He took his life back – and you can too!
I am a Certified Financial Planner by profession. I help people to prepare financially for the latter years of their lives. In my 30 plus year practice I have seen many people spend their lifetimes chasing financial independence. Sadly, once achieved, their financial independence is spent on trying to patch their decaying bodies. Both financial independence and physical independence are critical to a successful and fulfilling life.
In September 2007, I began my own journey to physical fitness. Like many busy parents, I spent my time mostly on my business and family, often neglecting myself and my health in the process. My family medical history is laced with diabetes and obesity. A combination most often is a recipe for a short life span.
My own AH-HA moment occurred when my doctor told me I was pre-diabetic. This wake-up call became the official beginning of my journey to wellness. My first action was getting a membership to HAC.
Like many, I assumed I knew how to exercise and that simply my failure was in not doing it. My routine felt like I was taking positive action, but I really didn’t know what I was doing. Six months into my membership I injured myself out of ignorance of a proper fitness regimen. The doctor prescribed physical therapy. In physical therapy I learned the importance of core exercise as well as building your upper body and leg strength.
One day at the club, I caught a few minutes of Rachael Ling teaching an introductory class on a new fitness regimen called TRX. Surprisingly, it incorporated many of the core-focused exercises and principals that the physical therapist had prescribed. I signed up immediately and began a weekly class. It was extremely challenging at first but slowly I saw progress. I consulted with Rachael casually on the balance of my regimen and she kindly provided me with many beneficial suggestions. Cardio then began to become a regular part of my weekly routine.
Over the next five years I participated in a variety of classes and engaged the services of HAC Personal Trainer, Kevin Braley. My regimen always included cardio and TRX. At various times I have participated in Kettlebells, BodyPump, Cycling, Small Group Personal Training classes, Yoga and even the massage facilities. The variety keeps it interesting and also helps mix up the muscle groups being challenged.
Today I have completely changed my physical self which has improved my emotional health as well. This sense of accomplishment is more significant than any other goal I have achieved.
For the more analytical types reading this story, my blood results significantly improved. I went from pre-diabetic on my A1C count to not at risk. My body fat reduced by 7%, and the measurements of my biceps, chest, calves, and thighs increased, while my neck, wrists, waist, knees, and ankles decreased significantly in size. The measurement that meant the absolute most to me was that my Resting Metabolic Rate went from 1550 calories per day to 2200 calories per day. This means I now burned 650 calories more per day just to sustain my body’s daily function. This is due to a muscle mass increase. The last statistic I want to recognize is the difference in my heart rate during my cardio regimen. I used to spike to 170 beats per minute, (measured by an externally mounted heart rate monitor,) but I can now set the machines at the highest setting they have available for 45 minutes in duration and my heart rate will not exceed 140 beats per minute. That’s evidence of a strong heart and good cardiovascular health.
A few years back I read a book that significantly influenced my methods of fitness. The book is Younger Next Year by Henry Lodge, MD and Chris Crowley. The concept behind the book is that genetically we have not evolved as much as we think over the last 1000 years. We are very influenced by the way our bodies store food for winter or for summer while food was in plenty of supply. We also have a predisposition towards decay or aging unless we fool our cells into thinking we are in growth and youth mode.
The key here is to keep your genetic time clock thinking you are in a growth mode. This comes from exercise and breaking down the components of your cellular structure. The rebuilding sends a signal that your body is in growth mode. Decay mode is triggered when you are sedentary. The long term effect of this cellular trickery is to lengthen the quality of your health and delay the process of decay.
We may not be able to push back the ultimate day of our demise, but we can certainly live a better quality of life, long into our 80s. Hockessin Athletic Club has been the center piece of my journey to fitness. My involvement in the club usually includes being at the club 2 hours per day five days per week. HAC has become a very familiar place for me. The staff at HAC know me and treat me like one of the family. It makes it so much more enjoyable to go and workout. It also greatly helps keep the discipline and to stay on track when you feel welcome and comfortable.
Speaking of discipline, you may be saying to yourself “I can’t commit to 10 hours per week.” First of all you are awake 18 hours per day seven days a week. That’s 126 hours per week you are not sleeping. Considering the relatively sedentary lives most of us lead I think it is reasonable to dedicate ten hours of those one hundred and twenty six awake hours making ones’ quality of life better. Sorry for all the numbers – but like I said, I am a financial planner!
There are a whole closet of reasons that might make you think you could not commit to that amount of time. But all of us are given the same number of hours in a day and we choose how to invest our time. Choose wisely!
Thank you Hockessin Athletic Club for providing me the best environment to create my best physical self, and for inviting me to share my story.