My Fitness Life: Martha Kaiser

My Fitness Life is an occasional feature in which we share stories of inspiring journeys to health and fitness. In this post, Martha Kaiser, a Koko FitClub member in Scottsdale, AZ since 2011, shares her journey to lose weight and do all the “cool things” a fit body can do. 

Koko: What did fitness mean to you before Koko?
Martha: I was a member of Lifetime Fitness for a long time without seeing any progress.   It always seemed to be filled with beautiful people. I was a little bit lost and completely intimidated, so I hired a personal trainer.  The workouts would basically incapacitate me for a week.  Intense workouts can be great, but they are not exactly something you look forward to — at least I didn’t.  I never felt like the workouts were being designed specifically to help me attain my goals.  The personal trainer got expensive quickly and, coupled with the scheduling headaches, I realized that this would never be a viable long-term solution.  I had to find a way to make progress on my own.

Koko: How did you discover Koko?
Martha: I was looking for a gym that was closer to my home.  Being a mother to 3 kids (ages 10, 13 and 15), time is of the essence and I wanted to spend my “exercise time” in the gym, not driving to the gym. 

Koko: What was your biggest fitness obstacle in the past?
Martha: TIME! Or lack of it, I guess I should say.  With 3 kids at home, I am constantly on the go.

Koko: What was the first sign that your workouts were working for you?
Martha: It’s a funny thing, because the day that I realized Koko was really working for me, it had very little to do with my physical appearance.  I am a numbers geek (an engineer) and the quantitative aspect of the Digital Gym – like points for my workouts, graphs of my strength gains, eBMI charting etc. — is such a huge part of why I love Koko.  So, the day I received my Black Lanyard for reaching 100,000 Koko Points*, I realized that I was truly committed to my fitness.  I was actually sticking to something for a change, and it felt amazing.  It was too easy to quit or not show-up at my old gym – not so much with Koko.  On top of the data being highly motivating, I felt like a part of a real community at Koko.  The staff knew me, my story, my goals and I felt accountable to them, as well as myself, to stay consistent with my exercise.

Koko: What were your fitness goals when you joined Koko?
Martha: I wanted to lose weight — a lot of weight (50lbs-100lbs).  Attempting to lose that much weight is incredibly intimidating and overwhelming.  Koko helped a lot. I was adding lean muscle and getting much stronger, but I needed help with nutrition. I was never able to figure out the food part of the weight-loss equation on my own. So I started working with a weight-loss doctor to help me reach my target weight.  I am extremely proud to say that I lost 100 pounds in 6.5 months! For the record, the program I was on was heavily supervised, as the rapid weight loss that I experienced can be dangerous if not properly managed.  That said, one of the most amazing things about my weight loss story is that after losing so much weight, I have no “skin issues” (loose skin) that many people typically experience after a transformation like mine.  That is 100% due to Koko.  The fact that I was strength training regularly prior to and during the weight-loss efforts seemed to create a situation where my body was chewing up that fat and getting all muscly – and I don’t mean “big,” I mean lean and strong!

Koko: What are your fitness goals now?
Martha:  Honestly, one of my biggest fitness goals is to maintain the weight loss.  Losing weight is one thing, but maintaining the weight loss is a totally different challenge.  I refuse to be that person that worked as hard as I did, just to lose it – I am protecting my prize!  I know this doesn’t sound all that sexy or exciting, but it is incredibly motivating. I don’t want to ever go back to that “place.” Koko is the perfect training partner for me.  The data keeps me motivated and consistent, the workouts challenge me and produce real results, and I am able to get in and out of the gym in an unbelievably efficient way.  I am incredibly happy to report that I have maintained my weight loss for a year now!

IMG_5124Koko: What else keeps you motivated to stay fit & healthy?
Martha: It’s amazing what happens when you get yourself to a certain level of physical fitness – you start to think about all the cool things you can do and experience outside of the gym.  During my transformation I decided that I was going to start running.  My weight loss doctor actually had a challenge called “A Streak,” and the objective was walk or run one mile a day, every day, for as long as you could maintain it.  Koko obviously had a treadmill, so I started walking my “streak” at the club.  Somewhere along the way, I got tired of walking and started running – VERY slowly.  I was so bad at running at first – I am pretty sure the staff thought I was dying – but I stayed with it.  Eventually, I built up the confidence to train for and run in the PF Chang’s Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon this past January.  One of the most amazing things about my journey into running is that I never hurt! I believe it is because I am so much stronger from all the strength training that I do at Koko.

PF Changs finish photo_cropKoko: How has your body – and your life – changed?
Martha: I am open to anything now and stay dedicated to my training so that I can continue to take on new ideas and challenges.  I have to admit, I am doing some pretty awesome things these days. I have signed up for the So Cal Ragnar Relay Race (Huntington Beach to San Diego), I am part of the I Run for Michael program, a community of people that run for kids and adults who physically cannot – I run for my buddy Brennan. I even started a blog where I help to motivate, inspire and support others who are trying to lose weight and get in to better shape.  I am doing things now that I would have never dreamed of before I walked into Koko.

Koko: When it comes to fitness and how it relates to your life, what are you most proud of?
Martha: Truthfully, I am most proud of the example that I set for my children.  I was very active when I was younger and I could never understand how people let themselves go…until it happened to me.  I truly lost myself.  I couldn’t even jump on the trampoline in our backyard with my kids because I was too heavy.  Koko truly helped me to find myself again, and my kids got their mom back.  Before Koko I wasn’t inspired by anything, and now I am the one inspiring others.  My physical fitness keeps opening up doors to all these little things that are really cool and make life more exciting.  I plan to keep on walking, if not running, through those doors!

*Koko Note: A Koko FitClub “lanyard” is like a “belt” in martial arts. Members earn lanyards for earning a certain level of Koko Points, a scoring system that awards points as measurement and motivation for every strength and cardio workout completed. These quantified milestones make working out feel more like a game

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