Instructor Spotlight | Practice What You Preach

Instructor Spotlight | Practice What You Preach

Before I was an instructor, I ran a daycare business from my own home. I had such a great time raising my own kids that I wanted to continue doing what I loved and luckily started a business out of it.

When my dad reached his 50th birthday, he was diagnosed with Diabetes. It was heartbreaking to hear. A while later, my eldest brother was also diagnosed with Diabetes when he reached his 50s. This was a wakeup call to me and the rest of my family. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet was not something that my family was accustomed to.

When I first started out, losing weight for me was very difficult. After having 3 children, the weight would just come back any time after seeming to make a little progress with weight loss. Naturally, this became very frustrating for me. In 2010, my husband and I made a commitment to educate ourselves on nutrition, diet, and exercise. We researched everything we could on the internet and even started going to our local gym together. We became so addicted to this lifestyle that we were going to the gym 6-7 days a week for 2-3 hours a day. After some time, I started seeing results again, only this time things were different. I was able to lose weight and keep the weight from coming back. I realized that before, my results were poor because I wasn’t properly educated on proper dieting and exercise.

I think a main reason why people fail in their fitness goals is because they are misinformed. Everyone’s body is different, and therefore everyone’s plan should be different. I want to show and teach people that they can get the body they want if they take the time to learn about the diet and exercise that is right for them. In addition to that, I want to show people that making these changes to their lifestyle can make them more confident and ultimately bring more happiness into their lives. This was when I knew I had a passion for teaching.

Teaching was a natural career transition for me. I had a thirst for knowledge when it came to diet and exercise. I also love to dance and interact with people. Before I became an instructor, I attended many different conferences and certification courses. I wanted to learn as much as I could so that I could share the information with others.

I got my start at LA Fitness a couple years ago through a friend of mine who got me an audition as a Zumba® Instructor. I am so thankful for that reference because it has opened so many doors for me in the past couple of years. Not only do I teach Zumba®, but I also run boot camps and Aqua Fit workouts now.

At the end of the day, I feel very blessed to be where I am. I LOVE what I do and hope that people can feel that when they attend my classes.

– Marilou E., LAF Group Fitness Instructor

Q: What are your current health and fitness goals?

My short-term fitness and health goals involve me getting as many people as I can to be excited about exercising. I’m a huge believer in spreading positive energy and getting people motivated to make healthy lifestyle changes. That type of energy/motivation can be infectious.

For the long-term, my goal is to maintain a healthy, happy and balanced lifestyle for myself. I’d like to teach for a long time, so I need to stay as healthy and happy as possible to do so.

Q: How has instructing helped shape/change your fitness lifestyle?

Instructing has definitely shaped my fitness lifestyle in a positive way. I’m a huge advocate of practicing what I preach. If I’m going to advise students to exercise, eat healthy and drink plenty of water (6-8 glasses) then I absolutely must do the same. Before I even got into instructing, I really enjoyed living a healthy lifestyle – teaching became a very natural transition for me because of that.

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

Living healthy and happy isn’t for everyone, and that’s OK. My only advice would be for people to give it a try.

Member Testimonials

Marilou has changed my life and many others in the most positive ways.

As a 54-year-old woman, I came to Marilou’s class with some problem areas that I would like to work on. Marilou immediately assessed my issues and told me to commit to coming to her class twice a week along with my weekly class routine.

Almost 5 months later I am a changed person for the better. Not only am I sooooo happy because I am seeing results that hard work and dedication can accomplish but I am drinking more water, I am standing proud, I laugh, I listen, and when I do things now I say to myself CHECK ME OUT. Marilou has been the nurturing force behind all of these things I have accomplished.

Everyone wants to be around her due to her infectious personality. She explains the correct form and corrects us to do so. She explains nutrition. She laughs a lot and everyone loves it. She has changed the way I think. I like what I am seeing and am so proud of myself for getting there.

Her classes have doubled in size due to everyone wanting to be inspired by Marilou’s wonderful way of feeling good about yourself. I love going to her classes. I am not turning back as I know how hard it was to get here.

I not only think Marilou is one of the most knowledgeable instructors but I consider her a friend. I met so many new friends in her classes that all are inspired by her wonderful way of teaching. I told her I’m hanging a picture of her on my refrigerator as a reminder of all the things she taught me and how I love the transportation I am seeing when I look in the mirror.

Ann G.

LA Fitness Member

My experience in Marilou’s class has been nothing short of fantastic! She is very genuine when it comes to making sure we understand what it is that she is trying to show/ teach us. She is a very motivated individual that knows how to get myself and the class energized and ready for the class. For myself personally, the class and Marilou has made my fitness journey very enjoyable.

Zoe Y.

LA Fitness Member

Marilou is the best instructor! I have been attending Marilou’s bootcamp classes for over a year now. I notice my strength and flexibility increased and even my friends and family are impressed with the outcome. I never attended a fitness class before hers. Marilou inspires me to attend twice a week. She has an unstoppable enthusiasm that helps carry you through the entire hour. She is attentive to the newbies and the seasoned workout junkies. She takes time to ensure proper form and follow through on each exercise during and after the class. Her bigheartedness and carefree laughter are extremely welcoming and make me feel that I accomplished a great workout and I look forward to the next one.

Fay D.

LA Fitness Member

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Member Spotlight | Longest Triathlon in the World: Miami Local Crushes Guinness World Record

Member Spotlight | Longest Triathlon in the World: Miami Local Crushes Guinness World Record

This article was originally posted on PR Newswire. All news and content provided by Anthony DeNito and Jon Gudmundsson of Wheel Heroes.

MIAMIAug. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Miami’s Jon Eggert Gudmundsson breaks the Guinness World Record for the longest triathlon to bring attention to Wheel Heroes, a charity which provides specialty bikes to children with disabilities.

WHAT: Jon Gudmundsson has crushed the Guinness World Record for the Longest Triathlon. The current record is 3,762 miles. Jon will complete 4,847 miles of Running, Cycling and Swimming.

WHO: Jon Eggert Gudmundsson is called “The Viking” by locals. In 2006, he became the only person to walk the circumference of Iceland – 2,300 miles in five months. In 2016, he became the only person to cycle the same route.

Several years ago, Jon’s car broke down and he decided that he didn’t really need to drive anymore. So he left the car and started cycling everywhere he went. He often participates in cycling events around Florida. He rides to the events, participates in the events, then he cycles home, often taking the scenic route.

Jon loves cycling and feels that all children, even those with disabilities, should experience that same joy. “It gives them independence, exercise and the therapy they need.” His mission during his record attempt is to draw attention to the Wheel Heroes charity which provides specialty bikes to children with disabilities. Donations to Wheel Heroes can be made at

WHEN: Jon has already passed the Guinness World Record and will continue to add miles until his final date of Aug. 26, 2018, at the LA Fitness swimming pool at 20505 S Dixie Hwy., Cutler Bay, FL 33189 at 3 p.m.

WHERE: Jon will complete the last mile in the LA Fitness swimming pool at 20505 S Dixie Hwy., Cutler Bay, FL 33189 at Aug. 26, 2018, at 3 p.m.

Image provided by Wheel Heroes.


Anthony DeNito: 305-323-5195,

Wheel Heroes Inc. is a Non-Profit charity 501(c)(3)

Anthony DeNito



SOURCE Wheel Heroes

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Member Spotlight | The Ring

Member Spotlight | The Ring

Before – April 2017

After – November 2017

By the time I turned 50 years old, I had worked hard, raised 3 great kids and enjoyed 28 years with my wife. My family always came first. My focus was on them and on trying to be the best dad I could be in order to provide for my family. That meant I came last. I didn’t take care of myself; I ate fast food between meetings and didn’t exercise. My stress increased. I gained weight and had some bad habits that affected my health and well-being. I knew I could exercise and eat better, but it was not a high-enough priority…until that day in August of 2016. It was the day I had to take off my wedding ring for the first time in 23 years because my ring finger turned blue. I got it off, but could not put it back on – no matter how much I tried.

I had grown to a weight of 261 lbs., with the belly to match. I couldn’t run without exhausting myself. My clothes were too tight, and I couldn’t see my feet without leaning over. I had high blood pressure, sleep apnea, blurred vision and headaches. I felt embarrassed, guilty, depressed and angry at myself for letting myself go. Not wearing my wedding ring felt like I was cheating. I continued to think about it for several months, and it never got better. It still affected me. I knew I had to get that ring back on no matter what.

On May 11, 2017, I was driving by an LA Fitness and decided to stop in to ask some questions. I knew I wanted to change and had to do something about it. I was introduced to my personal trainer*, Jose O., for the first time. He listened to me, understood my situation, and started training me while working around some preexisting injuries to increase my strength, endurance and flexibility. We talked about nutrition and ensured I was eating correctly. I cut out sodas, alcohol and fast food. He encouraged me with challenging workouts and pushed my limits, while ensuring I remained injury free. He reminded me why I was here. When I thought I was exhausted and had reached my limit I would hear him say over my shoulder, “For the ring.” And that was all the extra motivation I needed.

I used a free mobile application to keep track of my nutrition and calories and ensure I was getting all of my nutrition. Through the app, Jose and my friends who also used the app were able to see my diary and progress and give me encouragement and tips. They also made sure I was accountable to them and myself. They became my online fitness family. In 6 months, I lost 67 lbs. I feel absolutely powerful and fantastic. My wedding ring is back on, and it’s going to stay on forever. My stamina is up 500%. I decided to compete in my first triathlon in June of 2018, and I remain committed to that goal. My old clothes went to Goodwill. My headaches, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and blurred vision are 100% gone. I saved tons of money cooking for myself rather than eating out all the time, which more than paid for the LA Fitness membership and training. (I really don’t even like fast food anymore.) My great friend Jose is always there encouraging me, challenging me to excel to get better and ensuring I remain injury free. My wife sees the difference and loves her new and improved husband (and occasionally walks by and touches me for no good reason whatsoever. And that’s just nice.).

Tom G. and his trainer Jose O.

If I have one piece of advice for success, it’s this:

We all know what we need to do to get healthy and stay healthy, or know how to find out how to do it. It all starts with the “X-Factor”. Your X-Factor is that primal gut feeling and emotion that affects you so deeply it can permanently change your priorities. For some it’s waking up in the hospital realizing you had emergency bypass surgery; for others, it’s not being able to play ball with your children and seeing them go and play with someone else, or being told in front of your friends and family that you cannot go on the rollercoaster because you exceed the weight limit. For me, it was not being able to put my wedding ring on no matter how hard I tried. It is that primal emotion that can trigger a response so deep that it makes it an easy decision to rearrange your priorities and do something about it and to keep doing it no matter the obstacles you may encounter.

My advice? Find your X-Factor. If it causes an overwhelming emotional response every time you think about it, then you found it. Use that to motivate you to work, learn, and improve. Set your long-term goals and focus on meeting your goals each day. Tomorrow is a different day. In the end, if you stay honest to yourself, use your X-Factor, eat right and work hard with the great staff at LA Fitness, you will always succeed.

*Personal training services require an additional fee and a separate agreement.

Some slight adjustments have been made to the member’s story for grammatical reasons, length, and/or clarity.

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.


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Member Spotlight | Building a Strong Heart, Maintaining a Strong Mind

Member Spotlight | Building a Strong Heart, Maintaining a Strong Mind

I have worked out at home, then at various clubs, on and off since I was in junior high. I’m not a big guy so getting stronger was my main incentive. As with most people, I learned from observation, and tips from other people, how to do sets and reps. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that I was going to be prone to clogged arteries, and in 1992 suffer my first heart attack at age 44. A year and a half later came the second one, which damaged the heart muscle and necessitated my triple by-pass. I didn’t learn until much later, that about half my heart function was negated at that time.

The years passed, I still worked out fairly regularly, and after moving to Orange County in 1997, I joined LA Fitness. I believe it was the late 90’s that I worked out with a personal trainer for several months at LA Fitness, then worked out on my own again. I moved in 2002 and started going to my current LA Fitness club in Yorba Linda, CA.

In 2004 however, I got a stent procedure and six months later, I got another stent procedure. I never stopped working out. In 2010, I had my third stent procedure, and in 2014 I had my third heart attack. Now, I can tell you this, I looked pretty good for someone having all these heart problems. Kind of begs the question, how has working out helped?

I would say this, make your body do some work and put in some effort. It can become way too easy to beg off doing anything because it takes too much effort or time. But choosing to do nothing kind of leads you to the “out of time”. I’ve made going to the gym the same as when I worked, I may not always want to go, but I NEED to go.

Roger B.

LA Fitness Member

The day I was being released, my heart doctor came in and told me I was very fortunate. He told me that because of the many years I had been working out, my body created a maze of collateral arteries around my heart. He also told me that for about any average person, they would not have survived the heart attack I had, leaving me with one functioning artery. Unlike a lot of people, I eat OK. However, I’m not exactly the poster boy for how to eat; so I work out 5 to 6 days a week. Although I don’t lift as heavy, I do more reps and sets with lighter weights and better form.

A couple of years ago, I worked out with two other trainers from LA Fitness, just to kind of dial in a more effective weight lifting routine and I accomplished that. At this point in time, my goal is to maintain good muscle tone. I’m not going to recapture the energy and endurance I once had, but doing something is way better than doing nothing.

It pretty much boils down to this, do what you can as much as you can, and do it safely and sensible. I’m 70 now. The clock won’t roll back, but I can try to keep it from rolling over me. All in all, it IS worth the effort.

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Disclaimer: Some slight adjustments have been made to the member’s story for grammatical reasons, length, and/or clarity.

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Member Spotlight | Finding Your Inner Superhero

Member Spotlight | Finding Your Inner Superhero

My story begins a year before I actually joined LA Fitness. In 2016, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. After consulting at length with my doctor about how I could have contracted diabetes, we settled on two things: I was probably already pre-diabetic, and most importantly, the stress of my mother’s death probably led me there.

In February of 2016, my mother’s doctors informed her and our family that she had only 6 weeks to live and subsequently set us up with a home hospice care provider. As time progressed, she deteriorated and so as predicted, she passed in her sleep at home on April 11th 2017. In large part, it was due to a bad heart but she had diabetes as well.

It took a while to process all of that and then a couple of months later I found out about my own diabetes. Working with my doctor, I started a regimen of prescription medication to get my diabetes under control. I went to special classes that talked about diabetes and special diets. One thing that was stressed in the classes was that losing weight would aid in my treatment. I tried doing things at home for several months but I wasn’t all that successful. I finally broke down and decided to visit my local LA Fitness in La Habra, CA.

I meet with one of their representatives, and we settled on a membership with the addition of a trainer as well. There must have been an angel looking out for me when I got assigned my trainer. Her name is Brianna H., or Bree as she likes to be called. I cannot tell you have happy I am to have Bree as my trainer. She is a huge reason that since I have started I have lost 10 lbs. as well as 3 inches from my waist. I have also gained muscle mass and have become toned – I love to flex my biceps now!

Bree is completely invested in my success. She’s my drill sergeant and cheerleader combined. She has me working hard and I like that because I know she wants me to succeed. I will work out at times by myself as well and I can see the difference. I’m just not as determined without her constant encouragement urging me on. She corrects my posture and reinforces my positive outlook and is always checking in to make I can handle the weight. She knows that I am sixty years old and that I hadn’t worked out literally for decades, so while she pushes me onward she’s also sensitive to where I’m at as I progress in my workouts. I consider her to be not just my personal trainer but also more like my personal superhero.

Through her strong suggestions, I have even begun to change my eating habits. I’ve added salads to my diet and I try to manage portion controls better. I still need to get better but with Bree’s input I hope to make more strides and improvements in my overall health. I will forever be grateful to Bree and LA Fitness for the help that I have received and will continue to receive as time goes on. If I were to offer anyone advice, I would say that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself and it’s okay to ask for help. Get a trainer and trust that they really want to help you succeed. It’s hard at times but anything that’s worth it is. I know that I’m worth the effort that I put into my workouts and I know that my Mom is smiling down on me on my journey.

Disclaimer: Some slight adjustments have been made to the member’s story for grammatical reasons, length, and/or clarity.

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