Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Real-People Superpowers: More Goodness

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by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner

Part 2 of a 2-part series

Be inspired to greater heights with more stories to launch you. Strengthen your inner-hero …

Lois Hatolski, Fitness Variety Guru 

Lois in action.

Lois always has been physically active. Raised by parents who were not very healthy, she became determined to live better through exercise. She and her husband, Mike, are founding members at the Center. For Lois, the Center is an open “playground,” with limitless opportunities.

Mike is loyal to his twice weekly Cycle classes. However, Lois thrives on the Center’s variety. She participates in countless Group Fitness classes, including yoga, Pilates, cycling, and aquatics. After shedding some excess weight, she focused on increasing muscle mass. Her program expanded to include classes with high-intensity interval training and weightlifting.

Lois’ physician is impressed with her progress, as is the Center nurse who follows her. “The ongoing nurse assessments keep me on track. The personal trainer evaluations do, also,” says Lois who occasionally works with a personal trainer. Group Fitness classes are her favorite though. She likes the camaraderie, which sometimes includes the bonus of her husband.

Lois & Mike: fitness date!

Since joining the Center, Lois has noticed improvements that variety has made to her fitness endeavors. Performing diverse exercises allows her a full-body workout. “My muscle tone and definition has increased tremendously. The impact is greater than when just taking one type of class and calling it a day.”

An added benefit of her diverse approach, Lois now knows many instructors, trainers, and members throughout the Center. She even knows the Childcare staff from taking her grandson there for babysitting. “When at the Center, I’m part of a warm, friendly, encouraging community,” she notes. Lois’s radiant personality fits right in.

Rick Robinson, Exercise Scores after Years of Dieting

Rick strength training with Peter.

A positive health report can be our greatest wealth. Member Rick just celebrated his sixty-second birthday— in the best shape of his life.

As we age, an annual physical is sometimes approached with trepidation. If we aren’t committed to a healthy lifestyle, time wears down the body. One yearly check-up can easily become multiple visits with specialists as we try to overcome poor choices from our past.  

Rick got proactive ten years ago when his blood work revealed unhealthy cholesterol. By making gradual, manageable improvements, he circumvented the health issues often mistakenly associated with aging. Less than two years ago, he joined the Center. Since then, he accomplished the biggest strides of his wellness journey.

“My doctor of ten years is amazed by the progress I made over the past 19 months,” Rick informs. Despite almost a decade of dieting, it was not until he combined those efforts with frequent workouts that Rick achieved his goals. He lost 40 pounds, 20 of which since he became a member. His cholesterol returned to normal, avoiding the need for medication.

Rick’s Process

Trainer Peter slowly introduced Rick to the Fitness Floor. Decades had passed since Rick exercised. He started with basic stretching. Then, he learned how to use the fitness equipment and improve his cardio. He worked weekly with Peter during his first nine months of membership.

Working the equipment.

Rick now trains independently, although he occasionally meets with Peter. He takes advantage of the Center’s free nurse evaluations, motivated by following his continuous improvements. Recently, Peter added weight training to Rick’s workouts to increase his strength.

After every workout, he treats himself to sauna time and light swimming in the therapy pool. “Exercise, followed by a cooldown of stretches in the warmth, has eliminated my chronic achy muscles and sore neck. Now, I move easier and sleep better,” Rick attests.

Rick’s daily fitness routine is sacred to him. He feels a loss on the rare day he cannot visit the Center. (A diehard fitness warrior is born!) Up next in his repertoire: Yoga class.

Gretchen Cook, Overcoming Setbacks

Divorcing, selling her home, experiencing health issues—some of life’s biggest setbacks hit hard since Gretchen joined the Center in 2015. As often happens, challenges arrived one after the other. In the process, she admits, “I fell off the fitness wagon and had trouble getting back on.” She also admits she became a Center member at her doctor’s urging. Gretchen’s health was dangerously failing.

A concerned call from Gretchen’s personal trainer motivated her to abandon the couch and return to the Fitness Floor. At 5’6”, Gretchen weighed 288 pounds. She had serious work to accomplish. Her hurdles were compounded by thyroid disease, which is notorious for affecting weight and energy level.

Gretchen reaching big goals with small steps.

With renewed determination, Gretchen decided to make fitness one of the major life changes underway. With upheaval in other aspects of her life, she chose to take small steps toward fitness goals.

“I set little goals to avoid being overwhelmed. I listened to my body for encouragement throughout,” informs Gretchen. Currently, she is focused on losing 10 more pounds. This approach was successful for the first 88 pounds lost since February this year.

Slow but steady, she started exercising two times a week with her personal trainer. She advanced to six days weekly, sometimes visiting the Center twice in one day. “I force myself to go when I’m most tired,” Gretchen shares. In doing so, she energizes and develops a stash of reserves, used for things like long hikes with her new boyfriend. This is huge progress from a woman who used to get tired during the simple act of showering.

Gretchen’s surf & turf:
lobster dinner & grass-fed beef salad.

Gretchen emphasizes the importance a healthy diet makes. Hypothyroidism has made her extremely conscientious about food choices. She enjoys wholesome, “clean” food void of additives. Her diet is close to nature. Most dishes are homemade from organic, fresh ingredients. Every meal includes something raw, like fresh fruit or vegetables. However, she never feels deprived.

Gretchen is proud of her nutritious, and simultaneously tasty, creations. She allows a routine breakfast of fried eggs and bacon. Her diet also includes a daily dose of chocolate. Yet, the pounds are shedding, including 11 inches off her waist according to her last nurse assessment.

Her advice for making healthy changes: Keep high-protein nutritious snacks, like nuts, with you at all times. Don’t be hard on yourself. If you miss a workout or slip-up, start again—as many times as it takes. Commit to exercising every day rather than certain days of the week. When you have to miss, you’ll have the next day lined up and ready.

Remember: Each day can be the start of a new year.


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