|I checked myself into the E.R. at Legacy Salmon Creek with chest pains, but that wasn’t the only reason I decided to join Northwest Personal Training. Two other self-awakening, rear-end-kicking, and ultimately life-changing experiences motivated me to invest in my health and fitness. In my late 30s, as a way of coping with stress, I developed a bad habit of eating super-sized lunches in restaurants every single day. They were my refuge, places where I could escape from work for an hour, read a book, and satisfy my craving for the brain-chemical rush that comes from high-glycemic carbs and caffeinated diet soda. My favorite was a pizza joint, where I justified my over-consumption of pepperoni pie by eating a salad first. One day, I was devouring a giant Mexi-pizza all by myself when a friend and her parents came into the restaurant and stopped at my table to say hello. They were kind enough not to say anything about my lunch, but I was mortified.
Another wake-up call came on a cold and rainy day at Dog Mountain. I had driven up the Gorge for a hike with three friends. They were long-time runners. I was an experienced outdoorsman-turned-couch potato. With the mistaken belief that I could keep up based on my past years of hiking on trails all over the region, I started up the calf-stretching path and soon was red-faced and winded. My friends waited for me at every switchback, probably to make sure that I hadn’t collapsed. We reached the top approximately one week later, or at least it felt that long to me. Right then and there, I realized that my all-you-can-eat, sedentary, stressed-out lifestyle was keeping me from enjoying one of the activities I loved the most. I went home and told my wife that I was unhappy and that I had to change. She gave me a gift certificate for a trial membership at NWPT. After completing the intake forms and enduring my first measurement of body fat, I took the initial steps of replacing a restaurant food addiction with regular exercise and better nutrition. The process took a while, and I had a few setbacks, including one time when I fueled up for indoor cycling with a drive-thru bacon double-cheeseburger and waffle fries. That never happened again. At NWPT, I met some wonderful people. The trainers are expert instructors. They’re fun and friendly, too, always greeting me by first name. NWPT staff and clients are close – like a family. As I began to look forward to taking group classes and personal training sessions, I reduced my desire to over-consume food and increased my level of fitness. I began to see and feel the amazing results. I lost 40 pounds of flab and gained strength and flexibility. My blood pressure went down, and my cholesterol ratio improved. I had more energy and a positive outlook.
Now, as a NWPT client for almost 10 years, I’ve achieved many goals directly related to the transformation of my health and fitness. I’ve done the Seattle-to-Portland bike ride and numerous century rides. As an avid runner, I’ve competed in dozens of 5K, 10K and half-marathon races, sometimes finishing in the top three of my age group. I’ve finished several relays, including Hood to Coast, Cascade Lakes and Ragnar NW Passage, and I’ve competed on a team in the Lake Stevens Half-Ironman. Most recently, I ran 30 miles on an ultra trail race in southern Utah at elevations over 7,000 feet. I’ve backcountry climbed and skied in the Spanish Peaks of Montana and taken countless hikes with friends, including multiple ascents of South Sister and Mt. St. Helens. Thanks to NWPT (and my wife, who is a member, too, and my mom, who also encouraged me throughout this journey), I’m a happier and healthier person, looking forward to new challenges and always striving to “live life to the fullest!”