“Making fitness and health a part of a regular routine is hard enough, but with MS it can almost feel impossible. My online training program from my MS trainer, Jim at MSFC, gave me the confidence to take the control back for my health and fitness. My increased strength and vitality, along with the support of others who share my invisible fight, has given me my enthusiasm for life back.”
“Jim Nolan’s online training is second to none! I’m so excited to see changes in my overall body fitness in the short time I’ve been following it.” Catriona M | MSFC Participant
“Jim Nolan’s online training is second to none! I’m so excited to see changes in my overall body fitness in the short time I’ve been following it. I am gaining increased strength, balance & improved gait. It’s wonderful to be able to do his thorough program from home and he takes into account the particular MS issues. Thanks, Jim.”
“So, two days in and I have been acknowledging how much sugar I was really consuming! No wonder I was not seeing the results of my hard work, that coupled with the whey proteins.” ZOE M | MSFC Participant
“So, two days in and I have been acknowledging how much sugar I was really consuming! No wonder I was not seeing the results of my hard work, that coupled with the whey proteins.
I have been doing any type of exercise I can get in, even if it was just holding a plank. My goal is to do a three minute plank! I want to do a pull up and I, for some reason, thought planks might help.
Anyhow, since chatting with you, I am beyond pumped up!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
“I’m loving the workout and am glad it’s FINALLY something I can physically do.” Bell G | MSFC Participant
“Hi, David…I’m loving the workout and am glad it’s FINALLY something I can physically do. Of course, I need to get better at the exercises but I know that as I get stronger I’ll be able to complete reps as recommended. Thank you for checking in. And thank you again for this workout and the overall MS Fitness Challenge. I know I can do this! Blessings, David.”
“Shoot, David! Thank YOU for being who you are and all that you do for everyone in here!! ” Lindsay T | MSFC Participant
“Hi, David. I want to thank you so much for an incredibly focused program!” Samantha M | MSFC Participant
“David Lyons is an angel, a Godsend to MS’ers. He amazes and inspires me daily.” Lisa K | MSFC Participant
“David Lyons is an angel, a Godsend to MS’ers. He amazes and inspires me daily. Jeff, you’re right up there. You keep me motivated and remind me to not get discouraged if I can’t do something right now. I’ll work on the things I can do and just keep trying. I can’t thank you both enough.”
“Thank you so much for our video chat last week. It was very helpful to know what I was doing was right / wrong and how to improve.” Melissa Bo | MSFC Participant
Thank you so much for our video chat last week. It was very helpful to know what I was doing was right / wrong and how to improve. I completed last week with a full body workout on Friday and started back today with upper body. I’m excited to move forward with my training…
I just got back from 2 weeks of skiing. I did a lot better than I used to. I definitely attribute this to your help and workout routines 😁😁😁😁. Thank you, so much. I skied three days the first week and did my upper body band and ab workout twice. Then skied (really hard) two days last week, mostly black diamond mogul runs, and did one upper body and ab workout. At the end it hit me – I’d overdone it and needed to rest, but my recovery time seems to be shorter too!”
“It’s nice to be with a group of people who overall have the same positivity when it comes to taking on the challenges that MS brings.” Vic R | MSFC Participant
“It’s nice to be with a group of people who overall have the same positivity when it comes to taking on the challenges that MS brings. Many support groups can focus too much on the negative and fail to notice or support people who are trying their best to give MS a run for its money. Made Strong! CANADA”
“Thank you so, so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to respond to my email. I hope you already know your encouragement & support have uplifted me & I haven’t even gotten started yet.” Ramona H | MSFC Participant
“Thank you so, so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to respond to my email. You provided me with oh, so much more positive info than I could ever even imagine.
I will definitely put to use and try to digest a little at a time. I will gather up the resources in order to incorporate these things into my diet, exercise and my lifestyle in order to try to maintain my dignity, despite the negative challenges of MS. I am determined not to let it defeat me and depend on natural products and positive healing vs. deadly pharmaceuticals all thru my mind and body.
Last week, I signed up with msworkouts.com which was one of your suggestions. I spoke with a rep who was so kind and informative. Although I know it will take time, I am looking forward to great things ahead.
I hope you already know your encouragement and support have uplifted me, and I haven’t even gotten started yet.
God bless and thank you so much for having these programs available to us that motivate and inspire us to conquer as we go through this challenge. Never stop or underestimate how simply your kind words impact a person. Although I am a positive person, my spirits sometimes get down like everyone else, but knowing I’m not alone, and knowing there is support, and knowing someone cares and empathizes with you is half the battle.”
“I found David Lyons on the web offering hope you couldn’t find on any other search. He started the MS Fitness Challenge GYM forum and after adding all his exercises 6 months ago, my body started getting stronger.” Becky S | MSFC Participant
“I found David Lyons on the web offering hope you couldn’t find on any other search. He started the MS Fitness Challenge GYM forum and after adding all his exercises 6 months ago, my body started getting stronger. I am a photographer, and have had to limit my hours at work after MS, but was able to accept a 10 hour photoshoot after 3 months of David’s workouts. And I aced it! I finally bought Davids book ‘Everyday Health and Fitness with Multiple Sclerosis’ on Kindle! I can’t wait to add every idea in it to my program, and pare down my diet to the anti inflammatory diet.”
“Thanks so much for this group and support that goes with it. I love when I read someone’s story here. We are all MS success warriors.” Angie L | MSFC Participant
“I really wasn’t sure if lifting would be an option. I found David Lyons. Read his story and everything connected. I discovered I LOVE lifting. And when I say LOVE it, I mean LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. To have others believe in you and like this group (MS Fitness Challenge GYM), discover others just like you….. We are not alone.
I was named the Rockstar of the Year at my local Fit Body Boot Camp and it wasn’t because I have MS or because they felt sorry for me, I was inspiring others and leading them to try and do their absolute best regardless of my MS.
Thanks so much for this group and support that goes with it. I love when I read someone’s story here. We are all MS success warriors.”
“During the MSFC I have gained so much strength in my legs that I’m actually able to get out of my wheelchair and use my walker again!” Serena | MSFC Participant
“During the MSFC I have gained so much strength in my legs that I’m actually able to get out of my wheelchair and use my walker again! I have gained a great deal of strength because of this challenge and I am so thankful that I have also gained energy as well. Thanks Kendra and David and all of the wonderful trainers at OptimalBody Fitness for starting this. I will never quit!”
“I have gained strength and stability and am now walking confidently without my cane, walker, or having to be in my wheelchair!” Michele | MSFC Participant
“The MSFC has been such a blessing to all of us! For me personally, I have gained strength and stability and am now walking confidently without my cane, walker, or having to be in my wheelchair! I am doing things that I thought were no longer possible. The MSFC has been such a Godsend for me, as well as everyone else in the Challenge. We all have improved SO much and will be forever grateful for Dave and Kendra’s passion to start the charity and continue working to fund it for each MSFC. We are also so thankful for our amazing trainers who have given of themselves so much to teach us how to move again and strengthen our muscles so that it is now something that is possible for us! We are also thankful for our new home – OptimalBody Fitness! No matter how we are feeling, we still want to come to the gym because we know that no one there will give up on us. That, in turn, gives us the strength to not give up on ourselves either!
Dave, Kendra, and all of you wonderful trainers, you have had such an incredible impact on our lives and we will be forever grateful! We love you all!”
“MSFC has been such a blessing to me!” Rose | MSFC participant
The MSFC helped me in the following ways!
• Improved my stability, balance and strength
• Lost 10 pounds and two inches
• Improved my coordination
• Has improved my level of cognition
• Has brought happiness and fulfillment to my life
“This program gave me a platform and an outlet to arm myself with hard work and knowledge in the hopes of improving my own unique circumstances.” Rene | MSFC Participant
“It has been a blessing (and occasionally a curse or 3 … 😉 these last 13 weeks having the opportunity to work out with Rob on very specific MS related issues…not something the typical trainer has the time, knowledge or experience to accomplish. This program is definetely empowering to those of us fighting to find better pathways to improving the strength and mobility we struggle to maintain with this disease. My personal experience has taught me that traditional medicine and practice cannot help me, not really. Most consider this a negative but for me it has literally stripped away all my illusions and forced me to chart my own course to explore all available options. This program gave me a platform and an outlet to arm myself with hard work and knowledge in the hopes of improving my own unique circumstances. For that privilege i am eternally grateful. Thank you.”
“I learned much about the various techniques that will help me improve balance, strength and coordination. ” Torri | MSFC Participant
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate in the MSFC this summer. I’m grateful for the generosity shown to us by David, Optimal Body, the sponsors and the trainers. I appreciated the training sessions with Eric Cruz. I learned much about the various techniques that will help me improve balance, strength and coordination. I’ve never seen a gym like Optimal Body. I’m very thankful to be a member! If it’s not too late, I’d like to RSVP for myself and my family, four of us total.
“Also the support from the staff and other fitness challenge participants has really helped. I can’t wait for the next challenge. ” Celeste | MSFC Participant
“I was diagnosed with MS over ten years ago. I was so glad to hear that a gym specially designed for disabled people opened. I was pumped to start the MS fitness challenge and my trainer Eric Middlestead is great. Since working with Eric I have noticed I have more energy and I’m able to stand for longer periods of time. My foot doesn’t drag as much when I walk either. Also the support from the staff and other fitness challenge participants has really helped. I can’t wait for the next challenge.”
“I am very appreciative of the MSFC! The biggest result I got out of this was that Justin really helped me to work on my balance.” Adria | MSFC Participant
“I am very appreciative of the MSFC! The biggest result I got out of this was that Justin really helped me to work on my balance. He created several workouts for me that included training of my balance – I didn’t know that there was such a thing! That’s my biggest MS-related issue, dizziness and poor balance. Justin was great to work with and truly helped me. Thank you MSFC!”
“This challenge has given me the chance to become a better mother and wife. MS does not run my life anymore.” Lindsey | MSFC Participant
“First of all, my balance is so much better. I was never able to walk a straight line without losing my balance and now, on most days, my balance is great. Before starting the MSFC I was quite weak. It was not uncommon for me to take a break at the top of a small flight of stairs and to my amazement I can now run up the stairs. This may not seem like a big deal but when you try to race an 8 year old daughter to the top and legitimately lose every time, it’s amazing to beat her. Funny, the first time I won, my daughter was so excited for me even though she lost. That was priceless.
I feel so wonderful having strength. The left side of my body was so much weaker that I had to spend extra time just strengthening that side but it has paid off.
Another thing is my eating. I was not able to eat much when starting. Maria worked hard on a nutrition plan with slowly adding in healthy protein and getting rid of milk products and eliminating gluten. This took about six weeks and now I am eating healthy and enjoying food finally.
This challenge has given me back the confidence I didn’t know I lost. I have never felt comfortable attending any of my husband’s military events. I was worried about what people might say about him having a wife that walked weird sometimes or why I wasn’t there at some events. I am now able to stand and walk strong next to him ( most of the time! ).
The best for last is… I can play with my kids and it’s not just board games anymore. My son is very athletic and loves the game of baseball. He has played since he was 4 and this game has really been our life for the past 9 years. I really have never been able to get out there and practice with him. So one night I was feeling good and thought we could toss the ball. Well, that turned into a backyard baseball game. It was my daughter and me vs. my son and the dog. At this moment I realized that I was actually playing with my kids instead of watching them play.
This challenge has given me the chance to become a better mother and wife. MS does not run my life anymore. My sister does the MS run every year in my name and her team is called Team Lindsey: Kicking multiple sclero-ass. I feel like this challenge has given me the boxing gloves to kick it.”
” It’s my sincere hope that this program can grow so that countless other MS sufferers can have the opportunity to improve their lives by being a part of it.” C.K. | MSFC Participant, Elizabethtown PA
“I am so fortunate and thankful to be part of the MS Fitness Challenge. It’s my sincere hope that this program can grow so that countless other MS sufferers can have the opportunity to improve their lives by being a part of it. We all know the importance and benefit of exercise in our lives but to actually have a specific program designed for MS patients is truly awesome. I’m in a wheelchair but Mark,my trainer, works with me in the gym and I have exercises to do at home. I’m hoping to become stronger and more independent so that I’ll be able to do more things for myself and give my husband a break. We’re also working towards my getting out of my wheelchair in order to be able to use some of the equipment in the gym. My doctor had suggested therapy for me in the past, which I did, but we all know the problems and expense of healthcare today and I wasn’t able to continue with it. It’s wonderful to work with someone who sees strength that I didn’t believe I had anymore. This program is life-changing and I hope that others suffering from MS can join and have a chance to rise above a disease that strips us of our independence and so much more. It’s a way to fight back and not let MS have the final say in how we live our lives.”
” As a result of the MS Fitness Challenge, exercise and regular activity are part of my lifestyle.” D.S. | MSFC Participant, Aurora CO
“Thank you again for the opportunity to participate in the 2015 Denver MS Fitness Challenge. Thank you to Colorado’s Pro Gym for the use of your awesome facility. Thank you to Polar Products and to all of the vendors who sponsor and support MSFC events. And a special thank you to Stephanie Campana who trained me, pushed me and laughed with and sometimes AT me. She taught me how to exercise and work out properly and to push myself well beyond just the first few reps. You are ALL an inspiration.
The benefits that I obtained by participating in the Challenge include:
Improved physical strength with key areas in lower and core body
Improved overall body fitness
Improved balance – I may not be walking on a tight rope yet but I am more stable on stairs, ladders and while walking in general.
Increased endurance and abilities during daily activities (noticed and acknowledged by my family)
I can walk farther without getting fatigued or experiencing “foot drop”
I can work out longer and harder
I “recover“ more quickly after strenuous activities
I no longer have to always plan my daily activities based on my anticipated fatigue be it from overheating or from too much activity
I am more emotionally and physically stable
I am able to run very short distances – I used to run a lot pre-MS
For me, remaining active and in motion are the best ways to manage and stay ahead of my MS symptoms and challenges. As a result of the MS Fitness Challenge, exercise and regular activity are part of my lifestyle.
I can’t stress enough how meaningful it is to have support from both those with MS and from those without it.”
” I am enjoying the MS fitness challenge…” L.Y. | MSFC Participant, Aurora CO
” I am enjoying the MS fitness challenge and working out with JJ at Colorado’s Pro Gym in Aurora. Both he and I feel I am getting stronger. Some every day things, like going up stairs, seem to be improving. I used to go one step at a time, using my strong leg to get the next step, then bringing my weaker leg up to that step to meet it, before I went to the next step. Lately, I have been taking the steps like a normal person, albeit much slower than a normal person, and only some of the time.
Thanks again for this opportunity”
“So far I am loving this challenge, the first couple weeks were a self adventure of learning and over coming more than a few fears.” H.N. | MSFC Participant, Aurora CO
“So far I am loving this challenge, the first couple weeks were a self adventure of learning and over coming more than a few fears. I grew up playing sports and living in gyms, MS took a lot of that away from me for more than a few years, including hope. I started this challenge not knowing what my body would allow or how many barriers I had inside my own mind keeping me from truly living.
My trainer JJ is an outstanding person, extremely knowledgeable, great personality, motivates, remains patient yet pushes me, walks me through everything… I couldn’t have asked for a better guide in all of this. He’s been very accommodating with my having a meniscus tear, labrum tear and spurs on the rotator cuff as well has MS limitations.
Overall I am far stronger both mentally and physically, my balance has improved greatly, I’ve lost undesirable weight, added muscle, improved body tone, stronger legs, arms and body. Mentally I’m sharper, my fatigue issues are somewhat decreased, nerve pain has subsided a bit, my general mood has improved and I’ve been able to chase some of the MS ghosts that haunt a person out of my life.
Basically, it’s changed my life and I feel as though I’ve gotten back 15 years of my life that were taken from me. Some MS issues persist though I’m far better now than when I started and have the confidence back that I was lacking and needed to keep fighting MS. I’ve decided that I will continue and expand upon this foundation and live to show others that MS doesn’t have to dictate a persons life entirely, we can take back control and live well with MS.
I’d like to thank MSFC for providing me with such a great opportunity, it’s opened up doors to me that I didn’t think possible, given me the confidence and proof that anything is possible if we just try and put in the work. Hopefully we can work together down the road and beat MS for all of us with or affected by it. Anything I can do for the MSFC, it’s sponsors or for the cause of beating MS, please let me know, I’m in this fight to the final bell and beyond.”
“I would recommend this program for all levels of disabilities related to MS.” C.H. | MSFC participant, Aurora, CO
“Just a few weeks into the program and I have increased mobility and feel better in general. The positive approach and enthusiastic attitude of Coach Stephanie has made it a pleasure to attend the weekly sessions. She observes you closely and adjusts your workout based on ability and need. Adding in a small amount of personal challenge for you.
I would recommend this program for all levels of disabilities related to MS. It has been one of the few positive experiences to come from a difficult diagnosis.”
” I am so thankful to Dave and Kendra for the opportunity to get strong again in spite of having Multiple Sclerosis.” J.L. | MSFC Participant, Aurora CO
I came into the MS Fitness Challenge program just days after I lost my balance and fell in a grocery store, injuring my back when I hit a display board on my way down. My back was extremely sore and I thought about not starting the challenge, thinking that I couldn’t possibly get the full effects when I was in pain. I was feeling sorry for myself because one more time Multiple Sclerosis had taken a bite out of me. For the last year I have been getting weaker, more fatigued, less sure of my balance and I had to start using a walker instead of the cane. I knew I needed to give this program a try so I met my trainer Brian, told him of the fall. Brian showed me how to do squats to strengthen my legs and core, which in turn helped a great deal with my back pain. He showed me strengthening exercises using weights and machines. I thought for sure I would be too sore to ever come back to the gym, but I did come back the next day and 3 more times before we met again the next week.
I had been feeling sorry for myself because the symptoms of MS were increasing in my body; weakness in my extremities, balance issuers and fatigue, just to name a few. But in the gym I felt power start to come back to me. Every time I did the exercises Brian had shown me I felt like it was a victory for me. He had encouraged me to do two sets of ten for each exercise. I know that doesn’t sound like much but it was all I could do at first and I did struggle to complete them. But each time at the gym I started getting a little stronger.
Every time I meet with Brian he has me do a little more. When I come back without him I do those exercises plus I’ve been adding more thanks to the other trainers, they always ask me how I’m feeling and if I need any assistance. Nicki, Stephanie, Matt and Robin have all been a great help to me, especially Nicki, she has been there more than once when I had a question about a machine and she takes the time to show me how to get the most from it in the safest way possible and if it’s even the right machine for me.
I feel stronger and more confidant in my mobility with the walker, and have been trying to use just the came at times. My energy level is improving. I was able to walk in the MS Walk in Denver last week…it was hard but I made it. Brian kept telling me I could do it and he was right. A year ago I would not have had the strength to walk in this event!
I am so thankful to Dave and Kendra for the opportunity to get strong again in spite of having Multiple Sclerosis.
” MS Fitness Challenge has changed my LIFE – I stress LIFE because I didn’t have much of one before MSFC.” Tonya | MSFC Participant, San Diego CA
“MS Fitness Challenge has changed my LIFE – I stress LIFE because I didn’t have much of one before MSFC. I was, honestly, just barely getting by day by day with a poor diet, in bed, not driving, and basically super sad.
My list of CANS and WINS is growing every day:
• I have so much more energy!
• I’m happier and the entire family is noticing and enjoying that part.
• I played in the leaves with my daughter the other day.
• I drove yesterday (a little slower than most but I did it!).
• When a friend told me that she went ice skating. Instead of being down that my body couldn’t my internal dialogue was: “I cannot wait until I’m doing that?!”
• Some days I actually have a good memory!
• I went on a business trip with my husband and we walked a bit through the city – this would have never happened before MSFC!
• My balance is greatly improved – I haven’t tripped or fallen in weeks.
• As silly as this may sound…I swept the house (ok it took an hour but I did it)!
• My rowing time is now TWO MINUTES FASTER! TWO!
Thank you Dave and Kendra for catching me when I was falling. I’m not consumed by this anymore. I have MS, yes..but I also have hope!”
“I’m proud of what I can do and how far I came and how far I’ll go. Its thanks to MSFC, John, and my own ‘mental toughness.’ ” Lisa | MSFC Participant, San Diego CA
“I want to thank MSFC again! I am stronger than I have ever been. I didn’t write back because I was afraid that after I stopped the challenge, I wouldn’t keep to the program. I’m proud to say I’m still hitting the gym 3x a week.
One thing that my trainer, John Switzer, had me do that I hated the most was hanging ab lifts. He started me out on 20 reps. I’m pleased to say I came to terms with that particular exercise and I now do 2 sets of 40 every M, W, F.
Since training with him I took little tidbits of advice that changed my life. No exaggeration. My balance and coordination are much better! It seems silly, but he trained me how to walk up steps without tripping. Drive the heel down when you step.
There were exercises that I dreaded. Not because the weights were too heavy or I was too sore. It was an embarrassment factor. The first day I met John I did walking lunges and I would lose my balance, needing to grab on to someone or something. I was frustrated with myself. We did it again on our last day together. I stared at that gym floor like it was my own personal Green Mile. I lost my balance only once. That was success. Now, every leg day I challenge myself to do those lunges. I don’t fall over anymore.
Another thing, when I go to the gym and I want to quit because it seems too hard, I hear John’s voice say, “mental toughness.” That was something he would say to get those last few reps out of me. It worked every time.
Some days I get up and look forward to the gym but usually I don’t want to work out because I’m tired or it’s too hot or place excuse here. But I’m so happy I did when its over. It’s like being baptized with sweat. I feel like I’m beating this thing. I’m becoming a new and better version of myself.
I really want to thank MSFC again for giving me this opportunity and matching my personality with John Switzer. He was a great trainer. He didn’t go soft on me but was encouraging at the same time.
I am stronger than I was when I started. I lift, squat, lunge, run and do those damn ab lifts. But on a personal note, I feel good about myself. I’m proud of what I can do and how far I came and how far I’ll go. Its thanks to MSFC, John, and my own ‘mental toughness.’ ”
” I really can’t thank you all enough, this really has changed my life!” Jessica | MSFC Participant
“My name is Jessica and I was diagnosed with MS in June 2013. I knew I had to make a lot of lifestyle changes and the MS Fitness Challenge helped me meet the goals I had set for myself and has made me a stronger person mentally and physically. My symptoms decreased, and I am relieved of pain daily by pushing myself through fitness. I would have never been able to afford the training that MS Fitness Challenge has provided for me. I’m thankful everyday of this opportunity. I have 2 wishes and that is that no one ever gets told those 4 words “You have Multiple Sclerosis” again, and if they do get told that they would be able to have the opportunity to make their good life become a great life through the MS Fitness Challenge.
I really can’t thank you all enough, this really has changed my life! I’m going to pass the word along to my friends and family to have them donate to help others who are fighting this disease have the opportunity of a life time change!
Really Thank you, I have my life back!!!”
” MSFC has given me the tools to fight my disease.” Kathy | MSFC Participant, Orlando FL
“I was diagnosed with MS in 2007, after treating preexisting auto-immune diseases. I’ve since
learned that treating one tends to activate others. At the time, I didn’t understand what
Multiple Sclerosis was, and was frightened of what it would mean for my future.
I am a stay-at-home mom, and was busy with my kids’ high school goals, community events,
college plans and ministries. I didn’t have time for MS. I was told that it would not truly affect
my mobility for 10-20 years; and that I should be careful, but to expect a decline ahead. My
husband and family were so supportive through my diagnosis and learning process. They gave
me the mental space I felt I needed; mourning the loss of my youth and vitality. I was not yet 50
years old, but it wasn’t long before I convinced myself that certain activities would now be off
I had never been known as an athlete, but I was active in my family life. Cycling, camping, a
walk to the beach or a hike in the hills were refreshing, even exhilarating. I had come to dread
the thought; it is more comfortable and less painful to stay home in the air conditioning. I
didn’t even want to walk my dog.
Seven years of inactivity later, I was intrigued by the MS Fitness Challenge, a new program
offered by David and Kendra Lyons. Of course, I didn’t dive right in, I’ve slowly tried to change
my attitude toward fitness. I work with Darren Barnes, who has been so patient; always aware
of my physical limits. He encourages and motivates me to push just beyond my comfort level.
When I try to quit, he keeps me coming back for more. I know that when I am sore from a
workout, it prepares me for a better future. Building my strength and endurance helps me to
prevent advanced disability.
I don’t expect to become a bodybuilder. MSFC has given me the tools to fight my disease. I can
focus on key weaknesses to aid my mobility and stability. I know I have to be persistent, but I
can foresee a stronger future. Thanks to Darren, David and Kendra for reminding me that I may
have MS, but MS does not, will not have me.
Wishing you much success during the MSFC national event in San Diego. I know how much it
can mean for future participants. ”
“The whole experience has caused me to make my overall physical health a larger priority.” Kerry | MSFC Participant, CO
“I will be joining the gym and continuing the training sessions with my personal trainer (Stephanie Campana). Once I got in the habit of going, I realized this can be really fun. Making it a priority was no longer difficult. I slept better on my training nights, and found it feels pretty good to have a little soreness in my muscles. It serves as a physical reminder that I’m doing something positive to improve my health. The whole experience has caused me to make my overall physical health a larger priority. I did not think I was the ‘fitness gym’ type, and felt intimidated at the idea of working out around others due to my lack of strength and coordination. This was totally not the case! Everyone there is very supportive and nice. ”
“The M.S. fitness challenge has changed our lives in so many ways it is really hard to believe.” Jerry | MSFC Participant
“The following is from Jerry Searcy, husband to Monica Searcy, a participant in the MS Fitness Challenge.
The M.S. fitness challenge has changed our lives in so many ways it is really hard to believe. If you would have told me all these changes were possible in only 3 months, I probably would have told you that you were dreaming. When my wife first brought it up I didn’t think too much about it, I really didn’t think my wife would have the energy to keep it up very long. It turns out that I was wrong, and that’s not something I say very often, seriously ask my wife, she will tell you. I watched her do more and more research and become more and more excited about it, from diet to exercise. I started to buy into it a little bit, but since talk is cheap I remained skeptical. Well, I was told that my wife would have a better chance if I joined the gym also and worked out with her, then Brad Kloss, the owner of Fitness Evolution offered me a free 3 month membership to help keep my wife motivated, how could I turn that down?
Of course I didn’t and now only 3 months later both my wife and I are lifting weights every other day and doing 30 and 60 minutes on cardio machines that neither of us could do 5 minutes on the first time we went to work out. We have each lost a considerable amount of weight and my wife has more energy than at any time since I have known her (I met her post M.S. diagnosis). It is amazing all the everyday chores she is doing now like laundry and washing dishes (I wasn’t even aware she knew how to do them) just kidding darling! Seriously though, there were times my wife got home from work and was so exhausted or in so much pain, she just had to go to bed. I barely remember that woman, this one will tell me she is in pain, her legs are tingling or other M.S. symptoms are occurring , but she doesn’t go to bed, she toughs it out because she is stronger physically and mentally (not letting the M.S. control her and dictate what she must do). I thank David Lyons everyday for his decision to not let M.S. run his life, and to help others do the same. He has been an inspiration to my wife and now she is my inspiration. I mean if she can do it, what the heck am I going to use for an excuse?
One of the biggest (and funniest) changes in our household is my wife’s new found energy to go downstairs on a whim. My step-daughter had gotten really used to Mom not going down to check if her room was clean. My wife would always threaten her, but the girl always knew the chances were pretty slim she would really check it. So more often than not, she would gamble and swear it was clean, when in reality it was far from it. Well, times have changed, the girl that used to complain to me that Mom couldn’t tuck her in at night, now actually complained to me that she doesn’t really care for Mom coming down to do laundry all the time and doing spot checks on her room. Now when her Mom asks her if her room is clean and she says “yes” when Mom threatens to go check the room, the girl takes off running saying “I better go double-check”.
One of the most unexpected things I would say is the giddiness in my wife’s eyes at times, one example was her picking up a pair of jeans at a consignment shop. She has taken kids’ clothes there for so many years, it felt wonderful get something for herself that fit and was a really good deal. It is so cute watching her pull out her old wardrobe that she is suddenly fitting into again, and what makes it even sweeter is that she has all this extra energy to do it.
We eat much better now, and although I miss my bacon double-cheeseburgers, I don’t miss the way I used to feel. I might complain I am sore after leaving the gym or the day after a workout, but that is better than being sore everyday of your life. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you David & Kendra Lyons, thank you Brad Kloss, and thank you Monica Searcy!”
” Thank you to the MS Fitness Challenge for opening my eyes and giving me the motivation to care about my body again.” Tara | MSFC Participant
““Today is my final training day and my final weigh in for the MS Fitness Challenge. I have to say it has been quite the journey. I have lost almost 10lbs and over 3% body fat. I couldn’t be happier. I want to thank my trainer Cat for kicking my butt! She has shown me a lot of new things I had never done before. I have lifted weights in the past but some of the exercises she has shown me have not only been very rewarding, they have been fun. I have to say that I had never flipped a tractor tire until she worked that into one of my training days. It was awesome!
Thank you to the MS Fitness Challenge for opening my eyes and giving me the motivation to care about my body again. I am excited for what the future brings and look forward to continuing to get fit. I’ve been very happy with the changes in my body and know I couldn’t have done it without the help of my trainer. Thanks Cat!!!!””
“I cannot imagine that this experience could have gone any better than it has over the past 12 weeks ” Kari | MSFC Participant
““When I signed up for the MS fitness challenge, a huge appeal of the program was having a personal trainer. I will admit, my apprehension for participating was the ill-founded fear that my trainer would make me cry (cue images of the interaction between the trainers and participants of “The Biggest Loser”). Fortunately, this experience has been anything but torturous.
Training with Cat has been more than I could ever expected. She is very approachable and personable and most of our training sessions have felt more like a gym ‘date’ with a friend rather than a miserable trip to the gym. She took the time to customize each session to target my needs and wants. In addition, she has always been encouraging and has pushed me further than I knew I could go while still acknowledging and respecting my physical limitations due to my illness.
I cannot imagine that this experience could have gone any better than it has over the past 12 weeks and I believe that is in large part, because of Cat. I have seen results, both physically and mentally. For anyone looking to enhance their experience and results at the gym, I would strongly urge them to bring Cat into their routine. “”
“I’ve been inspired to workout…. And now I know I can!!! Thank you!” Julie | MSFC Participant
““When I signed up for the MS Fitness Challenge, I thought it would be a great way to get myself back into the gym. I chose “Inspiration” thinking I could be inspired to work out and get a little stronger. What I got out of the challenge was so much more. When I arrived for my first training session, I realized how intimidated by the gym I was. It had become a foreign place to me and I was scared…. Thinking, “what have I got myself into?”
Week2, I found myself in tears. I was unable to do things I thought I should be able to do. Cat was so reassuring and supportive…. that things would get better. And they did, I am able to walk into the gym and know how to properly use equipment with confidence. I know how to put together my own workout in addition to using all the different workouts Cat made for me.
The MS Fitness Challenge has been a wonderful opportunity for me…so much more than just getting back into the gym. Cat has been a great supporter and teacher. Not only am I eating better (still a work in progress), but she has shown me what I CAN do physically and ways to adapt things I struggle with.
My MS limits me, but it doesn’t stop me anymore.
Thank you MS Fitness Challenge, Fitness Evolution and Cat……
I’ve been inspired to workout…. And now I know I can!!! Thank you!!!!””
” I am looking forward to where the next Challenge will be located” Bethany | MSFC Participant
““Starting this journey on the MS Fitness Challenge, I was always afraid to use anything except the cardio machines at the gym. Yes, I was / used to be an avid gym goer and very active outdoors, but I never had the chance to have someone actually show me what else I can do for myself at the gym to help build muscle. I have learned to much so far and have appreciated all the encouragement I have received from my friends and Trainer, Cat. And now thanks to Cat (and Google 🙂 and everyone who has helped make this challenge possible, I now go to the gym with more confidence and I am not afraid or intimidated! Also, besides gaining confidence, I was also able to gain more muscle and become stronger, dropping 2-3% body fat, and only 1% away from my goal of 19%!
Thank you all again for all the time and effort you have put into this Challenge. Even if you may not feel it, it WAS WORTH the time and effort. All is appreciated. I am looking forward to where the next Challenge will be located, and being able to follow the participants on their journey.””
Karen | MSFC participant
““I just want to take this time to thank everyone who made the MS Fitness Challenge possible. It was exactly what I needed to get myself up and moving again. It helped me to stay accountable for what I was doing day to day with the weekly weigh-ins. It was nice to have the inspiration from all the other contestants and David Lyons himself. If it wasn’t for my fabulous trainer Cat Barnes, who kept me going each week with her encouraging words, I know I would not have accomplished all that I did in the past twelve weeks. I am feeling much better physically and mentally. What David and Kendra Lyons are doing out there for people with MS is truly remarkable and very much appreciated. Thank you very much for all you are doing. This was a great start to an even better future. ”
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