Vanessa R.

Target Center (Minneapolis), MN

Vanessa’s Story

For over 2 years, I have felt my life was out of my control. As if I was reacting and responding to my environment as opposed to intentionally living my life and taking care of myself. Between Covid and the significant uptick in violent crime/riots in my community (Minneapolis), my decisions became more about getting through a day as opposed to what was healthy; unhealthy food, drinks, emotional roller coasters, and not caring about how I looked became the norm. Without even knowing it, I had lost myself.

Then I saw the 60day Challenge.

Initially, I signed up out of a sense of competition. At my first coach meeting, Jon asked about my goals. I replied, “to compete.” He asked if I had other goals and I stared blankly at him and said, “no”. Jon sighed and weighed me and told me I was basically 1/3 fat and had 76 pounds of muscle. Awesome.

At first, it was hard; a mixture of feeling overwhelmed by measuring everything I put in my mouth, getting frustrated, and being sore. I dreaded meals because I didn’t know how to prepare healthy and tasty food. One night, desperate to hit my protein goal, I frantically ended up throwing scoops of protein powder into a bowl of high-protein oatmeal which made an awful paste; I ate it.

Eventually, I found/modified recipes from Life Time and other sources and started to enjoy making healthy and tasty meals. I created a spreadsheet with meals that contained macros which made meal planning a breeze as I could see my macros based on any combination.

Another big challenge was the social aspect of food in my personal and work life. Initially, it seemed impossible to rectify my former and current lifestyle. What was I going to eat at that work function? How was I going to work out on days that work took over? How was I going to plan social outings when so much of what I do is around food and drinks?

I learned multiple about how to manage my work and social lifestyle with making healthy choices. First, there are times you can’t and shouldn’t avoid a function, but you can plan for them. Second, I changed my mindset. Was I there to drink/hit a buffet or to connect with others? Third, I learned to be open about my healthy lifestyle choices and was surprised by the amount of support I received. Fourth, I modified my activities. Instead of dinner and drinks, I suggested a walk, hike, or a trip to the dog park.

Throughout the challenge, I got incredible support through Life Time. I went to the club frequently and was greeted by people who were excited to see me, asked me about my progress, and became my community; they really believed in me. On days I didn’t want to go to the gym, every time I walked into Life Time, the employees made me excited to be there and pumped to work hard in class.

The trainers answered my questions and helped me design workouts. Vince talked about the importance of sleep which greatly improved my sleep hygiene. Sam introduced me to ways to get more protein and got me to do things I thought were impossible. Jon was my anchor and incredibly good at pushing me. I can’t say enough about the absolute professionalism, knowledge, and support they provided. The front desk workers would high-five me for hitting protein goals. My yoga instructors would talk to me about diet tweaks/challenges (Michelle), ask about my progress (Lacey), and inspired me to find gratitude (Sydney who said “being here is a privilege”). Even Joseph, my hair stylist at Lifetime, gave me advice at hair appointments. The support I got was literally from everyone.

And as time went on, I noticed changes that had nothing to do with the scale. I started:

  • Having more energy, being more confident, happier, and receiving self-care.
  • Eating and enjoying healthy food.
  • Choosing healthy hydration. (The Life Time tumbler was a great help!)
  • Looking forward to hard workouts.
  • Having significant improvements in health conditions.

And I realized that while my purpose had not changed, my competitor had. Ironically, that is what Carl had said to me halfway through the program which I initially brushed off. I was complaining that my numbers weren’t dropping enough. He replied, “you are your only competitor”. I said nothing. Shortly thereafter, his words truly sunk in; this was not a competition against others it was a competition with me. Eventually, it morphed into even more for me; I wanted to become the best version of myself.

Looking back at this experience, it is hard for me to comprehend how the 60day did that much for me or how only 60 days could make a difference in the big picture, but it did. It completely changed my mindset, attitude, and outlook on food and exercise. I was amazed and proud of what my 44-year-old body could do. Did I improve my health stats? Yes, but most importantly, I got myself back in an even better version. I exceeded my goal.