Steve Prescott has been a member of the club since the very beginning — in fact, even prior to HAC’s grand opening when it used to be the Pike Creek Fitness Center. During this time, he would visit the club 2-3 times per week mostly to utilize the Strive Machines and cardio equipment, but never had someone to push him beyond his comfort zone.
While Steve continued doing his ordinary workout routines, the older he got, the harder it became to keep the weight off. He would go on an annual diet every spring but always found the weight had a way of creeping back on again during the cold weather months. Though Steve had no realization at the time, his recurring battle with weight loss would soon be far behind him. With help and encouragement from trainers at HAC, he would later be regarded as the official winner of the 2018 Lifestyle Challenge.
As I was approaching retirement last year, one of my work colleagues suggested that I begin working out with Kristi Leigh Morgan, HAC Premier Personal Trainer, after retirement to ‘break out’ of my ordinary routine. He and his wife had been clients of Kristi’s for several years. So I began to work out with Kristi twice a week for 30 minutes starting in August. She ended up totally changing my workouts. I soon realized how, for many years, I was not gaining the benefits I should have been from all that time invested.
When I was around 40, I was diagnosed with a back problem called spondylolisthesis. This condition causes the disks in my spine to slip out of place, moving back and forth. Kristi’s focus on core strength and flexibility really helped me develop muscles that I had been neglecting for decades. Better yet, as my core strength began to develop, I noticed that the pain and stiffness in my back also started to lessen dramatically.
Even though my level of fitness was improving, I was still not losing any weight. I had downloaded the MyFitnessPal app but wasn’t tracking calories as I should have. It was at this time that Kristi recommended I enter the Lifestyle Challenge as a way to ‘jump start’ my weight loss.
With some reluctance, I entered the Challenge and was issued my MyZone™ belt (which monitors heart rate, calories burned, and time spent exercising) and the rest of the supporting materials. I also committed to working out at HAC 4-5 times per week. For me, probably the most important item was the Fitness and Nutrition Journal. Logging my calories and workouts helped me focus and took me back to the years when I wrestled in high school and college.
At the 6 week mark, I received my results and learned that I was one of three other people tied for second place. This was a pleasant surprise and not the result I had expected at all. When I shared my results with Kristi, she asked me if I wanted to ‘go for it.’
I told her, ‘what the hell, let’s do it.’
Because I was starting to plateau a bit, Kristi also suggested that I take the Method™ CRA-Test to optimize fat burn during workout sessions. Fortunately, HAC Master Personal Trainer, Dina Saitis was able to conduct the test the day after we approached her. By finding the target heart rate at which I burn the most fat, the test results allowed Kristi to refine our private sessions together.
By this point, my cardio conditioning had also improved, so we were able to successfully burn 450-500 calories in our one-on-one 30 minute sessions. I also increased my workouts to 5-6 days per week. It reminded me a lot of wrestling practices back in the day that would focus on conditioning to prepare for post season tournaments. Since I had to meet a certain weight requirement before participating in a wrestling match, this sort of training for the challenge was very similar.
There was one major challenge, however, that I faced with my workout schedule. My wife and I were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in Key West from March 22-26th. I thought, this big an exercise gap so close to the end of the challenge would surely ruin it for me.
Fortunately, I was able to find a fitness center in Key West. By bringing the MyZone™ belt with me, I was able to get three solid workouts in with good calorie burn. One thing worth mentioning, here, was how the gym in Key West truly paled in comparison to the state-of-the-art facility we have at HAC.
When I returned for my next weigh-in, I had lost an additional 0.5% in body fat — even on vacation! At this point, I really thought I had a chance to win the challenge.
At week 11 of 12, I was down 9.5% body fat and 17.5 pounds in weight. Up until then, my diet had mainly consisted of a reduction in calories and fat. I didn’t focus on carbohydrates too much. On the final week, I decided to cut down on carbs drastically. At the final weigh-in, I was down a total of 20 pounds; yet, my body fat was down only 8.9%. I thought for sure that my carb-reduction strategy had cost me the contest. When I discussed this result later with Assistant Fitness Director, Rachel Ling, she said that my drastic carb reduction had caused me to dehydrate even though I was drinking plenty of water. Luckily for me, 8.9% was still good enough to land me in first place.
At the end of the day, I couldn’t have done it without all the positivity and support from all the trainers at the club. Kristi was a fantastic motivator throughout the entire process. After every Wednesday evening weigh-in, I would text her the latest results and hear back from her that same night with words of encouragement. While there were times when I thought she was trying to ‘kill me,’ she still made it fun and rewarding.
Dina also urged me to push forward despite the challenges I faced. When I reached the midway point (where I had been getting results yet still plummeting), she guided me in the right direction by having administered the Method™ Test, which optimized my workouts from that point on. Garrett Copeland, another HAC personal trainer, was also helpful by resolving some issues I had with my MyZone™ belt.
My 23-year-old son has also served as a huge motivation throughout the entire process. He was the one who reassured me from the very beginning that I could do the challenge when I was initially having doubts. Since he’s a baseball player, he is used to doing workouts that involve more effective equipment, such as pulleys and dumbbells. That’s why he would always get on me when I would continuously use the Strive Machines that benefit your body much less (as I’ve found out).
If I were to give advice to someone taking on a similar kind of challenge, I would say not to be intimidated going into it, because all the hard work will be worth it in the end when you witness the results for yourself. Speaking from my own experience, my knees and back feel way better than before. Having a personal trainer is definitely key. Any time I was not losing weight, or was struggling for whatever reason, Kristi provided me with the support and encouragement I needed to maintain a positive mindset.
I truly enjoyed the 12-week challenge. Since I have a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry, logging in the caloric/workout data and tracking my weekly weigh-in results was right up my alley.
My fitness journey doesn’t stop here, though. I plan on continuing to lose weight (though at half the pace as the challenge) and maintain it moving forward. In fact, my goal now is to lose an additional 8-10 pounds and 2-3% body fat within the 12 weeks following the challenge. I certainly appreciate and want to thank HAC for holding the Lifestyle Challenge and for giving me the tools and knowledge to continue this weight loss journey. The benefits gained from going through this process will extend well beyond my final weigh-in.