I grew up a student athlete who took pride in his appearance and physical fitness. So, when I looked in the mirror a year ago and didn’t recognize or like the 300 pound person looking back at him I knew something had to be done. But how? And how did I get to this place?
It started when I graduated from college and embarked upon a very demanding career path. I stopped playing basketball and worked out infrequently. I would yo-yo in weight—occasionally enrolling a trainer for a few weeks here or there. I would justify my personal sacrifices with “I’m working hard now so I don’t have to later.” I kept making excuses for eating poorly and skipping the gym. I even bought some home workout equipment and found reasons why I couldn’t roll off the couch to use them. It became a vicious cycle.
Three weeks after my daughter was born, I moved to Texas for the “opportunity of a lifetime.” New city, new job, new house, new baby. I worked non-stop, ate all the BBQ I could and with every free second spent time with my family. Within the first 18 months of my daughter’s life, I ballooned to 300 pounds (a new record) and had high cholesterol and chest pains. I was frequently out of breath (even doing simple tasks like tying shoes or walking stairs) and had low energy. How would I manage when she became more active and started playing sports? I realized that while I have worked tirelessly to provide for my family and made excuses for not being more present or healthy, I can’t support them if I’m not around, and that was exactly the path I was on. My family was concerned and I was scared. That was my wakeup call.
I knew I had to prioritize myself to get healthy and the time was now. I needed a complete overhaul of my workout regimen, diet and overall mentality, so I joined Life Time about four months ago. I was very impressed with the knowledgeable and friendly staff and facilities. It was truly a one stop shop for everything I needed on this journey. I immediately worked with a trainer (Manny Coya) and nutritionist (Jeff Gutjahr). The first thing they did was understand my personal, specific situation. In order to tailor a comprehensive weight loss plan and ensure we did it in a healthy way, they recommended a workout and two metabolic assessments (RMA and AMA) and a Nutrition 1 on 1. Unlike my previous experiences with other trainers, I really responded to the customized, data-driven approach they took. It gave me a lot of confidence that the plan would work and be sustainable in the future. Manny used what he saw during the metabolic and workout assessments to create a six day a week program of cardio and weight training. We met twice a week and he would give me homework the other four days. Jeff created a meal plan with a focus on macros rather than specific foods, which worked with my lifestyle and incorporated foods I actually enjoyed eating. He coupled the meal plan with Life Time Supplements such as Protein Powder, UCAN, Amino Acids and vitamins to aid in strength and recovery. Jeff’s plan to continually increase calories every week, while totally counter-intuitive to what most would consider dieting, was the best long term approach to restore a healthy metabolism and achieve sustainable results.
The program was extremely effective. Within the first several weeks of training, I lost almost 20 pounds, tripled my metabolism to a healthy rate, improved my heart health and felt stronger and more energetic. This was not only encouraging to me, but also to Manny and Jeff, who recommended I enter the 60Day. I liked the idea of the 60Day because it would give me some near-term goals to focus on. I set a goal of 30 pounds in 60 days, while maintaining muscle mass.
Both before and during the 60Day, as my body continued to change, including my fitness level, metabolism and cardiovascular health, both Manny and Jeff worked very closely with me on adapting my workout and diet programs accordingly, which also included going through a metabolic re-assessment. Throughout the process, they provided the education and tools I needed to really understand my body and how to make it respond. During the 60Day, we continued with our training sessions and homework, nutrition monitoring, Life Time Supplement regimen and weekly check-ins. I had good weeks and bad weeks. The support from Manny and Jeff coupled with the incredible energy and sense of community at my club encouraged me to push hard every day.
Ultimately, I exceeded my 60Day goal and have drastically improved my health and fitness. I have more energy to play with my daughter and be present with my family. During the 60Day I transformed back into someone both my family and I can be proud of. Most importantly, through this process–and thanks to the Life Time family– I believe I have all the tools and knowledge to sustainably lose the remaining weight and be healthy for a lifetime.