through self-reflection, I realized the influence fear and doubt had on my daily decision-making. I was afraid to do anything unfamiliar or uncomfortable. More importantly-I was afraid to fail, afraid to lead, and afraid to strive for greatness. This realization awoke a burning desire to follow my passion and pursue fitness as a professional athlete.

This started with 3 commitments to myself:

  1. Be honest in personal assessments.
  2. Holding myself accountable.
  3. Surround myself with a positive community.

I competed in my first Spartan Race early March 2018. Starting training3 weeks prior, I had never run a race before, let alone 15 miles with obstacles. I was nervous and apprehensive to register for my first race but felt the time had come to face my fears and grow. My first race was a rude awakening. Lacking the strength and conditioning to complete the course at an elite level, I made a commitment to seek coaching and train harder every single day until my goal is reached. With a renewed perspective, I applied myself to the sport more than anything before. I no longer had the mindset of trying, but instead found the will to do what it takes, for as long as it takes.

In searching for coaches and accountability, I found much more. I found community and friends who took a serious interest in my success. I recognized limited beliefs that were keeping me from achieving my goals. I discovered friendships, family, and support when just a few months prior I felt alone and aimless. I learned to appreciate the journey and live in the moment. In the past 6 months, I climbed my first mountain, accomplished the largest elevation gain hike in North America, summited 11 peaks in under 24 hours and competed in 7 Spartan races finishing with2 Spartan podiums and qualifying for the 2018 Spartan Race World Championship.

I train hard as if I am the best in the world. At times I’m doubtful, tired, sore and even discouraged, but with a supportive team and my new-found mindset, I’ll never quit and continue to grow. Now 7 races into my Spartan career with an opportunity to race for the World Championship in September, I find myself in a position I could not have dreamed for myself just 6 months ago. Aside from physical strength and conditioning, I gained mental strength, wisdom, and relationships. Through fitness, I’m learning to live, love and appreciate the moment. Through fitness, I am taking back the reigns of my destiny.

To find out more about Matt’s story, check out our podcast episode How to Train Like an Elite Athlete, here.

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