2020 was not a kind year, at least not at the start. In February my father-in-law passed away a very painful death from multiple brain hemorrhages. In March – when COVID began to surface in the US – my wife started to exhibit COVID-like symptoms and my daughter and I took care of her. Luckily it turned out to be something else (probably induced by the stress of her father passing away), but in the process, I moved out of the master bedroom into my home office since I was doing all the grocery shopping and didn’t want to risk anyone else getting sick. All gyms in Maryland, including Life Time, closed mid-March. In May, my client of 3 years faced bankruptcy, and I had to find new work. The stress from all of these events took its toll not only on my health but on that of my family. It showed up in white hairs, obesity, and fatigue.
But throughout it all, we kept the faith and thanked God for all that we had – a home, food, and each other. In the second part of the year, things started to pick up. I started working for a New York-based client as the IT Project Director (a highly coveted position), and thankfully all work was remote. In late June, Life Time re-opened its doors, and I was one of the first ones back. I started off slowly, gradually starting to lift weights and attending some of the classes. I was very impressed by how meticulous the staff was about taking temperatures before allowing entry, keeping everything sanitized, maintaining a safe distance, and enforcing the mask-wearing. Many of the classes were held outside in the fresh air. I especially liked Jessica P’s cycle class (held next to the outdoor pool) and Jessie F’s barre and Cynthia V’s yoga (held in the upper parking lot). Life Time made it very enticing for me to attend classes by giving away LT bucks and the chance to win Hoka shoes. I used the LT bucks to buy supplements, and I was the club winner of a pair of shoes! When the “You for You” challenge came in October, I took this as an opportunity to really challenge myself to get back in shape, and I brought the whole family with me (by this time, I knew that the club was completely safe).
I signed up for a family membership (including my 3 kids), and this turned out to be the key to getting my wife back in the gym (she had stopped going for 6 months). I even convinced her to join the challenge. Every morning, I woke up at 5 AM and worked out for 2 hours, usually with a swim or bike ride and weightlifting. In the evening, I returned to the gym with my family. This was not my first 60-day challenge but was certainly my most enjoyable. I really liked the weekly challenges (hit 10,000 steps/day, eat less than 25 grams of sugar, eat protein with every meal, drink 8 cups of water, no mindless snacking, etc), and I kept at all of them throughout the competition – in fact, I averaged 15,000 steps/day. I also liked the daily workout because these were all online and we could do them any time of the day, which meant I could do them with my wife in the evenings; I especially liked the Saturday sweat sessions with coaches, David and Lindsey. The apps that were suggested also helped keep me accountable; the most notable was “LoseIt!”, which tracked all my calories and showed me my daily percentage of macronutrients. The complimentary training session at the start of the challenge was also great; Kevin showed me some key stretches and gave me an awesome massage with the Theragun. I bought my own Theragun and used it daily, along with foam rolling and the power plate, to keep my muscles from getting sore from all the weightlifting I was now doing. I was able to exercise faster, stronger, and longer. I also added supplements to my daily routine: Life Time Performance Multivitamins, Isolate Protein, Life Greens, Fish Oil, Vitamin D, BCAA’s, L-Glutamine, Digestive Enzymes, and Probiotics. This ensured I was getting all the nutrients to fuel my body, especially while cutting back on calories and going full force on the exercise.
I am very thankful for the end results. I lost 32 pounds overall, gained 7 pounds of muscle, lost 12% body fat, and dropped from a size 38 to a size 32 in pants. I went from bench pressing 60-pound dumbells to 105-pound dumbells. My family also did great. My wife looks 10 years younger, and my kids are almost back to pre-COVID fitness levels. God works in mysterious ways, and everything in life happens for a reason. We had to hit rock bottom in order to rebuild. I am energized and ready for whatever 2021 brings!