Saturday, February 24, 2018

Energize Your Goals

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by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner

“Go get some exercise.” That’s what member Dan was urged by his physician. It was a familiar scenario: a sedentary job, parenthood, general fatigue, and creeping numbers (cholesterol, blood pressure, weight) …

Dan did not have a life-or-death health scare to overcome. He did not need to lose an excessive 100 pounds. He was not trying to avoid joint replacement surgery, or any surgeries.

Dan wanted improved quality-of-life.

His goal was to play comfortably on the floor with his three-year-old son, without exacerbating back issues he developed from toting him around in the baby carrier combined with a harsh winter of snow shoveling. He also wanted some energy along with that ability—you know, to motivate him to do the dad stuff. Of course, he also wanted to lower those elevated numbers, which seemed to sneakily creep higher.

Dan ‘Fesses Up

Dan admits he never was athletic. Unlike his buddies, he did not exercise. His brother is a runner. Dan thought races and running “looked like torture.”

Until his last job switch, his work kept him mobile. Once that changed, so did his body. “I had to do something. I wanted to be happier and healthier for my child, my wife, and myself,” he shares. 

Setting Goals

Peter (left) and Dan.

A two-minute jaunt from his office, Dan joined the Center knowing he would love the convenience of exercising during his lunch break.

He met with Personal Trainer Peter who evaluated his fitness level and developed a plan. Although Dan’s goals have significantly evolved, one year later he still trains with Peter.



Dan began with two basic goals:

  1. lose 30 pounds.
  2. train his core to support his back. As his cortisone shot wore off, pain was gradually returning.

Round one: done!

Path to Self-Discovery


With his first set of goals met, Dan was motivated for more. His next set of goals:

  1. lose 10 final pounds.
  2. get stronger for better functionality.
  3. become more athletic. (Dan is still stunned by his emerging inner-athlete.)
  4. accomplish two 5Ks.

Round two: done!

Now an avid exerciser, Dan misses his workout when he cannot make it to the Center his usual four times weekly. It has become part of his healthy lifestyle, along with a complete change in diet to establish healthy eating habits. He especially cannot miss his training sessions now. He just signed up for a Spartan Race and the NJ State Triathlon. What he once deemed torturous, he now defines as fun.

Monitor progress. Watch fitness levels evolve.

“It is important to continuously set new, reasonable goals. It helps me remain dedicated and properly challenged,” Dan says. He also recommends members take advantage of their free nurse assessments. “Following my progress through the nurse evaluations was a huge confidence booster.” His need for all new, smaller clothes was also a nice motivator.

Pointers from Peter

When getting started, keep fitness goals basic. Dan wanted to increase his energy level while improving strength and overall health—goals strived for by almost everyone. Here’s Peter’s method in helping members accomplish this:

  • Evaluate your overall fitness level to customize training for the safest, most effective workout.
  • Build endurance, strength, and coordination using low-intensity exercises, body-resistance training, and light equipment.
  • Acknowledge progress. Proof of improvement leads to self-motivation. As you feel and look better, you will realize this new lifestyle is actually working. This leads to bring-it-on attitude!
  • Gradually introduce more complex workouts. Incorporate bursts of explosive cardio into your training program. Work more with free weights, if you have not started yet.

As body fat was sculpted into muscle, Dan’s focus was redirected on developing (and then increasing) athleticism. Peter shares insight, “The more you advance, the more focused you become. Goals become more specific. Aspirations become clearer, even ones you never knew you had.”

What will be your “Spartan Race”?


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