General Health and Wellness
At the Starting Blocks
My gene pool has some troubled waters. My father had a near-fatal heart attack when he was 60 (I’m 58), and my mother and both of her parents died of health-related issues in their early 50s. My fitness routine had consisted primarily of AMP and EDG cycling classes, cardio machines and light resistance training. My eating habits weren’t terrible, but they weren’t great either. My weight has fluctuated between 210 and 225 pounds for the last 20 years. It had been about 30 years since my weight was in the 180s-what I considered my prime. I had been living in denial that I was at high risk for an early demise if I did not take care of myself properly.
“Please do this. I need you to do this,” my wife said handing me her iPad with the 60day Challenge website.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because it would make you so happy,” she replied tenderly. “It’s also for selfish reasons. I want you alive and healthy for a long time for me, our kids and our grandchildren.”
My wife’s loving plea to take the Challenge grabbed me by the heart. I did want to be happy about how I looked and felt, and of course, I want to be there for my family for many years to come.
I looked at the 60day Challenge as a sprint before a marathon. I intended to make rapid changes in my physique in the short term, while establishing sustainable habits for the lifetime marathon ahead.
On Day 1, my coach, Rob L., helped me to articulate my goals: Lose fat, build muscle and establish a healthier lifestyle. My stretch weight goal was 190 pounds (spoiler alert: I weighed in this morning at 189-a number I haven’t seen in almost 30 years!) For building muscle, Rob suggested strength training with heavier weights. He cautioned that losing fat while building muscle is a balancing act. I needed to maintain a calorie deficit while eating enough protein to ensure that I could rebuild the muscles I was tearing down through strength training.
Rob showed me his own before-and-after pictures when he took the Challenge a few years back. Rob is only a few years younger than me and seeing his transformation was inspiring. He shared many tips that helped him crush his goals, and I took his advice to heart.
During the Challenge, I focused on shorter, less intense cardio sessions to keep my heart rate in the lower “fat-burning” zone. I’ve been strength training 4 to 5 days a week, with a heavy dose of ab workouts almost daily. In addition to AMP and EDG, I’ve enjoyed taking a variety of classes that I hadn’t taken before, including GTX, Alpha Conditioning, Barbell Strength and Gluteus MAXout.
I cannot say enough about Life Time’s staff and offerings. In the weeks that followed, Rob checked in with me regularly, answered my questions and offered helpful advice. The entire staff at Life Time has been nothing short of superb. Always encouraging and approachable and generous with their time in providing guidance on how to do various exercises. The Life Time Training app integrates seamlessly with my other fitness apps and has enabled me to track my progress with a user-friendly dashboard. The app also features numerous resistance exercises (with instructional videos) that I have been fitting into my daily routines.
I have the good fortune to be able to work remotely at Life Time Work. I start my day early with a workout. After showering and changing, my commute consists of a 4-floor walkup (I now skip the elevator). On days when I don’t bring my lunch, the Life Time Café has delicious meals and snacks that map to my goals. I’ll sometimes do an evening exercise class and almost always try to end the day with a trip (or treat) to the sauna, steam room and hot tub before heading home.
My new eating habits have been easy to maintain. I’ve relearned what and how to eat and rediscovered how fun cooking can be. I downloaded Coach Anika’s Lean + Tone Program from the 60day website. Her written materials and instructional videos have been invaluable during this journey. Life Time’s Protein Powder and other supplements are daily staples in my diet. With the kitchen scale, smartwatch, smartphone apps and bathroom scale, I’ve turned tracking calories, protein intake, exercise, and weight loss into a game that I can easily keep score on.
The Marathon Ahead
So here I am, almost 60 days later, 22 pounds lighter and more muscular and fit than I’ve been in 30 years. I feel as if I’ve found the fountain of youth. Throughout the Challenge, I kept reminding myself of my wife’s call to action: “It would make you so happy.” She was so right. I’ve been happy with the process, happy with my progress and happy with the prospects of a long life ahead. My family has been extremely supportive, and my daughters have told me at various times that they’ve never seen me happier in their lives. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to reimagine and reinvent myself and look forward to continuing along this lifetime path.