Winning Results

Spring 2019

Congratulations to our inspiring 2018 airdrielife  

Fitness Challenge contestants!  

All three are winners based on their life-changing results, but Laura Brauer’s story resonated so deeply with everyone involved, she was selected as the champ. She receives gifts from Orangetheory Fitness, Simply for Life, the “Create the Life You Envision” course from Michelle Carre and an airdrielife makeover with The Hair Lounge (watch for this in a future issue). Chris and Amber are also being surprised with gifts from Orangetheory Fitness. 





Laura Brauer THE WINNER


Final weight 225.6 lbs; total weight loss 45.4 lbs 

Right arm 13” 

Left arm 13.5” 

Chest 46” 

Upper waist 44” 

Waist 42 7/8” 

Hips 47.5” 

Thigh 22.5” 


“Laura took what she learned and ran with it. She really became, even more, in tune with her body during these 12 weeks. By knowing how her body responds to the types of food she eats, she can make corrections immediately and easily get back on course.”   

  • Nicole Ferguson, Simply For Life 



“Laura has come so far in the last three months. She has lost 45 pounds. She started running and completely changed her life. Her drive has not only inspired me, as a trainer, but all of those around her who have seen her transformation. She is now one of the strongest rowers in every class. She is running; when she started she could only walk. Her positive attitude, despite difficult situations that have been thrown her way, is contagious!  

“She has become a part of our OTF family, and I’m so grateful that I have gotten to know Laura not only as a trainer, but as a friend. She has taken control of her health and well being and really gained confidence and strength! We are so proud of her and glad she has become part of our OTF family!” 

  • Deanna Bensler, head coach, Orangetheory Fitness 


Laura had a very strong connection to her WHY, which played a role in helping her achieve her goals.  As the competition went on and she saw the weight coming off and her strength building she realized that how she felt as she was getting healthier was a new part of her WHY.
-Michelle Carre, Curator of WHY 


Says Laura: 


I will admit that it was very intimidating to have my photos, weights and measurements posted! I almost backed out before it started and so glad I didn’t. My only regret is that I let myself get to the weight I was. I now weigh less than I did as a teenager! I am so thankful for this opportunity that has changed my outlook on life. 

This has been a very life-changing process for both my family and me. Looking back at this journey, I find myself very emotional. Since starting the challenge, we have been on many family hikes, and I’ve been able to jump on our backyard trampoline for 45 minutes at a time. I have also been able to take my son wall climbing, and actually climb the walls with him! 

I’ll never forget the first hike with my husband; I was only weeks into this challenge. When we got to a hill we normally avoided I told him “Let’s go for it!” Half way up the hill I said out loud “I will not let this defeat me! I’m sick and tired of letting things defeat me!” To complete the entire hike was mind boggling and so rewarding! 

My confidence and energy levels have really shined through. My yellow Lab also now gets more exercise and adventures out to the mountains for our family hikes than he ever has in his 10 years of life! He is far more energetic and happier too as a result! 

I have learned that I am capable of more than I ever thought and that it is really mind over matter. I am extremely hard on myself and I am still learning to celebrate my milestones! I am getting very comfortable with having pictures taken; prior to this weight loss challenge my husband was never permitted to take pictures of me. I’ve learned that diet is just as important as working out! I discovered as I increased my number of workouts and the intensity that I wasn’t eating enough or drinking enough water this slowed my weight loss down for a few weeks but only until I figured out the right balance. I now realize that fitness will always be a part of my life. It’s not a quick fix; it’s a lifestyle change. Prior to the challenge it took me seven months to lose six pounds on my own with just diet changes. 

Most importantly, I have learned how to put my health first. I make it a priority to work out at least five days a week. I average six to seven days a week as I absolutely love it. The classes are never the same and I am always challenged! My health has greatly improved over the past 12 weeks. I struggled with daily lower back pain prior to the challenge. When the back flare-ups occurred, I struggled with simple daily tasks such as standing in line at the grocery store or pushing a shopping cart around corners. The lower back pain did put a damper on our Disneyland trip a few years ago. I have not had any lower back pain recently and have noticed that I am much stronger. 

I am now also off all insulin and diabetes medication and my blood sugars are within normal range! I no longer check my sugars! They are actually the lowest they’ve ever been and I am no longer a Type 2 diabetic. 

I have enjoyed the friendships and connections I’ve made, getting to know Chris and Amber. We have all been a great support for each other and continue to do so. I’ve enjoyed surrounding myself around positive and uplifting people on a daily basis. I absolutely love how everyone supports each other. 

I have also enjoyed looking back at photos and compare them to newer photos. I am amazed at the physical changes! My son, husband and I actually went through some of my bigger clothes and we were able to capture new photos of two of us wearing my old shirts and pants! I was able to fit both of my legs in one pant leg, and my son was in the other leg in one of my favourite pair of pants! Mind blowing and absolutely fun! 

I have recently become much closer to a good friend; fitness has always been a big part of her life. I have always been amazed by her fitness levels and strive to keep up to her! I’m thankful for her support and for pushing me to be a better version of myself. I do look forward to completing our goals we have set out together! 

Moving forward, my goal is to continue with my diet, and fitness. I will continue attending Orangetheory. I am working toward losing more weight and continuing to improve my fitness levels. Once I reach my goals I will set new ones to keep myself motivated. I will also continue to write what I eat in the food journal and weigh in regularly. It keeps me accountable. Special thank you to Nicole at Airdrie’s Simply For Life for helping me tweak a few things within my diet and start a food journal! 

I’d like to personally recognize the efforts of Coach Deanna; she had a HUGE challenge and has taken me under her wing and really pushed me when I needed it, encouraged me when I was discouraged, constantly kept me accountable and supported me when I needed her most. I would not be where I am today without her help. My success with this weight loss challenge is very much also her success. 

When she asked me to run on Oct. 22 I looked at her with great disbelief! I told her I would attempt it because she asked me to. It blew me away that I was actually able to complete the jogging exercises. I have been jogging since and trying to improve on endurance. I will run a race with Deanna as I promised and really look forward to this. 

Lastly, I’d like to take a moment and really encourage anyone who’s considering a lifestyle change just to do it! Start with one change at a time. Take chances and push past your fears and insecurities! I had them and still do; however, fighting through them ensures that you own it and it’s very empowering.   



Chris Dickinson 


Final weight 172.2 lbs; total weight loss 29.8 lbs 

Right arm 12 7/8 “ 

Left arm 12 7/8” 

Chest 38” 

Upper waist 30” 

Waist 31” 

Hips 40” 

Thigh 19.5” 


“Chris took this challenge very seriously and had a goal in mind; he crushed his original goal and kept going to see his full potential. Remarkable!” 

  • Nicole Ferguson, Simply For Life 



“Chris has done fantastic and keeps getting stronger. He smashed his weight loss goal and has exceeded in performance goals (e.g. 2,000 m benchmark row in 6:32).   

“He has made this is a lifestyle journey. Chris made fitness a priority while he travelled for work.  He accepts any challenge thrown his way, his attitude is super positive, and he is rewarded with amazing results.    

“Way to go, Chris! We are proud of you; see you soon at OTF.”  

  • Lisa Kaluski, Orangetheory Fitness 


Says Chris: 

I first want to start off by thanking ‘airdrielife’ magazine for selecting me for this opportunity. I also want to thank the OTF staff (Rochelle, Lisa, Deanna, Racheal, and all the others) and Nicole from SFL for being there for me for the last three months plus.    



The staff members at OTF have made this whole process so fun and enjoyable. Yes, the OTF workouts are challenging and can burn; however, they are so enjoyable due to the amazing staff. The coaches would continue to push me to be better every day by challenging me to work harder. They are always up for some friendly competition and are very knowledgeable in what they do. Rochelle’s team of associates is always friendly and provides a warm greeting at any time of the day, even 8 a.m. on a Sunday. What I have learned from my time with Orangetheory, first and foremost, is anything is possible; you just need to believe in yourself. Like the coaches say, “You can do anything for 30, 60, 90 seconds if you believe”. I have also learned how far I am able to push myself both physically and mentally; our body is capable of some amazing things. I have found my love for fitness again and look forward to the workouts, even feeling off when taking a rest day, but also realize how important they are to overall health. I am very much addicted to OTF and will continue my journey into the future. 

Nicole at Simply For Life has been truly amazing. She is extremely knowledgeable in teaching and providing the techniques for me to learn to take care of myself from the inside. She would take the time to explain everything and make sure I understood our plan to fuel my body during the challenge. Nicole taught me that you don’t need to do a fad diet or take a “magical pill” to get healthy. In fact, the “meal plan” I followed was so enjoyable that I will continue it for many meals to come. It was all about good healthy choices of meats, fruit, veggies and such. All the recipes were yummy and convenient; even my girls enjoyed (them). 

This amazing journey that I accomplished provided me with so many wins in my life. From day-today wins of just feeling confident in myself, to having more energy allowing me to do a lot more things with my girls, to encouraging me to live a healthy long life so I can make many more years of memories with my girls as they grow. I am proud of the changes I made in my life as I can be a positive role model for my girls, showing them the importance of healthy lifestyle choices.   

I have made many new friends along this journey, including the staff at OTF, coaches, other OTF members and both Laura and Amber.   

The biggest thing I will carry forward from this is that “I” am worth the effort and “I” can accomplish anything because I believe in myself.   

Oh, one more big thing I learned is that its OK to enjoy life; if you want a treat then have that treat. One treat will not erase all the hard work we put in daily.   



Amber Jensen  


Final weight 159.4 lbs; total weight loss 28.6 lbs 

Right arm 11.5”  

Left arm 12” 

Chest 36” 

Upper waist 31.5” 

Waist 34” 

Hips 38” 

Thigh 21” 


“Amber learned that you can eat real food and get healthy, and that all carbs are not bad. She embraced the changes and I could see that she learned some good lifestyle habits and will continue to implement (them) in her daily life.” 

  • Nicole Ferguson, Simply For Life 


“Amber is a very friendly, committed and goal-oriented individual. Once she took the airdrielife challenge on, Amber stayed consistent with her workouts here at Orangetheory Fitness. 

“At Amber’s final weigh-in she had lost a total of 28.6 lbs, and she continues to lose!  


“She is doing fantastic and is totally driven to continue on this health and wellness journey. Amber is so happy that she was chosen for this challenge as it was the kickstart she needed to place her on this path and she has no plans to go back to where she came from. She has so much more energy, and looks amazing!  

“Amber’s next goal is to lose a further 10 to 15 lbs. When she began this journey she knew it would be a lifelong commitment to take care of her health, and with this in mind, even though the challenge has ended, we will continue to see Amber in the studio three to four times per week!” 

  • Rachael Ingham, Orangetheory Fitness

Says Amber: 

Thank you for letting me be a part of this challenge. It was exactly what I needed to lose the weight and I believe I learned all the right actions to prevent me from gaining the weight back. Before the challenge I felt a little hopeless and like the weight would never come off and now after only three months I’m almost back to my original weight, which I never in a million years thought would happen. So, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! 

I thought this whole process worked well for me. I liked having the accountability of being weighed in each week and being assigned a trainer to check in with. I felt that if I cheated on my diet, or skipped a gym session, I would not only be letting myself down but them as well. I loved that I had competitors in this challenge because it kept me more on point. About once a week I would see Chris at the gym and when he was there he meant business so that pushed me to work harder than I normally would have. At Halloween I had a few weak moments where I was getting into my kids candy and Laura challenged me not to have any because she wasn’t and it worked! If Laura wasn’t cheating on her diet then I couldn’t be either. I honestly thought at the beginning of this challenge that I would win by flying colours because I wanted it so bad but Chris and Laura wanted it just as bad and they both put in work. They were both amazing competitors, proved me wrong and whoever wins definitely deserves it.   


During this process I learned how to eat everyday healthy food to lose weight. I learned that carbs aren’t the enemy and that cutting out all carbs will actually backfire on you. Before when I tried to lose weight I would either not eat enough during the day and then binge eat during the evening or eat too much during the day and have no weight loss at all. Now I’ve learned how to eat healthy portions and what foods to eat at certain times and I’m not starving and still losing weight. 

I also learned I can be an early riser to work out. I always wanted to work out first thing in the morning but never thought I would be able to get my butt out of bed to work out. With my husband’s schedule and my kids extracurricular activities it made it hard to go during the evening so my only option was to go in the mornings and I really love it! I love Orangetheory Fitness classes so much that going there is a treat for me. Mama gets a little me time and I always feel more relaxed and energized throughout the day when I go. 

The thing I loved the most out of this process was finding Orangetheory Fitness. I love the classes, the times they offer, the instructors and staff are so nice, and they always have little challenges to keep you motivated to keep going. I will definitely keep going for a long time to come. 

The one thing I will bring forward is my healthy eating plan that Nicole has taught me. The diet itself didn’t feel like a diet and is something that I will be able to carry on for a very long time. I’ve always struggled not knowing what good or bad to eat and now I feel very confident in my food choices.