It might not look like it, but I was born with a congenital birth defect, which has required me to have 22 major surgeries up until the age of 18. My bladder, kidneys, hips, pelvic bones, lower abdominal muscles and navel have been sliced in every possible direction—vertically, horizontally, diagonally.
But just a little over 60 days ago, I decided something needs to change. I need to improve. I am 48 years old, and my life needs to get a lot better. And I need to do something about it right now.
I signed up for the Life Time 60-Day Challenge, and I wrote on my entry form, “I am going to win. I need to win. Seriously.” And when my trainer Ali Shifiqat read my words and we discussed the plan of action, he then responded, “I believe you can win. And I will help you get there.”
At first I was truly scared that my body might break. I thought my stomach might pop right open. I never thought I could work my abs. I’d never done more than five crunches without enormous pain. Ali included a lot of core strengthening exercises that have allowed me to gain the confidence and strength to now complete a more sophisticated core and abdominal routine.
The Active Metabolic testing proved very instrumental in attaining my goals. I learned to work out smartly and more efficiently. Ali gave me a customized cardio program based on my own personal metabolism. This plan prevented me from over-training. In fact I started doing less cardio but with more dynamic explosiveness and higher speed.
My diet changed dramatically. Tia started me with the Life Time D.TOX program, UCan, L-Glutamine, Relora and Essential Amino Acids, which proved to be very helpful in my performance, rest and recovery of each workout. I also learned how to nourish my body with the right fuels.
I began to eat 5 small meals a day including a protein shake from the LifeCafe immediately following my workouts. Ali even had me photograph my meals and send him snapshots to ensure that I stay on track. I, of course, photographed my meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas to hold me accountable.
Other trainers (Robert, Deshawn, Paul and Clay) constantly rooted me on. Laurie, in Group Fitness, was extremely encouraging as was Felicia in the Pilates Studio, who gave me many pointers on how to work on my flexibility daily and keep my core engaged. I have now increased my flexibility and mobility so much that I can actually do the splits—something I have always wanted to do since I was a child.
Up until now I had been unable to complete a full squat or lunge without enormous pain. Ali also put me on an injury-preventive program that focused on maintaining proper form and strengthening my core. These techniques have now allowed me to do pain-free squats and lunges.
And every morning at 4:00 a.m. Jamie would greet me at the front desk with a smile, a good morning and a constant display of enthusiasm and encouragement. And believe me at 4:00 a.m., her positive reinforcement was more energizing than coffee, an energy drink or a pre-workout supplement.
The support of my family, friends and co-workers has truly helped ensure my success. I received constant motivation and encouragement at home. After the jarring sound of the alarm clock went off every morning at 3:00 a.m., it was always followed by an “I am so proud of you. I believe in you.” That kind of love, support, reinforcement, belief and focus were exactly what I needed. In my marriage, I could never have asked for a more supportive spouse.
I know with this kind of love and support, that continued success will come more easily than if I did not have it. I have committed to further personal training with Ali to ensure that I increase my strength, muscle mass, flexibility and mobility. I will continue on the nutritional supplements and healthy eating plan.
The Life Time 60-Day Challenge has been one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences of my life. It has given me the tools and confidence to maintain this healthy way of living. I want to thank all of the staff at Life Time for their constant support, encouragement and knowledge. Life Time truly has changed my life—for the better and forever.
Thank you from the bottom of my now healthy heart!