Trainer Spotlight | The Muscle Whisperer

Trainer Spotlight | The Muscle Whisperer

Tom Vachét, a Pro Results® trainer for LA Fitness in Florida, has lived a life that’s motion picture-worthy. Known as “The Muscle Whisperer”, Tom has worked with dozens of celebrities, top athletes and Olympians over the years, spanning sports such as MMA, NFL, NHL, MLB, to Tennis, Volleyball, Downhill Skiing and even Ballet. He’s even been credited with resurrecting an NBA star’s career. Tom’s notoriety quickly spread like wildfire as more and more people noticed the results that came from his training – but what makes Tom’s story even more remarkable is the life that led up to this

Born and raised in rural Southern Indiana, Tom wasn’t exactly the golden child for fitness. In fact, he describes himself as being the “chubby boy who loved to read and play violin” – when he wasn’t otherwise engaged in farm work. However, as time went by, Tom began developing a passion for sports. He was average in most, but excelled in a few: distance running, swimming, wrestling and boxing. He believes that his farm work experience is what helped keep him functionally fit.

At the time of Tom’s graduation from high school, the Vietnam War was raging. Undecided about his future, Tom enlisted in the United States Navy. At the end of his second tour of combat in Vietnam, Tom was injured and, following recuperation, left the Navy with a disability retirement. He was again at a crossroads in his life. He decided to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, and became a specialist in rehabilitation and medical case management.

Tom began work as a private health care consultant, and in time, he was recruited as the VP of Marketing and Sales for a company that manufactured wheelchairs in Southern California. As Tom led an unanticipated, but successful, turnaround for the company, his thirst for business knowledge led him back to school. He applied to, and completed, an intensive MBA program from Stanford University, and was immediately recruited by a prestigious accounting firm. His life transitioned to Washington, DC, as a marketing and sales consultant, specializing in the emerging, east coast, tech industry.

Soon enough, Tom describes that his life became a bit of a blur. He rapidly progressed through a succession of executive positions with several prestigious companies, each one coming with increasing responsibility. It was challenging and chaotic, but the thrill of it all kept Tom climbing to further and further heights. And suddenly – at what seemed to be the top of his career, Tom slipped. After being part of a prestigious merger team that created a well-known telecom company, he joined a startup as a partner. It was the singular opportunity he had worked for his entire career. Without warning, the tech market imploded; the bubble burst. Tom was 49-years-old, and he lost 600,000 shares of stock in a flash.

For the first time in his life, he had no plan.

He needed to regroup, but he didn’t know where to start. He eventually decided to focus on getting himself back to the physical condition he once was in, as he figured things out. He joined a gym, hired a trainer, and got to work. The trainer’s routine was to take Tom from machine to machine, changing the weight stack, “while drinking a coffee and lamenting about his love life.” It didn’t take long for Tom to think he could do a better job training. Then one day, on a whim, Tom spoke with a fitness manager expressing his interest in becoming a personal trainer, and an interview was arranged.

Tom showed up for his interview in a business suit and tie, toting a briefcase and laptop, and proceeded to share his portfolio. His interviewer cautioned Tom, warning him that he seemed overqualified for the position he was applying for, but Tom didn’t care. Satisfaction was now the main objective for his life, not the money. With some convincing, Tom was hired. With his experience in the military, as well as sales and marketing, Tom was a natural fit. After a year of outstanding work, Tom was promoted to Assistant General Manager of a fitness club in Manhattan Beach, California.

With the promotion, Tom wanted to ensure that his clients weren’t left behind. He negotiated a deal allowing him to continue training his clients in addition to his management responsibilities. His commitment to his clients was unmatched. Slowly, his reputation as a sought-after trainer for pro athletes and celebrities was being established. Later that summer, Tom met a well-known, veteran, NBA player whose career was in decline due to recurring injuries. Tom assisted him in identifying a biochemical dysfunction, and referred him to a trusted physical therapist. With their combined effort, the NBA athlete was restored back to his pre-injury state and went on to have the best season of his career. By the end of that summer, Tom became t he player’s full-time, exclusive strength and conditioning coach, and he went on to enjoy two additional, back-to-back successful seasons.+

Tom’s client list suddenly exploded.

He credits this to his unique approach to training. Having trained clients who are capable of training consecutive days, he would work with them three days per week and then allow them four days of rest. Tom shared that no client of his has ever lifted more than 45 lbs. when working with him. The intensity is high, sets are anywhere between 20-30 exercises, most using integrated movements, with active rest between sets. Tom shared that he always works towards a purpose, delivering programs based on proven principles of training from the floor up, achieving a foundation of biochemical wellness, while developing the core, for useful and practical functional strength and power.

Tom has noticed that using low weight performed in a high-volume, complex, high-intensity, often unstable environment, provided his clients an increase in strength and endurance. Tom preaches the importance of balance and stability in exercise and sport. Tom’s dedication and commitment to his LA Fitness clients, comes from a lifetime of constantly striving for the best, and working to bring out the best in those he trains. He loves his work, and is grateful that the whim he followed in 2009 provided him with a career that he never would have expected. It just goes to prove that some of the best adventures in life happen when you least expect them to.


Tom Vachet

An Interview with: Tom Vachet

Are you interested in Pro Results® personal training?* We asked Pro Results® personal trainer, Tom Vachet, to share some of his expert advice before getting started.

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

Tom Vachet: First, any successful training endeavor requires attention to three key areas: physical work, good nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle. As to the work piece, anyone considering undertaking a new fitness program should understand and consider that the knowledge and experience necessary to achieve success is not part of their own DNA. All of us have at some time in our lives needed to call the plumber, or the auto mechanic, or the doctor. So, when it comes to starting a new fitness program, hiring a trainer as your guide can be useful.

I suggest interviewing that person. You need to be certain their personality, demeanor, and conduct are a fit and provide a sense of safety and comfort. Experience in the field is obviously beneficial, though all of us start somewhere. Considering your goals, ask yourself whether the trainer’s education, experience, and interest fit your needs. Some trainers love body building, but dislike rehab. Others enjoy helping clients lose weight and don’t enjoy working with athletes. So, try to find a match based on your goals.

Do not underestimate the impact of nutrition as it relates to success in achieving your health and fitness goals. There are many resources available to help guide you. Avoid “diets,” which are generally short- term, and instead make changes in your eating habits you can sustain for a lifetime. And when you begin to experience that endorphin “high” many enjoy from working out, don’t become an addict. Appropriate rest between workouts is essential to optimizing results, and will prevent overwork and breakdowns of your body.

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

TV: I try to communicate to my clients that fitness is for a lifetime. If you’ve neglected your health and fitness for many years, and if you are older, the changes come slowly. The body’s metabolism requires time to adjust. Be patient. Stay off the scale and pay attention to the fit of clothing. I am quick to point out things that are changing in my clients, like their incremental improvement in balance and stability, or their increased strength in exercises. Although these things will begin to emerge early in the program, substantial change will not come for six to eight weeks.

Specifically, regarding training plateaus, I found a solution many years ago. I don’t design client exercise programs that follow a pattern. Every single training session I deliver is completely unscripted, and I’m completely comfortable with the idea of training extemporaneously. I firmly believe there are big benefits. For the client, they never know what is coming. They are forced to stay engaged, and the challenge for them is high. For me, I have the freedom of following my intuition, creating as I go, and allowing my observations of training opportunities to dictate the direction of the session. On a scientific level, my style eliminates the neural adaptation common in fixed repeating exercise programs. There is no pattern to any day’s workout, or the sequence of workouts across time. For those skeptics of my approach, the results I’ve seen in my, now decades, body of work, leads me to believe it works.

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

TV: Understand decades of neglect can’t be undone in a few weeks or months. So be committed for the long haul. It may take a few weeks, or few months of challenging work, to begin to see or feel the changes. In addition, understand frequency affects the rate of change. That does not necessarily mean five sessions with a trainer per week. But one or two, with you doing a reciprocal number, is an important thing. More than anything else, keep your eye on the prize. The benefit of your effort to reclaim your health will not just give you a sense of satisfaction, it will improve and elevate the quality of your life overall, allowing you to live free of the restrictions of poor health, and to enjoy freedom you never imagined possible.


Client Testimonials 

“I met Tom summer of 2007 as I had just ruptured my Achilles playing professional volleyball in Italy. I was a member of the USA Olympic team since 2000 and was in full preparation mode for China. Tom saved my career. I was 32 yrs. old at that time, all the team coaches and players had told me that I was done playing. I worked with Tom for a full year. He is truly professional, attentive to details, disciplined, super talented, and guided me through each and every exercise.” “I was back in shape within 7 months, ready to play in Europe professionally, and back with the Olympic team. I continued to play for 7 more years, played in London Olympics in 2012, and had my best performance ever. Not only did we work out, Tom also guided me through the nutrition and mental toughness part of me. I was truly lucky to have met Tom and I would recommend his service to anyone, all over the world and anytime.”

Read Don’s Member Spotlight story here!

Don Suxho

USA Olymic Volleyball Setter, Four-Time All-American

“Tom Vachet has refined the art and science of progressive, transformational personal training. While training with Tom weekly for over one year, he has changed my entire approach to fitness. We began by pushing through my perceived mental, and longstanding physical, limitations, then proceeded to build my stamina, balance, coordination and strength. I have transformed my diet and nutritional habits with his invaluable guidance. The results…increased lean body mass, lower body fat and slimmer waist. More importantly, Tom has renewed my functional strength, endurance and energy. If you would like to transform your training regimen and physique, connect with Tom.”

Joe Scarano, MD

Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Florida State University

“I met Tom back in 2009 and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made to train with him. He was tough but the way he cares about what he is doing is obvious. You know he is just as passionate about achieving your goals as you are. Tom’s expertise, own personal experience, medical background and vast knowledge (of the body, nutrition, training) all play into how he approaches working with each person. And that is a key with him- each person… he truly focuses on you as the individual to strengthen & transform your body as a whole. His theory with me was “chaos” in that he wants to introduce different aspects of training each time we did a workout that all goes towards the same goal and to keep the body ready for anything. He pushed me to limits I didn’t even know I had mentally and physically but it was exactly what I needed. The years I trained with him, I was in the best shape of my life in regards to balance, strength, functionality, stamina, injury prevention and just overall health. It was an all-encompassing experience, every aspect of who I was as an athlete and healthy person was explored and worked on then transformed. I can’t say enough positive things about what he can bring, as a trainer and as a person, when working with him.”

Paige Jensen

Former Competitive Volleyball Athlete

Pro Results® Personal Training

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

+Tom generally trains professional athletes outside of LA Fitness, but uses a similar approach for Pro Results® personal training clients.

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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**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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March to LA Fitness

March to LA Fitness

Welcome to month 3 of 2018! Congratulations to those of you who have stuck with your New Year’s resolution to make fitness a priority in the new year. However, we know that some of you may not be as focused as you once were.

For those of you struggling to keep the momentum going, or even those of you who feel like you’ve already fallen off the fitness wagon – fear not! Many of you may think that a new healthy habit should begin upon the start of a year new, new month, or new week. We’re here to tell you that you can start at any time – it doesn’t matter as long as you start.

This is why LA Fitness has deemed this March as #MarchtoLAFitness. If you want to see changes, you’ve got to put in the time! Tired? Everyone is. Busy? Most people are. However, being tired or busy and not setting aside the time you need to make yourself healthy is a lose-lose situation. If you’re feeling lousy about excess weight, poor nutrition or a tired mind, starting a healthy habit is what your body needs.

The American Psychological Association (APA) suggests changing one behavior at a time. Swap out that quick fast food meal for a home-cooked one instead. Get an extra hour of sleep or add an extra day spent at the gym to your weekly schedule. Unhealthy behaviors or habits typically develop over the course of time, which means you can’t expect healthy habits to develop overnight. It’s going to take discipline and practice. Worried that you don’t have the willpower or determination to make these changes? Try this:

Set Realistic Goals

Let’s say you want to lose a certain of weight. A reasonable goal is to allow yourself enough time to make this goal come to fruition. Try setting short and long-term goals. For instance, a goal to lose 1 pound a week is a lot more realistic than wanting to lose 10 pounds. Be realistic with yourself and know what fits your lifestyle. Hitting a short-term goal (i.e., losing one pound in a week), will leave you feeling accomplished and will help develop the healthy habits you need to continue working toward your long-term goals.

Involve a Friend

Did you know that having someone to help you along the way can help you stay motivated? Whether that person is a family member, significant other, friend or coworker, you may want to invite someone who shares a similar goal to join you on your way to success! Looking to sweeten the deal? LA Fitness offers a program called VIP Rewards where you can invite a friend or family member to join you at our club while earning points that can be redeemed for LA Fitness gear. (Check out rewards here!)

Habit vs. Lifestyle

Developing healthy habits can lead to a healthy lifestyle, but how long does it take exactly to start a new healthy habit? This number has been debated a lot, with some thinking it takes 21 days to develop a habit while others believe it can take up to 90 days. How true are these numbers and what does that mean when setting a goal to sticking to consistent, healthy habits? An article published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) references an article1 focused on the psychology of ‘habit-formation’ and general practice. Below is an excerpt taken from the study:

Unrealistic expectations of the duration of the habit formation process can lead the patient to give up during the learning phase. Some patients may have heard that habits take 21 days to form. This myth appears to have originated from anecdotal evidence of patients who had received plastic surgery treatment and typically adjusted psychologically to their new appearance within 21 days.22 More relevant research found that automaticity plateaued on average around 66 days after the first daily performance,9 although there was considerable variation across participants and behaviours. Therefore, it may be helpful to tell patients to expect habit formation (based on daily repetition) to take around 10 weeks. Our experience is that people are reassured to learn that doing the behaviour gets progressively easier; so they only have to maintain their motivation until the habit forms. Working effortfully on a new behaviour for 2–3 months may be an attractive offer if it has a chance of making the behaviour become ‘second nature’.

Uh oh… I Slipped Again

Don’t let a day (or two or three) skipping the gym deter you from getting right back on track! Did you eat unhealthy over the weekend? Perhaps you maybe indulged a little too much on last night’s dinner. Well, this means all your hard work and progress is gone, right? Wrong! A little misstep is no reason to feel like you’ve failed at working toward your goal. Don’t wait until next week, next month, or next year to get back on track – do it today because the time spent waiting to fix what you want to change can be time spent actively working towards your life’s goals.

You’ve got this. We believe in you. #MarchtoLAFitness

Sources:

  1. Gardner, Benjamin, et al. “Making Health Habitual: the Psychology of ‘Habit-Formation’ and General Practice.” The British Journal of General Practice, Royal College of General Practitioners, Dec. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505409/.

Referenced:

  1. “Making Lifestyle Changes That Last.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, www.apa.org/helpcenter/lifestyle-changes.aspx.

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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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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.**

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**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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