Featured Stories

Ed & Zar

November 2016

“There’s always the first day. I’ll never forget it, day number one. Late January 2016 I walked into Game Changer Fitness with a shaky promise I had made to myself. The same one I had made many times in past memory but couldn’t manage to fulfill. Jen (owner, trainer and certified badass) sat me down and asked why I was there and why I wanted to make the changes I was seeking in my life. As we conversed, I knew this time was going to be different because I now had someone to help me shed the most important weight, the one that was internal. My eye-opening journey wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for a trip to Europe on the tail end of 2015. It was there that I found myself out of my routine and environment. It was there that I felt most uncomfortable. The journey began when I mustered up the courage to ask myself why I didn’t prioritize mental and physical health over my obligations and aspirations. Then I understood, if I can correct the internal thinking and mental state that led me to my physical condition, I would obtain the key to my escape.With Jen’s enthusiasm and my determination, I was able to stick to the commitment I had made to her and most importantly, to myself. As I write this I am 100 pounds lighter than I was when I first stepped foot into her gym. I have been able to push my body and mind to limits I had never imagined possible. Now I realize, every day is day one. If you change your thinking, you change the game. I wish you health, happiness, and strength.”   -Ed

“I remember the day my husband and I came back from a trip to Europe, and how eye-opening it was. We promised each other THE change was going to happen the moment we got home, and it did the minute we stepped into Jen’s gym. I knew the moment I came across Jen’s site that this was the one. My husband and I didn’t want a big gym, we knew we needed someone who would be invested in the long, hard journey ahead, and we found that in Jen. Cut to nearly a year later I’m down about 30 pounds, I’m nowhere near my final goals, but I cannot believe how far I have come. My body is stronger than it has ever been before, and so is my mind.Its been a humbling experience to realize, truly, how much of this journey is mental, and this switch in thinking has really followed me into so many other facets of my life. After really tough workouts (nearly all of them) we give Jen a high five, and she tells us we did a great job, and I always say “couldn’t have done it without you, Jen” and she says something along the lines of “you did all the work.” It’s this relationship of empowerment and hard work that has made all the changes in my mind and body a permanent one, and I say this with all my heart that “I couldn’t have done this without you Jen.”   -Zar

 

Jennifer

December 2016

It has been one year, plus a few months, since I walked into Game Changer Fitness.  I started my journey towards fitness and a renewed interest in my own good health in October, 2015.  I was obese and hypertensive.  I felt like I was 88 years old instead of 48 years old.  I was tired all of the time.   I had back pain and knee pain.  And, excuses.  I had a lot of excuses.  I was frightened that I had lost my good health and would never be able to find it again.

A coworker encouraged me to sign up for some personal training sessions with owner and trainer Jenn Lynch.  I walked into her gym loaded with the usual expectations of a gym.  But her gym was not something I was accustomed to.  There were no treadmills, no TVs, no nautilus machines, no mirrors.  In fact, I was genuinely concerned that I did not belong there.  Everywhere I looked there was metal.  Metal plates, metal bars, metal racks.  This place looked seriously rugged.  It felt tough.  It seemed very real.  This did not seem like the kind of gym where a person could hide and PRETEND they were exercising.

On that first day, Jenn and I sat down in a corner of her gym and she proceeded to get to know me.  She asked questions about what I ate, how much I slept, what kind of fitness and exercise experiences I have had in the past, and how my body felt.  From that very first meeting I felt like Jenn was committed to my success.

That day was the best day ever.  Jenn helped me build a foundation for good health, movement, strength, flexibility.  Her commitment does not start and end with the time spent in her gym.  Every session, every day she inquired about my fitness and nutrition goals for the week, the month, the next several months OUTSIDE of the gym.  Her interest in my success carried over into other parts of my life.  I found myself incorporating exercise into my day whenever and wherever I could.  Over the next 12 months I would discover weight lifting, High Intensity Interval Training, WODs, AMRAPs, and whole bunch of other letters.  I have climbed ropes, pulled sleds, and burpee’d my guts out.  With gusto.  Jenn’s gym, Jenn’s classes, and Jenn are fun!  I get up at stupid hours to participate in her classes or a training session.

Jenn is professional and informed.  She backs up her instruction with data and information, and education.  Her classes are robust and filled with fantastic people form every place in life and every age.  I am awed by the diversity, at her gym, from new mommies to women in their 70’s. Everyone is pushing metal and clanging away!  I always feel welcome.  I always feel encouraged and supported.  Sometimes I feel like a badass!!   Personal training sessions are intense and incredibly rewarding and supportive.  Her gym offers a great combination of both boutique quality attention to your fitness goals and old school grit.

I have lost over 50 pounds of fat during the last 12 months! I have gained several pounds of lean muscle.  I am learning a lot about good health and good nutrition.  I sleep great.   I have tremendous energy and a healthy appetite. I participated in two sprint triathlons this summer and two 5k runs.  I am considering my first weight lifting competition.   I feel strong, positive, and excited to get out there and get going.  I feel like an athlete!  Jenn Lynch (and her wonderpup, Lela) and her gym Gamechanger Fitness are rare gems.  Get in there and check it out.  And thanks Jenn!!

Jackie

August 2015

At the end of last year I had an injury that made me take a break from my consistent workout routine. I was very very eager to get back to it when we found out we were going to have a baby. I wanted to remain active but I was unsure about what was going to be safe for me and my new little passenger. There are many different opinions about exercising while pregnant and some are more conservative than others. I spent a lot of time perusing the internet seeking positive affirmations and testimonies. I had to believe that healthy moms = healthy babies. Many say that although it might not be safe to start a completely new workout program, if you already have one you can most likely continue during your pregnancy. I had been coming to GC for over a year and was familiar with the classes. Jenn was confident I could modify as I needed, less impact, lighter weights, etc. and I continuously followed up with my doctor as to what I was doing.

Just some of the great benefits of exercising during pregnancy might be less swelling and back pain, better mood and more energy, lower risk of high blood pressure and gestational diabetes, and possibly a shorter easier labor. Naturally, I was hoping to not gain a lot of unnecessary weight but more than that I wanted to try and stay strong. My hope is to have a healthy natural childbirth with little hospital interventions. Not only did I think that staying in good physical shape might help me reach that goal but it would also help me maintain a confident positive attitude.

All the changes in my body were brand new experiences and I had no idea how I was going to feel but, 8 months in and I’ve been feeling good. I have been able to continue working out a few times a week, ride my bike, and stay on my feet up to eight hours a day at my job.

It’s still hard to believe that soon I will meet my baby girl. I know motherhood is going to bring many new changes and challenges. As I grow and learn in this new phase of my life it will still be important to me to find time for fitness. If I can stay healthy and strong I’m sure it will make me a better wife and mother.

Celeste

June 2015

For as long as I can remember I have always been active. Being the youngest of 3 siblings and the one of the youngest out of allmy cousins. I had to keep up in order to play anything with them. With my brother being the oldest and always into sports I was pretty much the only one out of my 2 sisters that would play catch or shoot the ball around in the backyard.

Once I got into high school I tried getting into sports because it was what I loved doing but studies came first so it had to be put on the back burner. I was still active but not as much as I could have been so through out my four years I started gaining weight. By the end of my senior year I was probably around 175 pounds. I tried going to a typical gym but never stuck with it. I then moved out here to the bay area. After being out here for about a year and half I got a job dog walking and it forced me to slowly start working out because I was walking for 45 mins to an hour straight. And I started slowly seeing results.

As I went on for a couple months doing this and it was just walking. I started getting the idea of what about if I started going to the gym and really starting to get the results I want. At that time my sister was telling me about the gym (GCF) she was going to and was telling me that I should go and join but I wasn’t really interested at the time. Every week I would go back and forth in my head if I should really join a gym. I told myself that I wanted to lose weight and get to where I want my body to be at.

In the month of December of 2014 is when I finally made the decision and said that 2015 is going to be a different year and that I was going to go to the gym and lose weight. Of course that is everyone else’s goal as well but I told myself that I was not going to quit. I had asked my sister to give me the information about the gym she went to and the next thing I know January rolls around and I sign up for a class. Now, don’t get me wrong the first week that I started I went Mon – Thurs and it was brutal! The whole week my body was sore! I was thinking to myself “what did I get into?” I could have called it quits and said it was too hard but I didn’t! I kept going Mon – Thurs every week. Every month I kept seeing results. I still see results 4 ½ months later. I am getting stronger, more flexible, and even run farther because I will be honest I was never a running type person. But joining GCF I can honestly say was a great decision that I made. This was just the typeof gym that I needed to keep me motivated. My body has come a long way from where I initially started but GCF has pushed it even more. I am determined to keep going and get my body where I want it. Is my body where I want it right now? Not necessarily but I am going down the right path with it and am happy with the results that are showing. Will I get there? Absolutely, as long I am determined, motivated, and dedicated to get it there!

Jessica

March 2015

I showed up to Game Changer 2+ yrs ago – BROKEN and bitter. I was angry at life and everyone in it, mostly myself. I was here to make a commitment to myself – it was a goal about losing weight. What I didn’t know at the time was that one small, attainable goal would transform me – and bring the happy back into my life.

Game Changer became a constant in my life, during my fitness and personal growth journey. I added different things to my routine to ‘SHOCK’ my system and increase my overall results. The hydrostatic ‘dunk tank’ provided me in black and white the ability to see what was and wasn’t working. I broke my fibula in Feb 2014, but I recovered and came back stronger than ever.

Here are my numbers…..

Category Jul-2013 Feb-2014 Aug-2014 Feb-2015
Body Fat 22.63% 17.16% 17.28% 13.90%
Lean Mass 101 lbs 105 lbs 105 lbs 108 lbs
Fat Mass 30 lbs 22 lbs 22 lbs 17 lbs

I found myself and a new passion through my journey. I’m an instructor now and I love it! The broken, bitter woman is still here, but she’s shed the negative self-talk. I CAN and WILL do anything I set my mind too. This place and the people here all played a supporting role in my achievements.

How did I do it? I was able to find a recipe/routine that brought me results. Everyone’s recipe/routine is different – but I believe they must include commitment, dedication and working SMART.

When people ask me about my journey, I highlight these things.

I worked for it.

When I begin to see a plateau, I change things up and ‘shock’ my body.

Enjoy your exercise! If you aren’t having fun – you won’t keep at it.

I didn’t diet, but I eat smart and if I feel like a brownie, I don’t beat myself up – but I also don’t work out to eat.

Don’t be afraid and don’t compare yourself to others! And for the love of all things, tell the negative thoughts in your head, “SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP”.

Good luck in your journey. I hope you find as much happiness in yours, as I have from mine.

Ronnie

February 2015

If you’d asked me in my 30s whether I’d ever consider going to a gym, my answer would have been a resolute “No, I’m not a gym person”. I was pretty healthy and walked or bicycled everywhere. And I just couldn’t envision myself sweating it out on heavy machinery (Image courtesy of high school gym class). Sure I ended that decade of my life a bit heavier than when I entered it, but I believed the exercise of daily living was allI needed to keep my life and health in balance.

At 40, that balance shifted dramatically. I’ll spare you a lengthy exposition and just say that a combination of too many hours at my computer, a changing metabolism, not enough sun, and too much eating out caused my body to unleash a debilitating autoimmune disease. It began as a lingering fatigue and progressed to include severe weight loss, mini-strokes, an episode of hiccups that lasted for nine days on end and eventually hospitalization.

My doctors were able to bring it under control with immunosuppressants (large doses of steroids). A side effect of corticosteroids is increased appetite and it wasn’t long before my weight was back to normal. And then some. In three weeks home from the hospital, I had packed on 40 pounds. A few months later, I had developed type 2 diabetes. My life was seriously out of balance and I needed to focus on my health.

I changed the way I ate, cooking at home more often and becoming a diligent label-reader in grocery stores. I reduced my stress by taking on less work and letting go of the notion that long hours would eventually lead to a big payoff. And I ramped up my efforts to get out and walk for exercise. I was still suffering side effects from the medications, so I started acupuncture treatments, too. The changes were starting to show results, so I kept refining and trying to make my life better, more balanced.

In 2004, I moved from San Francisco to Oakland and decided to try a gym that had just opened a few blocks from my house. It was a small gym with a very relaxed feel. Soon I was working out in small classes with a trainer 3 to 4 days a week. The class format and the low-stress atmosphere were just what I needed. My doctor started noting improvements in my glucose levels and the autoimmune disorder had gone into remission. I was feeling stronger and more energetic… healthier than I’d felt in a very long time.

In time, the gym evolved to become Game Changer Fitness, a great, supportive, fun, energetic fitness community. It’s important part of my life. GCF workouts are varied and always challenging. The trainers are knowledgeable, helpful and enthusiastic, even offering work-arounds and alternatives to exercises and movements that don’t work for me. And the results have been fantastic: My doctor recently declared that I am no longer diabetic. I’m maintaining my target weight. I have a healthy diet. I’ve drastically reduced my meds. I keep getting stronger. And I have formed some terrific friendships.

I have a love/hurt relationship with my gym. Three mornings a week, I sweat, grapple with doubts, push my limits, spend time with friends and have a lot of fun. At 55, I feel healthier than I did two decades ago. I think I’ve found my balance. I love my life. I love my gym.

Celeste

February 2014

I have been overweight since childhood. As a young girl, my Mom had to make my clothes or we shopped at Lane Bryant. It seems there was never a time when I was not thinking about losing weight.

Every diet that came along became my new plan with disappointing or short-term results. The only thing really shrinking was my self-esteem.

My saving grace is that I love to be active and have lots of fun. In the 80’s, Friday and Saturday nights found me dancing Disco and Salsa in San Francisco Clubs. I was the aerobics queen, loved those leg warmers and matching headbands! I’m not afraid of challenges, which have included running half marathons, cycling 100 kilometers, and even competing in sprint triathlons. For many years, I rowed on a competitive Whaleboat team, out in the choppy Bay waters. In spite of all that, I carried an extra 40 or more pounds with me. Those pounds have been my proverbial “monkey on my back”.

Two mantras dominated my thoughts, “If only I could lose this weight” and “Monday I’m going to start my diet.” It seemed like I was always waiting for tomorrow.

My recent retirement from a 30 year career, (YAY !!! ) offered me new freedom. Lots of good eating and no exercise resulted in a whopping 182 pounds on my small frame. Good Lord !! I better do something about this. I’d had enough practice trying to lose weight. This time I was really motivated. I had the time to dedicate myself to this endeavor and I would make it happen!

I started looking around for a place to work out. As a social spirit, I knew I needed a place with group classes and after several months of trial and error I found Game Changer. It was a instant connection. I took my first class in August 2013 and it was tough! I struggled just getting up and down from the floor. I remember thinking, “you want me to do a burpee?? Puleazze!!”

In September, a 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge was offered at Game Changer. One month of free classes for the winner. What the heck– I signed up and went through the painful process of getting weighed and measured. That was my tipping point. That was my Game Changer.

Clean eating/Paleo really agreed with me. The support and education from the club helped me get started on my forever lifestyle.

Now, I show up for class 4 times a week. I walk around Lake Merritt 3 times a week and often include one day of lap swimming. I have learned that PLANNING is key and my journal keeps me on track. Two new mantras confirm my daily commitment. “Work hard you are so worth it” and “Today is tomorrow”.

I can’t thank Jennifer and Kathleen enough for the encouragement and positive community they provide at Game Changer.

I am happy to report that I’m weighing in at 150 pounds. This year, its all about strength training and building a stronger foundation.

WORK HARD AND GET RESULTS

Sarah

June 2013

I’ve always been pretty active. Walking, hiking, running: I like to keep moving. I had always done my workouts hidden away on isolated trails or the treadmill at the empty gym at work. I combed through my monthly fitness magazines and dutifully cut out workout plans and sweated through pilate DVDs and home. What it all had in common was solo activities. Just the idea of doing something in a group setting was intimidating and thoroughly unappealing. Why would I ever want to do something where I was sweaty and people would see me? Or worse, how embarrassing would it be if I didn’t do something right? But for the first time, I started to notice getting a little softer around the middle than I ever had before. Worst of all, I felt my life was in a rut. I was uninspired and burnt out. I signed up for a 6-week bootcamp package at Game Changer Fitness, just to kick myself into gear. I figured I could do anything 12 times and maybe I’d learn something that I could do on my own.

But something amazing happened. Sure, I lost some weight and dropped a pants size. But I’m more amazed and pleased with the changes not readily visible and that were completely unexpected. I couldn’t wait to go to class, even though I used lighter weights than others and did half of the exercises backwards. I couldn’t wait to join the out-of-gym activities even if they cut into my weekend sleeping-in time. I’d spent 30 years of my life retreating to the shadows to not be seen, and now I’ve spent the last year out of my comfort zone and doing things I always looked on in envy as others did them.

It wasn’t just “working out” that did this. Game Changer Fitness did this. The community of people have changed me and have helped me reach physical potential I sort of, kind of wanted, but never really, actually strived for. I developed a sense of accountability to my classmates and instructors, and, most importantly, myself that keeps me focused and coming back. Game Changer Fitness has made me realize that I can, and deserve to, take 1 hour every few days to take care of myself and get stronger and healthier. And I am stronger and healthier. I’m more confident, more comfortable in my own skin, and happier. For all of that, I am forever grateful.