The Exercise Space

Instead of setting a goal to “get big muscles” or “lose weight”, my trainer, Dawn Brent, worked with me to set a long term goal of “feeling better in the long run” – better endurance, more strength, better mood, and feeling comfortable in the gym. I had a vague goal of getting in better shape to do a bit of Kayaking again and signed up for 6 sessions with her.

Soon I was coming home jazzed about working out. It was a break away from my daily routine at work and great stress buster. And I started getting visible results. My partner, Mark, began noticing this and decided to join the gym as well. Mark is a tough critic and had much less experience with any kind of activity than I had. I was convinced that with Dawn’s expertise and winning professional attitude, this was his best chance for success.

Pretty soon we were both coming home excited about our progress. We both had meal plans and helped support each other in stick with them. I changed my schedule so I could car-pool with Mark and arrive at work by 6 a.m. This allows me the time during the day to work out and still get home by 5 or 5:30. And on the days when I’m resting, I can use the time to put in overtime at work without taking the work home with me.

When I started, I couldn’t do four pushups. 15 minutes on the stair machine was enough to wipe me out for several days. After all, I’m 46 and I’m not one of those guys that looks like I’ve been working out all my life.

Six months ago, if you’d told me I would accomplish the following, I would not have believed you:
• Loose 5 inches in my waist
• Have better body definition and endurance than I did when I was 19
• Loose 26 lbs of fat
• Gain 8 lbs of muscle
• Wear 31” waist size jeans (the last time I got into these I was 26!)
• Entirely eliminate monthly chiropractic bills
• Have blood pressure (112/70) and cholesterol a 30 year old would envy
• Work out more than an hour a day, 5 days a week, the equivalent of running 3 – 5 miles a day
• Feel more energetic after a workout than I do before I begin the workout
• Look forward to going to the gym
• Drive downtown on weekends and spend 2 hours on each weekend day working out
• Never be hungry and still loose fat
• Give up sweets without missing them
• Have better sex than I did when I was 30
• Get to work at 5:45 a.m. just so I can have time to work out
• Handle stress at work better
• Be more assertive and confident at work
• Catch really fit guys watching my unique workouts
• Have a better sense of humor
• Enjoy fall and winter in Seattle without feeling tired
• Perform 85 pushups
• Perform 180 crunches
• Loose my “love handles”
• Reduce my risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, depression, and diabetes (these all run in my family)
• Reduce my body fat 5% points
• Gain back a feeling of living “in” my body, not just “with” my body
• Have a renewed and enthusiastic relationship with my partner that includes regular discussions of workout routines

Get a personal trainer. Dawn made it easy for me to create a meal plan and understand how to be creative with meal planning, something that’s always seemed like an impossible math problem in the past. Now, instead of wearing myself out, I can come in feeling tired and leave feeling energized and alert after a workout. And it’s a far cry from wrestling in the cold mud with a chili cheese dog threatening to spoil the experience.

I plan to start Kayaking again in the spring. Mark has regained an amazing sense of balance with Dawn’s coaching and has actually surpassed me in his body fat percentage measurements. His doctor has told him that if his blood pressure and triglyceride measurements are at their current levels in a year, he will consider removing or reducing the amount of medications Mark is taking.

We will be spending this holiday season shopping for new clothes as all of our belts are down to their last notch and our pants are about 5 inches too big. I’ve even started looking for tapered shirts again!

- Jim Simmons

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