60 Days to a Better Life
And just like that, I couldn’t make a free throw. When did my arms get so weak that I couldn’t even hit the rim?
I love Life Time for its big gyms and quality basketballs. In the off hours, a 74-year-old woman can dribble and shoot baskets without bothering anyone. Of course, I also love Life Time for the pools, steam room, sauna, classes, and café, but the only equipment I used was the stationary bicycles for cardio. I balked at even approaching any of those scary workout machines. Which ones were for arms, how much weight, and how many reps? I needed help.
At about that time, Life Time wisely offered its senior members a free Dynamic Personal Training session, which led to a weekly workout with Gipper. I told Gipper my only goal was to increase my arm strength so I could make a free throw. Once a week we tackled the machines. My ambition grew, and I added another weekly session to work on leg strength, core, and balance. I was introduced to more machines; they were not so scary anymore.
After a couple of months, I knew I was getting stronger, but, despite Gipper’s encouragement, I had not changed my diet (which ran to morning doughnuts and evening cheeseburgers) or my sleep habits (which often included TV binging until 2:00 am). Oh dear. That is when Gipper suggested (strongly) that I join the 60day Challenge, and I am so glad I did!
So many goals: I was prediabetic and taking pills for high blood pressure, so I needed to lose weight to keep those problems under control. I had already lost 10 pounds before starting the program, mostly by going to bed hungry, but I needed to lose 10 more. I wanted to do it by changing my diet, not just eating less. And I did not just want to lose pounds; I wanted to gain muscle and lower body fat.
I needed recipes to add protein and reduce carbs and fat, for weight loss and also to help lower cholesterol. I wanted to learn the best exercises for my age and goals, including tightening up my genetically weak abdominal muscles (known in my family as the “Doyle Stomach”). Equally important, as a widow living alone, I wanted to make new friends, as I had already begun to do through the wonderful Arora program.
60day was there to help, with the Saturday group workouts, nutrition advice, excellent trainers and facilities, and the Active Metabolic Assessment to help program my individual workouts. I added the treadmill to my cardio routine. The Saturday workouts were strenuous but enjoyable, surrounded by friends. I’m not much of a cook, and cooking for one isn’t easy. But 60day provided many simple recipes. Changing diet means changing buying habits, so I found myself spending more time in the produce department and also tried some tasty, nutritious prepared meals available at the grocery store and perfect for a single person.
During 60day, I continued my sessions with the one-and-only Gipper who has been so supportive, pushing me to my limit but always listening to my concerns and adjusting my workouts when needed.
It is difficult to make big changes in lots of areas all at once. I did my best. I could not make all the workout sessions. I had nutritional backslides when cookies prevailed over nuts and berries. But sometimes slow and steady wins the race. I checked my progress every week on that mysterious Life Time InBody machine that measures muscle and fat. One week, I moaned to Gipper that I had gained a pound. But he pointed out that the gain was in muscle, and my body fat percentage had fallen a bit. Small successes are important to keep going. To my delight, after 60 days, I dropped a few pounds, gained muscle, and lowered body fat. I’ll visit my doctor for blood tests next month and hope to see improved cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure.
My before-and-after photos may not show much change, but, for me, 60day was just the beginning of my journey toward better health (physical and mental). I have more energy now, not just for basketball, but for dance classes, piano, and other activities. My clothes are fitting better. Eight more pounds to lose, and I know I can do it!
As for my original goal, in addition to my nice layups, I can now actually make a free throw! Swish!