“If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it” – Rudyard Kipling.
It has always been one of my favorite quotes. For me it captures the essence of the most important battle we face in life: our battle with time and making the most of it. Throughout my adult years there has been a consistent recurring thought that having just 24 hours in a day is like a curse. Trying to balance health and fitness, academics, work life, hobbies, relationships, family, and personal growth frequently seems impossible.
The challenge of maintaining that balance was more evident and complex to me than ever when I started a company in March 2015. Though it was a rewarding and exhilarating two years, I failed at maintaining any type of balance. With the stress and demands of a new business, I lost my drive and motivation to work out and eat healthily. Stressful days typically ended in ordering take-out or dining at some of my favorite restaurants. There were nights where I would consume over 5000 calories in a single meal. I would work out in an apartment gym four or five days a month, but it often seemed like a waste of time with my diet and the limited equipment.
A random visit to a Life Time Fitness one Friday evening in October was the starting point for changing my habits. I remember noticing a large banner as we walked up to the second floor with the phrase “I can do it all in my lifetime.” I knew when I saw the banner that Life Time was the club for me. For seven months following the visit I continued with the bad habits and made every excuse for delaying signing up. With every follow-up phone call from Life Time Fitness, the image of the banner and that phrase would resurface in my mind.
One Saturday night at the end of April, my dissatisfaction with my health, appearance, and habits reached a peak as I looked at photos from a party earlier that evening; I didn’t sleep that night. I was disappointed in my appearance and my complete lack of discipline. I returned to Life Time Fitness the next morning after seven months and signed up. I found out that day that the 60-Day Challenge was starting one week later. I figured that it was the perfect opportunity to get established with Life Time Fitness and change my lifestyle.
The Challenge was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Like the “sixty seconds’ worth of distance run” in Rudyard’s quote, I set out to make the most of those 60 days of the Challenge, wasting no time both inside and outside of the gym. I approached the sixty days as fifteen 4-day weeks. During each 4-day week, I worked each major muscle group at least once with about 72 hours of rest between weight training for each individual muscle group. I did cardio twice per day, with a light cardio session after weight training in the morning and a heavier cardio session in the evenings along with abdominal work. I pushed myself to my limits, making sure that I was tracking my results each week. I treated every day like it was the last day of the competition. I was very careful with avoiding injury by moving up in weight slowly or incrementally increasing my number of reps. If my results stalled between weigh-ins, I consulted with Life Time trainers to tweak my diet or cardio.
The biggest factor with what I was able to achieve during the Challenge was the culture and incredible environment of Life Time Fitness. The culture, the staff, and members inspired me every day of the Challenge. With the professionalism and positive nature of the administrative staff and the knowledge and empowering character of the training staff, I felt like I had a team behind me for getting through the competition. I crossed paths with other members with work schedules and daily demands as challenging as mine, and I was impressed with how they’re able to balance it all. Seeing Life Time Fitness parents daily, some with four or five children, in incredible shape alone was so inspiring to me.
The 60-Day Challenge was a reminder for me that we’re only limited by our own beliefs. My perception of time and time management changed with what I was able to accomplish during the Challenge. I’m going to utilize the planning and tracking methods that helped me during the Challenge to make other areas of my life more efficient and rewarding.
In my first 60 days as a Life Time Fitness member, I was able to get into the best shape of my life. I’m excited for what the next 60 days or 120 days or 365 days will bring as a member of Life Time. I will do it all in my lifetime!
Thank you Life Time!
I want to thank James Donald for his professionalism and persistence in following up during those seven months. I want to thank Paul Rezai and Anthony Pierre for advising me on diet and cardio; both are outstanding personal trainers. I want to thank my girlfriend, “Banana,” for the meal preps and patience during the Challenge.