Finalists / Dana K.

Dana K.

71.89% change in body fat percent

*Results not typical

When I joined Life Time in September 2015, I had been tolerating over 10 years of pain and discomfort due to wear and tear on my hips from years of endurance running and kickboxing. I was discouraged, frustrated and unmotivated. Years of physical demands on my body, without proper diet and nutrition to support it, had left it soft, weak and lacking energy. I was in dire need of motivation, direction, inspiration and re-education.

The motivation came from the untimely and unexpected death of my father at the age of 59. My dad had been fit and active as a young man. A knee injury, poor diet and lifestyle choices compounded over time, leaving him morbidly obese with many health issues.

Five years after his death, I realized I could face a similar “fate” if nothing changed. I found myself stringing together more and more days with excuses not to eat right or move my body. It became easier to accept less than I wanted for myself. That scared me.

So I joined Life Time and received much needed direction from Caleb Herman on my very first day. After performing metabolic and fitness tests, he proposed that I had been over training for years and pushing through the pain of an undiagnosed old injury.

We determined my goals in this order: get out of pain, get moving again, within more efficient, targeted fat-burning zones, build strength.

Caleb suggested working with a trainer to further assess my injury and begin rehabilitating.

I was assigned to Payton Mass, and my workouts with him were just the inspiration I needed.
With his guidance, I started to feel better. Experienced less pain. Built strength. Gained energy. I started enjoying working out again. My goals started to shift – could I get in the best shape of my life at 43?

With Payton’s encouragement, I joined the 60-Day Challenge, determined to make my health and all-around fitness my top priority for 60 days – no excuses – to see what I could achieve. Now out of pain, I wanted to slim down, tone-up and increase my fitness levels.

Workouts became every bit as much a priority as anything else in my life – scheduled in stone. Every day, I ran, swam, walked, rowed, jump-roped, stair-climbed, did yoga, Pilates, boot camp, interval training, barre class, biked or danced. Whatever sounded fun, challenging and kept me moving!

I also strength-trained with Payton 3 times per week. He took me from barely being able to step up onto a low platform to rocking out high steps-ups with weight. From not being able to do one chin-up to doing multiple pull-ups on my own. I can’t tell you how many times I asked, “You want me to do what?” “Are you sure?” He always saw what I was capable of before I saw it in myself. I learned to trust that and, therefore, him.

My mindset was about wellness now, creating the best possible version of me. That meant another component needed to be addressed: my re-education.

Growing up, every junk food imaginable was at my fingertips 24/7. If I was thirsty, I drank a soda, or 3. The only concept of nutrition was to eat what was on your plate – all of it. So if I wanted body-transforming results, diet and nutrition had to be in the equation. I began learning about food as fuel. I consulted with nutritionist Kelsey Ermel throughout the 60 days on how to feel my best and perform optimally while achieving transformative results quickly.

I ate 6 smaller meals per day, 3 hours apart. We tweaked the protein, fat, carb ratio based on my body’s response. I always knew what my ratios were and followed them exactly. I planned all my groceries and meals, prepping them in advance. The structure was a relief! No more missing meals, lacking energy or making unhealthy choices in a pinch. I cut addictive sugar out of my life…good riddance!

It was amazing how these new habits regulated my energy, my appetite (I rarely felt hungry) and my ability to focus. All while providing my body exactly what it needed to heal, shed pounds and body fat and build muscle.

I never could’ve imagined getting the physical results I did. That a body transformation challenge would so drastically help transform all areas of my life. I said “no” to a lot of excuses, habits, foods, distractions and other past priorities during the challenge. I discovered that what I got out of the challenge equally matched what I was willing to put into it. I will carry that rule of thumb beyond the challenge.

I will use one of the greatest lessons I learned to maintain this new lifestyle moving forward – no one accomplishes anything alone. I am surrounded by the constant support, expertise and enthusiasm of health-conscious peers and professionals in the Life Time community.

And I want to send a special thanks to my teenage son. Major changes in my life meant major changes in his. He was supportive, understanding and encouraging. Now he sees that his “fate” can include health and wellness at any age.