“You can’t put a price tag on happiness…”

Nicole has been an irreplaceable member of the Arena Fitness family since the very first day. It’s not just that she is incredibly focused and successful when she does semi private personal training or group training classes, or when she crushes the 28 Day Kick Start (which isn’t just your run of the mill 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge), or when she jumps in and does a Spartan Race with us. It’s HOW she approaches all of it.

You’ll hear us speak often of Mindset. She has the “What’s Next?” mindset that is so crucial to success, what Dr. Carol Dweck calls the Growth Mindset. We are so proud of how she shows up and could go on and on about her, but here is her story in her own words….

“My fitness story didn’t involve overcoming some huge personal hurdle – I don’t recall any major wake-up call moment that made me decide to overhaul my life.  It was a very gradual decision.  As a busy full-time working mom, I was just tired of being tired, and tired of making excuses. I wanted significant improvement in my health, physique and overall happiness.   I had been dismissing red flag symptoms (weight gain, migraines, knee pain, insomnia), chalking them all up to “just getting older.”  I  went to doctors looking for quick fixes for my ailments: magic pills to make me look and feel better.  I started to acknowledge that I may need a lifestyle change in order to see the improvements I so desperately wanted.
I made many half-hearted attempts to be more healthy over the years, but always fell into the same bad habits, compartmentalizing different areas my life and using a warped exercise/calorie balance sheet in my mind.  I was the queen of yo-yo dieting, and I labeled myself “too busy” to go to the gym.  When I did actually get there, I was intimidated by the equipment and everyone around me who seemed to have the know how and motivation that I was missing.  Walking into the gym had always been a very isolating experience for me – I was left to my own devices to figure it all out.  My mentality became framed by a singular question: I had very little “me” time… why would I spend it doing something all alone that I didn’t enjoy and that I wasn’t good at?   I eventually recognized that my mindset was all wrong.
I desperately needed a few things to help me get my fitness regime on track: a consistent and structured plan, accountability and a solid support system of great people.  Then I found Arena Fitness.  In my first class there, a trainer said something that has continued to resonate and stick with me:  “If it’s important to you, you will find the time and find a way to make it happen.  If it isn’t, you will find an excuse.”  It was honest, and exactly what I needed to hear to get me back that next day. That first week was tough, but I got through it, and felt cared for (albeit, very sore!) throughout.  I got used to the routine quicker than I expected to and appreciated the fun staff and clientele, as well as the easy and flexible class sign up and schedule.  Fast forward to a year later, the more fit and confident I felt, the more I wanted to continue to improve….and the more I looked forward to getting to the gym each day.
It was time to re-think the rest of my healthy lifestyle, and focus on my diet too in order to get to my next level of desired fitness.  I signed up for my first Kick Start program – which was a big deal for me, because I am one of those people who like to think that I don’t need help, and that I have all the answers.   The nutritionist, Stacey, made it super easy – follow the simple rules and you will see results.  The nutrition diary and “foodie-approved” recipes kept me accountable without any of the guilt and depravity that I always felt on various “fad diets”. The comradery of having a group of other clients and trainers all doing it together, with a competitive challenge, made it all the more reason to stick with it.     In my first Kickstart, I had my challenges – work travel, busy lifestyle, job and family stresses – there were many reasons (a.k.a. excuses) to not follow the plan.  I did not give up though and was very pleased with the weight loss and muscle gain results.  I refused to go back to making excuses.
The Kickstart program helped remind me of the power of positivity and provided me with the tools to make good decisions that I could continue to incorporate into my lifestyle long after the actual Kickstart program was done.  What a difference drinking the proper amount of water and properly fueling your body can do!  Most importantly, my health improved…my insomnia, joint pain and migraines all went away…this was the true game changer for me.  I was a believer.  It was a no-brainer to sign up for another Kickstart the following year to brush up on the good-habit building and continue to dedicate myself to better health.  More dedicated to the goal than ever before, I stuck to the plan and lost nearly 10 more pounds of fat and fit nicely into my skinny jeans that had been sitting in my closet building dust for years.   I’ve lost a few more pounds since the end of the program, and as much as the weight loss is great – the real prize was the sense of accomplishment and confidence that I gained from setting a goal and achieving it.  You can’t put a price tag on happiness.”

Her KICK START results:

  • Lost 9.3% body fat/15.5 pounds of body fat
  • Gained 6 pounds of muscle
  • Lost 11 inches

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Jonathan Aluzas is co-owner of Arena Fitness, a fitness center that offers group training in Encino as well as personal training in Northridge.