When is your next big birthday…30? 40? 50? 60? 70 years old? These milestones, like January 1st of every year, serve to remind us that we should start doing this or that. Usually things that we’ve been putting off like eating right, losing weight, joining a gym. This is where my story begins…
On January 1st, 2011, I decided that I would join a gym. My wife, Liz, had been a member at Body Fit for years and so I decided to do the same with a three month special including a fitness assessment by a Master Trainer (whatever that is) and three personal training sessions, which Liz was benefiting from but why would I need those?
Now you must understand that my previous knowledge of fitness consisted of participating in sports sporadically, which made me “fit”. I ran a bit, played some hockey and played some golf so I was fit, wasn’t I? I met Hollay, my personal trainer and she put me through a beginner training program designed by the “Master Trainer”. I did my three sessions and found out that the mirrors on the walls weren’t for vanity appreciation but rather to actually check your form when using free weights, the machines were there to help you do the exercises without hurting yourself and bouncy balls, medicine balls weren’t really volleyballs. There was this step box made of wood and you could jump it at three different heights. And then there were cardio machines, Hollay would say if you don’t do at least 20 minutes you may as well not do any cardio.
As the weeks went by working on my own, I started to feel better and noticed improvements in all areas of my fitness level but I had reached a plateau. I needed to go to the next level. I had an approaching milestone on October 15th, 2012…I would turn 60! They say 60 is the new 40, that’s only true and will only be said, by the healthy fit people. In June 2011, I started a weekly personal training session with the mysterious master trainer, Dale Andrew. I don’t know this for a fact but would say that there aren’t that many Master Trainers in North Durham where they have achieved a Masters in Kinesiology; in fact there aren’t that many Master Trainers, especially ones that throw telephone poles and rocks for fun and recreation. We did a fitness assessment and set some goals. I wrote them down. The most obvious was to lose weight, 25 pounds to be exact by October 15, 2012. More importantly, I wanted to get fit not with a ‘21 year old’ six pack but to be as fit as I could be for a 60 year old. Dale worked with me designing and changing customized programs to keep things interesting and not have the muscles get “lazy”. I started working with the dreaded free weights and then the bar bells and the Smith. We did fitness assessments every few months and sure enough results were showing up:
- Resting heart rate from 87 to 63
- Blood Pressure 147/102 to 125/80
- Waist size from 36 to 32
- Chest size increase/ arm circumference increased (muscle build)
- Flexibility improved
- Weight loss 27 pounds by June 2012
- now maintained5 prescribed medications down to 2
And along the way, I was able to jump the step box from 12 inches to 18 inches to 24 inches. I remember that day when I jumped that 24 inch level for the first time, I was pumping my fist through the air wanting to tell everyone, but I didn’t need to because Dale was there and Hollay was there and they both noticed it and were happy for me. (Well Dale said “I guess we’ll have to add a 30 inch level”) . Through that year and a half, I met some great people, was always greeted by friendly staff and got to know the owners, Andy and Melanie.
Milestones are sometimes seen as negatives but I say embrace them, use them to motivate yourself to be better, to achieve. I’m now 60, I’ve never been in better shape and I can now enjoy all those 60 + discounts at the stores and, I look forward to being asked for my ID. Now I look forward to my next milestone OMG 65!!! The new 45!