Friday, October 24, 2014

An experience of a "Lifetime"

I have mentioned my Lifetime Fitness (LTF) connections in the past but here's a recap. I once replied to a LTF FB post about weight loss, thinking nothing of it. I was then contacted to share my story via the LTF Healthy Way of Life blog. I did, and it was well received. It remained one of their top posts for a long time, actually! Next, 2 winters ago, I was asked to be the LTF "Fit Fan" at a MN Wild game. This consisted of being pre-recorded smiling and waving, which they played up on the Jumbo-tron during the game along with a short segment about my weight loss and several before/after pictures.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I was contacted by someone at LTF, wondering if I'd be interested in possibly doing a Photoshoot for their weight loss program campaign in 2015. CUE MY PANIC! I gave it a lot of thought over the next couple of days before I answered back. Truthfully, I was leaning towards saying no. But then I realized, the only reason I felt that way is because it was so far out of my comfort zone. And when it comes down to it, going out of my comfort zone is a key part of how I was able to change my life! So I decided to go for it.

After I agreed, they asked for some before & after pictures. That made me laugh because really, they already HAVE all of my decent before photos on their blog and in their files from the Fit Fan thing. Trust....good "before" photos of me are few and far between because no way was I letting anyone capture my self-conscious mess of a self on camera.  Anyways, I think they gathered photos from all of their potential subjects and then narrowed it down to the final people... And I made it through. CUE MORE PANIC.

LTF informed me that they wanted to photograph me as leader of my run club, MRTT. They asked if I had friends who would like to be in the background of some pictures. I found a few people willing to "do the job"....and also felt relief that wouldn't be all alone!!

The day of the shoot,  we headed to the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis. The bridge is beautiful and runs over the Mississippi River, with Minneapolis in the background. We arrived to find a motor home and a large crew of people...photographer, make-up,/hair,  lighting, wardrobe, creative people and more. First, I sat down with a creative director who interviewed me - about my history, my weight loss,  running and MRTT. Next, I was shuffled to hair & makeup, which took awhile. They also looked me up and down to decide what clothes would be used and I'm what colors. It was so strange being the center of all of that.  I would try something on and then have 4 people looking at me and giving their creative input "That color looks good with your skin tone" or "I don't like the way that pocket looks" or "Should we try this other jacket instead? What about with these shoes? No, I like those other shoes, the color really pops with the rest of the look".

After all the fussing and make-up-ing, we headed out onto the bridge where the photographer, her equipment, and other crew were set up. The next couple hours were a lot of position changing, smiling, posing, struggling to hear directions through the ridiculous wind,  goofing off with my friends between shooting, changing clothes a couple of times, me being fussed over by crew members  (like smoothing out wrinkles in the clothes. Fixing crooked seams. Trying to get collars to stay in one very specific position via double sided tape. Stuff like that), and trying to stay warm.

I had a great time. There was lots of laughter, the crew was awesome, and it was definitely an experience I'll never forget.  However, I won't be quitting my day job anytime soon - modeling is harder than you'd think!! You're trying to listen to 5 people all shouting out different instructions at the same time. One says cross your arms, another says hands on your hips. One says step back, another says step forward.

 I'm glad I went out of my comfort zone and I'm excited to see  some of the pictures. They literally take hundreds and hundreds and it will be awhile for them to pick through the junky ones. Plus, they have hundreds of photos of each of several people for both their weight loss program campaign and also an upcoming 90-day weight loss challenge. It's going to take some time!

The campaign begins January 1st from what I know. It runs nationally, meaning I (and others who took part) will be on their website & social media,  as well as brochures, signs, etc. in LTF gyms nationwide and in Canada.

There was a time when I would barely even let my closest family take pictures of me at holidays or birthdays!!

Post photo-shoot, still sporting the hair (a bunch of braids that you can't really see) made to look like I or a friend did them rather than a professional :-)

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