LifeStories

LifeStart exists to engage and motivate the corporate workforce. We've been helping people transform their lives for over 25 years. We'd love to hear how LifeStart's staff and program offerings have helped you achieve lasting change. If you have a story to tell, click here!
Jessi
After 6 months and 34 pounds lost, I knew I was ready to take things to the next level in my fitness journey.
My story starts with a diagnosis. I had been dealing with some pretty serious reproductive system issues for 3 years without insurance. I was extremely limited in my physical activity, I had gained a great deal of weight in a pretty short span of time, I was constantly exhausted and all I did other than work was sleep. My moods and emotions were out of control. I was depressed and scared because my body just didn't feel like ME anymore. I worried that by the time I was able to get the answers I needed, it might be "too late" and some irreparable damage might have been done.

When I was given my diagnosis in 2014 after those miserable 3 years, it made sense with what I was experiencing. I had researched, and I expected this (but that didn't change how scary it was to hear a doctor confirm my fears!). At the age of 24 I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which is a condition caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones and is one of the most common causes of female infertility. I had to start medication to regulate my hormones and it took a long time for my body to adapt. I had to take iron (almost needed a transfusion!) to restore my very limited supply and regain some of my energy. This was a long, slow process. My iron stores were still low after more than a year of supplements. I wanted to be healthy, but it took me two years before I was even able to attempt working out. When I finally started working out in 2016, I never had the energy to PUSH myself, and I never really saw results - turns out, PCOS makes weight loss difficult. With no motivation and no results to show for my efforts, I fell off the wagon hard after an unexpected layoff.

To my great fortune, the next company I worked for was located in the Esplanade building. I started the new job in November 2016 and even though I heard about the amazing gym located in the building, I still never had the energy or time to really workout. In December 2016, I made a decision that changed my life and lead me to where I am today. I decided to start following a Ketogenic Diet in the New Year after hearing many other women with PCOS share their success and how great they felt. I did tons of research and found this way of eating is recommended by fertility specialists, and has been shown to help with balancing hormones. I started this way of eating on 1/1/2017, and I haven't looked back since. The results I've had in weight loss are NOTHING compared to how different I've felt. After 6 months and 34 pounds lost, I knew I was ready to take things to the next level in my fitness journey.

I joined the LifeStart Fitness Center in June 2017 and started going every weekday on my lunch breaks. This only gives me a 10 minute window to work out, but this was the only time I felt like I had to do this for myself, so I took it. I started small - walking on the treadmill - but have since graduated to using weight machines, doing floor exercises on my own, and I've even started attending Zumba classes two nights a week! I found that once I got into this routine, it was something I actually started to look forward to! Now, working out is not a punishment, but a release. After finding a diet that worked for me and my medical issues, I finally had the energy to PUSH myself. After two months of my new gym routine, I ran a 15 minute mile for the first time EVER in my life! This was a huge accomplishment for me and showed me just how far I have come from where I was. I almost cried right there in the gym! One of the biggest reasons I love LifeStart is how encouraging everyone is when I share these milestones - being met with a solid high five from Matt and/or Katie after a workout is the best! Also knowing I have resources to utilize as I advance, or even if I get bored with my usual routine, has kept me pushing myself to hit that next milestone over and over again.

I am currently down 47 pounds. I started 2017 at a size 18 and this week I fit into a size 12 pair of jeans! I've lost 5 inches in my waist alone. It's amazing to me that in less than 9 months of fully committing to my health, I've made some pretty significant changes. I never thought I would be able to make time to workout. I never imagined I would be a regular at the gym, and ENJOY IT! I never thought I could run for 7 minutes straight. I never thought I would be discussing my fitness goals and routines with a personal trainer, or signing up to take workout classes for fun! And I certainly never thought I would show my before and after pictures to someone and they would say "I think others need to hear your story".

My pace may be slower than others, but I'm taking my journey at my own speed and finally giving my body what it needs. I can't encourage you strongly enough to do the same! See you in the gym!
Mark
Now that I’ve made it 3 months on this challenge as well as being an active member of the LifeStart gym since February I can confidently say this is my new life. My routine.
On the first of June 2017, I decided to make a life change. I was 263.6 lbs., 6’2” and had bad eating habits. I began a 3-month challenge to see how much weight I could lose by working out at least 5 days a week, as well as adding in some yoga to help strengthen my core and mental health. I changed my daily diet, I began following a Ketogenic diet where I eat 70% Fat, 20% Protein and 10% Carbohydrate.

After 3 months, I can tell you it was a success. I’m now 220 lbs., 43 lbs. lighter and I have many to thank, LifeStart one of them. Mike Schwartz is always a smiling face and a great resource at our gym in Gallagher. He has helped point out new machines and helped me to check my biomedical screenings. Loukia Mastrodimos has been my yoga instructor at the Gallagher LifeStart gym, she has helped build up my core and balance over the past months. She’s always helping me to learn the next pose and build up my confidence. Finally, I must thank Arthur J. Gallagher, with this new benefit of the LifeStart Gym as well as the heathy meal options from Sodexo I have been able to make this transformational change in my life. The company has provided me the tools to make this lifestyle choice.

Now that I’ve made it 3 months on this challenge as well as being an active member of the LifeStart gym since February I can confidently say this is my new life. My routine. No longer a task or chore. It’s who I want to be: fit; healthy and stronger!
Heather
"I wasn’t seeing the desired results at first until I decided to buckle down and quit drinking in 2015. Now I’m seeing great results, I’ve lost 20 pounds and toned up."
I have been training twice a week with Dane Halle at Lifestart Cleveland since 2014. I wasn’t seeing the desired results at first until I decided to buckle down and quit drinking in 2015. Now I’m seeing great results, I’ve lost 20 pounds and toned up. I have increased energy, strength, endurance and motivation. I went from working out only twice a week to six days a week. The MyZone Heart Rate Belt was a great addition to my exercise regimen in 2016. The belt challenges me and holds me accountable if I’m not putting in enough effort.

When I started training, I could barely do sit ups or burpees and struggled using eight pound weights. Now sit ups and burpees are easy and I am using fifteen, twenty and twenty-five pound weights. Every training session is different and we have never done the same routine twice. Dane is an excellent trainer and very good at what he does. I’m grateful that I found him. He has helped me transform my body, health, mind and self-esteem.

When I’m having a bad day and negative energy tries to take over, I’ve found that a training session alleviates the stress and anger and gets me focused again. There are so many benefits to exercise, it is not just a physical transformation, it is also a mental transformation.

I’m strong, I feel great and I love life again. Anyone who is just starting a fitness program, understand that losing weight, getting strong and seeing results IS possible. You have to be dedicated, motivated and push through even on your bad days because your bad days are when you need it the most!

Dane Halle, thank you so much for the guidance, support and friendship that has helped transform me into the person I am today. You’re the BEST!
David
"I'm within a couple of pounds of reaching my goal weight which is where I was 25 years ago! "
After years of travel sports with my kids I had become the heaviest I have ever been in my life. Once my kids were out of the house in college I decided to get a little healthier. I joined the Fitlosophy class at our onsite gym before ever becoming a member. I met with our LifeStart trainer and dietitian for the consult.

The trainer worked with me to fit the exercises in the class to my abilities and kept me motivated. Our dietitian helped me plan my meals to what I like not a diet.

I saw great results in the few weeks of the class and joined the onsite gym. I meet with our LifeStart staff regularly and they have done an awesome job of helping me stay on track to meet my goals and with my workouts.

I'm within a couple of pounds of reaching my goal weight which is where I was 25 years ago! I have participated in several 5K runs and have jogged my lifetime best of 7 miles!

The LifeStart staff has been unbelievably supportive and helpful in my journey back to better health and fitness.
Judy
I'm in the best physical (and mental) shape I have ever been -- much stronger, more muscular, and much happier.
When I was younger, I used to always think of myself as someone who was in good shape. As I got older and got married and started a family, I noticed that I was struggling with my weight. I would try to exercise and diet, but with no success.

Over the years, my weight would go up and down. Two years ago, I had ballooned to the highest weight since I had my youngest child 18 years ago.

That all changed when we moved to our new building in August 2015 with its on-site fitness center. I began working with a personal trainer, Cara. She has challenged me every time I workout to push myself to the limits and beyond. Changing my workouts so that my body responded and changed along with them.

The changes to my physical (and mental) wellbeing have been incredible to say the least. I'm in the best physical shape I have ever been -- much stronger, more muscular, and much happier. I now know that with the proper tools and knowledge you can achieve anything. I have lost a total of 30 pounds and am down to 16.7% body fat.

Thanks to Cara and the entire LifeStart fitness center for helping me make this happen.