Member Spotlight | Seize Your Destiny

Member Spotlight | Seize Your Destiny

In life, anything is possible. Never give up. Never give in. And always keep pushing forward.

Stefan R.

LAF Member

No pain in life could compare to the heartache I felt as I awoke from a grand mal seizure on the racquetball court in 2010. Even worse, the all-too-familiar ghostly look of horror in the eyes of my friends who surrounded me. One minute I was playing competitively, the next minute the paramedics were once again strapping me to a gurney, reassuring me that even though I didn’t know my name, my location, the day and date or even the year, everything would be alright.

The ambulance doors locked, and the paramedics began to haul me off on my fourth journey to the hospital in two years due to epileptic seizures. I had lost control of my path in life and could no longer handle living. I couldn’t work out, I couldn’t play racquetball, I couldn’t drive and simply put, as a 39-year-old man, I was in pain.

This seizure completely demolished me. Even after my last attempt at achieving normality through brain surgery in 2007, the seizures made a dramatic return in 2009-2010 to wreak havoc on my life. Now for the fourth time in my life, I had lost my driver’s license due to epilepsy and had to ask myself, “If brain surgery did not work…what was and what is my reason to live?”

From 2004 to 2012, my journey included two epileptic car accidents, multiple grand mal seizures at work, in the racquetball court, in the weight room, even cracking my head open on the locker room tile floor, and the last one, while running on the beach for fitness in 2011.

This time period included two hernia surgeries, a pulmonary embolism, three endoscopies, loss of my home, my car, my wife, and in the end, bankruptcy, causing the loss of everything materialistic in my life. In 2012, I hit rock bottom.

During this journey called life, I grew up with racquetball. Racquetball was my life and it was a positive, healthy part of my life for many years. When life got tough, when I was stressed, when all else failed, it was time to “Beat the Ball!” I played for 15 years until this gap of nearly 7 years occurred. But as a motivational speaker taught me, “If you can look up you can get up!”

Giving up was not an option. Materialistically, everything was gone. Everything but my passion to live. Then, I changed my life, one step, one breath, one prayer at a time. I began to see life as a challenge, a challenge I needed and a challenge I welcomed. I then saw obstacles as something that I had to go through in order to grow through in life. There was light not yet seen at the end of the tunnel, yet one I had to believe in. And through awareness, I began to change and grow.

We are who we surround ourselves with in life. We are what we eat. We are what we drink. We are what we think. Our thoughts create our reality. Our ego knows too much and therefore when we are able to quiet our ego, our spirit will awaken. I was able to awaken my new life with a whole new spirit.

Through a healthy lifestyle change, the attitude of gratitude and the power of manifestation, and through meditation, over medication, I knew that what life gave me was what I needed in order to grow.

I faced death head-on, literally, and woke up in jail on October 9th, 2012 and saw what I did not want to be in life. I saw what I had turned into, I saw what I would become, and I saw where I would end up if I did not stop digging.

On January 1st, 2013, I came back to the racquetball courts in Vista, California LA Fitness, just two months after spending 6 weeks in the Vista county jail. A jail (in all irony) that is located just a few hundred yards behind the racquetball courts. At this time when I walked on the courts, ankle bracelet and all, I had developed the power to know that I was not yet done living life!

Now, every time I park to play racquetball, I see my past. A past I do not want to forget. A past I am truly thankful for now as I spent much needed time awakening to a whole new life. The next 5 years included healing, learning, growing and manifesting my divine destiny. And I did it!

Through meditation & manifestation, awareness & attitude, combined with prayer and positive thinking, I was able to holistically cure my epilepsy 100% and have been off medication and completely sober ever since.

On the courts of LA Fitness, I played for 5 years straight and began winning tournaments and winning numerous medals along the way. In 2018 I recently brought home two Gold Medals in the National Racquetball Championships to complete my comeback goal!

In life, anything is possible. Never give up. Never give in. And always keep pushing forward.

Coach Stefan Rudolph


Some slight edits may have been to the original copy due to grammatical errors, length, and/or for clarity. 

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Member Spotlight | Let’s HIIT It! Part 2

Member Spotlight | Let’s HIIT It! Part 2

“Challenge yourself, anything’s possible.”

Ed B.

HIIT by LAF® Member

I want to share my experience with my fitness journey at LAF to hopefully motivate and inspire all those who may be struggling to meet their fitness goals. I also want to show that anything is possible if you put your mind to it!

My story is divided into two parts. The 1st part (read here) focused on my fitness training and the second part is focusing on my experience with the HIIT by LAF® program.

I’m 67 years old. I’ve had a history of knee issues and a partial knee replacement on my right knee.

When I decided to resurrect my fitness journey at LA Fitness, my main goal was to get my legs/knees back in shape. So, I decided to get a personal trainer to assist me to achieve that goal. That is when I met Lauren H. (HIIT by LAF® trainer).

It has been 15 months since I started training. I couldn’t get off the floor without some assistance or go up and down stairs very easily. It took about 9 months to get my legs/knees back in shape. Now I’m pain-free. I don’t have to get injections in my knees or take any medications.

My success comes from Lauren’s leadership and months of hard work on my behalf. My flexibility, strength, mobility, and stamina have improved dramatically. I no longer need assistance getting up off the floor and I can go up and down stairs without any problems. As I continue to get stronger, Lauren brings on new challenges.

Lauren has taught me the following:

  1. Challenge yourself.
  2. Never give up.
  3. Nothing is impossible.
  4. Work hard.
  5. Practice the power of positivity. (Still working on this!)
  6. Set a few short- and long-term goals, then crush them.
  7. Believe in yourself.
  8. Nutrition and caloric intake (still working on this too!) This continues to be a hard one for me! I need to find an easy way to prepare nutritious food without the fuss.
My Journey with HIIT by LAF®

Last October I had the opportunity to take a free HIIT by LAF® class. I was amazed at how I was able to get through it. So, I decided to join. It’s been 6 months since my HIIT journey began and I just moved up to my third HIIT level which is silver. The other amazing thing is that I continue to always finish with the most MEP’s (My Effort Points) and the most calories burned at the end of each HIIT Class. HIIT continues to be a great way to relieve stress for me as well!

In the floor portion of HIIT, if I have difficulty with an exercise there’s always an alternative exercise available. In the cardio portion, I switch off between bike and rower since I can’t have high-impact on my knees.

I recently signed up to participate in a 90-minute HIIT challenge. On the day of the challenge, I was nervous and asked myself why I did this because I am usually gassed after a 50-minute HIIT class. After numerous texts back and forth with my personal trainer Lauren, who is always focusing on the positives, I settled down. Then it was HIIT time.

Once the HIIT challenge began, the only thing that I was focused on was HIIT. I not only successfully finished the 90-minute challenge, but I won it. It would have been a huge accomplishment for me to just finish the 90-minute marathon, but winning the challenge meant anything is possible. It was like winning an Olympic Gold medal.

Special Acknowledgements

A special thank you to Michaelangelo for generating lots of energy to get all of us to finish strong. Michaelangelo, you kicked all our booties as well! You’re awesome! From not being able to get off the floor to finishing/winning the 90-minute HIIT challenge and always finishing on top of the pack after each HIIT class. Wow! This continues to be surreal to me!

I’m being told that my success in HIIT is also motivating and inspiring other HIIT members. I’m really honored to have such an Impact!

My next HIIT challenge will be to “HIIT” the gold level in 6 months. Beyond that, platinum, which will take 1 year. My ultimate goal is to be the first 70-year-old to make it to the HIIT Hall of Fame (HOF) level by 2021.

I’m blessed to have Lauren H. as my personal trainer. I couldn’t have done it without her expertise. Lauren is truly the master of her craft. Lauren motivates, inspires, and brings out the best in her clients. Lauren may be small in stature but can kick your booty! I forgot to mention that Lauren is the “Master of Pain” as well!  I continue to work with Lauren to keep my legs/knees strong and work on getting the rest of my body in shape.

Ed’s Advice for Others Out There

Finally, find out what works best for you! Challenge yourself and work hard and never give up – You can reach your fitness goals too! I’m proof of that! I’m on the wildest fitness journey of my life! The combination of a personal trainer and HIIT has worked miracles for me. I look at this as an investment in my health. HIIT wouldn’t have been possible without Lauren’s expertise and my dedication to work hard.

From the start of my journey, Lauren already knew what end results were possible. I was the skeptical one!

Thank you, Lauren! Thanks to all the personal training and HIIT coaches at the LA Fitness Tinley Park location! I’m also friends with a few of them. I also made friends with many of the HIIT members too!

I wish you all the best on achieving whatever goals you set!

Remember, you’re never too old to “HIIT” it!

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Member Spotlight | From Overweight to Underweight to Just Right

Member Spotlight | From Overweight to Underweight to Just Right

“The one piece of advice that I would offer others during their journey is that EVERY DAY counts. Take on each day better than the last and with time, effort, and faith, you will achieve amazing things. You don’t have to master it all in one day.”

Courtney C.

LA Fitness Member

I struggled with my weight up until I was 20 years old. I was overweight for most of it and wanted to change. I didn’t start my diet the right way, I was just starving myself for hours and hours at a time, eating the minimal number of calories and doing excessive amounts of cardio. All I wanted was to be skinny, even if I was unhappy because I couldn’t eat a lot.

Now, being skinny is not the goal. Being healthy is the goal. I do cardio a few times a week, lift six times a week, and eat a lot. I eat all healthy and organic things, constantly making sure I am meeting all my goals carbs, proteins, and fats.

I don’t want to be starving, I want to be healthy, energized, and happy and that’s what I’ve become. Thank you for letting me share my story. 

Current Goals:

  • Currently, I am trying to increase my physical strength by eating a caloric surplus and pushing myself harder and harder every single day in the gym. I am also working on my flexibility and endurance. 

Follow on Social:

  • You can follow Courtney’s fitness journey on Instagram at: _courtneyclarkfitness_ 

Some slight edits may have been made for grammatical reasons and/or clarity. 

When Courtney was considered overweight. (June 2013)

When Courtney was considered underweight. (June 2016)

Courtney at a healthy and fit weight. (January 2019)

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Member Spotlight | A Father and Daughter Unstoppable Duo

Member Spotlight | A Father and Daughter Unstoppable Duo

“My basic goal is to keep fit and above ground as long as possible so I can enjoy Wednesday spin classes with my daughter! Exercise and good nutrition are the keys for a long and healthy life.” 

Peter B.

LAF Member

Current Fitness Goals

Kathryn B.: Now that I’m retired from the world of professional cycling, I still continue to keep fit on a regular basis but with a lot less intensity & racing! I ride 3 days a week, do yoga 3 days a week, and I always leave the door open to mix it up and go hiking, swimming, running, lifting, etc.

Every Wednesday, my dad and I meet for Cycle Zone spin class at LA Fitness in Tucson (East). We call it Spin n’ Din… we work out then grab dinner. It’s a highlight of my week to do spin class with my dad, who is 82. Our instructor Lainna is great and we’ve become friends with “the regulars” in the class.

My dad is too humble to admit it, but he inspires a lot of people in the class. They’re motivated that someone in their 80s is there working out with them. I’m inspired too. It brings a smile to us all when he calls out “whoop! whoop!” and sings along with the hip-hop workout music. It makes me laugh every time he sings along!

It’s also such a great message that his presence imparts on us – it doesn’t matter how old you are or how fast or slow you go. Fitness is all about showing up, pushing your personal limits on your own terms and doing what you can. My dad proves that by being there. Being able to work out with my dad absolutely makes my day. 

Peter B.: My basic goal is to keep fit and above ground as long as possible, so I can enjoy Wednesday spin classes with my daughter! Exercise and good nutrition are the keys for a long and healthy life. Less stress will also help one along the way.

How has personal training impacted or changed your fitness routine?

Kathryn B.: Now retired from two decades as a pro athlete – triathlon & cycling – I no longer use a personal trainer, but I do keep tabs on the latest fitness advances. The personal trainers at LA Fitness are always engaged, upbeat & knowledgeable. It’s great to see them working with clients of all ages and abilities.

Peter B.: I have not utilized personal trainers but would recommend one to those initially embarking on an exercise program. I have observed the trainers at LA Fitness and note their high qualifications as well as attentiveness to clients. For those seeking competitive training, I would encourage them to look into The Leukemia Society’s Team in Training program. They train you over four months to participate in an endurance event of your choice, providing excellent training schedules, advice and group/team support along the way. One’s competition is oneself, to maintain training and discipline and to go the distance. It is open to anyone of any fitness level and with a charitable purpose as well. I benefited from and greatly enjoyed this program for many years, beginning in my youth (age 66).


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

Kathryn B.: When it comes to fitness and workouts, my advice is to try everything once so you know what’s out there! Whether it’s spin class or Zumba® [class] or pick-up basketball or swimming, I encourage you to step outside [your] comfort zone and try everything once! If you’re used to going to the gym alone, try a class. If you always take classes, try a one-on-one personal training session or use a cardio machine that you’ve never touched before. I think it’s really healthy to mix things up and try something new.

Peter B.: I would direct my comments to those who have heart issues or wish to avoid them. Had I not been very fit ten years ago when I barely escaped cardiac arrest after a buggy (virus) ate at my heart, I wouldn’t be here now. Had I not engaged upon a regular and moderate exercise regimen during my recovery, I wouldn’t be doing so now. My advice: get off the couch and get the heart pumping each day mixing strength and aerobic training. Personally, I prefer the Erg (rowing – gets 70% of body muscle and is very aerobic), swimming and cycling; all smooth and easy on old bones.

Also recommended for all is a book entitled “Younger Next Year” which provides great motivation and understandable medical/physiological information on how and why exercise and nutrition act positively on one’s body, right down to the cells. It explains how ten years can be added to one’s life. Again, get off the couch and go for it!

Social Handles:

  • Twitter/Facebook: @kathrynbertine & @pbertinesr  
  • Instagram: @Kathryn_Bertine

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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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