While I wanted to lose some stubborn fat that had slowly crept into my beltline over the past five years, I also wanted to make some dietary changes. When I met Chad Tunison with the Max Challenge of Fishers back in February, he was in our conference room talking about their unique approach to diet and exercise. Over the years, I guess I’ve become a bit jaded by the fitness industry in general. I was ready for something different, so I signed up to be their first client in Fishers.

At the kick-off event on Sunday, June 24, the founder of Max Challenge, Bryan Klein, came and spoke to approximately 100 people that had signed up for the inaugural 10-week challenge. He explained the importance and timing of eating right along with the five-days-a-week commitment to come to a 45-minute exercise class. The only “group” exercise I’ve ever done was with the Geist Jazzercise wearing a “suns out, guns out” t-shirt for charity.

One thing Bryan said stuck with me, and honestly it motivated me throughout the 10 weeks.

“For every pound you lose, you’ll gain two pounds of confidence,” he said.

So, Monday morning rolls around, I weigh in at 189 pounds and snap a few photos. It’s hard to “see” weight coming off, but it’s easy to see the numbers on a digital scale decrease. The 10-week challenge was “on like Donkey Kong.”

I found the classes fun – the atmosphere of positive energy and motivation far surpassed the agony of burpees or planking. My “home” class was the 5:30 pm time slot, but I visited the 9:45 am class quite often when I had evening schedule conflicts. Everyone was there for the same reason: to get healthier.

As the weeks progressed, the soreness subsided, my stamina increased and I started grabbing heavier weights. Oh, and the fat started coming off, too.

On the last Friday of the challenge, I woke up and anxiously weighed in at 173 pounds, down 16 pounds from where I started. I snapped some photos again and started trying on old blue jeans that I haven’t been able to wear in more than 4 years. Not only did they fit again, they were loose!

What makes Max Challenge different is their approach to a healthy lifestyle by helping you tackle both diet and exercise. In my opinion, they accomplish this through their “secret sauce” – positive reinforcement. One of my new Max Challenge friends, Patrick Warner, said it best when he said, “I had a membership to the gym, now I have a family.”

After the 10-week challenge is over, you have the option to join their Legacy program. For $99/month, you can come to as many classes as you want and follow their Legacy dietary guidelines. For those that have more weight to lose, they typically do the 10-week program again and again until they reach their goal. For me, I’m going back to stay in shape and keep up with my new diet and hang out with my new Max Challenge family.

My “secret weapon” was having my wife, Jeanne, following the diet plan with me. We both changed a lot of bad eating habits and found a new love of vegetables, lean meats and Ezekiel bread. I tease Jeanne that she needs to pay for half of my challenge since she lost weight, too.

Special thanks to Chad, Charly, Sheila and Steve Tunison for bringing this awesome experience to Fishers. Also, a big “thank you” to my group trainer for most of those 10-week classes, Rachel Schaller. And to all my fellow inaugural class challengers – keep “clapping it up.”

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