Member Spotlight | Mini and Mighty

Member Spotlight | Mini and Mighty

“Everyone starts somewhere. It is important to do your personal best and not let your size, age, or anything that may appear as a barrier stop you from achieving your goals.”

Rachel M.

LA Fitness Member

Mini and Mighty

It’s said that some of the best things in life come in small packages – and that describes Rachel M. perfectly. Known by her friends and family as “Mighty Mouse,” this 4’9” powerhouse has become an inspiration to fellow LA Fitness members in her hometown of Valencia, CA. However, she wasn’t always this way.

Growing up, Rachel suffered from multiple health complications that caused her to dread physical activity. She didn’t enjoy P.E. and ended up on teams by default; oftentimes being the last one “picked” for team events. It would usually take Rachel 10 minutes to run a mile, with breaks in between to stop and use her inhaler. She reflected back on a moment she will never forget, when one of her coaches had to give her a piggyback ride because she could not complete the run on her own. Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of a series of troubling events Rachel faced.

Next thing she knew, Rachel was hospitalized in the ICU with severe pneumonia. While she was admitted, she was told that she was pre-diabetic and had hyperlipidemia. Rachel had previously undergone cataract surgery and suffered from retinal detachment and spondylolisthesis – all at a young age. She knew she had to do something to change the harmful direction her health had taken.

Before

After

 

Small Changes, Big Results

Both of Rachel’s parents were members of LA Fitness and were constantly trying to persuade her to join them at the gym. But working out felt like work at the time, which made Rachel skeptical about giving it a go. However, she was determined not to rely on daily medication while only in her 20s, so she joined her mom for a cycle class.

In that first class, she could not last five minutes without having to use her inhaler. However, as she continued with cycling, she became stronger and stronger with each class, until she could complete a full class. As time went by, working out and focusing on health and fitness became her new passion.   This had great results, as she was slowly taken off all of her medications.

She credits being a member of LA Fitness as a huge part of her fitness journey. She would tell herself, “You’re stronger than you think,” “You could do anything for a minute”, and “You’ve got this.” She shared that fellow LA Fitness members would encourage her, and believed in her so much, that she began to believe in herself.

A Closer Look at Labels 

Along with working out, Rachel started paying close attention to food labels and ingredients. Now she incorporates proteins (chicken, ground turkey, egg whites, lean ground beef), carbs (sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa), healthy fats (nuts, olive oil, avocado, coconut oil), and greens into most of her meals. She enjoys snacking on nuts, veggies with hummus, and brown rice cakes with almond butter. Rachel enjoys foods that have minimal ingredients, and she tries to stay away from processed foods, or foods with additives and colors.

Where is Rachel now? 

Rachel hopes to inspire others through fitness and enjoys meeting people at the gym who share goals similar to hers. She continues to strive for her personal best, by increasing her rep counts, developing better endurance and lifting heavier than before. Her focus on fitness is inspired by her goal to stay out of the hospital, off medication, and to be living proof of Shakespeare’s quote, “Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

“Don’t compare yourself to others. You’re as strong as you think. Celebrate baby steps. Progress is progress. Believe in yourself. Believe in others such that they believe in themselves. Empower. See someone that inspires you? Let them know. Pay it forward.”

Rachel M.

LA Fitness Member

DISCLAIMER: Results will vary. Rachel M.’s story reflects an exceptional result, which does not apply to the average person, and is not representative of or a guarantee that you or anyone else will achieve the same or similar results. Do not attempt to change your diet, fitness routine, or any other activity related to your health without first obtaining the advice of a medical professional.

Do you have a fitness goal or an inspirational story you would like to share with us? We’d love to hear it! Please share below.

4 + 14 =

The Benefits of Living an Active Lifestyle

The Benefits of Living an Active Lifestyle

May 1st marks the start of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month!

Are you game enough to join in on the fun?

Leading an active lifestyle can help inspire those around you to become more active as well. Encourage the family to take a walk together after dinner or get in some pre-work pushups in the AM (read How Early Morning Workouts Can Impact Your Day here). The more your body moves the less likely you are to develop health issues further down the line. And the great thing about choosing to live an active lifestyle is that you can start at any age!

Let’s Get Physical 

For adults, physical activity can help lower the risk of many diseases such as type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and heart disease.1 And for the more seasoned adults out there, engaging in physical activities like balance and muscle-strengthening activities can help lower the risk of falls and improve cognitive function.2

But aside from the benefits explained above, exercising – even in short increments – helps provide our bodies with energy! We’ve all experienced that mid-afternoon drop in energy level, but a quick little walk around the office could help with that tired feeling.

Where to Start 

So, how can you celebrate National Physical Fitness and Sports Month? Well, a few quick tricks can be as simple as organizing an afternoon lunch walk with colleagues, choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking further away from your work location in order to get a few extra steps in.

One of the main things to remember is that staying in shape doesn’t have to be a chore – remember childhood days full of play?  If sports are your passion why not consider joining an LA Fitness Club Leagues team? It’s a great way to keep fit while having fun! With basketball, volleyball, and racquetball leagues offered, there are plenty of options to choose from (not to mention, LA Fitness is the largest provider of racquetball courts in North America!).

 

Did You Know? 

According to the American Heart Association, moderate activity can help reduce the risk of stroke by about 20 percent, and that number jumps to about 27 percent in individuals who are highly active.3 Exercise also helps promote better sleep (just be careful not to exercise too close to bedtime or you may have a hard time settling down).

However you choose to stay active is up to you! Try out different activities until you find one you enjoy. Oftentimes that will trick our minds into shifting focus from working out to simply having fun, all while burning calories.

So, what are some of YOUR fitness goals for National Physical Fitness and Sports Month? We would love to hear them!

Have an inspirational fitness success story? Share it with us by sending an email to blog@fitnessintl.com.

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Sources:

1. “Benefits of Physical Activity.” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 22 June 2016. Web. 05 Apr. 2017. <https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/phys/benefits>.

2. “Physical Activity and Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 04 June 2015. Web. 05 Apr. 2017. <https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm>.

3. “Physical Activity Improves Quality of Life.” Physical Activity Improves Quality of Life. American Heart Association, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2017. <http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/StartWalking/Physical-activity-improves-quality-of-life_UCM_307977_Article.jsp#.WNwCL4WcGUl>.

Member Spotlight | It’s Never Too Late

Member Spotlight | It’s Never Too Late

On November 8th, 2014, Max L. of Maplewood, MN made a decision that would alter the state of his life forever.

Having struggled the previous three years with a series of health-related challenges, including emergency surgery for a kidney stone too large to pass, Max knew something had to be done, and soon. At the encouragement of his wife, Max decided to join LA Fitness with the hope of becoming physically active again. This was the first step back to reclaiming his quickly deteriorating health.

While Max had been very active in sports as a boy and young man, time seemed to have taken its toll. A worsening knee problem had deprived him of even the most basic of physical activities – walking. In June of 2014, Max was approved for arthroscopic surgery (a minimally invasive surgical procedure to help treat joint problems). At the same time, he found himself suffering from migraine headaches, a weight of over 200 lbs., and a waist that had expanded to 43 inches.

Max’s original goal was to lose excess belly fat. He hoped that by increasing muscle tone, combined with mild cardio, it would help shed the weight. He also knew from the start that he wanted a trainer to help guide and encourage him along the way to achieving his desired fitness goal. And even though Max had done some weight training in his youth, he had never been properly trained on technique, or, on how to build a properly balanced exercise regime. This is where the training came in; it offered both encouragement and accountability.

In April 2015, Max was partnered with personal trainer, Alex B. He originally started training once a week before increasing his sessions to double that. With the help of Alex, Max was able to achieve incredible results. In roughly a six-month period, Max went from benching around 140 lbs. to a maximum bench press of 265 lbs.! Not only did he start feeling better, but his waist had begun to shrink too. However, like so many others, Max had a hard time making the commitment to a total life change and found himself not noticing a difference in his overall weight.

“Get off of sugar. After a few weeks, your palate comes alive; the veggies you didn’t like become very tasty.”

Max L.

LA Fitness Pro Results® Client

January 2016

August 2016

Over the years, Max tried countless diets that failed to produce any long-lasting results. But in January 2016, Max found himself so disgusted with the way his clothes fit, that he made the commitment to radically change his nutrition. It was with that determination and focus that he noticed the weight and fat start falling off. Between January and August of 2016 Max lost roughly 30 lbs., his waist went from 41” to 36” and his total body fat fell from 29% to 20%! He also began developing noticeable muscle definition in his arms and shoulders. But what he found best of all was the fact that he could fit back into size 32 pants for the first time since his 20’s!

Max shared that his transformation has done wonders for his self-image. His dramatic change has also influenced members at his club who feel inspired to make positive changes themselves after seeing what he’s accomplished. Because of Max’s perseverance and drive, he is now off two of his blood pressure medications, his good cholesterol is up, and the bad cholesterol is down!

Where Is He Now?

Max continues to train twice weekly with Alex.  His current fitness goal is to get his waist down to 34” and his body fat to 15%. Max thanks his trainer Alex for the progress he’s made and says, “I know I could not have done this transformation on my own.”

A Word From His Trainer

“I have trained Max for nearly three years. He’s had to overcome some obstacles along the way. At the start he was battling migraine headaches and vertigo and still hobbling from arthroscopic knee surgery. He could barely do pull-ups and only managed 140lbs on the bench press. But in time he started getting great results. In addition to losing nearly 30lbs his strength has increased, reaching 260lbs in the bench press and 25 pull-ups. I don’t recall ever seeing a 67 year old do that. He’s a great example that age is not a barrier or an excuse. Of all of Max’s successes I think the biggest is that he enjoys coming to the gym, and I believe he’ll stay at it for the rest of his life. As trainers our job isn’t just to take people through workouts but also to create a positive experience for the member in the gym so they will continue to train and develop. Max has been that guy and he is a great inspiration to other members who’ve watched his transformation.” – Alex B.

 

If you have any questions on how you can get started in Pro Results® Personal Training please click here.

Do you have an inspirational story you’d like to share with us? Email us at blog@lafitness.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming post!


Recommended Reading

What Is World Health Day?

What Is World Health Day?

Let’s talk health.

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” – World Health Organization, 1948

The World Health Organization hosts World Health Day each April 7th, which brings to global focus a key issue relating to health that many feel needs to be addressed. The efforts to bring attention to the subject chosen continue for a full calendar year, until a new topic is chosen. This year their theme is ‘Depression: Let’s Talk’. Other themes in the past have included ‘Beat Diabetes’ (2016), Food Safety (2015), and Vector-borne Diseases (2014), to name a few. Currently, there are 35 countries participating in 65 varying events. To find an event happening near you, click here.

If You’re Unhappy And You Know It, Run A Lap

This year the World Health Organization’s one-year campaign is centered on depression. It’s a topic that many are familiar with, but one that often gets overlooked. Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression.1 But, there are some natural ways that may help combat some of depression’s effects. A 2005 study referenced by Harvard Health showed that simply “walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times a week or 60 minutes a day three times a week had a significant influence on mild to moderate depression symptoms.”2 It’s amazing what a difference something so seemingly small can make.

In yet another study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 156 men and women with depression were split into three groups. One of the groups partook in an aerobic exercise program, the second group were given an antidepressant, and the final group participated in both. At the end of the 16-week mark, depression had eased in all three groups. In fact, “about 60%–70% of the people in all three groups could no longer be classed as having major depression.”3

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia, American author and motivational speaker

But why does exercising help mental health?

There are a few different hypotheses to consider:

I. Thermogenic Hypothesis

II. Endorphin Hypothesis

III. Monoamine Hypothesis

IV. Distraction Hypothesis

V. Self-Efficacy Hypothesis

 

“We can’t escape pain; we can’t escape the essential nature of our lives. But we do have a choice. We can give in and relent, or we can fight, persevere, and create a life worth living, a noble life. Pain is a fact; our evaluation of it is a choice.” – Jacob Held, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Central Arkansas

i. The Thermogenic Hypothesis suggests that the natural rise in core body temperature caused from working out can help facilitate symptoms of depression. Specifically, the study explained that “increases in temperature of specific brain regions, such as the brain stem, can lead to an overall feeling of relaxation and reduction in muscular tension.”4

ii. The Endorphin Hypothesis is probably the most commonly referenced theory when it comes to talking about the benefits of exercising and the effects it has on mental health. According to this hypothesis, exercise helps release endorphins naturally. Endorphins are known as “feel-good” hormones and are directly “related to a positive mood and an overall enhanced sense of well-being.”5

iii. The Monoamine Hypothesis is similar to the Endorphin Hypothesis. It suggests that “exercise leads to an increase in the availability of brain neurotransmitters (e.g., serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine) that are diminished with depression.”6 Serotonin has an effect on one’s mood. Dopamine “helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers [and] also helps regulate movement and emotional responses.”7 Norepinephrine is a chemical that mobilizes the body and brain for action.

iv. The Distraction Hypothesis is probably the most self-explanatory of these theories. This hypothesis suggests that physical activity helps distract from worries and depressing thoughts. Generally speaking, engaging in a distracting activity has shown more positive results than “self-focused or introspective activities such as journal keeping or identifying positive and negative adjectives that describe one’s current mood.”8

v. Lastly, there is the Self-Efficacy Hypothesis. In order to better understand what this hypothesis suggests, first let’s define self-efficacy. It “refers to the belief that one possesses the necessary skills to complete a task as well as the confidence that the task can actually be completed with the desired outcome obtained.”9 Those suffering from depression can sometimes experience negative thought processes, and feelings, towards themselves. However, a study showed “that involvement in an exercise program was associated with enhanced feelings of coping self-efficacy, which, in turn, were inversely related to feelings of depression.”10

If exercising is something you want to try to help become a physically, mentally, and emotionally better you, there are tons of different options available. At LA Fitness, Group Fitness classes are offered if you are the type of individual who thrives with the motivation of an instructor and the energy of others working out with you. If you prefer getting your workouts done solo, there is plenty of cardio and weight equipment to available to you. And if you’re new to working out, and unsure where to begin, booking a session with one of LA Fitness’ Pro Results® Master Trainers may be the best option for you.

This article is not meant as medical advice and should not replace any medical recommendations from your physician or other healthcare professional. Before starting a new exercise program, consult with your physician. If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, please reach out to a healthcare professional.

*Photos show a typical club. Amenities may vary.

 

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Sources:

  1. “Depression.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization, Feb. 2017. Web. 28 Mar. 2017. <http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/>. Publications, Harvard
  2. Health. “Exercise and Depression.” Harvard Health. Harvard Health Publications, June 2009. Web. 28 Mar. 2017
  3. Ibid
  4. Craft, Lynette L., and Frank M. Perna. “The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed.” Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc., 2004. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.
  5. Ibid
  6. Ibid
  7. Jr., Robert Evans Wilson, Samantha Smithstein Psy.D., Loretta G. Breuning Ph.D., and Susan Weinschenk Ph.D. “Dopamine.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2017. Craft, Lynette L., and Frank M. Perna. “The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed.” Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc., 2004. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.
  8. Craft, Lynette L., and Frank M. Perna. “The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed.” Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc., 2004. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.
  9. Ibid
  10. Ibid

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