My family and I joined FFC as Charter Members last summer. I couldn’t wait for the Park Ridge facility to open. I had been going to another gym; however, I knew that FFC was going to fulfill all my needs. Little did I know, though, that it was going to put me on weight loss journey of nutrition AND exercise – not just a fitness routine.

Our family has always exercised; my sons were both athletes through their school years and my husband can still pick up a basketball and shoot like he did when he was in high school. I had to work out to have the energy to keep up with the three of them.

However, as I aged, I realized that the routine I was following wasn’t enough — I had put on weight and had constant pain in both knees. Having had both my hips replaced due to arthritis, I knew the arthritis had set into my knees. I visited the doctor in October, 2016 and I was informed that I was bone on bone in both knees; thus, surgery was needed.

Related: want to experience everything FFC has to offer? Try us for free – click here!

With my diagnosis and the thought of yet another joint being replaced (after three months of physical therapy that didn’t help), I decided to take the bull by the horns. I took three of my free training sessions with Tony at FFC; he took the time to listen and understand my physical issues and showed me various exercises that helped strengthen my hips and legs. But I knew that the exercise wasn’t going to solve all my physical issues; I needed to lose weight. I have lost weight before doing Weight Watchers but wasn’t keen on the whole group setting at this point in my life.

With our Charter Membership, we received a free consultation with the onsite registered dietitian. It was slightly ironic; the week before I heard about the dietitian at the facility, my husband had suggested I see a nutritionist – the timing was perfect. I set up a time with Alicia. She is a spunky, kind-hearted individual who wants you to meet your goals, not hers. I knew the minute I met her that she was going to lead me in the right direction.

We discussed my health thoroughly, including my arthritis issues. I have been gluten free for about 1.5 years, as I had learned that omitting gluten from your diet does help lessen arthritis pain. It worked for me, but not completely. I had also just had my blood work done for my annual physical and my sugar was 101; no need for alarms to go off – but I refuse to have any diseases like diabetes.

Related: how member Sal got his health back on track working with registered dietitian Amy Silver at FFC Oak Park.

Alicia and I met again about a week later. She had put together a plan that she thought would work for me. She supplied about 10-12 options for each meal along with snack ideas (I get 2 a day!). One of the challenges I experienced with the plan was that our family does not eat prepared food nor do we eat anything low fat due to added chemicals and sugars. Thankfully, she agreed with my family’s methods.

I am now counting calories, not points. I have never lost weight so easily, to be quite honest, nor have I felt deprived. Also, since I continue to lose weight, my calories remain the same. When doing other diets in the past, every time I lost around 8 or 10 pounds, they would take away some calories. I know eventually my calorie count will go down as I’ll probably hit a plateau, but not to date. As of my last weigh-in, I have lost 25 pounds. Alicia has been very keen on what my final weight loss should look like to me, not what she thinks I should lose. Personally I’m thinking another 20 pounds.

Is it always easy? No, however, we have celebrated two birthdays since I began this weight loss journey and I have had cake both times… and I have still lost weight those weeks. My arthritis pain is still in my knee, but I’m not in as much pain as I was previously. The combination of exercise and weight loss have worked together to improve my mobility.

Will I need surgery? Maybe, but at this point I’m waiting. Could I have followed a program like this somewhere else? Most likely yes, but the staff at FFC is so supportive and always willing to find a way for a person to meet their goal. I truly believe that is why this program has worked so well for me. As I continue to work with Alicia, I’m thinking it is time for something new at the gym. Maybe I’ll try out a new yoga class!


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Adulting is hard. No one can prepare you for the challenges the real world brings. And I’m not just ranting about the fact that my actions may now have heavily-weighing consequences if made in haste, or that I have long-term retirement savings goals to plan for. Now there are decisions I have to make in real time, every day, as simple as eating better as a lifestyle choice and making an effort to keep to a fitness routine five days a week. I’m realizing that how I treat my body will have a direct impact on how I face each day.

Knowing When It’s Time for a Change

This year, I started a new chapter in my life. My life took a dramatic change of course which forced me to confront many things which I had swept under the rug for a long time. One by one, I dropped bad habits permanently and refocused my perspective because I knew that I had to develop a healthier outlook in terms of food and body image.

Those new, refocused habits include sleeping eight hours every night, eating right, reducing stress and asking for help in my workout. Working in the fashion industry, before this chapter, I’d started to think the norm was being rail-thin like the models. I was constantly doing cardio, which kept me thin but I had no energy to take on the challenges in my life. Although I’d always been ambitious and driven for success, I had trouble building on that success because physically, I was deteriorating. And I couldn’t keep up in the race of the hustle because I was exhausted.

Joining FFC Lincoln Park was the thread that tied all of the positive changes into my life together and helped me get back into a fitness routine. Admittedly, it was intimidating thinking about going back to a gym where everyone seemed very serious about their workouts. After meeting some of the staff on day one, though, that angst quickly flew out the window.

I’d never met such a supportive and welcoming team of people at a gym before. And this time, I was going to utilize all of the amenities, incorporate strength training into my daily regimen, and actually sign up for the one-on-one training sessions. From the first day, I knew I had made the best decision I could to have something to work at for myself.

What Happened When I Introduced a Trainer Into My Fitness Routine

FFC Lincoln Park personal trainer Kara Mraz was assigned to be my trainer for the free new join sessions which would give me the opportunity to earn my sign up fee back in FFC bucks. We sat down for a consultation and I explained that I was on the pathway to be dedicated to a year of success and prosperity.

What I wanted were fitness routines to incorporate into my daily regimen. I didn’t want an intense workout simply to lose weight or focus on one part of my body. I needed to strengthen every part of me and be able to accept the changes that would follow, even if that meant I would gain weight in muscle.

Kara knew exactly what to do and put me to work right away. She pushed me beyond the limits of what I was comfortable with, and helped me realize that there is no such thing as failure. If I couldn’t do all of the reps, I’d do them until I couldn’t do any more. And then I’d be driven to work out harder the next time around. She was always encouraging me, creating fun workout routines that made the hour fly by so quickly I’d hardly notice my time with her was up.

In her follow-ups, she’d ask how I was feeling, if I was seeing progress and whether I was happy with the workouts she created. Every time, I could honestly say I was seeing immediate results and that I couldn’t wait for the next session with her. While working with Kara, I also got to know the rest of the Lincoln Park team, who now are always shouting out support when they see me working out on my own. How awesome is that?

Related: skeptical about how a personal trainer will help you? Check out this recent post!

Healthy Habits Are Here to Stay

After just one month back in a fitness routine, I was right on track with where I knew I wanted to be. I looked better than before, felt healthier and full of energy, and I woke up every day with the ambition to make the most of my day. And not to mention, I had Kara, the FFC Lincoln Park team and my boyfriend at the gym, encouraging me to keep up the pace.

Before I knew it, my sessions were up. I can say I was pretty sad that I wasn’t going to be seeing Kara regularly at the gym anymore. With her help and her positive outlook in life, she’s set a great example for me: to be strong in my approach in life and tackle the obstacles that come my way. I am in charge of my own life, and I set the benchmarks to surpass to become a better person. So I have to ask, what’s stopping you? Join me in this beautiful journey of life and take the next steps to become what you want to become. Onward and upwards.

Post written by FFC Lincoln Park member Grace P.

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I have wrestled with my weight for most of my life. I’ve been on every diet program. I mean every program. I joined Weight Watchers when it was just Weight Watcher (Jenny Craig). I’ve tried Slim Fast… and something called the Beverly Hills Diet, where I felt like all I ate was pineapple. They kept me somewhat on track with weight loss. But after I got married and had 2 great kids, my life started to spiral out of control.

Post 2004, I had gained 100 pounds and could never get the voice out of my head that picked on me. I couldn’t bear to look at myself in photos or even my reflection in a window when I walked down the street.

I was returning from a business trip in Italy, trapped for over 9 hours like veal to the slaughter at the back of a plane between two other fairly large passengers like myself, when I had what alcoholics call a  “moment of clarity”.

“What have I allowed myself to become? How did I let this happen? And more importantly, is there a way I can climb back into my life and find a way to regain my self respect and control?”

Sal member story FFCThe Role of FFC

I joined FFC Oak Park the very same month it first opened, over 10 years ago. In the first 5 years, I think I may have shown up twice. I even drove down Lake a few times and could see people in there on the machines and would think to myself, “wow, that looks nice.”

Fast-forward to the present, when the idea that I was in my 50s and could be able to chase my children around became a compelling idea. However, I knew that the ways I’d approached weight loss in the past were rabbit holes that lead to inevitable failure and unhealthy habits. What was I willing to do different this time?

I knew I needed a plan. On a hunch, I went to FFC’s website and searched for a nutritionist – one who would be honest and educate me on real food, as opposed to products or gimmicks.

Sal member story FFC 2


Enter Amy Silver, FFC Registered Dietitian

I emailed Amy and pleaded my case – that I had become a beast and needed a way back. Amy responded to my email within hours and invited me to come into the same club that I had avoided for almost 10 years.

Her advice was simple – “eat healthier and smarter, and exercise. But above all, be patient. It’s not going to happen as a ‘quick fix’.” I’d never heard this type of frankness connected with weight loss before.

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Enter Josh Carson, FFC Personal Trainer

Amy then got me an appointment with a personal trainer. A trainer? Now this was a new thing for me and I admit I was a bit apprehensive. Minutes after meeting Josh Carson (aka Luke Cage) I knew I was in the hands of someone that was preparing me for the journey I needed to take to regain my self respect.

Related: common misconceptions about working with a personal trainer.

During my very first session, I excused myself to get a drink of water and seriously contemplated walking right out. It was not easy (and was an ego check, to say the least). The entire time, though, Josh encouraged me and set me straight – it would take time, but we would get there.

It will be 3 years this November since my FFC journey began. I’ve lost over 50 pounds, and I am still working toward my goals. It hasn’t been Mardi Gras – it’s been a lot of hard work and patience. But I know if I hadn’t made the decision to ask for help, I would be well over 300 pounds by now. Amy, Josh and FFC saved my life. I owe you everything, Amy and Josh!

Post written by FFC Oak Park member Sal A.


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On June 6, 2016, I joined the FFC West Loop gym. At that time, I was very bulky and I had no motivation to work out or go to the gym daily. I needed a lifestyle change.

When I began my membership, I was provided a trainer from the FFC front desk for the four initial free training sessions, as well as one additional paid session (the trainer is no longer with FFC).

I still had 5 additional sessions left, so I called Sarah, Fitness Director at FFC West Loop at the time – she made sure got the best trainer in the gym and advised me to work out with Jessica Frank for Pilates.

I started working out with Jessica and loved her commitment towards customers. Her time management and commitment towards client goal impressed me and I asked her to be my trainer for regular sessions and swimming.

Mid-November 2016, doctors recommended me a lifestyle change; I needed to lose weight quickly. I was very scared when my blood work results came back and showed that I really wasn’t healthy.

At that time, Jessica changed my eating habits, helped me with a perfect diet plan and make sure my blood work results returned to normal. In addition, I am now working with Tom Feeny, Fitness Director at FFC West Loop, for one class on Saturday mornings at 8 AM. He is very hard working and his HIIT sessions are good for losing weight and burning calories.

Related: want to lose weight? Science says try HIIT.

I am thankful to the FFC fitness training team at West Loop for being there, as a partner, and motivating me when I was giving up. Also, a big thank you to Jason, the club general manager, for always listening and improving club equipment, and for being available when members need help.

Overall, the FFC fitness training team at West Loop, Jessica and Tom made me a very healthy person. In the past year, I have lost 30 pounds and cut my waist size down from 36 to 30. I have lost 5% body fat and reduced my BMI by 3%. I completely altered my wardrobe because all my clothes were very loose. I am very thankful for Jessica for being a dependable friend and an awesome trainer.

Post written by FFC West Loop Member Avnit B.

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Recently, after the New Year, I had a realization that it was time to do something about my weight. I had tried before but I was always so busy with school and work that it made it almost impossible to get into a routine. I needed to make health a priority.

While attending college on a part-time basis and working full time for a decade, I was able to obtain two degrees. After I began graduate school, though, I decided that the best thing would probably be for me to take a semester off so that I could focus on my health.

I had finally realized that although my education is important, my health definitely needed to take precedence – and it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my whole life.

Education on Health and Wellness

Just like the average American, I realized that I really didn’t know much about nutrition and dietetics. I figured that the best thing to do was to educate myself on the topic and learn as much as I could in order to help my battle against obesity.

I found an article on the FFC website titled Top 10 Registered Dietitian-Approved Nutrition Books & Documentaries and started there. I watched all of them in one weekend (and re-watched the ones I had already seen as a refresher) and learned three very important things.

  • First, sugar is a real killer to the American diet and it’s in 80% of the food you find at the grocery store.
  • Second, there’s a difference between good carbs and bad carbs and it all comes down to how they rate on the glycemic index.
  • Third, a calorie is not just a calorie. You can track your calories all you want but it doesn’t matter because the calories you get from eating vegetables will take you way further than the calories you get from eating bread.

This all made me really self-aware of everything I put in my mouth and I started reading food packages to find that things I thought were healthy (like protein bars, sports drinks or even healthy labeled cereals) were loaded with a ton of sugar and carbs.

Related: want to check out FFC? Click here to try us free!

This is what happened when I made my health a priority FFCThe Benefits of Weight Training

Again, just like the average American, I assumed that in order to lose weight I had to focus on cardio, but that turned out to be incorrect.

I started meeting with FFC South Loop trainer Angelina Iovino for personal training sessions, and she told me flat out that if I focused on cardio only I would not lose weight. That’s when I learned about strength training. We met consistently two times a week for a couple of months and I started seeing results almost immediately.

She taught me how to use all of the machines at the gym I would have never approached had I been working out on my own. I also learned some pretty cool workout routines that I would later practice at home with a medicine ball, a barbell and some free weights.

Every session we would start off with doing a 3 to 5 minute warm-up on the rower, the stepper or the treadmill. Then, we would get into a doing an exercise circuit that involved a set of reps on three different machines and then repeating a couple of times. The last 5 minutes of our workouts together were spent stretching me out so that I wasn’t sore the next day. Although I don’t meet with Angelina anymore, I do believe that I learned some valuable information that I would have never ever picked up on my own.

Keep On Keepin’ On

Today, I follow a gym regimen that I have written out entirely. I’ve broken down every miniscule detail – ranging from what days I’m going to the gym (versus what days I’m going to let my body rest) to what cardio warm up I intend to do and for how long.

For every workout, I have two different exercise circuits that either focus on the lower body, upper body or whole body, just depending on the day. My current read is one of the books from the FFC article titled Salt Sugar and Fat by Michael Moss, but I definitely plan to read all of the articles book recommendations in due time.

When it comes to fitness, I feel like there is just so much to know. It’s definitely a continual learning process I’ll have to stick with as time goes on. “I’m not where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be.” I can’t help but be grateful for the support that I’ve received from everyone everywhere. Most importantly, I’m grateful to FFC for creating the infrastructure I need in order to accomplish my fitness goals.

My Advice to You

In the overstressed world that we live in today, it has become extremely hard to focus on completing any fitness goal. In a fast-moving culture where everything is available almost instantaneously, we’ve forgotten how to practice the process because we’re too focused on the end result.

This sort of mindset will only lead to disappointment because the initial inspiration is so easily wilted away. In order to combat this, you need to learn how to practice mindfulness and living in the present moment. Only after you do this will you acquire the discipline and patience needed in order to let go of your expectation for immediate results.

The key to completing any goal is to exercise extreme resilience. Understand that nothing worth working for comes easily and it’s most important to keep on going when all you really want to do is give up. Interestingly enough, it’s at this very moment that you gain the mental strength mastery needed in order to keep on keepin’ on.

Post written by FFC South Loop member Christina C.


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On November 25, 2013, my life was forever changed—I had gastric bypass surgery. My husband and I made this life changing decision based on the incredible pain I had been in for the two years prior due to fibromyalgia.

Back In early 1995, at the age of 23, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia. In 1998, we moved from the northern suburbs of Chicago to Phoenix, AZ because my pain was so bad. We stayed in Phoenix for 12 years before having a mid-life crisis together and decided to move back to Chicago.

Our first two years back in Chicago, I felt great. Then, the pain, agony, and stiffness returned, reminding me why we moved to Phoenix. My mobility was drastically reduced, and I couldn’t do much without enduring massive pain and needing to rest. I was using a cane to walk and my knee was in a brace. I was taking 11 medications, including two injections a day. It came out to be 33 pills a day, except Fridays, when I took 41 pills.

It was a life I couldn’t imagine living forever. I also lived in fear that forever wouldn’t be that long either, since my father (who was also overweight) died of a massive heart attack at age 53 in the middle of the night—the same exact way his paternal uncle died. History wasn’t exactly on my side.

Learning About My Options

How FFC helped me with my fibromyalgiaIn October 2012, my husband and I attended a seminar at Northwestern University for bariatric surgery. We learned about the different kinds of procedures, and I made up my mind then: I was going to have gastric bypass surgery.

Getting to that point proved to be difficult. The surgeon I met with didn’t think I would be a good fit for gastric bypass because of all the medications I was on (he was afraid they wouldn’t be absorbed into my system). He suggested I have the gastric sleeve procedure.

The main difference between the two procedures is with gastric bypass, the percentage of weight loss is greater than with the gastric sleeve, and with gastric bypass you can’t have sugar, whereas with the gastric sleeve you can. I’ve compared my addiction to sugar to that of a drug addict. I can’t just have a little “taste” of sugar, because otherwise, I am going through a half gallon of ice cream and/or a bag of cookies in two days.

Related: click here to sign up for a free nutrition consultation with a registered dietitian at FFC!

My surgeon and I went to battle, luckily my rheumatologist believed in me and told my surgeon there were many different types of medications and that we would try them all if needed. My surgeon finally agreed and performed the gastric bypass surgery on me, but gave me a stern warning that I shouldn’t get my hopes up too high and that he would be happy if I lost 60 pounds.

SIXTY POUNDS? I was 150 pounds overweight. I was NOT going through all of this just to lose 60 pounds…

So for once in my life, I decided to get serious about my weight issues.

My Fitness Journey at FFC

Once I received the all-clear from my surgeon and rheumatologist to exercise, I joined FFC East Lakeview in January 2014.

I was only “allowed” to go in the pool by my doctors. I began with three sessions per week just moving my arms and legs in the water and doing various types of exercises with bending movements. Then I walked laps in the lane. I was only able to do three (back and forth) before feeling like I was going to have a massive heart attack.

My reward for doing my “routine” of exercises was sitting in the whirlpool afterwards. I was so incredibly embarrassed to be there, feeling like a beached whale in my “tent” of a swimsuit. But I kept arguing with myself that I shouldn’t care what others think, nobody knows me there, I’m not there to impress anybody, I’m there to get healthy, start feeling better, and not have my life shortened like my dad’s.

It certainly wasn’t easy. There were plenty of days I didn’t feel like going, especially during the “Snowmaggedeon Days”. Walking through two feet of unshoveled snow when you’re 150 pounds overweight wasn’t exactly easy… But I forced myself to go.

Before long, I was able to do more reps of bending-type exercises, increase my walking laps to five and increase my frequency of attending the gym from three to four days a week! After 4 months, I was able to meet with a trainer, to go over exercises to do in the pool. Then, a couple months later, I met with him again to do dry-land weight training exercises.

By April 2014, six months after surgery, I hit the half-way mark, and had lost 75 pounds! I felt great and was off seven of my 11 medications. Both my rheumatologist and surgeon were ecstatic with my progress. Neither expected me to do so well that soon, which made me more determined than ever.

Related: a life-changing Pilates transformation – pre and post-hip surgery.

Running a 5K with my husband with no pain from fibromyalgia due to exercise

All of this hard work certainly paid off by January 2015 when, 14 months after my surgery, I reached my goal of losing 150 pounds! Two months later, I lost another six pounds.

When I see these numbers I’m completely dumbfounded. I started off in a size 26/28 shirt and 26 jeans. All together, I’ve lost a total of 122 inches, and now wear an XS shirt and size 4 jeans. (It’s such a bizarre feeling to hang up my clothes and see such small articles of clothing.)

There have been times where I’ve noticed my reflection in glass and thought it was someone else. It’s hard to recognize this new me. For so long (about 15 years), I was “big” and kept getting bigger and bigger. I forgot what it felt like to work out. I forgot what it felt like to work up a sweat, not from just walking down the street at a ridiculously slow pace, but from actual physical exercise.

Last summer, my husband and I rode our bikes a lot along the lakefront. Each weekend, we increased our distance a little more. I was excited riding from Addison Street to the Fullerton Avenue Beach. A couple of weekends later, I couldn’t believe that we rode all the way to North Avenue Beach, then to Oak Street Beach, and then to Navy Pier. For some that that may not be a big deal, but for someone who hasn’t been able to ride her bike in about 15 years, this was HUGE. I actually surprised the hell out of my husband when we rode all the way down to Soldier Field one day, only having to stop at Buckingham Fountain for a little break.

How I was able to help my fibromyalgia with exerciseThis summer was the summer of size 0 shorts and the 5K. Because of my RA, fibromyalgia, and severe plantar fasciitis, I never could walk very far. But I decided I wanted to participate in my first 5K this past summer. Not only was I able to complete it, but I also completed it in great time! We have done two more since then and have one coming up in December.

It’s such an amazing feeling to be active again when I was literally crippled in pain for so long. I really truly feel like I got my life back. As for my RA and fibromyalgia, both are in remission. I now only take 1½ medications a day. My inflammation level has remained the same, below average, for a year now. (My rheumatologist and surgeon have both said this is practically unheard of.)

My rheumatologist has had arthritis patients who had gastric bypass surgery and fibromyalgia patients who had gastric bypass surgery. None have been cured of those diseases. I’m the only one who had both diseases and, and, jus last week, he labeled me as being “cured.”

Post written by FFC East Lakeview member Cheryl Wozny.





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They say your younger years are supposed to be the best years of your life, but for me, I spent my entire childhood, teenage years and early twenties being overweight. But I wasn’t just overweight – I was morbidly obese. I didn’t have confidence and I didn’t have just an ‘extra 20 pounds’ I could stand to lose. I had much more than that.

The more my family tried to get me to do something about my weight, the more I turned to food and convinced myself I didn’t have a problem.

The most embarrassing memory I have of high school gym class is having to redo the mile because I could never finish it in under twenty minutes. Needless to say, I never passed regardless of the countless times I tried. (I’m happy to share I’m now running a 10-minute mile, but I digress).

My weight continued to skyrocket in college, mostly due to my unhealthy eating and drinking habits. By the time I was a sophomore in college, I had hit it: 300 pounds.

I was pre-diabetic, had thyroid issues and other medical conditions. Walking up a flight of stairs or from one end of campus to the other would take it out of me. You couldn’t pay me to eat a vegetable, drink water or participate in any form of physical activity – I just wasn’t interested.

Fast forward to the spring semester of my junior year at college in 2010; I woke up one morning and told myself this had to stop.

A New Direction

So what made me turn my life around?

It was quite simple, actually. Among many other things, my clothes didn’t fit and I was uncomfortable on a daily basis. I was tired of sitting down and feeling my stomach hang over my pants. I did not want to become a diabetic, and did not enjoy the responsibility of taking medications on a daily basis for this and that.

I don’t think I’ve ever said this out loud before, but Weight Watchers saved my life. I joined with a girlfriend of mine, and we held each other accountable each and every week. I learned what a serving size was (who knew it wasn’t socially acceptable to eat a whole pizza by yourself?). I learned that your body needs food for fuel, and that I should be eating to live, not living to eat. Learning to track my food not only made me aware of what I was eating, but held me accountable for my choices, good or bad. I never knew what it felt like to be hungry prior to Weight Watchers, and embraced this new lifestyle 110%.

With my continued success at Weight Watchers, I was somehow convinced to start exercising. Skeptical about it at first (mostly because I was embarrassed to be in the gym thinking people were staring at me) I got up every morning before class – whether I liked it or not – and went to the student rec center.

I owe all of this to another girlfriend of mine, for she stood by side and was my cheerleader day in and day out. It became a habit, and I soon looked forward to our mornings at the rec center together followed by a breakfast somewhere close to campus. I was uneducated in the gym though, so I stuck to the cardio machines and continued to lose weight quickly.

I began to find confidence as I received compliments from people that they could tell I was losing weight. Every time I would go home for the weekend from college, my mother would gasp and say “You’re getting so skinny. You look great.”

Fast-forward to year twenty-two; I graduated and moved back to Minneapolis. I joined a gym, and shortly thereafter got connected with a personal trainer to ensure I was continuing on my weight loss journey. I no longer hung around the treadmill and the elliptical, but rather found myself migrating to the weight room as I was becoming more and more educated.

Weight lifting for fat loss - member story of how Lauren lost over 100 lbsThe weight room built my confidence.

I never knew just how strong I was, and how challenging using my own body weight in different movements could be. It was hard to believe that buried under all that fat was a lot of strength and confidence. Each week I would continue to lose weight, while developing physical and inner strength to keep going.

Related: think lifting heavy will make you bulk up? Think again! Check out this post about the benefits of working weights into your routine.

The Milestones

Among many milestones, I was able to run my first 5K Thanksgiving of 2012.

September 2016 I moved to Chicago, and the first thing on my list was to find a gym. I now call FFC Old Town my home, and look forward to working out there during the week. I began training twice a week to keep my motivation in a new city going.

Needless to say, I hit my second major milestone within a week of being in Chicago; I was no longer in the ‘200 club.’ I had hit 199 lbs, losing a grand total of just over 100 pounds in five-ish years.

My third major milestone? I hit my first goal weight of 185 pounds the week before Thanksgiving of this year, and I’m on my way toward my final goal weight of 165 pounds (a total of 135 pounds)!

I am the lightest weight I have been since I can’t even remember and I am wearing the smallest size clothing I have ever been able to wear. I am no longer pre-diabetic or have any medical conditions, and call me crazy, but I have developed a close relationship with the stair master. My journey helped me lose over 100 pounds.

Related: whatever your goals, they are attainable. Try out a personal training session at FFC on us to get started by clicking & scrolling to the bottom of this page!

My dedication to weight lifting has allowed me to break PRs on my squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc. and I couldn’t be in a better mindset than where I am now. You can’t make someone do something they don’t want to do; they have to want it for themselves.

Life is about balance, choices and sacrifice. “Make a promise to work hard, commit yourself to your goal and don’t say a word until you’ve made significant progress…” – Joe Duncan

Post written by FFC Old Town Member Lauren Rutzick.


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