"Building A Body for Me" 

2017 Building a Body for Me Photo Shoot by Diane Hochhalter 


Building a Body for Me  

Building a Body for Me Project was inspired by the many beautiful women I have been fortunate to work with over the past few years.  They are strong, talented, women who give of themselves everyday. They know that life present  challenges that make it hard to stick to a healthy lifestyle. They know the feeling of defeat when stepping on a scale or looking in the mirror and wishing that there was more changes. They also know the beautify of success and the freeness that comes with celebrating the Small and Big mile stones in life. This is their story in hopes to inspire more women to become apart of this project. 

Remember to celebrate how far you have come, Remember this is your journey, and Remember to keep looking forward. 


Nicole Swenson

Hi! My name is Nicole Swenson I am 34 and I started Micaiah’s LivFIt class in June of 2015. I got started when a friend told me how much she enjoyed the class and she thought it was something I would enjoy as well. I wasn’t so sure about the 5:30 am classes but I am glad I took the leap to try the class and now not only do I love the classes the early mornings are my favorite time to work out. 

Being an athlete in High School and College I am no stranger to the gym and hard work, but as I got older and out of the regular routines the gym became a chore. I would usually go 3 days a week but it was always the same routine and I found myself getting bored. Now I love going Tuesday and Thursday mornings to Liv Fit as well as the gym on my own 3-4 other days. The routines are always different and challenging and the best part is that I find myself pushing to get better and better every time. Also when I am done with class I feel like I accomplished something good for me that day and I still have the majority of the day left to accomplish more. 

I have never been a small person but the mind set Micaiah has instilled in all of her clients is how you look and feel about yourself is so much more important than a number on the scale. I am a strong, athletic, independent person and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Our First Photo Shoot for "Build a Body for Me" Project


Natalie Portratz

Hi! My name is Natalie. My husband and I have 3 daughters. I teach 3rd grade here in Valley City. I love to start my day out with a good sweaty workout. Exercise fuels my energy levels and helps me to find my inner calm. Micaiah’s LivFit class, strength training, and walking my dog are some of my favorite ways to break a sweat, de-stress, and keep my life in balance.



Erin Metcalf

Fitness Journey – Erin Metcalf 

January 2015 

After the birth of my second child I was completely lost and at a very serious cross-road in my health & fitness journey. At 5’0” and 194 lbs. I was easily slotted in the obese category during my annual physical. I felt defeated, emotionally and physically! How could I let myself get to this point, how will I ever be able to keep up with my kids, how will my family learn to take care of their bodies if I can’t seem to figure it out, how do I even begin to get healthy? Crying after this very painful self-reflection I realized I NEVER wanted my kids to feel about themselves the way I did in that very moment. A commitment to better eating habits came first. Joining healthy eating groups, planning for meals, practicing appropriate portion control and learning to listen to my body. Losing weight became fun and I enjoyed weighing myself (yes, I said enjoyed!) each week to see how the hard work had paid off! 

Fall 2015 

After losing about 30 pounds I felt ready to begin the fitness portion of my journey. I was always an active child and young adulthood, but was never an over-achiever in the physical fitness department. LiFit with Micaiah was the first organized fitness class I ever attended. One of my friends was already a regular and thought we should go together. Oh my goodness it was fun, crazy, exciting and a just little embarrassing! I didn’t know any of the moves and really just jumped around for the better part of an hour, but it felt SO good! After all, that’s what this journey was all about right? Doing something that I hadn’t done before, stepping out of my comfort zone? That comfort zone was how I got to where I was in the first place! I only got smiles and encouraging eyes when I did the wrong move, zigged when I should have zagged, or wasn’t able to finish all the reps. It was a safe place where everyone knew the struggle and encouraged one another to get the most out of our short time together 


I still attend LivFit regularly and love to try other events Micaiah has dreamed up, boot camp, pool workouts, personal training, etc. Variety is the spice of life! I strive to push myself physically every day and set workout goals for each week. How many times will I be active this week, can I complete a routine I normally do with more reps, is there a new class or physical activity I can try? With this fitness plan and my commitment to mindful eating I’ve been able to maintain my weight loss since February 2016. Every time I’d like to eat that un-planned cupcake I think of how far I’ve come and ask myself, “Is it worth it?” Every time sweat is dripping in my eyes, struggling to do another rep I think “What would my kids think if they saw me not trying my hardest?” When life happens and I’m feeling weak, I pull out my list of whys and they (almost) always win. I’d like to say they win every time, but let’s face it, I’m only human! Take time to celebrate the non-scale victories like finally fitting into your back of the closet skinny jeans, feeling more energetic, hearing your kids say “I can put my arms around you!”, and loving yourself more than you ever have.


Darla Jacobson

Fitness Journey-Darla Jacobson 

I played sports growing up and never felt the need to have to work out when I was younger (which I regret). In 2007, I weighed the most I ever weighed (except when I was pregnant, of course) so I decided to join Weight Watchers and lost 30+ pounds. My goal was to keep it off. I realized that with a husband, three boys, and a full-time career as a teacher, the only time I had to myself was at 5:30 am. I began working out at home in my basement by myself. It was tough and lonely getting up that early at first but it didn’t take me long to get into a routine. About 6-8 months later, a friend asked me to start going to the Rec Center with her in the mornings. I was skeptical and nervous because I wasn’t familiar with how to work the equipment but I gave it a chance. Back then at the Rec Center, there were very few people that worked out at 5:30 am and those that did became “family” quickly so it wasn’t a big deal if I looked silly trying out a new piece of equipment. I began to enjoy exercising and I looked forward to it. In 2013-2014, I met Micaiah Lausche. She starting offering fitness classes at 5:30am called LivFit and I was thrilled. It was the change I needed on my fitness journey. Her classes are rarely ever the same and just when you think you know what’s next, she changes it up. If you feel that your body can’t do a move, she comes up with a different one for you to do instead. Like everyone, there are days I don’t want to get out of bed but I always feel better physically as well as mentally after a workout and that is what drives me to get there and stay with it. By the way, that friend that I started working out or attending a class with at the start of my fitness journey is still the same person I work out with today.


Tracy Zuan