In December of last year, six individuals were chosen among 78 Explorer applicants to participate in the Anytime Fitness Challenge – a yearlong, complimentary training program offered at two of the Anytime Fitness centers in Northwest Tucson. 

At the Marana location, Pamela Maldonado, Jesse Morales, and Sara Summers were selected, while at the Oro Valley location on Oracle Rd., John Miller, Erin Brittain, and Catherine Reynolds were the named participants. 

The prize was valued at $3,500.

With about a month remaining in the challenge, four challengers have dropped out, while two remain. Those two are Catherine Reynolds and Erin Brittain, and their results are nothing short of jaw dropping.

Brittain, a stay-at-home mother of seven, took on the challenge to get fit so she could be more active with her children. 

To date, Brittain is down 65 pounds and 35 inches, and she has seen her body fat dramatically decrease.

“I am so thankful for this challenge,” said Brittain. “I have much more energy, and can physically do so much more. I am much more comfortable with how I look and feel. It is exciting to see that I am accomplishing and finishing a yearlong goal, making progress each week.”

Reynolds, who joined to feel more comfortable with her body, has lost between 35 and 40 pounds, as well as 10 percent body fat.

“My closet has shifted from size 16 to 10, with the occasional six,” said Reynolds. “I’m back to my high school weight.” 

Of course, the road to success has come with some challenges for both remaining participants. 

“It has been a very tough journey, giving up unhealthy foods I love and have eaten for so many years,” said Brittain. “Oftentimes I want to give in and eat unhealthy, but in those moments I remember that I want to look better and feel better even more. Getting a grip on my eating habits was by far much harder than being introduced to hard physical activity in the gym.”

For Reynolds, a plateau in her weight loss means more frequent and strenuous workouts. 

“My trainer is dramatically changing my workout to put added emphasis on strength training, changing from two days to five days per week in order to increase muscle mass and metabolism. That will allow me to burn more calories just in the everyday functioning of my body,” she said.

Mike Urbanski is the owner of the Oro Valley location on Oracle Road where Brittain and Reynolds train.

“I’m so proud of them,” he said. “They have taken full advantage of it, and lost a significant amount of weight, but even more importantly, inches-wise, they’ve shrunk clothes sizes by half. They feel so much better, and are happy with their progress.”

Urbanski added that Reynolds and Brittain not only work hard in the gym, but outside of it as well, each closely monitoring what they eat.

“Being dedicated to weight loss – that’s the name of the game for any weight loss, coupled with workouts,” said Urbanski. 

Reynolds and Brittain are proud to have stuck with the challenge, though neither had intentions of doing anything but that.

“I realized from the very beginning that this opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me,” said Brittain. “That is what kept me motivated and focused. I had only one year to be under the guidance of an experienced trainer, and I was not going to waste a single moment. I was going to eat healthy and work my hardest physically, and I knew the results would be life-changing for me.” 

All Reynolds needed was an opportunity.

“I used to say that if someone just gave me the chance, I could make big changes,” she said. “Losing weight and being healthy is something I always knew I could have; I just wasn’t sure how to do it on my own. So, I really look at this challenge as an amazing gift. I didn’t want to let down those who put their faith in me and I didn’t want to open myself up to an opportunity for regret. This has been a once in a lifetime experience that has changed my life.”

The challenge runs through Dec. 15.

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