"I can't emphasize enough the importance of a trainer. To paraphrase Tom Landry, long-time coach of the Dallas Cowboys, my personal trainer makes me do what I don't want to do to become what I want to become."

Happy & Healthy Client

WHY SWEAT IT? Several years ago, I began to notice I ended most days oddly achy and tired. I thought it was due to my job and the jostling hour-long bus commutes. I was now in my sixties so there was that as well. Then, just over a year ago, a passing comment by a friend, confirmed by my doctor, alerted me to the troubling side effects of statins, the drug I took to lower my cholesterol. Some who have taken statins for a prolonged period have reported side effects including inflamed joints, impaired cognitive ability, and muscle pain and weakness. The warnings are thought to apply to only 5-10% of those who take statins, but they are chilling nonetheless. Perhaps, I thought, I was one of them. Within a week of not taking statins, my joints ached less. The side effects returned within days of resuming, no matter which statin I took. With my doctor admonishing “you must make lifestyle changes,” I stopped taking them altogether. I understood what he meant by “lifestyle change.” It meant real exercise and a fundamental shift in diet. There would be none of the blissful vision in advertising of “value meals,” fast food, and all you can eat dining. That would be a thing of the past. I started by changing my eating habits. Nutritional guidelines overwhelmed me so I focused just on minimizing saturated fat. This was especially effective because many foods I typically ate – beef, desserts, cheese, and eggs – were sat fat dense. I switched to non-fat milk. That might seem like a small thing but my theory was every gram of sat fat consumed hurt. My wife turned my meat-heavy Midwest appetite to simple cuisine like stir fries and hearty salads. And I learned to favor squash, swiss chard, bok choy, and sushi. (We’re still in discussions about eggplant.) Then I signed on with NWPT. I knew that to make a difference, I needed someone to press me to exercise hard enough. I committed to a package of training hours, met with a trainer, and scheduled twice weekly training sessions. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of a trainer. To paraphrase Tom Landry, long-time coach of the Dallas Cowboys, my personal trainer makes me do what I don’t want to do to become what I want to become. She does this by challenging me, adjusting my workouts when necessary to meet the goals we set for strength and aerobic fitness. And she keeps it fun. That’s important because if it isn’t fun, I won’t do it for long. Oh, and she listens to my complaints, but not really, also important. The realities of aging can be dismaying – aerobic capacity decreases 10% each decade; we lose muscle mass more quickly after the age of 50; bone density decreases 1% per year. Obviously, I can’t stop aging, but I need not hasten the process. Getting and staying in shape isn’t easy – your mind calls you crazy to sweat so! – but the reward is strength, balance, and vitality. Who wants a long life without that? My dad lived to be 93. He was a ballroom dancer all his life and had good health almost to the end. I don’t think that’s mere coincidence – the body is supposed to move. There is no guarantee, of course, I’ll make out as well as he did, but I like the odds maintaining a healthy body and mind offers.

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