Life Time Fitness Center has replaced my shower at home since 2008.
When my youngest daughter, Jennifer, was 10 years old, she went to a birthday party at Life Time Fitness and she fell in love with rock climbing. When she came home to tell my husband that she wanted a gym membership, I honestly thought it was a waste of money. If you can run outside and work out at home with videos, where’s the need for a gym? Well, she ended up convincing us that a membership at Life Time was worth it for the rock climbing wall, and we have been members since 2008. However, that didn’t mean I would be active in actually working out… after all with showers and restrooms, it seemed like an opportunity to save on water bills while letting my family exercise the way they wanted to.
As a 50-year-old mother of two daughters, I have dedicated my entire adulthood to being a mom and a wife. Part of the job is chauffeuring the kids to school, baseball practice, golf lessons, cheer competitions, volunteer sites, friends’ houses, and more. Any mom can tell you that there are never enough hours in the day and always a task to accomplish. Working out has been on the bottom of my ever growing to-do list despite my healthy habits as a teenager. In China, I would run 3000 meters every morning, in addition to swimming for school. However, once I married in 1991 and had my eldest daughter, Kelly, in 1994, I put aside fitness and focused on my family.
In 1999, I had retina detachment surgery after my eye was damaged and was in danger of losing vision in my left eye; afterwards, I was warned against strenuous activity that could cause another detachment. Since then, I’ve undergone laser surgery in both eyes, and another eye surgery after a car accident that left me bedridden for a few days. Working out became a taboo. Plagued with frequent chest pains, headaches, and poor vision, I never even glanced at advertisements and promotions for weight loss and exercising, deeming them all as hoaxes and marketing scams. I always assumed my body would stay stagnant and I accepted it as fact.
60 days ago, Kelly convinced me to join the fitness challenge that would end my fear of exercise and lead me to adopt a healthier lifestyle. I had been shadowing Kelly for two months prior to our decision to participate in the 60-Day Challenge because she was training for the Tough Mudder and when competition day came, I went out to support her and her friend. Watching huge groups of adults run through mud and complete the obstacle course amazed me; my daughter had worked hard to reach the finish line and I wondered if I could do the same. It sparked my interest in health and fitness, and although my first reaction to the prospect of me doing the 60-Day Challenge was, “are you kidding me?”, I gave it a shot anyways.
I wanted to see if I could actually improve my fitness — a goal that would prove to myself that I’m not a lost cause and that I could, in fact, build a sustainable lifestyle that incorporates a good diet and exercise. I didn’t want to eliminate my existing diet completely, so I learned portion control and eliminated heavily processed foods. But then came the challenge of working out and learning the proper way to do it. For a time, I thought yoga mats were for napping and I would do a few sit-ups and just stay in savasana. Kelly really helped me out with that and soon, I was jogging and running one to three miles a day. I even got back into swimming for the first week and when I saw my progress, 34.3% body fat to 28.9% body fat, in one week, I couldn’t believe it! That was my turning point through this journey. I had newfound self-confidence that drove me to eat cleaner, work harder, and achieve more.
Now, finally at the end of the 60-Day Challenge, I feel elated. Not because I can go back to my old habits, but because I have a better understanding of how to eat well and train so that I can continue getting stronger. I’m proud of myself for losing half of my body fat and it feels great that my clothes feel loose. I can treat myself to new clothes for my new body! I learned the valuable lesson that perseverance is key to any goal you want to achieve. I have nothing but gratitude for Life Time to give me the opportunity to transform my mind, body, and spirit, as well as my daughters and husband for the support they gave me throughout my journey. I hope to inspire others to do the same thing I did and chase after the seemingly impossible; you never know what can happen if you don’t try.