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When it comes to seeing results from a nutrition and exercise plan, most people have one thing in common:

They want them to happen fast.

While quick results can be encouraging and motivating, deep down most of us know that lasting change and transformation really does take time. However, our natural human tendency is to look for the easy button to success. It only takes a brief internet search to find the thousands of gimmicks, fads, and trends we’re bombarded with that promise to be the quick fix for health and fat loss.

At Life Time, we’re passionate about health, fitness, and wellness for the long haul. We also recognize that shorter-term commitments and wins along the way can act as remarkable catalysts to long-term change. We’ve found that 60 days — or approximately eight weeks — is a particularly effective, and almost magical, block of time that most people can mentally commit to while seeing sustainable and meaningful progress.

The success we’ve seen with that block of time is why we created a program around it, our 60day Challenge, which members have used for years to set their journey toward results in motion.

To learn about successfully using this approach of a shorter-term plan that stimulates lasting improvements, we talked with six of Life Time’s Pro Trainers, a crew known for having coached and worked closely with at least one national winner of a 60day Challenge over the last two years. (Check out the winners’ success stories for some great inspiration: spring 2021 winners, fall 2021 winners, and spring 2022 winners).

These trainers shared their top insights and secrets around making a transformation — and you might be surprised to hear the truth behind what it takes.

Meet the Pro Trainers:

  • Gage Corns is based out of Life Time in Pickerington, Ohio
  • Pioudan Teyiri is based out of Life Time in Centreville, Va.
  • Danny Sanchez is based out of Life Time in Parker, Colo.
  • Paul Rennalls is based out of Life Time in Pickerington, Ohio
  • Scott Donelson is based out of Life Time in Gainesville, Va.
  • Brian McKinney is based out of Life Time in St. Louis Park, Minn.

1. Recognize the Importance of Your Mindset

Hands down, the most important determinant to your success is your attitude and mental outlook towards the challenge and program ahead of you.

“Trying to transform your habits and your body is just as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one,” says Corns. “You must be able to recognize that the journey before you is an opportunity, not a burden.” For example, you can either think of passing on an ice cream run as deprivation and something you’re missing out on or you can think of it as an opportunity to avoid digestive discomfort or an energy crash from a blood-sugar roller coaster.

Prioritizing your mindset to value your individual progress instead of comparison to those around you can also reap more benefits in the long run and increase the likelihood you’ll complete this leg of your healthy way of life journey successfully. Teyiri suggests thinking of it as “me versus me” and “today versus yesterday.”

Mindset is so crucial that one of the ground rules that Sanchez sets with clients is around positive self-talk: “tell yourself you can do hard things” is something he often encourages of his clients.

2. Have a Plan for Each Day

Anytime you embark on a quest to change, Rennalls shares that it’s helpful to “first establish a vision and the purpose behind it, then apply behaviors and habits with the end in mind.” In essence, once you identify the why behind your goals, then enlist some expert advice to help you figure out exactly how to get there.

Both Corns and Rennalls underscore the importance of having a daily to-do list ahead of time — and one that ideally addresses exercise, nutrition, and recovery. Corns adds, “If you have a coach who’s mapped out a blueprint of success for you, all that must be done is to execute the plan and trust the process.”

And consider that as you go, the plan might change based on how your body is responding to the program.

“Remember to track your progress daily, including your nutrition, water intake, and exercise,” emphasizes Donelson. “If we have nothing to reflect on, then we can’t make any needed adjustments. And be sure to have a backup plan if you miss a day or an assignment from your coach. Every single one of my 50-plus participants in the last 60day Challenge had a plan and over 90 percent of them saw results from it and by tracking their progress daily.”

3. Don’t Neglect Strength Training

All six coaches put their clients who are looking to transform their body composition on a consistent and progressive strength training plan. In fact, Teyiri says, “the biggest mistake many individuals overlook is a properly guided intensity to their strength training, as it enhances body composition.”

Lifting weights is not just for bodybuilders; adding a controlled, methodical challenge to muscles at least three times per week is required to build lean tissue, strengthen bones, and boost metabolic health. For those looking to lose weight, strength training (combined with a higher protein intake) pushes the body to lose weight from fat versus from the lean tissue that’s needed to attain a toned look.

Read more: “9 Strength Training Benefits for Health, Fitness, and Anti-Aging

4. Don’t Take on Your Program Alone

McKinney, who has coached three grand-prize 60day winners and five finalists, shares that having support is absolutely crucial. “From my experience, community is everything,” says McKinney. “No one I’ve ever worked with has won in a silo. Camaraderie in your health journey is what helps you keep going when you don’t want to anymore.”

Corns agrees that surrounding yourself with like-minded people is key to seeing success — and that includes other individuals striving for better health along with the hiring a coach. The role of a coach is to help provide you support every step of the journey, even in ways you may not expect. For example, one of Corns’s clients and a 60day grand-prize winner, Dennis, often shares a story about Corns pulling him into a side office at the club when he showed up to a session feeling defeated. Before lifting a single weight on the fitness floor, Gage addressed Dennis’s weary mindset head-on to ensure he could see and believe in himself the way Corns did.

“In order to really help change someone’s life, they have to hear cheers for them,” says McKinney. “And when they see someone who’s truly invested in them and believes in them sincerely and honestly, great things can happen.”

5. Focus on Your Consistency Over Intensity

Often, people enter a transformation challenge determined and motivated, only to burn out a few short weeks into the program. Our expert coaches all emphasize the transformative nature of focusing on basic habits done daily. Teyiri shares that for his clients, seeing success often goes back to a few key controllables: sleep, hydration, and nutrition. “Once those three meet in a well-balanced routine, the body will transform for the better,” he says.

Sanchez adds that it’s important to focus on behaviors first and results second, and that it’s easy to be misled and think you’re not seeing results when you’re actually well on your way. “Don’t weigh yourself every day or focus on the scale,” advises Sanchez. “You’ll stress yourself out and high stress leads to zero results.” Instead, he recommends, “Be consistent above all else. Focus on your inputs and the outputs will happen.”

6. Expect to Fail

Rennalls offers a crucial reminder that every journey of success includes challenges and times of defeat. He often uses a common sports term, “defeated in the opening minutes,” as an analogy of what not to do if you’re truly looking for accomplishment.

“Any athlete who is familiar with winning does not give up in the early minutes of the game,” Rennalls says. “They’re familiar with assessing strategy and doing what needs to be done to win the remaining minutes.”

When encountering obstacles, Corns encourages his clients to have a more holistic view of their program: “It is a 60-day challenge, not a one-day challenge, and one day does not define the success of your 60 days. Your results come from the combination of 60 days of energy and effort.”

Inspired to go after your own transformation?

The fall 2022 60day Challenge registration is now open. If you’re a Life Time member ready to set yourself in motion, you can learn more here.

Keep the conversation going.

Leave a comment, ask a question, or see what others are talking about in the Life Time Health Facebook group.

Samantha McKinney, RD, CPT

Samantha McKinney has been a dietitian, trainer and coach for over 10 years. At first, her interests and experience were in a highly clinical setting in the medical field, which ended up laying a strong foundation for understanding metabolism as her true passion evolved: wellness and prevention. She hasn’t looked back since and has had the honor of supporting Life Time’s members and nutrition programs in various roles since 2011.

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