Member Spotlight | A Life-Changing Diagnosis

Member Spotlight | A Life-Changing Diagnosis

Julie W., of Phoenix, AZ, shared that in her “former” life she was a juvenile detention officer, PE teacher, and trainer/fitness instructor. Self-described as “being stronger than the average ‘joe’-sephine”, an aggressive Breast Cancer diagnosis threw this typically tough power woman into a spiral of depression and despair. Julie’s diagnosis couldn’t have come at a worse time, as she was already struggling with the recent loss of her two sisters, and now she was struggling for her own life.

Thankfully, the combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation worked. Unfortunately, it also resulted in a blood clot in Julie’s jugular, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and Neuropathy. Separately, Julie was also struggling with Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD), arthritic joints, and anxiety and depression. Still, Julie was determined to not give up. In her words, “death is an obvious eventuality, but healthily growing older is a better prognosis.”

Before Julie’s diagnosis she was a heavy lifter who spent most of her spare time in the gym, staying active. Since then she has turned into a different type of gym-goer, knowing that movement and exercise are now mandatory for healthy living, and not just a fun pastime. Julie was almost forced into changing her fitness routine once she started undergoing treatments. While she was no longer able to focus on heavy weights, she turned her attention to enhanced cardio and increasing her flexibility.

LA Fitness group fitness classes became the perfect fit for what Julie needed. She shared that the classes offered her “cardio-vascular improvement, coordination and control, brain and muscle memory, musicality and performance artistry, emotional outlet, camaraderie and so much more.” She enjoys classes like Body Works classes and Yoga, but one class stood apart from the rest – Zumba®. Julie shared that Zumba® is one of the primary reasons why she’s made LA Fitness her second home.

In fact, Julie enjoys the classes so much that she travels to various LA Fitness clubs within the Phoenix area to follow some of her favorite instructors! She’s even enjoyed participating in LA Fitness Zumba® classes while on vacation in other states! Julie shared that trainers like Justin, Natalie, Briana and Treena, should be applauded for their personable demeanors, motivating attitudes and caring mindsets. Each of the Zumba® instructors she admires has their own unique flavor and talent that they bring to their classes.

“Come dance with me, what do you have to lose besides the weight?”

Justin R.

Group Fitness Instructor , LA Fitness

“Zumba® allows me to bring a little bit of joy into someone’s life, one dance step, one song, one class at a time.”

Treena B.

Group Fitness Instructor , LA Fitness

“Don’t work out to escape your life, work out to embrace your life.”

Brianna B.

Group Fitness Instructor , LA Fitness

“Music is the heartbeat to the soul.”

Natalie Q.

Group Fitness Instructor , LA Fitness

Julie found strength and fun in Zumba® group fitness classes. She found friends in some of the talented Zumba® instructors she’s met along the way, and she encourages everyone to try out a class near them. If Zumba® isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other group fitness options to keep you active and feeling motivated. It’s a great way to keep in shape, have fun, and be encouraged from group fitness instructors. Find a class near you by clicking here!


Group fitness class schedules and offerings vary by location.

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Nearly 1 in 2 Adults Classified with High Blood Pressure, New Guidelines to Consider

Nearly 1 in 2 Adults Classified with High Blood Pressure, New Guidelines to Consider

Are you in the danger zone? Nearly half of all U.S. adults are identified as having high blood pressure, or hypertension, but what does this mean exactly? Imagine it like this, hypertension can easily be compared to having a piping system where the pressure is slowly increasing. Over time, this pressure wears on the machinery (“your heart”) and affects the overall system of equipment (“your body”). When blood pushes too hard against the blood vessels of the body, it damages the tissues of the arteries over time, weakening the heart and overall circulatory system. The good news is, there are ways to manage, and even prevent, this from occurring.

The American Heart Association (AHA) sets guidelines of what a healthy blood pressure should be. The new guidelines lower the blood pressure at which a person is considered to have high blood pressure. Under the previous definition, 32% of American adults were considered to have high blood pressure. The change to the guidelines changes the definition, with the result that 46% of U.S. adults are now identified as having high blood pressure. According to the AHA, “a blood pressure of less than 120/80 still will be considered normal, but levels at or above that, to 129, will be called ‘elevated’.”1 Having these new guidelines in place will allow doctors to better detect, treat and prevent hypertension in their patients.

The new guidelines can be thought of as a preventive measure. By monitoring and recognizing moderate to high blood pressure sooner, individuals will be able to take steps to control their blood pressure earlier. With implementation of healthy lifestyle changes, the risk of heart disease and stroke diminishes, giving those with hypertension a chance to get a better hold on their health. In fact, not only can early detection possibly help prevent stroke and cardiovascular issues, but it may also help prevent kidney failure. The new guidelines can help doctors detect, treat and prevent the results of hypertension.

The AHA’s journal, Hypertension emphasizes, “that doctors need to focus on a whole framework of healthier lifestyle changes for [their] patients,”2 which may be easier to do if they are able to start educating their patients earlier on. Paul Whelton, M.D., who chaired the guideline writing committee said, “I’m not saying it’s easy to change our lifestyles, but that should be first and foremost.”3

Paul Whelton, M.D., chaired the committee that wrote the new high blood pressure guidelines.

Heart Healthy Diet and Lifestyle Tips from the AHA

  • Reduce salt intake
  • Incorporate potassium-rich foods
    • i.e. bananas, potatoes, avocados, and dark leafy vegetables
  • Cut back on alcohol consumption
  • Healthy weight loss
  • Quit smoking cigarettes
  • Increase physical activity

Oftentimes, people with high blood pressure may not even realize they have it, and because of this it has become known as the “silent killer.” There are usually no obvious symptoms, making hypertension the main culprit for “more heart disease and stroke deaths than almost all other preventable causes,”4 falling second only to smoking. Check out the guide below to see where you fall on the scale, and make it a priority to live a healthy life to help build a healthy future.

If you think you may be at risk of high blood pressure or hypertension, consult with your doctor. 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.


  1. “Nearly Half of U.S. Adults Could Now Be Classified with High Blood Pressure, under New Definitions.” News on, 14 Nov. 2017,
  2. Ibid
  3. Ibid
  4. Ibid


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It’s LA Fitness’ 33rd Anniversary!

It’s LA Fitness’ 33rd Anniversary!

As LA Fitness celebrates its 33rd anniversary, we are sharing our top 33 articles for your enjoyment! Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to hear from you!

Below are some of our favorite fitness articles, which range from top sport and fitness trends from around the world, to an interactive LA Fitness quiz, and even the first episode of our recently launched Ask A Trainer series! Check out the posts below for some helpful fitness tips and advice to keep your fitness game strong and your knowledge of fitness even stronger.

Who doesn’t love food? It’s tasty, it’s necessary, and we need it to sustain healthy lives. However, most of us lack a deeper understanding of how food actually affects our body. Our registered dietitian, along with a staff of knowledgeable writers, work on providing nutrition articles to help bridge the gap between food fact and fiction. Check out some of our top nutrition articles below, and if you’re still left with nutrition questions of your own, don’t hesitate to ask your own here!

Health and wellness directly correlate with fitness and nutrition, so what can you do to help promote a healthy body? Check out our wellness articles below for helpful tips on keeping your body at its best, both inside and out.

We all have our days where it seems like heading to the gym and eating healthy seems harder than others. Use the inspirational member spotlight stories below to help keep you feeling motivated to hit your fitness goals – we believe in you!

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Member Spotlight | Finding Your Inner Superhero

Member Spotlight | Finding Your Inner Superhero

My story begins a year before I actually joined LA Fitness. In 2016, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. After consulting at length with my doctor about how I could have contracted diabetes, we settled on two things: I was probably already pre-diabetic, and most importantly, the stress of my mother’s death probably led me there.

In February of 2016, my mother’s doctors informed her and our family that she had only 6 weeks to live and subsequently set us up with a home hospice care provider. As time progressed, she deteriorated and so as predicted, she passed in her sleep at home on April 11th 2017. In large part, it was due to a bad heart but she had diabetes as well.

It took a while to process all of that and then a couple of months later I found out about my own diabetes. Working with my doctor, I started a regimen of prescription medication to get my diabetes under control. I went to special classes that talked about diabetes and special diets. One thing that was stressed in the classes was that losing weight would aid in my treatment. I tried doing things at home for several months but I wasn’t all that successful. I finally broke down and decided to visit my local LA Fitness in La Habra, CA.

I meet with one of their representatives, and we settled on a membership with the addition of a trainer as well. There must have been an angel looking out for me when I got assigned my trainer. Her name is Brianna H., or Bree as she likes to be called. I cannot tell you have happy I am to have Bree as my trainer. She is a huge reason that since I have started I have lost 10 lbs. as well as 3 inches from my waist. I have also gained muscle mass and have become toned – I love to flex my biceps now!

Bree is completely invested in my success. She’s my drill sergeant and cheerleader combined. She has me working hard and I like that because I know she wants me to succeed. I will work out at times by myself as well and I can see the difference. I’m just not as determined without her constant encouragement urging me on. She corrects my posture and reinforces my positive outlook and is always checking in to make I can handle the weight. She knows that I am sixty years old and that I hadn’t worked out literally for decades, so while she pushes me onward she’s also sensitive to where I’m at as I progress in my workouts. I consider her to be not just my personal trainer but also more like my personal superhero.

Through her strong suggestions, I have even begun to change my eating habits. I’ve added salads to my diet and I try to manage portion controls better. I still need to get better but with Bree’s input I hope to make more strides and improvements in my overall health. I will forever be grateful to Bree and LA Fitness for the help that I have received and will continue to receive as time goes on. If I were to offer anyone advice, I would say that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself and it’s okay to ask for help. Get a trainer and trust that they really want to help you succeed. It’s hard at times but anything that’s worth it is. I know that I’m worth the effort that I put into my workouts and I know that my Mom is smiling down on me on my journey.

Disclaimer: Some slight adjustments have been made to the member’s story for grammatical reasons, length, and/or clarity.

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ASK A TRAINER: Ep. 12 – How Often Should I Incorporate A Rest Day In My Routine?

ASK A TRAINER: Ep. 12 – How Often Should I Incorporate A Rest Day In My Routine?

Ask A Trainer: Featured Question of the Week

LA Fitness Pro Results® Master Trainer, Geoff F., explains the importance of rest days and how often you should be taking them a week. Find out the answer in the video below!

Do you have a fitness question? Ask one of our certified Pro Results® trainers here! Your question may be featured in an upcoming Ask Our Trainer video.**

4 + 7 =

**Selected submissions will be featured on the LA Fitness blog and possibly other LA Fitness digital media entities & websites. By making a submission, you hereby grant LA Fitness a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable license to use and make copies of the contents of such submission for any purpose and in any medium whatsoever, and you hereby waive and relinquish any copyright or other intellectual property right you may have in the contents of such submission and your right to pursue any claim for LA Fitness’s violation of those intellectual property rights.

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