As the music pulses on the training floor, a sweat-drenched Hattie Cronk and trainer Lindsay Ogden high-five at the end of their workout. Cronk participates in Olympic-style strength training several times a week at Life Time Eden Prairie Athletic, plays pickleball, chases after two young daughters, works full-time and still has the energy to spare.
“I feel better at 39 than I have in my entire life,” she said.
Cronk was overweight for much of her life and did not always enjoy her current zest for life or fitness. Her family history of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, heart disease and obesity fueled her fears for her future health. ‘My father has had diabetes for about twenty years. My grandfather died of unmanaged diabetes,” she said. Although she was not clinically prediabetic or insulin resistant, Cronk saw what the future held for her and decided to take action to lose weight and reduce her own risk for future chronic health problems.
On January 3, 2023, Cronk began a journey to lose more than 60 pounds. The combination of heavy weight lifting, better nutrition and intercourse helped Cronk finally reach her goals, along with the use of a GLP-1 agonist.
Before her new journey, Cronk was on a rollercoaster of weight loss attempts that focused on high-intensity cardio exercise and a variety of diets, some of them extreme. “You name it, I’ve tried it,” she said. “I would be very strict. At the gym I focused a lot on cardio. I would say I was a very active person, but very discouraged because I never got the results I wanted.”
After having her second daughter and gaining more weight, Cronk returned to her endeavors with a vengeance. “From August 2022 to January 1, 2023, I followed a strict diet, about 1,500 calories. I kept an eye on everything. I didn’t drink. I was in the gym every day. And I still didn’t budge on the scale,” she recalls.
Weightlifting and a change in approach
During this time, Cronk discovered a high-intensity fitness class at Life Time clubs that focuses on heavy strength training combined with cardio conditioning. The Alpha class changed its approach. Lindsay Ogden, who coaches the class at the Life Time Eden Prairie Athletic location on Prairie Center Drive, said using heavier weight gradually is the key to building muscle. “You need access to heavier weights to stimulate the muscles in different ways so they can rebuild and grow,” says Ogden.
While certainly challenging, the class also emphasizes fun, camaraderie, and encouragement. Cronk values the friendships she has made in class as much as her newly defined muscles. “I think that’s a big part too,” she said, “to have people who hold you accountable and keep you coming.”
The small class size allows Ogden to provide more individual coaching on safety and community building. “I always say my job as a coach is the three S’s. Keep them safe, smiling and sweating,” Ogden said.
After extensive research and careful consideration, Cronk decided to try GLP-1 medications to help her weight loss. The drugs, initially approved by the FDA in 2005 to treat type 2 diabetes, have recently increased in popularity and made headlines as a treatment for obesity. They work by mimicking the hormone GLP-1 in the body, regulating insulin, slowing digestion and increasing satiety.
Cronk, aware of the risks, possible side effects and criticisms that sometimes surround a GLP-1 agonist as a weight loss drug, is careful to emphasize that she has used it to complement her other major lifestyle changes. research. I built a community of people on GLP-1 on various social media because I was very careful,” says Cronk, who also worked with an obesity doctor, exercised and worked on her mindset.
While Cronk is adamant that the medication is not a “quick fix,” she does feel that it helped her see enough results almost immediately to spur her on in her other endeavors. “I took it and within the first few weeks the food noise stopped immediately,” she said. “There are cookies and chips around, but I don’t even think about it. You start craving healthier options. It just stopped giving me the control over food that I’ve never had in my entire life.
GLP-1 as one tool
Ogden’s nutritional guidance helped Cronk manage the effects of the medication, which suppresses appetite and can cause patients to undereat and miss out on important nutrients. By focusing on protein, fiber and micronutrients, Cronk was able to maintain his energy and muscle. “Muscle mass is something that we definitely want to maintain and build and maintain as we get older because that sets you up for the long haul,” Ogden said. “I cannot emphasize strength training and supporting it with protein enough to maintain the lean mass you do have.”
As a result, Cronk now has a new relationship with food. “I no longer look at food as the enemy or as controlling me,” she said. “I see food as a way to fuel myself and continue to help me achieve my goals.”
Cronk sometimes hesitates to tell others about her use of the drug because of jumping to conclusions about her success. “There’s a stigma around ‘Oh, you’re taking the easy way out’ or ‘You’re cheating,’” she said. Most people don’t see the other significant lifestyle changes she’s made, or, Cronk added with a laugh, “that I get my ass kicked by Lindsay every day.”
Cronk understands why the drug “gets a bad rap” when people only use it as a way to lose weight quickly. But Cronk sees the drug as just one tool in a large weight-loss toolbox. “It’s part of all the other things you need,” she said. “The GLP-1 is, I would say, 25% of the entire journey. The other 75% was coming in here, lifting heavy things, making friends, people supporting me on this journey and developing a really great relationship with (Ogden).”
Motivated for future health
In fact, Cronk’s motivation goes far beyond wearing a smaller dress size. “My goal in life is not to be skinny,” she said. “My long-term goal is not to get diabetes and not have to go through the things my family went through. I don’t want to die because diabetes has taken over my life. I don’t want my foot to have to be amputated. I don’t want to lose my sight. I don’t want to get cancer. That’s fine if I haven’t made any changes; that would be the route for me”
While we don’t yet know the long-term effects of GLP-1 drugs, “we do know the long-term effects of obesity,” Ogden said. “I know (Cronk) is getting closer to being a person who will probably live a happier, healthier life than if she hadn’t done some of those things in the first place.”
While Cronk loves being able to play tirelessly with her kids and fit easily into an airplane seat, the changes in her go beyond the physical. The most important thing, she said, “is that my insides are now reflected in the outsides. I have always been a very charismatic, outgoing and fun person. It’s reflected on both sides of me now. I don’t hide in the back of the room anymore. I think my life is so much better because I have energy. I have love for myself, which literally radiates to everyone else around me.”
When Cronk thinks about the future health of her own family, she is now full of hope and strives to be a positive example for them. “I’m changing the perspective for my daughters that I didn’t get. I change the dynamic,” she said. “For once I feel like I am in control of my life and that I have the tools to live happily.”
We offer our readers several ways to provide feedback. Your comments are welcome on our social media posts (Facebook, X, Instagram, Discussions and LinkedIn). We also encourage letters to the editor; Submission guidelines can be found on our contact page. If you believe this story contains an error or would like to contact the author, please contact us.