This busy working mom, Amy Smith, of Lutz Get a Grip Total Fitness Boot Camp has accomplished SO much and I am always excited to see what is next on her agenda. She works full-time, is a wife and mom, and still finds time to PR at her running races, exceed the distances in her triathlon’s, make time for your training, and enjoy her down time as well. She is amazing! She has this contagious smile and carefree era about her. We all LOVE to run with her, as she manages to run any speed and still talk the entire time. Plus, she finds time to encourage everyone else in their journeys!

They write their own stories (which you will read below) and I want to make sure you understand as it doesn’t come across below, that she has accomplished so much! I am SO proud of her and Get a Grip would not be the same without her.

Enjoy her story…

There comes a time in a woman’s life when her clothes just don’t fit comfortably anymore.  Actually, I guess it’s safe to say that typically happens a few times in a woman’s life.  That was the case for me.  I am a three time lifetime Weight Watchers member.  I reached lifetime status during my college years, after the birth of my son, and in my late 30’s.  I raved about Weight Watchers and I believed that the program taught me how to eat properly, but I kept falling back into my old patterns.  Michele Musto was one of the regular attenders, but she stopped going to the meetings and I couldn’t imagine why.  I saw her at Publix one day and she mentioned that she had been going to Get A Grip.  I hated exercising alone and was kind of bored with the boxed meals and one point hot dogs, so I thought about giving it a try.

My 40th birthday approached and like many people, I evaluated what was going well in my life, and what needed a new twist.  I was ready for something different, so I made the call to check out Get A Grip.  I started with the 21 Day Belly Blast and quickly learned how to eat with proper nutrition. I was relieved that the Run Club connected me with new friends to run with, because my training had been sporadic without a training partner.  The chalkboard inside the studio inspired me to sign up for races with my new friends.  I quickly realized that the strength training, plyometrics, foam rolling, and yoga all helped to make me a stronger, injury free runner.  My pace got faster and 8 months later, I achieved my goal of running a half marathon in under 2 hours.

With the 2014 New Year, it was time to work towards something different, so I signed up for the triathlon training program.  I am thankful to Carrie & Russ for teaching me how to swim freestyle with proper form.  I gradually gained endurance and signed up for St. Anthony’s Olympic Distance Triathlon. This is one where elite athletes from across the world come to race.  The day of the race came and I nervously thought “What have I gotten myself into?” when I saw the swim course.  My saving grace was the Get a Grip cheer squad- friends from the studio who provided heartfelt support and encouragement. They were my rock that day and it meant so much to have the people who had become my second family there to help me achieve another big goal.

Our ambitions kept getting loftier as we continued to encourage each other.  Last fall several of us travelled together to Augusta, GA to compete in our first Half Ironman.  I know that swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles and running a half marathon- all on the same day- is something that I never would have attempted without the support of the Get A Grip training group and cheer squad.  The lesson I learned about “swimming buoy to buoy” during those triathlons is something that gives me strength to get through life’s challenges.

With the 2015 New Year upon us, several of us attended Disney’s Marathon Weekend to celebrate Chrissy Rowe’s 10 years of being cancer free. I beat my original 26.2 mile time by 30 minutes and once again enjoyed the accomplishment with some very special Get A Grip friends.

Our most recent adventure was the Ragnar Relay Race.  We trained together throughout the fall and winter, and in February two teams of 12 Get A Grip members travelled to Miami and ran the 196 mile relay to Key West.  I fulfilled my dream of running the Seven Mile Bridge, and several of us enjoyed a sunset cruise together in the Conch Republic.

This place where I had come to exercise and lose a little bit of weight became more than I ever dreamed it would be.  It is an understatement to say that it is “more than just a gym.”  I look forward to our boot camp and track workouts at the end of my workdays, and I regularly set my alarm clock to wake up earlier than my workdays to run or bike with my Get A Grip friends on the weekends.   I only need to be a lifetime member of Get A Grip once, because it has truly changed my life once and for all. I know how to eat for health, I have an excellent support system, and I understand the “whys” behind how to exercise and fuel properly.  Carrie Kukuda is a coach like no other and I am so grateful to have her and the Get A Grip team in my life.

One of Amy's proudest moments. Her PR in her Half Marathon.

One of Amy’s proudest moments. Her PR in her Half Marathon.

Another one of Amy's proudest moments...conquering St. Anthony's Swi,

Another one of Amy’s proudest moments…conquering St. Anthony’s Swim!

Looking forward to seeing what’s next on her Agenda! Congratulations, Amy!




Anne has come a long way! She was always a strong lady, committed, and determined; she is all that and WAY more! But, something lite up in her the last 1.5 years and now she says…”Why Not instead of no thanks!” She makes me smile and she has always been a kind warm-hearted soul in all we do at Get a Grip. She is one of the first to lend a hand, always there for me and the rest of the GAG family, and always offering to help with any cause we participate in. Love her!

I am SO excited to see all she accomplishes at her “young” age! It’s just a number!!!

At 56 years old I am in the best shape of my life and I have gone from barely being able to run 1/4 mile to running my first full marathon. 26.2 miles in under 5 hours placing 2nd place in my age group.

This is how it all started…

I joined Get a Grip in February of 2012.

I was looking for a new gym that would keep my interest. I belonged to gyms in the past and worked with a few personal trainers. I got bored with the same old thing and would stop going. When I came to GAG I immediately knew something was different.

Carrie spent time with me and I got the feeling she really cared about me and my health. For 1 1/2 years I went to boot camp 3 times a week and the results were great along with the workouts. In May of 2013 many of the members were going to run in the Miles for Moffitt  race. Since this supported a cure for cancer I decided to run the 5K. That week I ran twice on the treadmill for 3 miles to make sure I could do it.
I survived the treadmill and the race. I ran another race that year with the group from GAG and then in January of 2014 I joined the triathlon training and completed my first sprint triathlon in April 2014.
I had not been on a bike for over 40 years and the extent of my swimming experience was swimming lessons at the age of 8. Since then I have run in many 5K’s and a few 10K’s along with 3 more sprint triathlons. I continued to run with the Get a Grip group and I ran my first 1/2  marathon with them in November. I kept on training and ran my full marathon in January with the help and support of Carrie and other members of GAG cheering me on at the race.
One of the great things about GAG is the support that is given from Carrie and the members. I guess what I am trying to say is that there are no limits in what we can do with the right help and support. Whether it be to get in shape and lose 10 pounds to losing 50 pounds and running marathons.
What I like about GAG is that everyone works at their own pace on their own individual goals. They are given the tools needed to succeed. The best part of GAG was meeting Carrie. She has a natural ability to motivate others. She cares deeply and will do all she can to help others meet their goals. The group at GAG accepts and supports all who walk through the doors.
I am in the best shape I have been in over 30 years and have learned to live a healthy lifestyle since coming to Get a Grip. I was recently thinking of moving back to Chicago but one thing stopped me. There is no Carrie or Get a Grip there!
My goals for 2015 are to complete an Olympic distance triathlon with some of the other Grippers and I am running Ragnar with
them this month which is a relay run from Miami to Key West.
Since coming to Get a Grip I have accomplished things I never thought were possible and have done things I didn’t even know that I wanted to do.
I’m so glad I found it!


Another Lutz Body Transformation success! Sandy came to Get a Grip and she was hungry! I mean, she was determined to make some changes and boy did she. She worked on one thing and made it a habit and then move to the next. You can tell she was going to fit right in and have success like you see above. She just kept at it. Even when she was injured as you’ll read in her story. I’ll still never forget the first day she attended, when her and Debbie where next to each other and they both had the same water bottle. You probably know where this is going, yep Sandy drank out of Debbie’s. Deb was so cool about it; and we still laugh about it today and they have become great friends! We love her determination and are looking forward to her next challenge, which you read about below.

Here is her story…

My journey with GAG begins in 2013, the year I turned 50. Working in the medical field, I see so many patients come in. Some of them healthy and strong & some not so much. I didn’t want to be one of those people who can hardly even get up out of a chair. Seeing this was my wake up call that I needed to do something, or I was going to end up just like that.
Looking in the mirror one morning, and not liking what I saw, I knew I needed to do something.  I, of course like so many times before, signed up for a gym membership. I was dedicated at first.  And then, just like always, my workouts became less and less.  I started doing the barre classes, & really liked that. However, I felt like I was missing something.
In May 2013, I came upon a groupon for three boot camp classes and three cardio cave classes at Get A Grip. I was reluctant at first to buy the groupon, because I was afraid it would be just like any other “gym”. So, I said “what the heck, I’ll give it a try”. I figured I couldn’t lose being that the price was right & it was right near my house. So, I called Carrie and scheduled my first session.  As soon as I walked in, I could feel this was going to be something I really liked. I could feel the “family” closeness among already signed members. After my first workout, I was hooked. Everyone was so nice and welcoming. I didn’t feel like I was being judged like I felt in the gym setting. So, after my third workout, I signed a yearly contract.
I had been a runner in the past, but was sidelined with knee injuries and hip injuries. I knew it was because I was overweight and out of shape. After attending boot camp for awhile & taking Carrie’s advice on eating & proper supplements, I was able to run again.  I was up to running two miles, and then……a foot injury which required surgery. I was reluctant on the surgery because I was afraid I would have to stop exercising!  I did what I knew was right and scheduled my surgery for July 2014. However, I didn’t let the surgery stop me……..
I asked Carrie for some exercises I could do at home while I was recovering (yes, I’m an addict). Two days after my surgery, I was using my weights & doing upper body & ab exercises. I did this two weeks from home while I was in my boot and on crutches. As soon I was off the crutches, I was at boot camp in my boot doing what I could to keep working out.  Carrie is amazing on giving you alternative exercises that you can do. I know this sounds weird, but I missed doing burpees & couldn’t wait until I could do them again!  So, if your ever injured, don’t let that stop you from coming to camp. There’s always something you can do!
Also, by listening to Carrie’s advice on nutrition & supplements, I’ve increased my metabolic rate. Last year when I had the metabolic testing done, my metabolic rate was below normal. This year my metabolic rate was in the normal range!!
The support from Carrie and her crew is amazing. Not to mention the support of GAG members. I’m running again & will be participating in my first tri in May!  Am I scared?  Heck, yeah!  But I know with the awesome support from everybody, and my dedication & determination, I can do this!!
I can honestly say I’m in better shape in my 50′s than I was in my 20′s & 30′s. Thank you Carrie & Crew for all you do. Your support & enthusiasm for all of us keeps me going! I look forward to conquering many fears & challenges this year & years to come!



Roxane came to Get a Grip and started the 21-Day Belly Blast Program and followed it to a “T.” She had amazing results! She is a an extremely determinate lady and brings a ton of fun to the 9am boot camp sessions. Love her and how she just implements everything she learns. I’m looking forward to what she “dives” into this year! 

Here is her story…

My name is Roxane.  My journey to start exercising again originally started when I got home from a family reunion in January 2009.  I realized from my family photos how much weight I had put on. I never realized my weight gain until I saw these pictures.   I really never felt fat, but I was.   I started running 5-7 days a week.  I dropped about 25 lbs, and thought that I was doing great.  I ran for about 4 years, and eventually realized I hadn’t lost any more weight in fact I started to put the weight back on.  How can that be?? I thought.  I run all the time.  My legs were getting bigger because my pants were no longer fitting.  Ugh.  I was very discouraged.

 I decided to sign up at the gym, and try something different.  I was religiously going 3 -4 times a week.  After about 6 months, I found my workouts getting shorter and shorter.  I started off working out 60 minutes each time, then 45 minutes which eventually ended up a maximum of 30 minutes a workout.   I was extremely bored with the gym.

I knew I had to do something different so I could enjoy my favorite sport of diving a lot more.    I still didn’t feel like I was “THAT” big, but I had no stamina while diving.   I would be exhausted after each dive.  I knew I had to get into better shape if I wanted to dive a lot.  

One day, I saw a post on my friend, Chelsea Brown’s facebook page, it was something about Get A Grip, so I started to ask her questions.  She told me about the 21-day belly blaster.  I thought for that price I have nothing to lose but to try it.  It’s funny how social media works.  I joined, and within the first month,  I had dropped 9.8 lbs but more importantly I lost 7.8 inches throughout my body.  I soon realized that I wasn’t losing weight or inches previously because I wasn’t exercising, but I wasn’t losing weight because I wasn’t eating or exercising properly!!  Who would have known that it’s a combination of both!!  I figured if I exercised then I could eat pretty much what I wanted. Wrong!!!   

I have now been at Get a Grip a little over a year.  I am now in the best shape I have been in since high school.  To see my own before and after pictures still kind of freaks me out.  It’s hard to believe that was me.  Get a Grip has the best group of people.  They are from every walk of life, and I love them all.  They are the best support group that anyone could ask for.   Thanks Carrie for setting me straight!!   I can’t imagine where I would have ended up if it wasn’t for Get A Grip!! 

Lutz Get a Grip Total Fitness Success Story

Michele Musto is this Week’s Spotlight!

michele- beforeandafter

Michele has proven “ANYTHING” is possible!

She PR’d (person record – best time) in every single run distance race in 2014. She kick her lifetime “FEAR” of swimming to the curb as you will read. Need I say more?

Here is here transformation story…

Some of you may know me from the Get A Grip Facebook page ;) I have been here for over two years and have no intentions of leaving…ever! My health and fitness journey really began in 2007. I was always active, but with my son heading off to college I found myself at the heaviest ever. My friend asked me to join a weight loss program and we did it together. While on my way to losing 50lbs, we also began running. Many 5k’s led to a few 10k’s and then my first half marathon in 2012 Gasparilla. Although this was a big accomplishment to me, I found that even though I was running all the time, I was gaining weight and getting slower!

At the same time my personal life was in a state of change. As my daughter left for college leaving us with an empty nest, my Father-in-law was diagnosed terminal liver cancer and in September 2012 my husband moved in with him to provide around the clock care. For the next eight months, I was basically on my own for the first time in my life!

Realizing I needed to change my focus and find something that I could control, I searched and found Get A Grip Total Fitness. Right from the start I knew this was a place like no other! That first year I made many friends, became more fit and lean, and started challenging myself to do things I never thought I could! And so, I did EVERYTHING ;) Finding myself fatigued I turned to Carrie for Metabolic Testing. My first test showed that my metabolism was below normal. Carrie knew I was totally overtraining and told me to ‘train smart’ and watch my nutrition to fuel all the things I had hoped to do. She gave me a plan and I followed it!

Also during that first year, many of my friends at GAG were talking about Triathlon and encouraging me to swim/bike/run. “Absolutely NO, NEVER…I am unable to swim” was always my response. Actually I have a fear of swimming! But this was no excuse because GAG has the best training team! So after some soul searching and over thinking I jumped in, literally! Once again I was given a plan and I followed it! I had never felt as accomplished as I did finishing my first triathlon! I have since done three more (two in one day) and was even the swim leg of my TriRock relay team.

After that triathlon, Carrie asked me what my next goal would be (she is amazing at getting me out of my comfort zone). We sat down and decided that although I had done numerous running races including eight half marathons, I had never really worked for a pace time. I picked the goal of finishing the Chosen Half Marathon with a 2 hour time. Considering my best time up until then was a 2:16 I was full of doubts. Essentially dropping more than a minute per mile from my pace seemed impossible. But Carrie once again provided a plan and I followed it…consistently all summer! Race day came and I was energized to be there with so many Grippers that had trained alongside me. When the race started, I still had some doubts, but was confident that I had done everything I could to be ready and whatever the outcome I would be proud (a big lesson I learned at GAG). I crossed the finish line at 2:02:39! What I thought was IMPOSSIBLE had become POSSIBLE!
So by the end of 2014 I found that my life had been transformed. I have an extended family at GAG that inspire me to be better as an athlete and as a person. Oh, and that low metabolism…well, I took the Metabolic Testing again one year after the first…the result was that by following the plan my metabolism had increased 20%!
I have learned so much about myself in the last two years being a Gripper. If I have a plan, commit to it fully and work at it with no excuses, I can achieve ANYTHING! I am also excited that my husband has become a Gripper and is seeing great health and fitness results! I am blessed to have Carrie and the GAG family in my life. I can only imagine what #EPIC2015 has in store for me!


Awesome Success Story & Awesome Person!

Those of us who know her, know that this is just the beginning for Michele!

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