Almost two years ago, Deb Arneson-Suarez saw a new Planet Fitness gym in her neighborhood. She took this literal sign as a figurative sign that it was time! Time to get healthy and lose the weight that had been with her for as long as she could remember. Now, down almost 100 pounds, she credits her competitive nature for keeping her on the path to her goal.
Deb says by the time she was in the 5th grade she was already familiar with commercial weight loss programs and restrictive diets but for her, the very idea of restriction, always set her up to fail. In her twenties, Deb says “drinking and other bad lifestyle choices” contributed to her weight gain. Sadly, when she realized it was time to get clean and sober, she gained even more.
When Deb saw the “open 24 hours” logo at Planet Fitness, she knew there would be no more excuses for not treating herself better. “The city metro bus stop I used to go to work and come home was right in front of the gym,” she said. “I was sick of feeling tired, sick and miserable. I wanted to be healthy – truly healthy.”
She knew that losing weight would have to be a two-fold approach so she started going to the gym every night after work – even if it was only for 30 minutes at a time – and then adopted a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle. “I used the internet like crazy,” she explained. “If I craved something chocolate (like brownies) I would research healthier options like flourless black bean brownies. Yum!”
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For two weeks, Stephanie Bernstein walked around with only 40% lung capacity. Soon she would discover that 100s of tiny blood clots had invaded her lungs, resulting in a massive pulmonary embolism. Five years ago when Stephanie got the news, she made a deathbed pact to God vowing to make some “serious changes to get healthy.”
Now, 80 pounds lighter, she’s the healthiest she’s ever been in her life, and at 51, she’s having fun picking out trendy clothes and even turning a few heads in the process.
Like many of our true weight loss rock stars, Stephanie said her weight is something she has struggled with her whole life. “I was intimidated by exercise, and I loved sweets and comfort food.”
The extra pounds even affected her self esteem. “It was always the thing that held me back from being truly happy,” she admitted. “I never felt attractive, and always felt like the ugly duckling.”
The promise she made to God
Stephanie was determined to get healthy for her daughters. After losing their first mothers in China, she prayed that her life would be saved so the girls wouldn’t have to go through another devastating loss. Following the embolism, she spent a year enduring constant blood draws and Lovenox shots to reduce the risk of further clotting. Once her body was healthy enough for exercise, Stephanie got busy making good on her promise.
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If you’ve decided that working out on your old elliptical machine while re-watching Breaking Bad episodes on Netflix isn’t helping you achieve maximum weight loss results, maybe it’s time to get out of the basement and join a gym. While some fitness centers offer bare-bones equipment for an affordable price, others offer a wide variety of amenities, but you’ll definitely pay to play.
Before you get out your wallet, decide what’s important to you in a fitness center and what you’re willing to pay for, then choose a gym accordingly. Below is a brief overview to help you make your decision. From Mild-Mannered to Big and Fancy, what do you need for your workout experience in 2014?
Mild Mannered $ – Planet Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Curves, Blink
- Low membership fees and no-hassle contracts mean you can get in shape without taking out a 2nd mortgage
- Often cater to first-time gym members by discouraging intimidating behavior like grunting, growling and gun-showing in the weight room
- Easy-to-use cardio and strength equipment, so you actually spend your time working out, not punching buttons and reading the user’s guide
- No children allowed and no child care. Is that necessarily a bad thing, though? Time away from the kids is OK, especially if you’re getting healthy
- No high-end amenities like juice bars, tanning beds, steam rooms, or swimming pools
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The first big product placement of tonight’s premier of season 13 of The Biggest Loser is for Planet Fitness. Gone are the days of sweating off the pounds in a 24 Hour Fitness outfitted gym. Contestants and viewers a like better get used to seeing Planet Fitness, a cost effective chain that made headlines in 2006 for terminating a member’s contract for grunting too loudly.
Planet Fitness markets itself as a “Judgement Free Zone”, and offers fitness equipment and personal trainers at its over 400 locations around the U.S. Planet Fitness’ membership cost is a huge selling point. Working out shouldn’t be expensive, and at $10 a month, it’s appealing to those trying to save a little green.
@Mrod31183 tweeted: “Did the deed. Left Lifetime for Planet Fitness, much better deal with not a much overhead. Great facility here in the hills as well.”
Some aren’t convinced, though. While Planet Fitness may be perfectly acceptable if you have Bob or Dolvett pushing you along the way, many aren’t fans of the lack of services.
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