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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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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Member Spotlight | Meet Female Stuntwoman and Mom, Danielle G. – Part 1

Member Spotlight | Meet Female Stuntwoman and Mom, Danielle G. – Part 1

Meet Danielle G., a stuntwoman and mama-bear who wasn’t always the strong superwoman she is today. In college, Danielle weighed well over 200 lbs., wore size 18 pants, and felt uncomfortable in her own skin. Wanting to make a change, she started training at a local gym but a move to a new area brought with it limited access to the gym she was attending. As a result, her training started to slack, there was a decrease in motivation and subsequently, she began regaining the weight she had lost. A friend and mentor of Danielle introduced her to LA Fitness and encouraged her to continue with her training. Danielle credits the wide range of LA Fitness gym locations for making it possible for her to continue training again. With training once again underway, Danielle set a goal for herself to compete in her first ever NPC (National Physique Committee) Figure Competition. When the big day finally arrived, she recalls being in the best shape of her life.

“With the open environment, friendly gym goers (some of which I call friends now), I continued to see improvements in myself and was planning on competing again, but then I was given the blessings of being a mom (well, stunt mom).”

Danielle G.

LA Fitness Member

Even once pregnant, that didn’t stop Danielle from continuing her training at LA Fitness. She combines weightlifting and cardio and pulls ideas from the LA Fitness Living Healthy blog on nutrition to help her better balance her diet at the same time. Many of Danielle’s friends at her home gym are impressed with her continued dedication. She plans to stay a healthy mom and to continue her training to become a better and stronger stuntwoman. She is a firm believer that if there is a will there is a way. While she is now a mom, she believes that it is possible to find a balance between family and yourself. Danielle hopes to one day get back on stage for her second NPC figure competition.

“Don’t let excuses get in the way of what you want. Whether single or a mom, make sure to take time to take care of your health because if there is no you then the family will suffer.”

Danielle G.

LA Fitness Member

Typical Gym Routine

My typical gym routine is basically working to separate muscle groups (i.e., legs and arms, biceps and back, etc.) for about an hour, followed with 30-45 min of cardio, and some days strict cardio only. Always mixing it up to keep the body aware.

Nutrition –

In the very beginning (college days), I would eat whatever was in front of me. Originally obtaining my degree in medicine meant a lot of stress dealing with early to late night classes, lab time and exams. So, I did a lot of emotional/stress eating, such as eating fried foods, high carbs, sugars, you name it. When I was prepping for my competition and my career as a stuntwoman, I was on a stricter diet. I was on a high protein low carb diet eating about 1,675 calories per day and drinking a gallon of water per day as well. I focused primarily on making sure I was meeting my macro count per day. Eventually, I was seeing about 0.5-1 lb. of weight loss per week. Occasionally there were times I plateaued, but with encouragement, the weight continued to drop. I had to keep reminding myself it took me time to get to being overweight, so it’s going to take time to get it off.

Changing Lifestyle –

In all honesty, I wasn’t happy with who I was with the amount of weight I was carrying. I didn’t feel attractive at all. And in complete honesty, it took one guy, when I was in college, who was the first to tell me he loved me. That made me think: how could he love me when I didn’t love myself?! Talk about a wakeup call. I gave myself a hard look at myself, being over 200lbs and asthmatic where the outside world literally was my enemy. I knew I had to make a change. So that initially started me on my journey to redevelop myself into the person I wanted to be. I focused on finding a balance between school and going to the gym with diet, and slowly started to see the changes that I didn’t think could happen for me.

Setbacks –

I don’t care if you are an average person or the fittest person in the world – there are always setbacks. And it’s really just finding that push/dedication to overcome it and not make bland excuses. For me, it wasn’t just being overweight; being asthmatic also was a huge setback for me. How did I overcome it? I just listened more to my body and the orders of my doctor. I figured by doing that, it would mean a faster way for me to get back into the gym and continue training.

Active Lifestyle & Career –

Fitness plays a huge role for me as a stuntwoman. You must not be just mentally strong, but physically strong and flexible as well. If I was going into my career being overweight as I was, that would have made it difficult, if not impossible. The physical aspects of the job are so demanding that being overweight will not just tire you out faster, but it would also be so much harder on the joints, increasing chances of injury. So, striving to be not skinny but fit is imperative. Fitness is also important especially for stuntwomen in the fact that the clothes and pads we have to wear on set are sometimes minimal compared to our male counterparts. So the added weight, in addition to pads and clothes when you are doubling for the actress can be a big thing.

👉 Subscribe to Living Healthy and keep an eye out for Part 2 of Danielle’s fitness journey, coming soon!

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Anything is Possible: The Story of Matt Martin-Hall (And His Quest for Running Success)

Anything is Possible: The Story of Matt Martin-Hall (And His Quest for Running Success)

I’ve always had a strong academic and metaphysical fascination with what makes us human. So much so that while studying digital video and audio production in college, I also majored in Anthropology- the study of human beings.  Fast forward five or six years after graduation and I find myself sitting behind a desk well into the “cushy corporate gig” phase of my career, still making videos and producing a wide range of audio projects for LA Fitness; feeling like I’m only using half of my education; that question still relatively unanswered and still burning.

What makes us human?

If asking that question is ultimately asking, “What makes us unique from other mammals or creatures with whom we share the condition of possessing vertebrae?”, then the answer is simple: Bipedal ambulation (walking on two feet) and our brains ability to create and operate abstractions (imagine a cat composed of various citrus fruits with a baby shark for a tail. That thing you see in your head, that’s what I mean. So far as we know, only humans can conjure that up).

After a few existential breakdowns into my job here at LA Fitness, I had resigned myself to the reality that these partial answers to such a big question would have to suffice. There was no sense in pursuing them further. I worked for a gym. The place people go to get fit, not answer big questions. In my mind, those two things were forever incongruous.

Then a few important things happened that changed my mind quite profoundly:

  1. I read a book titled Born to Run by Christopher McDougall to learn more about the indigenous Tarahumara of Mexico’s Copper Canyons.
  2. I fell in love with a long-distance runner (whom I originally bought that book for).
  3. I succumbed to the unbridled peer pressure to try and be fit at work. Something that naturally exists in a place whose primary function is to promote and provide an environment to do just that.
  4. I agreed to be a part of a spotlight series at work where I go from the couch to accomplishing some athletic feat.
  5. I fit into a pair of jeans.

I think the most magnificent abstraction we’ve created as humans is linear time. The idea of seconds begetting minutes begetting hours begetting days and so on as if a series of incremental points on a timeline. None of this existed until the 14th century, whence the clock prevailed as a timekeeper. It’s from the invention of the clock and the hours and seconds contained within it that we have this perception of time. What makes this seem like such grand ruse of an abstraction is that: it wasn’t until I fit into some jeans yesterday that I realized or felt like all these things happened FOR something. I mean, of course, I knew sequentially when I had read and finished the book; what made me fall in love with my girlfriend and when; why I had agreed to do the spotlight series; when I walked into the gym and started forming that habit; when I fit into the jeans; and in what order these all occurred. But some genie was released from the bottle when I clasped the top button and didn’t feel like I should face away from the mirror out of fear of that button bursting off and shattering my reflection. A genie that couldn’t be returned after I needed a belt to fasten those same jeans to my waist.

All at once past, present and future, happened to me; The book I read piqued my interest in long-distance running; it taught me about our adaptation to sweat and endure beyond that of any other vertebrate. I was standing at the finish line of her marathon, the first one I attended, filled with pride as she caught her breath. I was walking into the gym for the first time at 29 running a 5k on the treadmill to see if I could (I could). I was poised and excited to pounce on this opportunity at work to serve my (until now unadmitted) vanity. I was attaining the great sense of accomplishment after fitting into three older pairs of jeans. And I was standing there, at the end of my own first race, dead tired but proud beyond comprehension.

The last of these events hasn’t happened yet. But it will. Past, present, future: All at once. I intend to explore the depth of the answers to my initial question. Though, presently, I find myself in a familiar dilemma: exploring and challenging the nature of human abstraction is only one part of the answer. If I’m to truly dive into this journey, I must do one more thing. That thing will require me to not just push myself, but figure out how to push myself, and what it means to push myself to do it. It’s no big reveal, you see, I’ve already told you what it is. It all happened at once, remember?

I. Must. Run.

And I will. A half marathon at first, a full marathon at last, and I’ll tell you all about it.

*Matt is a current employee of LA Fitness.  While the opinions herein are Matt’s own, Matt receives a free membership in connection with his employment. 

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How to Train Like an Elite Athlete – Podcast Ep. 12

How to Train Like an Elite Athlete – Podcast Ep. 12

Welcome to the twelfth episode of the Living Healthy podcast, presented by LA Fitness.

On this episode of Living Healthy, we speak with Matt Harrison, LA Fitness member and elite athlete, who shares how you too can become an elite athlete with just a few changes made to your lifestyle. 

Hey there! Is there something you’re interested in hearing about? Do you have a fitness topic of interest? How about nutrition? Or maybe you have a fitness success story (or know someone else who does) and want to share it with us? Tweet, message or email us your thoughts and opinions. We love hearing from our listeners and thank you for being a member of the Living Healthy Podcast community!

Let us know how we’re doing by sending us an email at

This podcast 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.

Timecard Markers – How to Train Like an Elite Athlete – Podcast Ep. 12


Begins at 0:01 

Elite Athlete, Matt Harrison, joins the show 

Begins at 0:23 

What Does Elite Athlete Even Mean? 


Have You Always Been an Athlete? 


What is the Foundation Someone Needs Before Becoming an Elite Athlete? 


What Changed Your Mindset? 


What Sparked the Change? 


How Do You Find the Time to Train and Balance Life? 


The 3 Personal Commitments 


On Living More in the Moment 


What Are the Causalities of Having Laser Focus? 


On His First Ever Spartan Race 


Nutritional Component of an Elite Athlete 


On Getting Cravings 


Snapshot of Daily Nutrition 


On His Workout Regiment  


What Does a Rest Day for You Look Like? And Cutting-Edge Technology 


What Was the Hardest Adjustment to Make? 


On Setting Goals 


Actionable Advice  


Recommended Podcast Episodes 



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