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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Instructor Spotlight | Working Out is Truly the Best Medicine

Instructor Spotlight | Working Out is Truly the Best Medicine

“Working out is truly the best medicine! There is not a pill out there that can make you feel as good as you do with regular workout sessions. So just do it!  You will never regret working out. Classes make it fun and allow you to meet new people. We all feed off of one another in the class so bring your energy and join me!”

Karla K.

Group Fitness Instructor, LA Fitness

I currently teach 10 classes a week for LA Fitness, in following formats: Sculpt, Bodyworks Plus Abs, Cycle, Aqua Fit, and Senior Fitness. I love to teach a variety of formats because you get to meet a variety of people this way and interact with members of every age and fitness level. My current fitness goal is to feel good, and I do!

I started teaching for LA Fitness about 10 years ago, around the time that LA Fitness had opened in Michigan. LA Fitness was looking for instructors, so I began my AFAA group certification and was hired right after. Teaching has helped hold me accountable for my workouts. I look forward to going to work. It really is the best job in the world. To have 30+ members waiting for you and looking forward to “your” class is a great feeling. I often tell the members who are thanking me for motivating them that they also motivate me to be a better instructor for them!! So, I always thank them right back!

I have always worked out from a young age in my living room where I would do step aerobics from the TV. I danced at a studio for 6 years and did Poms [high school dance team] in high school. When I graduated high school I joined Vic Tanny, which then became Bally Total Fitness. I always took the classes when I could, with step being my favorite class.

Eventually, I got into running. I would run 20 to 30 miles a week before work or school or in the afternoon whenever I could fit it in. I earned my BA in psychology from Oakland University. I got married had two children and used my treadmill a lot. I came back to the gym when my treadmill broke. I joined a different gym and just ran a lot! Then, I started taking classes at Bally’s again, and shortly after my local Bally’s location was acquired by LA Fitness is when I went and became group certified with AFAA and began teaching at LA Fitness.

Teaching has brought my fitness to a new level of amazing! I have never had so much fun or felt so good! LA Fitness brings training workshops to our state at least once a year to train us in different formats, and they are always great and professional.

As for my diet, I am mostly vegetarian. I chose to stop eating meat when I was 19 years old. Although my decision to become vegetarian wasn’t primarily for health reasons, I do believe it helps me to stay at a good weight and feel great and healthy.

Some slight adjustments may have been made for clarity and/or grammatical purposes. 


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Instructor Spotlight | Transforming Lives Through Yoga

Instructor Spotlight | Transforming Lives Through Yoga

“Going to the gym and working out has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. For that reason, I have been enjoying a good and healthy lifestyle so far.”

Shaun G.

Group Fitness Instructor, LA Fitness

I was working at Bally’s Total Fitness for a number of years in their martial arts program (TMA). I was a Taekwondo instructor (Second Degree Black Belt). Unfortunately, Bally’s Total Fitness filed for bankruptcy and they closed the TMA program. Within a few months, I decided to become a member of LA Fitness and shortly after, I started working as an aerobics instructor.

Going to the gym and working out has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. For that reason, I have been enjoying a good and healthy lifestyle so far. It takes a lot of discipline and hard work. It becomes a habit and addiction that you cannot live without. By teaching at LA Fitness, I have met a lot of people with the same pattern and routine.

In today’s modern world, we are blessed with things that make our lives easier, better, and faster. At the same time, all of these comforts have their side effects too. In today’s world, there are many things that work for us and many things that work against us. Having a modern gym such as LA Fitness with state-of-the-art facilities is a blessing that makes our life better.

We are fortunate to live in the Dallas, Fort Worth area where there are plenty of LA Fitness clubs within few miles of each other. LA Fitness offers a number of different classes at different locations and times.

Most of the members that are attending these classes become regular members. They see the benefit of these Group Fitness classes. Most of them enjoy exercising with others. They love the motivation and inspiration these classes offer. As an instructor, helping people get in shape and stay in shape without dropping out is fulfilling. Not all people are the same, and they have different needs.

As I mentioned before, it takes a lot of discipline and hard work to reach a fitness goal. However, helping people to reach their fitness goals is a great feeling and has its own reward. In a way, by helping other people you are helping yourself. These Group Fitness classes at LA Fitness give members a chance to surround themselves with people that have the same goals. They get a chance to have a happy and joyful lifestyle. Some of them become friends, socialize for life, and give each other support, advice, and motivation.

My goal is to help as many people as I can through Yoga. Yoga is not just wonderful way to work out but also a path to self-discovery. You can lose weight and tone up your body while transforming your life at the same time. This ancient practice or discipline is one of the best things you can do for mind, body, and spirit.

Classes Taught:

I have been working at LA Fitness for almost 5 years. I teach Yoga, Boot Camp, Body Works, Cycling, Mat Pilates and Power Circuit, but my main passion is Yoga. I teach eight Yoga classes a week in four LA Fitness locations (Rowlett, Sachse, Richardson, and Garland in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.)


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