Finding the joy in a workout can sometimes be more challenging than a two-hour boot camp on a sweltering summer day.
That was the case for Lili Gross, a Life Time Fitness member from Eden Prairie, Minn., who admits she once hated to work out and didn’t like group fitness classes.
“A high school friend convinced me to try Zumba (R), insisting I would absolutely love it,” Gross says.
This friend knew Gross when she danced in her youth and believed a fitness class oriented toward her childhood interests, might be what she needed to move her-in every sense of the word-now. “I figured she knew me well enough to recommend the class. When I first heard the music, I knew I was in the right place.”
Solo workouts on the elliptical machine became a thing of the past. “Two friends decided to try Zumba because I was speaking so enthusiastically about it, ” Gross says. “My neighbor knows someone who lost weight doing Zumba, so she expressed interest in it, too. Now we all go together. When I leave the class, not only am I drenched, but I’m in a really happy mood.
Is that exercise or a good time with friends?
The difference might be hard to tell at Life Time, the Healthy Way of Life Company, where members are encouraged to find their fitness passion, not follow the latest fad.
“Life Time doesn’t exist to sell you on any one approach or class,” says Mark Thom, Life Time’s Senior Vice President of Fitness and Nutrition Services. “We want to help you find the spark that will light the flame to pursue lifelong fitness whether it is cycling or yoga or basketball. We want you to be excited about your workouts because that’s what it takes for fitness to become a lifestyle.”
Members have access to everything from group fitness classes that range from dance-based classes like Zumba and hip hop to strength training and boot camp, to aqua fitness and indoor cycling. There are more introspective programs like yoga and Pilates and personalized coaching or group training to reach personal goals or train for specific sports or events. With 19 different fitness platforms to plug into, there’s truly something for everyone.
“Getting people to join Life Time is not our biggest motivation,” says Thom. “Getting them connected to what they are passionate about or helping them find their passion is.”
Like Gross, many people rediscover their fitness passion when they reach back to the activity they enjoyed as a child. How did you like to play when you were young? Life Time offers many of the same team and individual sports you may have started in your youth, like tennis, swimming, and racquetball.
For others, reaching forward, into the unknown, is the optimal challenge for mind and body. Finding something new can recharge your fitness and keep fitness fresh. Have you ever considered rock climbing, signing up for a triathlon, or playing squash? Even if you feel you were born with two-left feet, dance-based fitness classes like Zumba are structured for all levels and abilities. Many group fitness classes provide an easy entry into something new.
“The great thing about group fitness classes is that they are as much fun as they are challenging,” says Kimberly Spreen, National Director of Group Fitness and Education Events for Life Time. “Long gone are the days when Group Fitness was referred to as ‘Aerobics,’ which consisted of a bunch of women jumping around in spandex and leg warmers. Regardless of your fitness level, gender or interest, we have a class or group activity for you at Life Time. We also highly encourage people to get outside because we think it helps them incorporate fitness into their daily lives.”
While the idea is to pursue activity that’s fun, behind the scenes, Life Time takes assurances to make sure you also get the fitness results you want.
“People in the company are laser focused on exercise, nutrition and education,” says Tom Manella, National Director of Personal Training at Life Time. “We are always looking at the cutting edge in those areas. We don’t look at the latest fad, but the latest science to drive our services to support your areas of passion.”
Personal trainers can help match activity with personal goals, but also consider factors “beneath the surface” to help their clients. “I think you can find great trainers anywhere, but what makes Life Time different are the assessments we offer to learn what you’re about internally as well as externally,” Manella says. “If your cortisol is the opposite of what it should be, you might not lose the weight you want. With this knowledge your coach can make modifications and help you execute your program.”
The Life Lab services at Life Time help members get a snapshot of their health before they embark on a training plan. The Fit Point package is included with every Life Time membership and includes testing for body composition, strength, flexibility and cardiovascular capabilities. Other additional packages are available to target cardiovascular training markers, caloric data for weight management and general wellness. Hard numbers eliminate the guesswork. With a baseline of objective data you are able to set appropriate goals and better evaluate your progress.
In the case of Michelle Keltner, a Life Time member in Fridley, Minn., Life Lab testing convinced her she needed to make changes to her half-marathon training program. “My trainer had been telling me for months that I was over-training but I didn’t listen,” Keltner explained. “Then I literally hit a wall mentally and physically. When I crashed I started listening and decided to have the saliva stress test done. The results showed I had ‘adrenal exhaustion,’ which confirmed I was drained.”
With the help of Keltner’s trainer and Life Time Weight Loss Specialist Cindi Lockhart, RD, LD, she learned more about the role adrenal glands play in the body and the importance of life balance. “I have steadily been making changes in the way I work out, eat, take supplements and balance my life. It is a constant work-in-progress but had I not had the testing or the help of the Life Time staff I doubt I would have slowed my life down or attempted to make any changes in my life.”
Lockhart says there can also be good news that comes from such testing, as was the case for Keltner. “After making the lifestyle changes from the adrenal testing, Michelle tested her resting metabolic rate and learned her metabolism increased by more than 300 calories.”
The education Life Time provides on top of the motivation and accountability makes fitness goals achievable and lifelong fitness attainable. Moreover, Life Time has communities of people involved in various fitness interests who help support and motivate each other.
Research has proven that people tend to stay with a fitness routine when they don’t “go it alone.” Building a fitness social network makes it easier to reach personal goals and to live that fit lifestyle.
Exercise or a good time with friends? Members of Life Time get both.
Ready to get fit? Learn about our great fitness programs at lifetimefitness.com/training.