I want to share with you a great (and ongoing) success story from one of my clients, Darren. I asked him to share his story because I have met tons of people in the same boat as the one he started in. My hope is that his story will inspire people to believe that they can achieve that amazing feeling of being alive and healthy again. That they too can find balance in their lives, be pain-free, and be able to do all the activities they love, no matter how young or old, or how fit or unfit they currently are. Here’s Darren’s story:
I’m a former college athlete in my mid-forties and had endured a pretty steady slide in my fitness level over the past several years. I had just suffered through my worst senior men’s basketball season ever. I couldn’t keep up – it was embarrassing. It was either time to quit or time to get off my ass. I spent every summer vacation at a lake in Saskatchewan and was embarrassed about my ever growing belly and would just keep my shirt on instead of letting it all hang out. I hated the way I felt but I had done very little to prevent it from happening.
It was either time to quit or time to get off my ass
I work a block away from a gym in Marda Loop, Calgary and had a dust-covered membership card from a few years back so, in the late spring I went for a run on the treadmill and was planning my big comeback. I knew I had to eat better, but I also knew I had to get back into the exercise world. Playing hoops Monday nights, followed by beer and nachos, was clearly not the answer! I knew I needed a boost to get me started. While on the treadmill that day I saw a trainer working with someone in my same weight and age class and they seemed to be having fun as well as working hard. I felt that if I had someone guiding me through the process, it would be safer (given where I was starting from), but would also keep me accountable. I won’t soon forget those first few workouts with Leigh where I had to do push-ups on my knees, I couldn’t do more than 1 or 2 burpees without needing to lie down and my core had become mush. I was determined that this would be my lowest point and I’d get better from here! I committed to the process and booked 36 sessions. I have just finished those 36 sessions and booked another round. I’m down over 20 pounds, have lost 4 inches overall, gained muscle on my arms and legs, and I feel great!
I committed to the process
The best part is my first 2 basketball games of the season have been miles ahead of last year so I have postponed any retirement plans. My shooting is a bit off so I clearly haven’t adjusted to the new found strength in my arms and legs! My summer vacation saw me shirtless on the beach and on the boat because my confidence was back. I played some of the best golf in years as well which I attribute to a much stronger core. I feel better at work and at play. And people have noticed the change – my basketball teammates, co-workers, relatives and most importantly, my wife!
I have many vices, most of which I won’t ever give up, but I can continue to enjoy if the rest of my lifestyle is in better form. What I’m most proud of is that I have continued to make progress through an exceptional summer that included a week of golf in Scotland with 3 buddies (who were shocked to see me sneak out in the morning for a quick workout before golf!!), a few weeks at the cabin in Saskatchewan on a family vacation and some pretty fun evenings through Stampede and other special events. I didn’t give up any of the fun stuff while still maintaining progress throughout.
Now I certainly did need to make some changes to my diet – most significantly during my work day. I love my Coca-cola and used to have one at lunch and then one mid-afternoon but have reduced my intake by a significant amount saving it for sugar and caffeine emergencies only. I eat better lunches (yes, side salads now instead of OJ’s delicious fries) and have kicked out the junky snacks that can be found at the office. But most importantly I work out twice a week with Leigh, play basketball twice a week and get to the gym one of those other days.
I’ll continue working with Leigh because I love the variety of exercises she comes with each day. And I love having someone give me that gentle encouragement when I’m struggling a bit where on my own I would have tapped out and cut the workout short. It’s been a program tailored to me that was realistic from the start and didn’t scare me away, even after those first few embarrassing workouts. The workouts have increased in intensity as we’ve gone along and it’s been a program that has produced results. I still have a long ways to go – another 10-15 pounds and more strength from head to toe but I think back to where I was last spring and am determined to never be there again!!