Worth the Weight


By Kim Christenson • Photos by Instudio by Kenneth Linge

It’s been a year of change for our five fitness challenge participants. When we received their entries last winter, they were sick of pulling their weight in the struggle for fitness. They had all tried their share of diets — from lemonade cleanses to the “Seafood diet,” (see food and eat it) and were ready for a major transformation.

So, we paired them up with our expert personal trainers. Between 5 a.m. workouts, diet plans and healthy doses of motivation, our fitness participants got on track to better health. Together, they’ve lost a total of 166 pounds.

And now, for their final results …











Mike West
age 37 • height 5’11” • city Lehi


starting weight 230

current weight 180

lost 50 pounds

starting body fat 32%

current body fat 16%

inches LOST (overall) 32.5


How has life changed since you began this fitness challenge? Dramatically! I am active again and completely digging it! Prior to the challenge, activities like mountain biking, hiking and playing with my kids made me winded and nauseous. I am enjoying those activities again and feel I have been able to turn that proverbial corner and make a true lifestyle change. Fitness and nutrition used to take a backseat, but they are now a very high priority in my life.


What are the biggest differences you’ve

noticed? Aside from being able to see my toes again, I would say the biggest difference is how I feel physically. There is more energy, there is no more heartburn or snoring, and I literally crave activity. It’s amazing.


How have your eating habits changed? Where do I start? This has been the biggest change by far. I used to eat two very large, fat and calorie-laden meals every day with ice cream and Krispy Kreme donuts. I still love food, and I eat a lot of it. However, I now eat healthy foods and break them up into seven to eight meals per day.


What’s your favorite exercise? Mountain biking for cardio and working my chest and triceps on the cable machine for strength training.


What’s your favorite healthy meal or snack? Chocolate protein shakes with strawberries and raw oatmeal. Laughing Cow cheese and Triscuits are a close second. If I ever eat chicken and broccoli again, it will be all too soon.


What has been your biggest challenge? My biggest challenge this year has been consistency with my workouts. I love exercising, but at the end of the day life is (and will always be) crazy! Between work, kids and a few other interesting curve balls, making time to workout day in and day out has not been easy. But looking back, that has always been the challenge for me. This year has been fun because I was finally able to flip the switch in my mind and make the necessary changes.


Did you reach your fitness goal? My goals were to make a lifestyle change and break 190 pounds. I am pleased with where I ended up weight-wise. The goal of a lifestyle change is obviously continuous, and I can’t say I have reached it yet. However, this has been the springboard I needed and I am off to a great start.


What has kept you motivated throughout this challenge? My trainers, family and friends were huge motivators. They helped keep me accountable. If I even looked at eating something off the diet, my “Food Nazi” daughters were all over me! Aside from that, I did not want to let the opportunity slip by. I was ready and everything was teed up for me to succeed. It would have been disappointing to not make the most of it. Bi-monthly weigh-ins and published pictures did not hurt either.


What fitness advice would you offer to others? I have tried every weight loss shortcut in the book and for me, the old formula of eating right and exercising is what finally worked. It’s not fancy, it’s not rocket science and it’s definitely not the easy way. But the rewards outweigh the effort. If you have been thinking about it, do it! You will not have any regrets.

Personal trainer:

LuAnn Van Akin, CoreFit Personal Training and Nutrition

(801) 792-3184


Mike has been such an amazing client to work with. Aside from many obstacles, he has always shown up ready to work with his naturally positive attitude. Mike has overcome his old habits with consistency and persistence. He really is a changed person. Where he once lacked knowledge and understanding, he has become strong and he now radiates confidence and positivity. Over the past year he has not only improved his physique, but his mindset as well. Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and Diet Mountain Dew are not so hard to resist any more — in fact, they are not even an option. He has done a 180 with his diet and has the energy to prove it.

At the beginning of the year Mike said, “We are a very active family, and Dad is tired of being the last one up the hill.” Mike just wanted to go out and enjoy the activities he loves without his physical well-being as an obstacle. He no longer worries about that. Mike has achieved success by being consistent with a specific diet and exercise plan. Although he has found it to be a challenge to make it to the gym everyday, Mike makes it a priority to get a workout in one way or another — whether it is an in-home workout program or an outdoor activity. By doing so he has been able to break the 190-pound goal he set at the beginning of his personal training program — and he hasn’t stopped there! Mike’s new goal is to maintain a weight of 180 pounds. With his contagious positive attitude, we all know he will. Best of all, through his hard work and dedication, Mike is never the last one up the hill!


Alicia Richmond · chic on a shoestring · (801) 930-5285 · www.chiconashoestring.com

Since his legs have gotten so muscular, Mike needed fitted, slim-cut jeans. He dropped two pant sizes during the contest! I found a dark wash distressed jean in a slim cut to highlight all the work he’s done through his legs and midsection, then paired them with a graphic tee in a modern fit — which means it is close to the body and follows the lines of the natural silhouette.

On top, I added a really nice ribbed sweater with a zipper front. The sweater balances his top-to-bottom ratio and nips in nicely at the waist to show off the definition Mike has gained from his workouts. The ribbing in the sweater also gives length to his body.






Katie Kitchen
age 17 • height 5’10” • city SPRINGVILLE


AGE 17

lost 43 pounds

inches lost  8 (waist)


How has your life changed since you began the fitness challenge? I am much more aware of what I put into my mouth, and my lifestyle is much more active.


What are the biggest differences you’ve noticed? I have more energy. It is easier to do physical activities and even little things like going up and down stairs (which I do a lot because my bedroom is in the basement) are much easier.


How have your eating habits changed? I am more aware of what I eat and when I eat. I do better on portion sizes and I have cut back on a lot of fattening foods. No more soda — Crystal Light instead.


What’s your favorite exercise? None — but I do it anyway. Running or walking is my choice most days, and I’m much better at it now. My fitness level really has increased dramatically. It’s pretty cool.


How often do you exercise? Five to six days a week for at least an hour each day. On the days I did my weight training with Kami, I did two workouts. Working with Kami has been awesome! I am so much stronger than I was when we started, and she has been my cheerleader and friend.


What has been your biggest challenge? Changing my eating habits. The next hardest thing was probably waking up at 4:30 a.m. for my workouts with Kami, then going to school, then going to work. But somehow I survived!


Did you reach your fitness goal? Not my overall goal, but I am still really happy and I am still going to keep working. My brother comes home from a mission this summer, and he is going to see a whole new sister!


What has kept you motivated throughout this challenge? Knowing everyone was watching me and cheering for me. I was surprised at how many people read Utah Valley Magazine!


How are you going to keep your fitness up now that the challenge is over? My mom will ride me continually! Plus, once I get to 45 pounds, I get to paint my bedroom. That’s motivation!


What fitness advice would you offer others? Get your butt off your chair and get active! Is that OK to say?


Why is fitness important to you? Being fit just makes you feel better. I’m amazed at the difference weight loss has made in how I look and feel. Thanks so much to Utah Valley Magazine for giving me the opportunity to change my life.

Personal Trainer

Kami Price, Energy explosion

(801) 602-7057



Wow! What a year it has been working with Katie. She has come so far. More than 40 pounds lighter, she has transformed her health, her attitude and her body. As a 17-year-old girl in high school, I am so proud of the example Katie has set for others her age of what it means to get active and be healthy. It’s no surprise that obesity has become an epidemic, and school-aged kids are no exception to that. I couldn’t be more proud of Katie for paving the way and showing others how hard work can pay off in a big way.

Being in high school, Katie is spread very thin. But between school and homework, a part-time job, being an officer in FFA, holding a church calling as Laurel class president, and not to mention her social life — Katie has found a way to make her health a priority, even when our workouts start at 5 a.m. There aren’t very many adults who would be to the gym at that hour — and even fewer teenagers. Katie has been so consistent with her workouts and she has seen great results. She can do things now that would have been impossible a year ago. One of her favorite accomplishments this year was being able to carry her pack the entire way on her family’s annual Mt. Timpanogos hike, and she shaved more than an hour off her usual time.

Katie has come a long way physically, but I’m even more proud of how far she has come mentally. The life skills she has developed over the past year are priceless. The person she has had to become in order to lose weight is worth more than anything. I truly believe if she puts her mind to it she can accomplish anything. Keep up the good work, Chick-a-wa!

 Hair and makeup

Gina Luke, Suggestions Salon

(801) 226-6993

Katie just wanted a slight change, but something that was fun and flirty. We did an a-line bob with some textured layers to compliment her face shape and show off her beautiful eyes. Way to go Katie. You’re amazing!


Alicia Richmond, Chic on a shoestring

(801) 930-5285


Katie needed a useful, updated denim that was long enough because she’s so tall. Finding the right hem was key, because a short hem will make her look wider than she is. I found a slimming, longer-length jean in dark wash to highlight Katie’s legs.

To broaden her shoulders and narrow her through the waist, I chose an all-over print top that is fitted underneath the bust and looser though the midsection. I added a fitted chocolate sweater over her shirt to create a nice curve underneath her arms and through her torso.

The finishing touches were accessories from Karma Boutique including a big necklace, which gives length to Katie’s torso and slims out her midsection.






Amy Weiland

age 37 • height 5’4” • city CEDAR HILLS


starting weight 217

current weight 186

lost 31 pounds

starting body fat 45%

current body fat 36%

inches LOST (overall) 15.75

Amy had a great start to this challenge. She jumped out of the gates dropping 20 plus pounds over the first two months. Then life hit. She had many challenges and experienced life-changing stresses. Amy’s success story is that despite the many curves life threw at her, she was still able to pull off 11 more pounds and maintain her fat loss.

Many people would have thrown in the towel, but Amy used that towel to wipe the sweat off her face and keep pressing forward. Working with Amy was a pleasure, and we shared many good laughs and a few tears — I know we will always remain good friends.

What’s your favorite healthy meal or snack?

Kashi Crackers and Laughing Cow Cheese. It’s the new nachos!


What’s your favorite exercise? This year, I ran. And ran and ran and ran. I ran around the neighborhood, I ran a 5k, I ran a half marathon and I ran a Ragnar relay. (Go team Sparkle!) I didn’t run fast, mind you, but I ran, and I loved it! I found the best exercise for me, and I’m stickin’ to it!


What has been your biggest challenge? Several years ago, we moved from Naperville, Ill., to Utah. My husband went ahead of us by three months while we sold the house, got things packed, etc. I found myself eating for comfort, fear, sadness, relaxation and the like. I gained 40 pounds over this short period of time. So with another impending interstate move for us, I took the skills Dan has taught me over the past year and used them to not gain 40 pounds, and to make sure my hard work will not be in vain. When we are settled into our new home, I will once again employ the skills Dan has taught me to lose weight and I will prove that not all things are bigger in Texas!


Did you reach your fitness goal? My only goal was to have my outsides be as sassy as my insides, so I would say I have! I’m not the size I want to eventually end up to be, but I am so confident in my skin now. I embrace what my body can do and what it has done for me over the past year.


What has kept you motivated throughout this challenge? The support of my family and friends and my freakin’ awesome trainer Dan! He just gets it. He knows me better than I know myself and was always there with just the right humor and encouragement.


What fitness advice would you offer to others? I love to read. (Exercise for the mind, right?) Well, one of my favorite books is “I Hate it When Exercise is the Answer,” by Emily Watts. The title alone makes me happy. But I have to concur that through this journey, I found there are no roads that lead to a healthy lifestyle that don’t involve some form of exercise. So find some form of exercise you love and do it!


How do you feel about yourself when you look in the mirror? Confident and sassy! I was so afraid before to wear something cute. I didn’t want to be the fat girl who was trying too hard, so my fashion choices were made simply not to offend or really be noticed for good or bad. But this core strength I feel radiates now and I love putting in that little bit of extra effort to look good. Of course, my fabulous new haircut totally helps!

Personal Trainer

Dan Wilcox, Total Health and Fitness

(801) 762-6207


Hair and makeup

Holly Hunter, Suggestions Salon

(801) 226-6993

To freshen Amy’s hair color without the maintenance of highlights, we chose a rich chocolate brown all over with subtle lightening around her face. A clean new cut with round layers enhanced Amy’s natural wave and body.


Alicia Richmond, Chic on a Shoestring

(801) 930-5285


I chose a purple shirt with a deep v-neck to draw attention to Amy’s face. The shirt narrows in under the bust to give her some definition through her waist. Her body type is what I call an inverted triangle — her top half is larger than her bottom half — so I wanted to give shape to the top half of her body and balance it with the bottom half so she didn’t look larger on top than she is. I wanted to play up Amy’s leg line because she has great long legs, so I chose black pants with a nice straight leg, which skims the curve of her body.

A beautiful Annie M. necklace from Blend Fashions helps minimize Amy’s bustline and gives length to her torso.

DSC_1623 cmyk9959

Roylence & Kevin Croft

ages 48 & 56 • height 5’8” & 5’11” • city LINDON

Results: Roylence

starting weight 245

current weight 214

lost 31 pounds

starting body fat 41%

current body fat 32%

inches LOST (waist) 10

 Results: Kevin

starting weight 208

current weight 197

lost 11 pounds

starting body fat 27%

current body fat 23%

inches LOST (waist)  7


How has your life changed since you began the fitness challenge? We have loved learning more about the importance of exercise and nutrition. You need both in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We are so pleased with the strong foundation John has given to us. We are knocking on old age’s door, and with this foundation, we hope to enjoy our later years more fully.


What are the biggest differences you’ve

noticed? More energy to enjoy life. A better and more clear, calm realization about everything around us. Sleep is also much better for Kevin — I (Roy) have never had a problem with that. Life is good!


How have your eating habits changed? This was by far our biggest and most challenging change. We try to follow the “grazing effect” by eating more frequently and eating smaller portions. We aim for a protein and a veggie every three to four hours.


What’s your favorite healthy meal or snack? Protein drinks mixed with fruits and veggies. Fabulous!


What’s your favorite exercise? Kevin’s favorite is push-ups. Mine (Roy’s) is doing intervals on the elliptical machine. We both still love a brisk walk with our dogs early in the morning.


How often do you exercise? We have been exercising with John five days a week for one hour.

What has been your biggest challenge? Consistency with our eating. We would lose a couple of pounds during the week just to gain them back over the weekend.


Did you reach your fitness goals? Kevin’s goal was to get stronger and healthier. Mission accomplished. My (Roy’s) goal was more about weight loss. The weight didn’t move like I wanted it to, but I did go from a size 22/24 to a 14, so I am happy with that.


What has kept you motivated throughout this challenge? We couldn’t have done this without John, our trainer. We love him like our own son. The other huge motivator was having each other to push one another along. Kevin did the whole thing to support me with my weight struggles. I want to thank him with all my heart for his love and support. I love you, Kev!


What fitness advice would you offer others? Fitness must be a lifelong lifestyle change. It is never over. It’s about day-to-day food and exercise choices. Find someone you love to help you, or love yourself enough to do it for yourself!


Why is fitness important to you? As we make fitness a priority, we will be able to have a more happy and healthy lifestyle as we age, and we’ll be able to keep up with our kids and grandchildren.

Personal Trainer

John Gibson, Gold’s Gym

(801) 636-4277


The first day I met Roy and Kevin was a great pleasure for me. Roy came in nearly jumping over the exercise equipment that stood between us, and Kevin was being pulled along. Since that day I have grown to love their passion and energy for life and for other people.

For the past year I have been able to spend nearly every single weekday working out with Roy and Kevin. They would come into the gym five days a week with huge smiles on their faces saying, “OK Johnny boy, what are we doing today?” No matter what I asked them to do, they did it. Kevin usually went way above and beyond what I asked him to do. I have never seen anyone who worked so hard. He would make some of the professional athletes that I have trained look bad. Roy would also work as hard as she could, always striving for that “sweaty back.”

We had our ups and downs throughout the year. There were days where we had to re-evaluate our progress. Usually it came down to re-motivating ourselves to do a little better and try a little harder. Both Roy and Kevin accomplished a lot when you look at numbers, but even more than that, they have accomplished a lot in life by overcoming challenges and realizing they are the only things holding themselves back from their goals.

 Hair and Makeup

Allie softened Roy’s hair color by lightening it to a golden brown and adding highlights to create dimension. For the cut, she created a sexy, versatile look by taking some length off, shaping up the layers and adding lots of texture.

For Roy’s make-up, Trista created a smoky look to bring out the intensity of her eyes.


Alicia Richmond, chic on a shoestring

(801) 930-5285


I chose a medium-scale print cheetah shirt for the all-over print which helps minimize Roy’s midsection. The shirt is ruched through the waist to give her an illusion of having a longer, more curvy waistline.

The tulip skirt shows off Roy’s straight hips and amazing calves. She never thought she could wear a short skirt, so she’s been hiding these great shapely calves, which are one of her best assets.

To highlight how much Kevin slimmed down through his midsection, I chose a flat-front, straight-leg black pant, which really gives length to his body. He looks about an inch taller than he is because of the silhouette of the pant.

I chose a sleek, modern cut button-down pinstripe shirt. The pinstripe adds length and is slimming through the torso.


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