I joined the 60day to keep myself accountable. I had already cut most of my pandemic weight over the past two challenges and was inching closer to the elusive 20% body fat (starting from a dangerous 34% post pandemic). I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to push through.
Setting boundaries for work and personal life has been difficult when working from home during the pandemic, and if I was not careful, I could easily end up working 80-hr weeks without realizing it. From prior assessments at Life Time, I knew that my resting metabolic rate was very low, and I couldn’t be sedentary. The 60day provided the motivation I needed to go to the gym. I timed my gym visits with one or more classes, with my favorites being FLOW, BarreFusion, PWRcycle, or anything taught by Jocie. I wrapped up workouts with time on the treadmill, lifting, or swimming. On Saturdays, I took 3-4 classes in a row (including the Saturday Sweat Session), followed by an hour of cross-training in the outdoor pool. I pushed myself to all reasonable limits, then pushed myself some more. A typical Saturday might see me burning 3000+ calories by lunchtime.
Halfway through the challenge, I found out that my father was very sick, and decided to fly to California for a week to spend quality time. I had not seen him in years due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, I thought that flying to California was the end of the challenge for me. How would I find the time to exercise? Would there be a Life Time I could use? To my surprise, there were two Life Time facilities within a 15 minute drive from my parents’ home. They were both top-tier diamond clubs and felt like resorts. One had 20 beautiful outdoor tennis courts as well as an indoor and outdoor gym. The other had a rock-climbing wall and a gym floor 3 times the size I was used to. Both were open from 4AM, including use of the outdoor pool (score!). They welcomed me even though my membership tier was lower. While in California, I spent a few hours at the gym from 4AM each morning, then spent the rest of the day with my parents and sisters. My father got progressively better over the week, and we went to celebrate with a big bowl of ramen – not the healthiest meal, but it made me feel good watching him enjoy it. Over the week, I didn’t miss a beat with my exercise routines, and spent quality time catching up with my family; I even took my sister and niece in as guests to Life Time (which they loved as well).
Of course, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. During the 60day Challenge I made it my mantra to eat lean, clean, green, and protein-rich foods. Anika’s tips on protein, carbs, and snacks were all spot on. I supplemented with a few of the key Life Time products: Creatine, Pre-Workout, BCAAs during the workout, Whey Protein post workout, and AM/PM Performance Vitamins to give me the extra boost to get through the day. I also took 2 Fish Oil capsules per day, as recommended by the Life Time nutritionist, given the amount of exercise I was doing. Green tea was my go-to for increasing my metabolism.
I followed all the weekly challenges within the 60day app for the entire duration, and not just during the focus week. Every day I stuck to 10k steps/day, no mindless snacking, getting plenty of water and sleep, and no devices 1 hr before bed. And, of course, I made daily use of the steam room, sauna, and jacuzzi to de-stress and release any built-up toxins, to be ready for the next day. While in the sauna, I usually did a few hundred crunches for good measure. I ended all my workouts with a hot, then cold shower to strengthen my cardiovascular system. My favorite trainer, Max, gave me frequent encouragement and tips, which was great for my motivation; I was also inspired by his own physical fitness, which enabled him to complete several Ironman Triathlons and Tough Mudders.
I have loved being a part of the Life Time family these past few years. I recently had a chance to hang out with JR – the mastermind of AMP – at his home club in Minneapolis and was amazed by the high energy of his classes. A couple of years ago, I was awarded Top Fundraiser for the St. Jude “Ride for a Reason” event, and I got to meet many of the Life Time leadership team. I have entered many of the Life Time contests, and even won a couple pairs of HOKAs along the way. But my favorite Life Time event has always been the 60day Challenge – not just because I am excited to win the big prizes, but because of all the great physical and mental results it provides to so many of its members.
All in all, I had a successful 60day Challenge. I surpassed my goals, with a final weight of 196 lbs and 20% body fat, down from over 240lbs and 34% post-pandemic. I am finally able to hold a yoga handstand for 45 seconds after kissing my belly goodbye, and I even broke the gym record on the cycle (with 220 rpms and 1000 watts). Although I am no Mr. Olympian, I feel like I’m in great shape for my age. It’s time to flex!