Four months ago, I spent a week babysitting my two-year-old granddaughter in Brooklyn, NY. I flew in from Omaha, NE, ready for the challenge. Margot, my granddaughter, was excited to enroll in ‘Papa B’s daycare’ for the week and I was excited to make some lasting memories. I shouldn’t have been surprised when I couldn’t keep up. Margot wanted to run through the park, but I was left behind, gasping for breath. She wanted to go for piggyback rides, but I wasn’t strong enough. I was 66 and had the stark realization that I probably wouldn’t make it to my granddaughter’s high school graduation.
Margot was born in November of 2019. We visited soon after her birth and I can vividly recall the one-way conversation I had with this beautiful newborn as I held her in my arms. I promised Margot a future together. One filled with as many years as God would provide. Time filled with adventures, activities, hikes, whatever Margot desired. I promised that her Papa would be there for the adventure. I still remember the words I whispered into her tiny ears. I told her that when she would be 5 years old I would be 68. When she would get her driver’s license at age 16, I would be 79 and when she graduates from college I would be in my mid-eighties. It was at that very moment that I realized how little time I would have with Margot.
Three years ago, I was overweight and out of shape. I realized then that I couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to be an active Papa if I didn’t address my health and get into better shape. I promised myself then to lose some weight and get to the gym. But I didn’t.
In May of this year, I entered a new phase: Retirement. Time no longer felt like a precious commodity but an abundant resource. Our retirement plans centered around spending time with our children and, of course, the grandkids. My biggest unexpected blessing was joining Life Time in June. At the time, I thought I was joining a club with a nice pool. But, when I read about the 60day Challenge I immediately signed up. This was what I needed to even stand a chance at fulfilling the promises I made to my Margot.
I met my trainer, Chance S. at the start of the challenge. I weighed 216 lbs. My body fat percentage was at 32.9%. Chance and I bonded immediately. We built a workout plan together. He monitored several of my first workouts. Always patient and encouraging, telling me, “this is a marathon and not a sprint.” He found out I liked to golf and drew the connection for me that, just like in golf, each shot is important, and a hole-in-one is a miracle. I needed to focus on each and every step during this process. There was no “miracle” in fitness and improved health.
We talked about the importance of diet. We agreed on reducing carbohydrates and adding protein and we set some realistic goals; lose 25-30 lbs. and reduce my body fat percentage to the mid 20’s by the end of the 60day Challenge. I had lost weight before so I knew I could do it but I needed a kickstart and encouragement from a coach like Chance. And he delivered! I committed to working out at Life Time Omaha 6 days a week. I would do 6-10 weight training exercises and at least 45 minutes of cardio. I reduced carbs and increased my protein intake. Man, my body hurt! But I quickly saw results and it did not take long before I was feeling better and had more energy. After 28 days, I was down 20 pounds and my body fat had dropped about 6 percentage points.
Now, at the conclusion of the 60day Challenge, Chance and I met our goals. I weigh 184 pounds, a reduction of 32 pounds, and my body fat percentage is down to 22.2%, just over 10 percentage points. I feel so much better. I’m wearing clothes that I had tucked away at the back of the closet, hoping someday I would fit in them again. I look forward to working out and being active. And I am not finished. My goal is to lose another 25 lbs.
But most importantly, I now believe in my heart that I have more time with Margot and my three other grandchildren. It’s well documented that maintaining the proper weight, body fat, and physical exercise has a direct correlation with life longevity. I’ll be able to hike, bike, golf, kick the soccer ball, or whatever physical activity Margot, Josie, Serena, or Cora will want to do. Those experiences are priceless to this grandpa.
I give so much credit to the team at Life Time Omaha. Chance S was so instrumental in my success. I would text him almost every day about my workout and he would immediately respond with words of encouragement. Mark G, the club’s Fitness Director, would see me at the club and make it a point to stop and visit, encourage me and offer to help in any way he could. Ryan E is another trainer at the club that would stop by when he would see me working out and help with instruction and encouragement. I couldn’t have had these results without the help of the team at LifeTime Omaha. Thank you, Life Time.