Featured Stories & Testimonials
Here you will find the stories of our loyal GCF’ers who started their fitness journeys and got some amazing results and transformed their lives. Our members are an important part of what makes Game Changer Fitness what it is, an inspired, inclusive, supportive, energetic, results driven studio. If you’d like to see our community in action, we’d love for you to come join us!
Ed & Zar
“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
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!!
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.
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.
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
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.
There must be a reason I have been returning to Game Changer Fitness for the last 4 1/2 years 3-5 times a week. It is the combination of the great friendly people who come regularly, the varied and challenging exercises that our fearless leader and owner, Jennifer Lynch, organizes for us every week and the exhilarating sensation of finding yourself getting stronger and fitter while you are having fun. The exercises range from aerobics to weights, to balance and agility, while working all muscle groups. Being on the older side (oldest one there I think) all of it is necessary and needed. There are all age groups and fitness levels but everyone is encouraging and there is no sense of competition or intimidation just a sense of camaraderie. I have encouraged colleagues and patients to come and watched as they have gained confidence in their physical sense of being. As a physician I understand the essential need in our lives to keep our physical selves intact to help our mental side stay in balance. In our stressful lives like we all have, this is a wonderful reliever of all things bad that occur throughout our days. As I have said many times before this is the best part of my day which I look forward to daily. Come join us and get addicted like I am to a great place and make yourself stronger and healthier mentally and physically. Let Jenn push you toward your goals!
It is coming up on one year since I decided to get serious about fitness and weight loss. I was tired, cranky, and frustrated all the time. Reflecting on the successes of the past year, I can truly say that I would never have got to where I am today without Game Changer Fitness and Jenn. I love coming to class – everything from Lela’s bark hello, to running Leo’s, to chatting with others about how sore we are from yesterday’s workout, to cussing under my breath because I am certain that I cannot do one more burpee! All of this combined with my love of working out has helped me to lose over 20 lbs and finish a half Marathon! I have participated in several GCF monthly fitness challenges and run several miles a week to keep on track for my racing goals. My goal for 2018 is to lose another 20 pounds so I can be even faster and stronger than last year!! I can’t wait to see what this year brings, so bring it on 2018, I am leaner, tougher, and ready to kick some a**!!!!!!!
Meet Sara! Her first class at GCF was August 4, 2014.
“It has been three years since a former coworker convinced me to come to a class with her at this gym she was going to. I walked into Game Changer Fitness, and I was hooked on how awesomely fit everyone there was and how much they all got along, joking around, knowing exactly what to do next – I knew right away that I wanted to be part of this group. There was something about the camaraderie in the misery. I would not say that the last three years has been consistent, it was a rocky few years, but I knew I felt better after a HIIT class or a Bootcamp class. However, it wasn’t until this last winter when I turned 30 that I went to the doctor. They used the word “pre-diabetes”– then I got scared and became determined to not just lose the weight, but to get fit and healthy doing it. I have struggled with my weight all my life, I am no stranger to working hard – however, it is a completely different game at age 30 than it was at 15. Every day Game Changer Fitness is there and Jenn’s bright smile (and socks) are there to greet me. She is great at reading exactly what you need – a hard a** to make you work harder, teacher when you don’t know what you are doing, support when you don’t think you can do one more lunge, and always doing it with a smile on her face. Jenn and the community that she has built at GCF keeps me coming back and it is what has helped me to lose over 20 lbs and gain way more muscle. I can honestly say that I am a happier, better person because of Game Changer Fitness.”
I’ve been coming to Game Changer for four and a half years, and continue to call it my gym-home. My whole life until then I never felt comfortable in a gym setting. I went to gyms on and off during college, but always felt out of place and didn’t have much direction or motivation. I would have laughed if you told me to do a pull-up. Once I started at Game Changer, I immediately was relieved by having guidance and a community that collectively works towards better fitness. I am stronger now than I’ve ever been, and am now working on multiple pull-ups if you can believe it.
If you have never lifted weights before or are unsure if you can handle a class format, each class can be modified for your particular level and comfort, and every day of the week is different to keep it fresh. Jenn is great at teaching proper form to prevent injuries, and if you have a current injury she can try to work with you to keep you active and healthy.
Jenn is an active member in the community supporting animal rights and often has fundraisers that bring people together. It is wonderful to support a local small-business owner and help keep Oakland the active, healthy, inclusive, diverse town that we love.