Growing up I was fortunate enough to excel at multiple sports and because of that I had always associated exercise with sports. Since I was so active, along with the metabolism of a growing 18-year-old I was able to eat whatever I wanted. In fact I never thought about looking at a nutrition label, If it tasted good, I ate it. As I got older my activity level dropped while my nutrition habits stayed the same. The excuses piled up while the visits to the gym grew further apart and my idea of being in shape meant that I played the occasional baseball and softball game with the guys. Fast forward a few years, throw a couple kids into the equation on top of a full-time job and I officially started rocking the “dad bod.” My new definition of being in shape meant that when I looked around I didn’t look as bad as the other dads you would see. I turned 30 this year but thought I still looked in my 20s and it was everyone else my age that looked different. Sadly I was wrong. I was working full-time, commuting to and from work, finishing up school, trying to spend time with my family, run errands with the kids, (insert more excuses here), how was I supposed to fit in the gym?
I feel like anyone that has ever had a big change in their life can pin-point a significant emotional moment that motivates them to say “enough is enough.” For me that day came when I was at my six-year-old son’s baseball practice and I was having trouble keeping up with him. I grew winded faster than I remembered and my son called me out on him being faster than me. I don’t know why but it was that moment that I came home and took off my rose-colored glasses and when I looked in the mirror I saw the reality, an out of shape 30-year-old dad bod that was not able to keep up with his son. If I wasn’t able to keep up with him now I had no chance of being able to keep up with him in the future or keep up with his brother 5 years his junior when his time came. I knew I had to make a change and be honest with myself, I was out of shape – plain and simple. I got my membership back at Life Time and started going to the club with no real plan and looking back I can say I was not fully committed to the full lifestyle change that I desperately needed.
One day when leaving the club my older son saw the banner for the 60-Day Challenge and he asked what it was. I was not sure and continued toward the exit. Using his limited reading capabilities and sassy attitude he said “Dad, it says Challenge. I bet you can’t win” and at that time we walked upstairs to the training desk to learn more. This child clearly has no problem calling out his father. We connected with the training manager at Life Time, Kris Machain, who explained the Challenge and discussed the tools available to me. He asked about my motivation and I am sure he expected to hear the standard of wanting a better body to feel better about myself, but my motivation wasn’t self-seeking and instead was purely driven by my sidekick next to me. I pointed to my son and said “I need to be a better father and be able to keep up with my son.” If I did not have Life Time and the tools that they provided, I would not have been able to achieve the success that I have.
My trainer not only signed me up for the Challenge, he signed me up to be successful. He helped me with understanding what tools were right for me through their Core 3 Method- Know it. Nourish it. Move it. I was able know more about my body through things like the In Body assessments scale, along with weekly accountability weigh-ins. Life Time was able to provide me with a customized cardio plan with the help of the Active Metabolic Assessment and a custom strength training program catered to my strength and abilities. They helped me understand what macro and micro nutrients my body needed for fuel and I finally learned how to read a nutrition label. The nutrition that Life Time offered in the form of protein shakes, supplements, and the ease of ordering meals in the LifeCafé helped me be successful in the battle of nutrition. Life Time truly embodies their three core values and without the help of Life Time and their values, I would not have been able to succeed in this Challenge or create a better life for myself and my family.
When I signed up for the challenge my son was with me and when it came time to pick a name for the challenge my son shouted “you can be Big Smash and I will be Little Smash.” The names stuck, we took our before and after pictures together, and he would ask me if there were carbs or “fatness” in my nutrition choices to keep me in check. The 60-Day Challenge at Life Time has helped me to not only improve the quality of life for me and my family, but this challenge has also proved to me that excuses are just reasons why you are telling yourself you cannot do something. I found not only a club but a full support system in Life Time and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and lifestyle change that will last a lifetime.