At age 60, I thought I was in pretty good shape, having been a member at LA Fitness for about 10 years. However, I was feeling like I had reached a plateau and needed to try something different. So I signed up for a 6 week challenge at FIT. Oh, it was different allright! I had never been exposed to that kind of activity and intensity before. In addition, because I wanted to lose weight, Aaron gave me a strict Fit nutrition and portion-controlled food program. I really dove into it with serious intention. After the first year, I had lost 20 plus pounds and was feeling stronger than I ever had.
Over five years later, I’m still here. I’ve gained some of the weight back and have played with various nutrition elements over the past few years. Staying as strict as I had that first year was unsustainable for me. Avoiding grains is the #1 thing that I’ve kept. And trying to keep carbs under 50/day has helped me maintain.
My frequency of attendance has varied, although I’ve never come less than 2x per week unless I was sick or out of town. Every time there was a challenge I would get used to coming more often and feeling better. This last fall challenge of 21 consecutive days motivated me to start the Unlimited Membership. I realized that I felt so much better coming 5-7 days a week rather than only 2 or 3. It’s like my body couldn’t be sore and stiff for long because the next day I would work out all the kinks.
Being one of the more “senior” members at FIT, I have to modify a lot of the activities. For instance, I could not do a full burpee; I just didn’t have the strength and so would modify using a low bench. During the fall challenge, when one of the workouts included doing just five burpees at a time, I thought I’d try the full burpee and I did it! I was amazed. I realized I could do it as long as I didn’t have to do more than five at a time. Recently, when the workout was as many burpees as possible in 3 minutes, I was inspired to try and I did 8 in a row, the most I’ve ever done. I know it sounds silly but the point is that I had improved! I finished out the 3 minutes with sit-ups as suggested by one of our coaches. And the wonderful thing is that I can do every workout at my own level. I really appreciate the ability of all of our coaches to give me alternatives that work for me.
Some days I don’t feel like coming in but, I know when I do, I will feel better when I leave. A little trick I tell myself is that if I feel like I can’t continue the workout, I can leave. It’s like giving myself permission to go home if I just can’t handle it. Well, so far I’ve only left once in 5 years. My goal is to JUST SHOW UP.
Currently, my personal motivation for staying strong and fit is my 4 1/2 year old grandson. He’s with me several days a week and he wants to play ball, run around in circles with me chasing, play hide and go seek, etc. I don’t want to be the grandma who sits on the couch and just watches him play. I want to play, too. Being a FIT member helps me to play!
Photo by Jakob Owens
Photo by Liana Mikah
Photo by Maria Fernanda Gonzalez
Find Your Sustainable Change
It’s safe to say I’ve learned a great deal about training, performance, health, nutrition, and hormone optimization over my years as an athlete and a trainer. Most of it, I’ve learned the hard way. When I read or hear about most things training or performance related, I like to experience them for myself to decide if they’re effective for me. And, when I find something that works, something that helps me feel better or perform better, I stick with it.
I have found that those of us who aren’t willing to step outside our comfort zone learn very little and often struggle to see the change we desire.
I have also found that our most successful stories of weight loss, performance gains, and overall goal-reaching have come from people who are willing to tinker around with all sorts of different combinations of nutrition, training, and recovery. These are the people who are willing to be patient, learn, and occasionally go to the extremes to find out what their capacities are and then dial it in from that point. Then, it just becomes a regular part of the their routine. When you perform at a higher level, look better, and feel stronger and healthier, it’s hard to go backwards.
As we approach the new year, I encourage each of you to begin to think about a learning experience that will allow you to dial in on something that will, in the long run, end up being not only sustainable, but a way to learn something new about yourself.