Member Spotlight | The Loss of a Loved One

Member Spotlight | The Loss of a Loved One

Shortly after John S. lost his wife of 53 years, he joined LA Fitness’ Silver Sneakers program in an effort to occupy his time. Unfortunately, more bad news still lay ahead. John was soon diagnosed with prostate cancer, causing him to spend two months in the hospital and another month in a rehab center. He was unable to lift or open a 16-ounce bottle of water. He was also unable to lift himself off the toilet seat and back into his wheelchair. It was a life-changing experience that this 80-year-old veteran and bible teacher never saw coming. Still, he persevered.

John S. with trainer Jenna N.


“To Jenna N. and LA Fitness, you have not only changed my life, but probably have saved it. With great sincerity and appreciation, I say ‘Thank You’.”

John S.

LA Fitness Member


John S. during his hospital stay.

When John was discharged from the rehab center, his wheelchair went with him. Over the course of the next year, John was required to wear a catheter and take a large number of prescription drugs. Slowly but surely, he went from a wheelchair, to a walker, and then to lifting weights. Once John was able to move around again (without the assistance of a wheelchair or walker), he began training at LA Fitness with Master Trainer, Jenna N. John shared, “Anyone can be inspired to exercise when your trainer is a 26-mile marathon runner.” Jenna was well-educated on which exercises would help improve John’s balance and coordination since he had previously been used to the assistance of either a wheelchair or walker.

Over time, John began getting stronger. In his words, “I went from prescription drugs to aspirin and black coffee, and no longer need a catheter. I am grateful for [my local] LA Fitness and their training program.” From having gone from three months bed confinement, with guests having to wear face masks when visiting him, John has come a long way to where is he today. When asked how having a trainer helped improve his overall health and fitness levels, John shared the following:

You may ask, ‘To work with a trainer, is it expensive?’, and I would ask you, ‘Being healthy or being sick?’ You do not know what I went through for those three months of bed confinement and prescription drugs. I understand that the medical team was doing the best they [could] having me as a patient. For days, my visitors had to wear a mask to visit me. Normal PSA (protein serum antigen) levels for a man are between 1 and 4. My PSA level was 234. Only an act of God could have kept me alive […] perhaps to write this testimony.

If you feel lost when it comes to where to begin your fitness journey, investing in a personal trainer may be the best place for you to start. LA Fitness offers a complimentary fitness assessment* with every membership. Every story has a beginning… what’s yours? Start writing it today at LA Fitness.

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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.

*Prior to fitness assessment, guest must show valid I.D. (must be 18 years of age or older) and complete a fitness analysis form. Scheduling of fitness assessment is subject to availability – it is recommended to call ahead and schedule an appointment. Limit one complimentary fitness assessment per person. Membership and/or personal training options may be presented.


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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 | Taking Back Control

Member Spotlight | Taking Back Control

Pat B. of Oshawa, Ontario is a 53-year-old mother of two (now adult) children. For most of Pat’s life, she was a self-described “thin person who enjoyed life.” However, over the years she began experiencing some personal family issues, which set her down a path of unhealthy eating. Pat began gaining weight at an unhealthy rate, for the first time in her life. After the loss of her mother, Pat became deeply depressed and again turned to food for comfort. Pat shared that she had gained so much weight that she no longer recognized herself. She felt both depressed and unattractive, and “hated the person [she] had become”. Pat went from weighing a healthy 135 lbs. to 220 lbs., almost double her normal weight. She knew that in order to lose weight and become healthy again, something had to change.


What Pat was sure of is that she wanted to lose weight the healthy way. She didn’t want to go on any fad diets, chug shakes, take pills, or take any shortcuts. Instead, she wanted to learn how to eat healthy and be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle for the rest of her life. This is when Pat turned to the LA Fitness in Oshawa, Ontario. The staff at Oshawa, which Pat described as “very friendly and helpful”, gave her a tour of the club while answering all of her questions. Afterward, she met with the club’s Personal Training Director who asked her about her personal fitness goals and what Pat ultimately wanted to achieve. Pat was given diet suggestions on how to eat healthier, and it was suggested to her that having a personal trainer might be the best option for what she wanted to accomplish. Pat described her decision to start working out with a personal trainer as “the best decision [she’s] made.”

Her personal trainer, Blair D., also asked Pat what her fitness goals were and told her that they were all achievable. All Pat needed was dedication and the determination to get healthy and with that, her journey began. Pat went through her fridge and threw out all unhealthy and prepackaged foods.  She then came up with a healthy eating plan that consisted of eating 5 smaller meals a day while also drinking plenty of water. The foods Pat began eating were fresh veggies, lean cuts of meat and whole grain bread. Her new healthy diet, paired with the support of her trainer as well as working out an average of 4 days a week began to show positive effects. Pat’s trainer, Blair D., has encouraged her along the way and pushed her even when she thought she couldn’t do it.

“Set your mind at a goal and make a decision, have the determination and dedication to never give up. You can do it, I did and so can you!”

Pat B.

LA Fitness Member

As Pat continued training regularly and eating healthier, her depression began to fade and she started feeling happier. Over the course of 10 months Pat lost 90 pounds and she says her body “looks the best it has ever looked”! It has now been 2 years since Pat first walked through the doors of LA Fitness in Oshawa. Pat continues to maintain her new healthy weight and lifestyle and gives a huge thank you to her club’s Personal Training Director, Dustin S., and her life-changing trainer, Blair D. In Pat’s words, “[she] couldn’t have done it without [them].”

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Member Spotlight | The Breaking Point

Member Spotlight | The Breaking Point

Tyler I., December 2013

It was a day like any other. Tyler I., of Brookhaven, PA, was getting ready for work, sitting on the couch and tying his boots just like every other morning. However, on this particular day when Tyler stood up to finish getting ready, he found himself out of breath from simply tying his shoes. This was his breaking point. At only 22-years-old, Tyler was 6’1” and weighed 365 lbs., suffered from joint pain and high blood pressure, and was borderline diabetic. When Tyler realized how out of breath he was from tying his shoes, he knew things needed to change. Tyler shared that the change didn’t start a couple days later, or a week later, it started that day. He committed himself to a complete lifestyle change.

Tyler began educating himself on how the body works. He read about macronutrients and how the body processes calories in versus calories out. (Read more about macronutrients here.) He wisely estimated his maximum caloric intake based on his body and began to carefully create a meal plan for himself. While this took care of the nutrition part of things, Tyler now needed to focus on the exercise portion. He joined LA Fitness in March of 2017, and began doing 25 minutes of cardio per day, 7 days a week, with very minimal weight lifting. His initial goal was to get rid of his fat first and then begin building muscle.

“The change didn’t start a couple days later, a week later, it started that day.”

Tyler I.

LA Fitness Member

Slowly over time, Tyler increased the time he spent on cardio. His two favorite cardio machines were the elliptical and Stairmaster, which he said really helped him “feel the burn”! Towards the end of an 8-month period, Tyler was spending up to 3 hours per day in the gym and was down 150 lbs.! He now weighed 215 lbs.,  and he was proud of the change he had made. While he was satisfied with the weight he had lost, Tyler now decided it was time to start building some lean muscle. This was the hardest part for him. Up until now, Tyler had enjoyed watching the numbers on the scale continually drop. However, as Tyler had learned, in order to gain muscle, he needed to increase his calorie consumption! It seemed completely counterintuitive to what Tyler had been doing prior, but he knew it was something he had to overcome in order to obtain the results he desired.

“The human mind is a very, very powerful thing. Once you fully understand the power your brain holds, you will truly realize your potential. When you are truly dedicated to something, you can and will make it happen. You cannot be half in and half out. With full dedication towards your goals, anything is possible. Set a goal, don’t lose focus and keep going until you achieve that goal. You may hit roadblocks along the way, keep pushing through them and come out stronger!”

Tyler I.

LA Fitness Member

Tyler began getting serious about his weight training, and to this day, continues working out 7 days a week in order to achieve his future goal of competing in a fitness competition – and we believe in him! Tyler never dreamed that at 365 lbs., with a long list of health issues, he’d be where he is today. His relentless drive helped push him to accomplish his goals and build a healthy future for himself. Not only has Tyler turned his life around, but he acts as an inspiration to many who hope to do the same. As Tyler shared, “…with the right mindset, anything is possible!”

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