James S.

Centreville, VA

james s. spring 2022 finalist

James’s Story

On January 1st, 2020 I was in the best shape of my life. That summer I finally made the decision to get into great shape and change lifelong unhealthy habits, and then, right before Covid hit the world, I was hit with crippling anxiety. Its mental and physical effects were terrible and crippling. So, as the world locked down, I locked in and decided to attack the anxiety head-on and heal from it once and for all. And heal I did. But, as the mind and heart healed, the body started to lose all of the gains I previously made for lack of a gym. I went back to the awful shape I was in just two years before.

Life Time became a lifeline. I joined last summer at 210lbs, with high blood pressure and barely fitting clothes. I began the slow crawl back to fitness but it was very slow as I went it on my own. When the 60day Countdown to Crush Challenge began I decided to use it to get into the best shape of my life before I turn 50 in June and the journey has boldly begun.

Working with Sarah, my lifetime coach, my goals were simple yet challenging. By June 21, I would be at 15% body fat, weigh 165lbs and be able to sustain 10k runs 3 times a week while having a challenging lifting regimen that built muscle while continuing self-care through post-workout relaxation. All of this would begin with a sound nutrition plan.

The facilities and staff at Life Time made it all possible. I began with a meeting with Sarah where we laid it all out. She was so helpful and encouraging (and continued to be through the 60day Challenge). I also took a mobility class which greatly helped to avoid injury the whole time. I then began a program of lifting 5 days a week- arms, shoulders, back, chest, legs. I started on the machines and then was able to move to the free weights for most of the workouts. Running on the treadmills, swimming in the pool and using the ellipticals provided amazing cardio cross-training. After each workout, I relaxed in the hot tub or steam room. I used the app to track my progress and the club’s access to Apple fitness helped a lot too.

I eat a low-carb diet and intermittently fast 4 times a week. The weekly program reminders also helped me to drastically improve my sleep (I’m now sleeping a sound 7 hours a night) and develop a habit of better hydration.

The whole time the staff from the management, trainers and attendants were encouraging, friendly and helpful. I even had a conference in Pennsylvania for a week and our concierge arranged use of the club up there so I was able to continue training.

My lifestyle is completely changed now. My nutritional regime is a solid habit and I’ve never felt better. I look forward to going to the gym daily and, even on rest days, usually go simply to soak and rest.

This new lifestyle gives me an immense amount of energy. My mood is also completely improved and my family and friends often remark that I seem like a different person (and I’ve had to buy a whole new wardrobe). My doctor is equally impressed as my blood pressure and blood work are “perfect.” The improved fitness also helps me keep from falling into anxiety, probably the greatest gift from this whole experience. I will begin my 50th year and the years following as this different person.

Simply put, all of this is now habit and I am well on my way to reach my ultimate goal by May 1st rather than June. I now weigh 180 (down from 210 this summer), I’m at 20% body fat, I run three 10k’s per week with no problem and I’ve gone from an XL to medium in my clothes. I am certain I will make my ultimate goal and I am physically and mentally in the best place of my life. Of course, I would love to be a contest winner so I can continue my growth with even more support and opportunity. Life Time has become a lifestyle and greatly improved my lifeline. I am thankful for it and this 60day Countdown to Crush Challenge.