Are You Auburn Strong?

Have you heard about The Rec’s Auburn Strong program?


Sydnie S. sat down with Pradyumna Lanka, a former participant, to find out more about the challenge and how it changed his health journey. Pradyumna has a success story that will encourage you to continue your pursuit of better health. After reading his story, you may be ready to take on the challenge yourself!

Be Well: Why did you decide to do the Auburn Strong program and what was your main goal? 

Pradyumna Lanka: If I’m going to be a better person tomorrow, I have to work on it today. It’s not just about being in shape; it’s about better health. If I work harder today, I’ll feel better tomorrow. I hadn’t worked out for six years before the program. I wanted change, and that meant I had to start as soon as possible. I heard about this program, and I thought it could really help. 


BW: How did you hear about the challenge?

PL: I was looking for personal training when I saw it on the website. The program included group fitness, fitness assessments, personal training, weigh-ins, and nutrition consultations. Initially, I was skeptical; I didn’t know if I could do it. I’m pretty lazy, but in the middle of the challenge, I became much more confident.


BW: Do you feel like you can accomplish more now that you’ve completed Auburn Strong? 

PL: Definitely. I am better today than I was yesterday, and I’ll be better tomorrow than I am today. Every day I am working toward a better me. 

BW: Did the program exceed your expectations?

PL: Oh, certainly! One of the best things was the constant interaction with Blake, a personal trainer helping with the program. He gave me tips, and every week I would get messages from Ms. Taylor asking about my progress and my plans. There was also a nutrition consultant that instructed me on food groups I should focus on. There was always a constant interaction with a group of people working together with my goal in mind. Each person had specific strengths: Blake trained me and Susannah motivated me. It was a group of professionals looking out for my best interest. 

BW: Did you ever find it difficult to stick to the plan? 

PL: Almost everyday. Even today I wanted to stay in bed. As a graduate student, I always have this guilty feeling if I’m not working toward my research or my life’s goal. Then I realize that I need to have time to myself; time when I can work on my body and my health. I know that if I workout today, I will be thanking myself in 50 years. It’s a habit. If you start today, it will stay with you. 

BW: Do you enjoy working out?

PL: I do. I’m motivated on the days when I see that I’ve lost 1 or 2 pounds. During the program I lost 22 pounds!

BW: Would you go through it again? Do you feel like you would need to or do you feel equipped to continue by yourself? 

PL: I would, but there are some aspects I wouldn’t need to revisit because once you know it, you always know it.

BW: Have your friends noticed a difference in your physicality? 

PL: Yes, I went home for the first time in two years, and everyone was shocked. The first thing they asked in the airport was about my weight-loss. They noticed that I was a much healthier me. 

BW: Do you feel like the discipline you’ve achieved with your health has rolled over to your schoolwork? 

PL: I prioritize my time much more efficiently now. At the end of the day, you are balancing several things at once! Now I am conscious of how I spend my time. 

BW: How do you feel you’ve benefitted most from the program? 

PL: Awareness about myself. I became much more aware of my body and my progress. 

BW: Would you say you were uneducated about healthy living before the program?

PL: I wouldn’t say uneducated; it was a lack of motivation. You have to make an effort to actively learn it instead of just reading about it on the internet. The information is always there to learn, but it takes more than that. 

BW: Is there anything you would like to add? 

PL: I would like to share this quote:

"If not me, then who? If not now, then when?" -Unknown

Are you ready to get Auburn Strong? Let us know in the comments below!

As always,

Be well, Auburn.


Photography: Jack P.

Majoring in graphic design, you can probably find Sydnie in the studio, either cozied up with her Bible and a cup of coffee or goofing around with her friends. She’s known for her love of dance parties, dad jokes, and all things seafood. Her favorite memories are from growing up on the river in Mobile, and her personal motto is “Love God, Love People.”

Often working with photography and typography, Sydnie dreams of changing the world through design. She can see herself becoming a web designer, real estate agent, house remodeler, wedding planner, OR the owner of a ceramics studio & coffee shop—she just hasn’t made up her mind yet.