Member Spotlight | From Broken Foot to Completing the Chicago Marathon

Member Spotlight | From Broken Foot to Completing the Chicago Marathon

At the young age of 29, Lewis C., of Atlanta, GA, feared he may never walk properly again. After a tough tumble down a flight of stairs, Lewis was confined to crutches for a week and a boot for 7 weeks, after learning he had broken his fifth metatarsal in his right foot. He was unable to walk, let alone work out. Being confined to having his foot elevated 12 hours a day, Lewis was quickly gaining weight and noticed his overall demeanor began to change. It was a long, and rough, 7 weeks.

Maybe it was being confined indoors, maybe it was the lack of exercise– whatever it was, something ignited in Lewis over these 7 weeks. With a broken foot, and a rough recovery, Lewis decided he was going to run the Chicago Marathon in celebration of his 30th birthday. Lewis was determined to not let the injury define him or make him lose sight of his fitness goals. After all, he had always been committed to fitness in his adult life and was active in sports like swimming and track when in high school.

The Training Begins

After a sufficient recovery period, Lewis began his training program in June of 2017, five months after his foot injury had occurred. Lewis  knew he needed a place to train and realized the incredible resources offered at his local LA Fitness. With the proper equipment he was able to condition his legs, core and overall body for the race. He paired indoor and outdoor running, along with the assistance of his LA Fitness coach, Lisa, and was able to get the job done in an unbelievable 18 week training period.

Lewis successfully crossed the finish line in Chicago, Illinois, on October 9th 2017.

An Interview with: Lewis C.

Q: Have you always been in shape? 

Lewis C.: Like most people I have had weight fluctuations due to inconsistent eating habits brought on by a job in the airline industry with variable hours. Since 2007, I had more or less worked out 5-6 days a week and do my best to take protein supplements regularly. It’s what keeps me sane, I have to get a workout in and LA Fitness has been the best gym experience I have had since I joined in 2016. I have been to and worked at many other health clubs and the resources included in the LA Fitness membership are vast. I didn’t know it until I really needed people to help me execute the extensive cardio conditioning required for training for your first marathon at age 29.

Q: Have you learned anything about yourself since joining LA Fitness?

LC: Yes. That it’s OK to not know something and ask somebody for help. LA Fitness has staff and members from all walks of the active world: former athletes, current ones, trainers, beginners, body builders, etc. that all have a perspective and voice you can use as a resource and pool to get new fitness ideas, completely change your life, and smash the snot out of goals you never thought possible. I never dreamed I would actually go through with running the Chicago Marathon last October until I finally just paid the registration and bought marathoner shoes.

Also, I think people think running a marathon is an individual sport. It is really a team sport, which I learned, as I had to rely and lean on all different perspectives and advice and change my way of thinking. That’s where LA Fitness is more than just a gym to me; it’s a blackboard where new and dynamic fitness goals are conceived and executed.

Q: How has living an active lifestyle changed your life?

LC: I have had great health and happiness in my 30 years, which I think is primarily due to my staying active. I am the kind of person who needs structure and a tangible goal to reach and a place where I can ask questions of like-minded people. My father always taught me “to be one, ask one”. This is where the structured training plan of a marathon challenged me and a place like LA Fitness nurtured my curiosity and helped shepherd me through the process.

Future Goals

Lewis is back to training 6 days a week in an effort to be in his best shape by summer 2018. With travelling also on the horizon for Lewis, including a trip to Budapest in May, and Shanghai in July, with his best friend Michael, Lewis joked that since he’ll be in a lot of pictures he looks to “LA Fitness to keep [him] camera ready 24/7.”

Lewis’ next big fitness goal is to complete an Ironman race by his 40th birthday.

A Special Message 

Lewis would like to recognize his LA Fitness trainer Lisa, and member services representative, Yolanda, who Lewis credits as the reason he joined LA Fitness.

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 program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Member responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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Member Spotlight | How Exercising Got Me Off Prescription Meds

Member Spotlight | How Exercising Got Me Off Prescription Meds

Trish O., a single mom working full-time, joined LA Fitness in March 2017 in hopes of turning her health around. An increase in weight put Trish in the unhealthy category. Due to this, her doctor started Trish on medication for high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Unsure where to begin after these diagnoses, Trish began participating in aerobic group fitness classes 3 to 5 days a week. With a consistent workout routine, Trish managed to lose 20 lbs. – but then she hit a plateau. Instead of giving up, or letting this weigh her down, Trish was determined to find a new approach to continue on her journey to getting healthy.

It was time to up her fitness ante.

The Training Begins

Trish started training with Pro Results® personal trainer, Matt E.* She didn’t want to limit herself to scheduled group classes. Instead, she wanted to learn how to incorporate other aspects of the club into her workout routine. Through her training, Trish now understands how to properly use the equipment in the club to her benefit. She shared that Matt has also helped give her exercises that she enjoys doing, which keeps her feeling inspired and motivated.

5 Months Later

Five months after Trish’s training with Matt began, her doctor has taken her off her diabetes and cholesterol medications. She was told that if she continues to lose weight, she can ditch the high blood pressure medication as well! So far, Trish lost a total of 35 lbs. and doesn’t plan on stopping there. She is well on her way to becoming the healthiest she can be. Not only has Trish enjoyed the change LA Fitness has brought her, but she shared that LA Fitness has become like a second family for her and her son. As a single parent, “it really helps [to] have the Kids Klub there for my 2 year-old; he loves the staff and kids there.”*

Trish hopes to continue losing weight, building muscle, and eventually get off her remaining medications.

A Bit of Advice

“Stick to it and don’t be discouraged. Keep a routine and don’t feel bad about taking a break from time to time. My goals are long term and I’m okay if it takes more time than I expected to reach my goals. I recommend personal training so you can get a customized workout plan that you can use for life. Fitness can save your life!” – Trish O., LA Fitness Pro Results® Client

Pro Results® and Kids Klub services are each subject to a separate agreement and an additional fee.

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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Trainer Spotlight | Helping Others Better Themselves

Trainer Spotlight | Helping Others Better Themselves

Shawn M., a San Diego native, grew up and was raised in the community of Spring Valley. Throughout his adolescence, he struggled with body composition and weight. Children teased him for his excess weight from childhood through high school. This affected him greatly, but he didn’t let it defeat him. Surprisingly, what originally got him into fitness was the death of a loved one. It came as a wakeup call to Shawn. He realized that he had to change his life for the better or he could be next.

Weighing in close to 300 lbs., and borderline diabetic, Shawn was not comfortable in his own skin. He began running Monday through Friday, even when he was mentally and physically exhausted from work and school. He changed his diet, which he admits was one of the hardest things for him to do, and had to change his attitude too. Shawn recognized that he had to believe in himself; he had to believe he had the power to actually turn his life around.

With determination, and consistency, Shawn was able to lose the weight and is now working as a Pro Results® personal trainer. He hopes to help others focus on how they feel, rather than how they look on the exterior, and to make a positive difference in people’s life through health and fitness. He loves what he does, and vows to continue helping others better their lives for as long as he physically can.

An Interview with: Pro Results® Personal Trainer, Shawn M.

We spoke with Shawn and asked him to share with us some advice for others who may be struggling with weight and self-esteem issues. This is what he had to say –

Q: How has living an active lifestyle helped better shape your life?

Shawn M.: I would have to say just by being able to help and motivate others. If I did not have a story to tell I would not be able to share and motivate others when it comes to health and fitness.

Q: What should clients know about personal training before beginning a program?

SM: I think people/clients should know that there are no short cuts when it comes to your health. If you are wanting to lose weight, gain mass, or want to change your life around […] I would most likely tell people think long-term and not short-term.

Q: Have you found that there is a way to help clients stay motivated when they’ve hit a fitness plateau?

SM: Yes. I usually would find out their eating habits, exercise routine, sleep schedule, and stress and then start from there. Four major keys I believe in, especially when it comes to a plateau, is stress management, modalities of different exercises, proper sleep, and of course nutrition. I share this with every new client of mine, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Q: What advice would you give for those struggling to start/stick to a healthy lifestyle plan?

SM: I would tell them think of your body as a luxury car engine that needs refueling. The foods that you put into your body will give you the energy that you need to get through the day. For an example, if you consume chips, soda, fast foods etc., your body will be fueled with 87 octane, but if you fuel your body with green rich foods, meaty proteins, healthy fats etc. you will be fueling your body with 91 premium. I try to keep it simple so my clients get a good idea of what I’m talking about.

What Lays Ahead for Shawn

Shawn M. is currently working on finishing up his Associate’s Degree and hopes to transfer to Portland State by the end of 2018. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Health.

Client Testimonials

“I became a member of LA fitness in 2016 and Shawn Montiel became my trainer. During my assessment with Shawn we discussed my physical limitations, nutrition and what goals I wanted to accomplish. Shawn was able to design a work out for me so I could strengthen my muscles and improve flexibility and balance. I was able to reach these goals with minimal discomfort using his workout plan. If I had difficulty with certain movements Shawn would reassess the workout and come up with an approach that accommodated my needs. Shawn is a very positive person and has a great outlook on life. He focuses on his clients’ needs and abilities. I had a lot of success with him as a personal trainer and would highly recommend Shawn to anyone who is looking to make improvements in their life.”

Lisa Van S.

LAF Pro Results® Client

“My husband, Doug, and I chose Shawn as our trainer because we observed his strong work ethic and attention to his clients’ needs at LA Fitness the latter half of 2017. Shawn spent our first session with him ascertaining our needs, our goals, strengths, and weaknesses in order to develop individualized fitness plans for each of us. Shawn worked with us individually twice weekly for two months inspiring us to increase our strength, endurance, nutritional balance, and cardiac fitness for overall improved health. Shawn not only inspired us to push ourselves harder during our workouts at the gym, but he also inspired us to work out at home and to stay on track with a balanced diet, increasing our daily fluid intake, and increasing our hours of sleep. In summary, Shawn helped my husband and I make positive life balance changes through exercise, nutrition, and rest to better our lives in a positive manner. Shawn is an excellent trainer who role models the healthy lifestyle he teaches his clients.”

Katherine H.

LAF Pro Results® Client

“I want to send you a thousand thank yous because the advice and the program you put me through transformed my body more than ever before. The regimen I was put through garnered me lots of compliments inside and outside of the gym, which sky rocketed my confidence. Not only did you improve my appearance, my body was stronger and performing everything at a much higher level from basketball, to running with explosion, to more stamina throughout the day. You’ve been an integral part in putting my BMI at 3% body fat at 5’8 165 pounds. Now and in the future, my daily workout consists of everything you have ever taught me. Thank you so much. I am forever grateful.”

Aljon F.

LAF Pro Results® Client

If you’re interested in pursuing a healthier lifestyle and feel like you could use a little bit of help, sign up for a complimentary fitness assessment with LA Fitness and meet trainers like Shawn M., who are here to help you become your healthiest self.*

We’re all in this together, and we want you to succeed. Join us in club today! Click here for a complimentary guest pass.

*Pro Results® personal training services are subject to an additional agreement and fee.

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 | The Greatest Investment You’ll Ever Make Is in Yourself

Member Spotlight | The Greatest Investment You’ll Ever Make Is in Yourself

What would inspire you to make a change? To wake up, get dressed, and walk through the doors of an LA Fitness, determined to change your life – what would it take? For Kyleen S. of Wyoming, MN, it was a series of ill-fated events that led her up to that very moment. This is her story.

In 2015, Kyleen’s mother passed away. A year later, Kyleen and her then boyfriend decided to call it quits. Between the stresses of life and a busy schedule, fitness was not a priority for Kyleen’s. She had a gym membership, but never used it. She was tired of being overweight and unhappy. She wanted her life back. Kyleen’s best friend, Crystal S., and her husband, Matt S., had both been longtime members of LA Fitness, which helped Kyleen make the switch from her previous gym. She was hoping that joining a gym her friends belonged to would help her stay committed.

Once she had her mind set on making a healthy lifestyle change, Kyleen took a tour of her local LA Fitness and signed up for a yearlong membership that same day. The club’s Fitness Director, Ramon N., spoke with Kyleen about how LA Fitness’ training programs differ from what other gyms may offer. Ramon shared with Kyleen that occasionally he would go through the personal training progress books to see if any improvements had been made with clients, and if not, he would work with his staff of trainers to see how he could help. Ramon even took it a step further and shared that if trainees stopped showing up, he would call or text them to see what was up. He wanted to help hold them accountable so that they could reach their fitness goals.

Kyleen shared that she needed that, and appreciated it 100%. Ramon then walked her around the club, and started her complimentary fitness assessment. Kyleen knew that she was out of shape, but until her fitness assessment took place, she had no idea just how poor her health had become! She recalled being on the stair machine for barely 30 seconds and thinking she was going to pass out. Her stamina was incredibly low and she was struggling to perform the simplest of tasks. There was a part of her that wanted to turn around, walk straight out the door, and never look back. However, she knew this was something she had to do. She had to gain control of her health again.

Right: March 2017 Left: November 2017

After the fitness assessment ended, Kyleen decided that it was in her best interest to sign up for personal training. She needed the support of a trainer to help hold her accountable for maintaining her fitness goals. She began with two training sessions a week. Kyleen shared the following about her how her experience went when signing up for personal training:

[Ramon] did not pressure me or make me uncomfortable in any way. I really am grateful to [Ramon] for taking the time to care about me because I truly believe that if I had said no to his and the trainers help, and died a week later from something health-related, that I could see [Ramon] thinking to himself, I wanted to help her. He genuinely cares. I still talk to him on a regular basis about my workout routine and about life in general. He truly does care about this program and everyone he signs up.

Kyleen has only ever missed two of her training sessions. The first due to her appendix rupturing and the second when she was severely sick. Otherwise, she makes it a point to stick to her schedule. Of course, there are days when she doesn’t want to go, but she makes herself go anyway. She doesn’t want to slide backwards. Another reason Kyleen continues to pushes herself is because her mother had a lot of medical problems, and she does not want to endure what she witnessed her mother go through.

When Kyleen first started her fitness journey, she had no intention of changing her diet. However, the more she started to workout, the more she began to find herself eating more fish, salads, and fruit than before. She shared that she now goes out of her way to grocery shop in order to cook herself healthier meals. She’s also increased her water intake. Between having a trainer, staying consistent at the gym, maintaining a healthy diet, and tracking her progress, Kyleen has continued to lose weight – even after transitioning to a desk job within the past year.

It’s common knowledge that sitting too much can be detrimental to the body’s physical health and knowing this, Kyleen keeps 3 and 5 lb. dumbbells at her desk to use as both paperweights and for a quick wrist-strengthening workout. Under her desk sits a yoga mat, ready to go as soon as Kyleen is. She tries to go to the gym anywhere from 3 to 5 days a week. On the days she doesn’t go to the gym, she now misses it! Since joining LA Fitness, Kyleen said she turned a complete 180 from where she was a year ago when it comes to her fitness, health and diet.

The past year Kyleen has made it all about her. By focusing on her health and happiness she has seen what a difference focus and determination can make both physically and mentally on the body. When asked how the gym has influenced her life, Kyleen shared the following:

I feel that I am surrounded by more people now that want to see me succeed in life than I have been before [….] This gym and its trainers have really helped me to change my life, and I am so grateful for that. I live and breathe LA Fitness, and I try to get my friends and family to come in and see what it’s all about!

Kyleen’s passion for fitness has made her want to help, and inspire, others who may be where she once was. It’s never the wrong time to start working on becoming healthier. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to put off fitness due to being tired after a long work day, wanting to relax, or grabbing something quick to eat (just this once, which easily creates a snowball effect). If any of those reasons sound like you, you’re not alone, which is why the Living Healthy team asked Kyleen to answer the following question:

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

KS: You have to want it to achieve it. You always hear people say that you have to want it and most people think, Yeah, I want to be healthier. Yeah I want to be thinner. But, you have to actually want it. Not because you think society is telling you so. Not because your friends or family are telling you so, but because you actually are ready, and willing, and truly wanting it. If you go in and say I want it, but in the back of your head you know you’re just going to go to the gym, swipe your card, maybe do a lap and go home, then you are not ready. You have to be in that state of mind where you have finally accepted that you need to make a change and you actually want that change to happen. You have to be willing to put in the work and fight.

Would you rather go out to eat than make a piece of salmon with a fresh salad and a side of quinoa? Probably, but not only are you saving yourself money by making your own food, you are choosing a healthier option and controlling what is going into your body. It is all worth it. Do not go at it alone. If you do not sign up with a trainer and you cannot get a work out buddy, at least get a friend or family member that will help hold you accountable for your actions, or lack thereof. Find someone who will ask you, did you go to the gym? For how long? What did you do? How many reps? How many sets? What part of the body did you work on? Maybe next time you should bump up your weight? Maybe next time you should try the sled? Someone who can cheer you on and be your coach, that is what my trainer is for me. He is my coach and my cheerleader.

Keep a log of what you work on. Take a notebook with you to the gym and write down everything that you do while you are there, and then the next time you go, you can see what you did. Change it up. See what weight you were lifting last time and see if you can increase it. If you are afraid or nervous of something in the gym, ask a trainer. They are more than happy to answer your questions and show you how to use a piece of equipment. You need to trust your gym and those who are there to help. Once your body starts to get used to working out on a regular basis, what was once hard will become easy. That is also why you cannot just give up after a while, and why you need to push yourself to excel even further. You might just see a change not only in your physicality, but mentally as well.

A Little About Kyleen’s Trainer, Markus M.

Q: How has your trainer inspired you?

KS: I train with Markus M. who is a Master Trainer at both Blaine and Roseville. He pushes me so that I do not become complacent in my workouts, and he instructs me to set small goals that we can work toward – at the moment, that is to tone my arms so I look amazing in my bridesmaid dress for July.

He helps to build up my stamina weekly when I meet up with him. I had a bad knee from when I used to play volleyball in junior high school, and at times it would just give out. He has helped me to strengthen it to the point that I can do a 135-pound weighted squat without it even phasing my knee. He makes me want to be the best that I can be when it comes to my workouts. If he gives me something that is really difficult for me, then I include it into a pre-workout that I have created for myself so that I can improve on that move. That way, when I work out with him again and we do that same exercise, I can show him how much I have improved.

If I have any questions I can just go to him and he helps to answer them, if he doesn’t know then he will refer me to someone else to help direct me to what I need to know. I cannot even fathom having a different trainer at this point. Markus knows my body and me as a person, and I can put my all my trust and respect with him.

Kyleen S. and her trainer Markus M. 

Where She Is Now

Kyleen’s current fitness goals are to build muscle, tone her body and weigh in at 160 lbs. Her end goal is not to necessarily be skinny, but to be healthy and fit.

Start your journey with LA Fitness today.

ProResults® personal training services are subject to an additional agreement and payment of an additional fee. 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. Member testimonials have been edited for clarity and length.

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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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