Success Stories

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Carol Bland

CAROL2I became a charter member of The Lab in 2007 because I had heard good things about Justin as a trainer.  Had been working out with another trainer for some time and didn’t feel I was getting much in the way of results.  My Lab membership came with 15 free training sessions with Justin.  About halfway through the third session he gave me a paternal look, told me my form was pretty bad, and advised me to get a full-time trainer.  That wasn’t exactly the high point of my day, but I decided to give it a try.  It was the beginning of my Lab experience.


It wouldn’t be an over statement to say that what a have gained from working out at The Lab has been life changing.  When I am with friends my own age (older than I care to mention, but I have been retired for years) the difference in my physical abilities and theirs is so apparent. I help them lift and tote, go up stairs and down, get in and out of cars. On evenings out, I pick them up, take them to the destination and let them out.  Then I go park the car and walk back.  And I’m happy to do all this.  Because I can!


The Lab is about more than just physical fitness.  It’s about overall health.  New clients are asked about any physical limitations they have and what they want to achieve.  Workout routines are put together based on that information.  Counseling on nutrition is available.  Justin instructs all trainers -- as soon as they start to work at The Lab -- on proper form and appropriate routines and that instruction is ongoing.   The trainers give their clients full attention during training sessions to ensure maximum results with no injuries.   They push their clients – gently – to “take it up a notch.”  Anyone who isn’t familiar with “posture hold” will have it down pat after some time at The Lab.  And nothing can make one look better, faster than good posture.


There is another aspect that makes The Lab special. It is what I will call a sense of community.  Couples, good friends and extended families work out there, sometimes together, sometimes not. There are group training sessions and competitions held at The Lab regularly. That community atmosphere is enhanced by social get-togethers, open to members and employees, and by an annual awards event that is both rewarding and fun. I know quite a number of people who are also charter members and are as devoted to The Lab as I am.


Then there’s the bragging aspect to be enjoyed by those who work out on a regular basis.  Friends, who don’t work out, often ask me what my workout consists of.  After a brief overview, I tell them with fake modesty how much weight I use when doing squats, dead lifts, etc.  Then I watch the look of awe come over their faces and my day is made.


Last but not least is my trainer, Jimmy.  I have had several trainers in my time at The Lab and all were good.  But Jimmy is more than a good trainer.  He is a friend and is always concerned about my progress, and my safety.  Under his direction my abilities have increased significantly.





When I first started working out, it was all about vanity. Now I know, it is about much more than that.

In the years I have been at The Lab, I have come to understand that one can go thru the motions of working out and still not get significant results.  Proper form is so important. And, only by maintaining form, by pushing one’s self, or being pushed by a knowledgeable trainer, does one get real results.


The Lab is, and always will be, a part of my life.





Shanna Wedekemper-loses 12% body fat and grows muscles!


I was always into fitness but mostly kept to yoga, running, and was even a vegetarian.  I didn't realize how much I was missing with my diet and training program.  I am stronger than ever and fell in love with lifting weights!  I look and feel WAY better and am lifting weight I never imagined.  I can even do pullups now!  My lifestyle has completly changed and I owe it to The Lab!


shanna squat

Mandi Newsome-Crossfitter adds 15kg to both of her Olympic lifts in no time!

mandi on hookgrip2

As a Crossfitter there are so many things to master.  My biggest weakness had become the Olympic lifts and my strength.  Training at Team LAB put 15kg on both my snatch and clean & jerk in a little over 3 months!  And, I even wound up competing at a national weightlifting competition, The American Open!  I never thought I would do that!

Anne Jaques-An Amazing Story!

anne jaques2Watch Anne's amazing story in this video.

John Cena- "This place is awesome!"


"This place is awesome!"

Diana Davidson makes The Crossfit Games!

diana 32

Local Crossfitter Diana Davidson qualifies for the 2012 Crossfit Games and places 5th overall in the masters division!  In her preparation she works with Olympic Weightlifting Coach Justin Thacker at The Lab Gym

diana at cf games

Hannah Schweissguth loses 27lbs!

Hey Justin!!
I want to thank you for everything! I lost weight before your help but when I implemented everything I learned from you and Ben, that's when my body really transformed!! I'm doing great! I lost 27 lbs total  now...still have a couple to lose but my bodyfat % is dropping like crazy!!! I will forever keep what I learned as part of my lifestyle!I I expected to go to the Lab Gym and have a trainer tell me what to do...but I didn't expect to have someone so caring and passionate who explained everything and was by my side the whole time. I definitely didn't expect to walk away with so much knowledge and other advantages besides a new body! They helped make fitness and diet a lifestyle and a life changer.
Hannah Schweissguth


Guy Slay- Loses over 25lbs!

guy slay test

What do I like about the Lab?




The management is committed to hiring highly-skilled staff members. They

understand that in order to retain clients they must deliver the opportunity to

achieve results. The Lab is one of those special places where the owners love

what they do, are knowledgeable and have chosen to make it their life's work to

safely improve the health of others. During the six years that I have been a

member I've witnessed and experienced first-hand their absolute devotion to

helping clients achieve their goals...and/or re-define them in order to maximize

their full potential. It is impressive and motivating to see other members of

various ages, backgrounds and health conditions achieving their fitness

goals--whether on their own or with the assistance of a skilled, dedicated and

motivated staff member.

Tabitha Porter- Loses over 30lbs & drops 4 dress sizes AND becomes a ninja!!!


Recently Tabitha Porter, a die hard member of The Lab Gym’s Extreme Bootcamp and a Justincredible Award Winner of 2012, professed her Lab Love on Facebook…”I never thought that I would sign up for what I thought would be a six week bootcamp class and find my second family but in 2012 that’s exactly what happened. I found the most incredible group of people to work out with!

“You can read more about Tabitha’s Lab Love in a minute, but here is Tabitha’s Love Letter in numbers…(keep in mind that Tabitha had no weight training experience and was just looking to get in shape after the birth of her second child.)
“My new deadlift PR is 255 lbs for 5, my Squat PR is 205 lbs for 5 but I’m going for 210lbs on Thursday! So far, my best on the squat is 222 lbs and deadlifts are 270 lbs. Those are the more impressive lifts. And I can do 5 strict pull ups. Since joining bootcamp I’ve lost 4 dress sizes. And I can now run 6 miles. Oh, and I did a 100 yard farmers walk with 95lbs in each hand for 3 rounds one Saturday. Those are my most proud moments. It’s hard to believe where I’m at now compared to where I used to be. They work miracles at the lab!
Tabitha with Justin and her Husband & Bootcamp Comrade Sam
I can’t say enough about the program, the facility, and more than anything the community that Thelabgym Thacker Chris Thacker and their staff has created. If you are a former athlete, a crossfitter wanting to improve your Olympic lifts, training for strongman, ironman, or any competition for that matter this place is for you. If you have 10 pounds to lose or 200 pounds to lose this is the place for you. If you are just wanting to stay in shape or looking to get in shape this is the place for you. With such a vast variety of clientele there is a trainer, a class, a program, and the equipment to get you where you need to go. But most importantly the people here make all the difference. I mean how many gyms do you know host happy hours, competitions, holiday parties, benefits, and awards ceremonies and Saturday morning brunch and coffee after an extreme workout?

I honestly can’t say enough positive things about this place and the people. I really do love you guys!

Ginny Antonacci- Loses 130lbs and becomes Lab Rat of the Year 2012!


Thanks for everything Justin! I am having so much fun and feel so much
better since joining the LAB. So the things that I wanted to change
before turning forty and before Alyssa graduated have become or will
become reality. You see my Dad died at 42- even though he lost a
couple hundred pounds before he died- the damage to his heart was
done- he had a 90% block all the way around. He was overweight his
entire life top weight was probably about 500-600 pounds from what I
have been told and picture- it was when I was very young. By the time
Spring before I turned 15 he passed away- he was down to 225. I am not
gonna let that happen to me. As I tell people the moment I saw your
article and the LAB website I knew I found my solution. Not to mention
Chris contacting me so fast and joining the same day. You all really
do transform lives- I believe in healthcare but they did not have my
solution- it will always be the LAB!  Thank you for all you do and have done to
help me transform my life. It is amazing to think about how much
things have changed in just the past ten months. The LAB really does
Transform lives- I am so blessed to have you in my life.  The only problem                                                                                    now is I have to buy new clothes!

Dr. Manard was so excited he sent me the results on a Sunday! I had to
share them with you. It is AMAZING how you helped me transform my

Sister Marina Hernandez-Loses over 60lbs!

The personal way each one is treated.
The flexability of the trainers and the program
The camarderie among all.

The Lab has changed my life. When I came to you guys my lower back was in
so much pain I thought I would never do a squat or dead-lift again. I had not in
years. Even more so it was starting to affect my personal life in a big way. The
winter prior was the first time I really couldn't snowboard at all (20 years doing
so) because I couldn't get to my bindings because of my back pain. After 3
months at the Lab I was out at Vail and Breckenridge riding like I always had
for the past decades. I came in simply because it was recommended to me
(Kris Gill) and what a gift. I am fortunate enough to have been able to do some
personal training and that has made all of the difference for me as well and the
workout progressions that go along with it.

Emma Morris-Loses 70lbs!


The Lab is wonderful. I came to The Lab for help with some medical issues.

The results and physical strides that I have made

are outstanding,  if I have to say so myself. However, I am

getting lot's of positive feedback from my family,

friends, and doctor, especially those who haven't seen me in awhile.

I like the individual attention. I don't feel like a number. My routine was setup

just for me. I don't feel like I'm competing with others. We (staff) set my goals

and we work together to meet those goals. If I have problems or need some

special attention, my trainer, Brian, is there to address the issue and help me

work through the problem. I love that I can see everyday practical uses of the

various exercises. Its just not lifting weights or squats for the hell of it. I can see

how those exercises correlate to my daily functions. Thank you Lab Gym, I'm

honored to be a Lab Rat.


Troy Skaife-loses 100lbs!

troy new23

I began this  weight loss journey on my own but quickly became frustrated and unmotivated.  That is when I came to The Lab and they helped me make needed changes in my training plan,nutrition, and motivation!  With their help I was finally able to break the 100lb weight loss barrier!!!

Jim Davis- Loses 90lbs of fat and gains 20lbs of muscle!

 jim davis

Growing up I was always the skinniest kid in my school.  I graduated high school at 6'6" and 135 lbs.  While in collage I joined a gym, trying to get to a "normal" size, but didn't really know what I was doing on the gym floor or in the kitchen.  I kept at it for 2 years and didn't gain a pound.  I decided that this is just the way I was supposed to be.  As I got older, I started gaining weight and before I knew it, I was 265 lbs and didn't know what to do.  Again, I bought a gym membership and decided to do much more research to change my body.  I knew the older I got, the harder it was going to be to lose the excess weight, and my  family medical history was not a pretty picture.  Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and cancer are all in my immediate family.  The time to act was now. I started lifting weights and became good friends with the treadmills at my gym.  I switched from eating 3 huge meals a day, to eating 6 or more small meals.  I dropped 90 lbs in about 13 months, leaving me at 175 lbs.  I looked and felt much better but still wasn't satisfied.  For the next few years I wanted to put on as much clean muscle as I could.  I gained 15 lbs in almost 5 years.  Again, I started getting frustrated.  Finally my mom and sister bought me a nutrition session at the Lab with Justin.  We talked about how I was eating in combination with my workouts, and made some changes.  I have been gaining muscle and even losing body fat since I started this program.  I'm very happy that I finally got pointed in the right direction, and am really enjoy my healthful lifestyle. I really feel anyone can achieve, or even surpass their goals with the right program.

Suzy lost 60 pounds in 5 months!


I still pinch myself and thank you guys at The Lab Gym every day for helping me do what I couldn’t do on my own. My long-term goal was to lose 35 pounds, but I achieved it in only 2 months and there’s been no stopping me since! At the 3 month mark I was down 46 pounds and at 5 months my weight loss mission was complete- 135 pounds, from a starting point of 195 and I had gone program from wearing a size 14 to a size 4!

Even more amazing, considering I spent most of the first half of the year unable to walk at all due to my ankle injuries and extensive surgery. I came to The Lab Gym with a kind of desperate hope that they could somehow work around my ankle problems and help me get fit; but I never dreamed of being this fit, ever!


Zeti Nauden - Professional Wrestler

“I came to Justin hoping to become a better wrestler and improve my chances at breaking into professional wrestling. I have suffered from Crohn’s disease my whole life and have battled extreme weight fluctuations and weakness from the harsh medications. The first several workouts were an eye opening experience as 25 pounds seamed like a mountain. Now, I am picking up nearly 400 pounds and can heave 200 pounds overhead. Body slams have never been easier!”

Dr. Evans Success Story- Lost 105 pounds!


"In my role as an academic leader, one of the most important reasons I had to get my fat behind across the alley to you was to be a better role model for the students, staff and faculty I am blessed to lead.  When you are dean of a school in a health-promoting profession, I think it is important to role model good health practices and outcomes.  I was a mess and not a good role model, and that was a major motivator that set me in motion." - Dr. Evans lost a total of 105 pounds!

Dr. Michael Evans, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

National Level Speed Skater and Olympic Hopeful- Ian Quinn


Lab Rat Ian Quinn wins 2011 Junior National Championships in the 1,000 meter speed skating championships!

"I left the Junior Olympic speed skating camp this summer realizing that speed and power were holding me back from realizing my Olympic dreams.  After camp, I went to Justin to do just that.  In 4 weeks I was able to out power clean every skater from camp.  In 3 months I can now squat double my bodyweight!  I am now not only in position to win junior nationals this year, but I may also be able to go and win junior nationals in weightlifting!"

Sonya Stevenson - Lost 60 pounds by her 60th birthday!

The Lab PC_Sonya_c

“When I had my 50th birthday I just assumed I would continue to gain weight and that was just the way it would be.  I started to realize I was losing strength in simple things like opening a jar!  So it was a great timing when my friend Marian invited me to working out at The Lab Gym.  I decided to give it a try even though I didn’t have high expectations for myself.  I figured I might lose a few pounds and could claim to be taking care of myself.

At this time I was also going to counseling and taking what I call happy medicine due to personal things going on in my life at the time.  While I do think everyone can benefit from counseling, what I began to notice was that as I began to lose weight and gain physical strength my mental attitude shifted significantly. I decided to invest my (counseling) time and (happy medicine) money into working out with a trainer.  On my own I’m not very disciplined and I wanted to see more results.  An as the sign at the gym reads:

If you are not seeing results, you are probably not working out enough, hard enough, or often enough.

Marian and I have been working with a trainer for a year now and the results are fantastic!  I just celebrated my 60th birthday in April and I feel great!  Since starting at The Lab I have lost over fifty six pounds and I have more energy.  I am a grandma who knits, and gets down on the floor with the grandkids. Lifting weights, doing core and cardio is my gift to my grandkids and my five daughters.  I am taking care of me so I can be in the best health possible for them.

I am lucky to living in the neighborhood where The Lab Gym is located, but it would be worth the drive from anywhere; the results are priceless!  Check out The Lab and invest in your own good physical AND mental health.”

Sonya Stevenson

Dena Westerfield - IFBB Pro Bodybuilder

Dena Westerfield

“I began working with Justin to bring up my hamstrings and lower back for my next competitions.  We have been packing in tons of density to my muscles and overall physique that will bring me past my competition.”

Dr. Dena Westerfield

IFBB Pro Bodybuilder, Chiropractor

Gabriel Shapiro

“Howdy Justin, I just want to tell you that my energy level is EXPLODING right now! I'm working on so many things instead of just limping through the day with no energy. I'm certain that it’s the exercise and your generous help. I just want to tell how important this mind/body/nutrition training is to me. I know only my toe is in the water and that I am lifting very little, but I FREAKIN’ LOVE doing this!!!! I’m not sure why. Perhaps my body has been waiting to work areas it hasn’t worked for two decades (while I’ve remained somewhat physical throughout my years, I have most likely only been using the same narrow range of musculature and movement, catering to my weaknesses and injuries while simultaneously undermining generalized body health).  I will continue to try to do everything you suggest. I believe you have the experience, knowledge and inclination to reawaken my healthy side.


Gabriel Shapiro

English Professor McKendree College St. Louis.

Cass Carnahan - Figure Competitor

“Justin helped me get in the best shape of my life for my figure competitions. He dialed in my training and diet and I hit the stage harder and leaner than I ever thought was possible.”

Cass Carnahan

Figure Competitor, Hair Stylist and Personal Trainer, St. Louis.

Cass Carnahan

Voy Andrews success story- Voy lost 157 lbs!


To the guy at until the age of 50, never did a single jumping jack or pushup in his life.
The guy who took 3 months to get 15 minutes non-stop on the elliptical.
The guy who almost quit too soon.
The guy who used to wear THOSE pants.
Who became the guy …..
To leg press 810 lbs for 6 reps!
To deadlift 275 lbs for 5 reps!
To 75 pushups on his 50th birthday!
To destroy that elliptical for 15 minutes of HIT better than anyone!
To lose over 100lbs in under 12 months.
And to finally lose a grand total of 157lbs!
Congrats Voy for keeping the weight off now for over a year !!!!

Voy Andrews

Lab Rat of the Year 2012 Sharon Lightfoot lost 118 pounds


I started at The Lab in October after much encouragement from 3 friends and “lab rats”. They told me The Lab was one of those special places where care and competence coexist. They were right. The Lab is a special places that helps you transform your life.

I came to The Lab to improve my health and appearance. I need to lose a lot of weight and knew I could not succeed without help. It’s a myth that we can do this all alone. Initially I was hesitant to commit to the Laser Weight Loss Program 5 days a week but I was willing to try it out. Within a few weeks I signed up for one year. Today, one year, 118 pounds and a gazillion inches later I have nothing but gratitude for Justin and The Lab.
It is an amazing experience to have someone pay attention to you day after day, an hour at a time. Your trainer will pay attention to you and Justin will pay attention to your trainer. It’s a system that works.

I have never worked out at The Lab without a word of support or encouragement from other lab rats. It’s a lovely community that revels in everyone succeeding and taking good care of themselves. Working out is so enjoyable I think of it as recess!

I used to think of what I would do when I “got to goal”. Now the goals just change. I’ll reach my goal weight soon and then I want more physical challenges. I know The Lab will help me get there one step at a time. Don’t wait until tomorrow to change your life. Call The Lab today to meet your fitness goals. It’s a myth that we can do this alone.

Sharon Lightfoot

Dr. Donald Suggs


Donald Suggs
Age: ???, Weight: 155
Pushups: 80, Squats: 225x 15 reps, 275 x5 reps, Deadlifts: 315x 1 rep
You may have heard of him? Well, he hasn’t gotten soft this year. Former Lab Rat of the Year winner and multiple time runner up, at the age 77 Dr. Suggs, deadlifts 315lbs at the body weight of 155lbs!!! That is over double bodyweight! He is easily one of the strongest senior citizens on earth! And, he just began lifting a few years ago at The Lab!

Dr. Suggs

Tom Majer - 14 surgeries in 3 years!

tom majer muscle shot

I came to The Lab with many injuries. After 6 months I did 120 pushups on my 60th birthday! Anything is possible at The Lab! Former Lab Rat of the year runner up, another year down, another surgery down, this man makes Evel Knieve's medical record look thin.

Let’s just say Tom has a long history of surgeries totaling 14 inside of 3 years along with a list of injuries/maladies including: Cushing’s disease, brain tumors, 2 torn rotator cuffs, a broken clavicle, 2 torn hamstrings, a broken hip, broken foot, torn Achilles, 3 hernias and two operations, LAD Stent, L3, L4, L5, S1 Laminotomy, L4 Foraminotomy, Left elbow Bursectomy, Kidney stone removal, and degenerative spine disease in his lumbar and cervical vertebrae.

Tom has been training her for a few years now to continue on a road to wellness that is helping here other therapies have failed. He is convinced that with dedication, determination, and guidance provided by The Lab, the most disheartening of physical inflictions can be successfully dealt with and conquered.

Tom Majer

Mike Marker's Success Story - Lost 133lbs an cured his Diabetes

Mike Marker losses 133lbs

Dear Mike,
I was recently thinking about our journey and about all the times we reached a milestone from when we first started. Remember when we first met? I remember when you first walked in the door with a big smile on your face.  When we started all I could think was, “uh oh, this is serious.”
I remember all the funny stories you would tell me every day. I never knew if it was a way to get of some work or just your sharp charismatic personality.
Do you remember when we had to check your blood sugar every day to control your diabetes?
Or how about your blood pressure?
Do you remember when you were scared and nervous about going to the doctor over and over wondering what could possibly be next?
Do you remember all the weights you lifted, the bear crawls, the bootcamp conditioning, the stretching, and mobility work?
Do you remember how awesome it was when you first lost over 100lbs and we counted up all the calories it was that we burned off your body? That was an incredible feeling.
Do you remember when you came off all your diabetes and heart medication? That was my proudest day.

Do you remember when you did those 100 pushups in a row on your 50th birthday? I am still amazed.
Or how about all those clothes you had to give away that didn’t fit anymore? I still have your old pants hanging on my wall as a reminder.
Looking back, I want you to know how much this has changed me, how it made me better at what I do, going through the journey with you drastically changed me forever. But, also your story is now helping many other people take matters into their own hands and change their lives forever. There has been a ripple effect that has saved many now. You have a lot to be proud of, on behalf of them and myself, than you for having the courage to take this journey, the road less traveled, and seeing it through to the end. You are their champion and you are my champion. You have set the path for so many others and are truly the first true “Lab Rat” and founding member of our esteemed little society.
Your friend for life!
Justin Thacker.

Mike Marker
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