Personal Trainer | Nutrition Coach
“Fitness is a journey, not a destination; you must continue for the rest of your life.” (Dr. Kenneth Cooper)
However, life often places detours on your fitness path, including during the 60day Challenge. The final week saw me traveling to bury my father-in-law. While I survived the weekend with my in-laws without alcohol, I lost three days of training and was unable to eat clean. Years ago, as a new pilot with Northwest Airlines, it was struggling to make ends meet while on probationary pay. Later, a number of issues arose. Working multiple jobs (Airline pilot, School Board Director, sports official, and union leader) while raising two sons and maintaining a home caused me to pause my fitness activities more often than I liked. Working on a Master’s degree also resulted in pauses. Serving as an elected union Representative was perhaps the biggest challenge, as I was always either on the phone or answering email. Nonetheless, I always returned to training.
I started in youth sports and was a high school varsity athlete lettering in cross-country and wrestling. It was intramurals during college and softball in the US Air Force. My wife and I both earned black belts in Tae Kwon Do during the mid-1980s. Following that my probationary year, we joined The Gym in Apple Valley, MN. Unfortunately, The Gym did not have childcare so we became founding members of Life Time as the Eagan club was under construction. Soon, Life Time purchased The Gym and I now had two clubs within 10 minutes of my home.
Fast forward through life’s vicissitudes and in 2017, I decided I wanted to set an ambitious fitness goal for my 60th birthday in 2018. Because it had been nearly 20 years, I first decided I wanted to squat twice my weight. However, some bad lumbar discs soon made me realize that goal might be unattainable. I then decided I would train for single-digit body fat percentage, something I had not had since college. I realized I needed some help and hired Life Time personal trainer Bob H. Bob was fantastic and I continue to train with him to this day. During our initial training, he convinced me to compete in my first bodybuilding show. The idea was to get as lean as possible. While I didn’t make single digits by my March birthday (10.5%) I was under 6% for the show just prior to Memorial Day.
While I put some of the weight back on, as 2020 opened things were going pretty well. In January, while on vacation, I set a personal record deadlift of 160 kgs. Since I had only recently incorporated that lift into my training I was quite pleased. However, while still in Hawaii, I started hearing about a new virus making its way through Wu Han, China. My wife works in medicine and I was an airline pilot so I knew this virus would soon reach the US. Indeed, on our flight home, my wife became concerned when she overheard a woman seated behind us say that she was returning from China.
Since it is still fresh in everyone’s mind, I will not go into the closures and difficulties faced by so many due to Covid-19. However, my youngest son and I both decided that we would build gyms in our garage. Unfortunately, global logistics were a nightmare. Even the compression bands I ordered took months to arrive. Add in too much TV, alcohol, and junk food and my fitness suffered greatly.
Enter the Life Time Hello Fresh Start 60day Challenge. I again worked with Bob on both a training and diet plan. I also stretch with Tony L. Unfortunately, Covid-19 protocols preclude my regular fitness testing with Natalie A. Bob always gets more out of me than I can on my own; often able to accomplish in 50-55 minutes what it takes me 80-90 minutes by myself. The only issue I have is the length of the challenge; I wish that Life Time would return to 90day challenges. Bodybuilders begin a cut for a show 12-16 weeks before the show. They tend to be leaner than average and if the goal of the challenge is to encourage a lifetime change in behavior then 8 weeks is insufficient to make a substantive change in a healthy manner.
My wife and I have trained at Life Time for well over twenty years. My children were part of our family membership and my younger son is an Onyx member. As an airline pilot, I have trained at gyms all over the country and Life Time is easily the best. I have spent enough money outfitting my garage that I will sometimes train there, but I fully expect to continue my relationship with Life Time for the rest of my life. I will train with Bob until he retires and stretch with Tony for years to come. When able, I will regularly run both resting and active fitness tests with Natalie. While I prefer the facility at the Eagan club, I prefer the culture at the Apple Valley club. There, members put equipment away and when they don’t, other members police their behavior.
No matter what place I finish in the 60day Challenge, I know I have won by renewing my commitment to a lifetime of fitness.