Hi there. This is post #2 of my reporting on, and sharing of my personal training program. I will be posting every week or two about my progress and learnings.
In case you missed it, here is Post 1, “A Mid-Life Training Program.”, which provides backstory.
So, if you’ve been following along, or know me, I’ve recently been on a pursuit. After being athletic and in great shape most of my life, I fell into a rut during the last 3-4 years.
Consider these blog posts to serve as milestones along my journey to better fitness, more energy, and fat loss. Better yet, let’s call them “switchbacks” since this is a big hill I’ve decided to climb.
This journey of mine is an important one. Until 2.5 months ago, every night I would lie in bed with a nagging regret that I had let another day pass without getting control of my fitness. Although I had never been happier in many respects, the fact I had let my fitness slide weighed heavy on me, in more ways than one. I was becoming lazy and soft. Worst of all was the fact I knew I was missing out on lots of things, fun things, as a result of my increasingly sloth-like nature.
It took me three years to take that first step into Elemental Gym and hire Steve Bechtel to be my personal trainer. Three years of hearing and seeing friends and acquaintances around town who were glowing and boasting about great results they were getting as a result of employing personal trainers (Steve Bechtel, Ellen Bechtel, and Jagoe Reid) at Elemental Gym.
Today, just 2.5 months later, I’m happy to report, I’ve lost 14 pounds and 7% bodyfat. Yeehaw! I still have a ways to go. This is a big mountain I’ve decided to climb, and I’m only beginning up the hill. But already the rewards are worth the effort. The aforementioned are measurable results that, ahem, I like. I like ’em a lot.
But so much more important than these stats is the fact that I have significantly more energy, I am happier, I can more easily bounce to the floor to have my endearing â€˜dogpileâ€™ with our three boys. These have all been wonderful signs of progress for me. Certainly, by all indications so far, it appears Iâ€™m headed in the right direction on my journey.
Beginning with this column, and in subsequent posts that will cover my pursuit of improved fitness, I’m going to put myself out there. In this age of social media and “sharing” and transparency, I’m going to disclose my beginning weight, current weight, body fat percentage, and who knows, possibly other measurements and stats. This is scary for me. But I do it in hopes of inspiring others to take the step I took, which has been such a positive change for me.
It’s not an easy step. It takes courage. I knew once I committed, I could not turn back. My health and future are too important. I tend to me my worst critic. I can be hard on myself. I would have to do my part or risk letting myself down.
I would need to get a return on my investment. On my emotional investment, physical investment, time investment and yes, my financial investment. As a result, hiring a personal trainer is a big step to take.
Sharon, one of my friends who is glowing from her own training with Jagoe, asked me the other day what my goal with the training is, and specifically, â€œWhen will you know that youâ€™ve arrived?â€
Wow â€“ this is a good question. A little unsure myself of the answer to her question, I said something to the effect of: â€œGosh, Iâ€™m just wanting to get into the best shape of my life.â€
So, my goal is to reach a high level of overall fitness. Thatâ€™s pretty general, though, so Iâ€™ve modified it to the following: I want for a realm of possibilities to be within my reach at any time. I want to be able to do a 50K trail run, a 25-mile day hike, an expedition to the top of the Grand Teton, or any other peak in our region, a 100-mile bike ride, at any time. I want to be able to do any of these things, or all of these things, without a bunch of new training required, and all with a good recovery.
I also want more energy. I want as much energy as our three sons have. I want it, and believe I can have it, gosh darnâ€™t. Itâ€™s important to me that I be able to snowboard with our sons, and do the crazy things that as boys, our sons will surely be doing in the coming years.
I want to have confidence when Iâ€™m standing in front of a tourism conference making a presentation. I want to feel comfortable walking down the street or having to wear a dress to a wedding, and I want to bounce back from any injuries or illnesses that may present themselves in my future.
Geez, I want a lot of things, don’t I? Re-reading all of those “I wants” makes me feel a wee-bit selfish. But justified, I think, because they’re all for the betterment of my health and well-being. (BTW, I’m happy to share some of my tips for working out and getting in shape during times that least impact my family time; working out at 4:45 am three days a week, when the kiddos are enjoying their R.E.M. sleep, is one of them.)
One of the great benefits of working with a personal trainer, besides the accountability and prescribed workouts provided, is the knowledge I gain during my workout sessions. Steve explains the science behind the exercises and the strategy thatâ€™s behind the â€œmadness.â€ For me, this knowledge gained helps me slug it out when it gets particularly difficult.
Steve has also provided guidance when it comes to nutrition and what I should and should not be eating. Absolutely, without question, adjusting my diet has helped me get the results mentioned earlier in this post. (Read: I’m not eating french fries, chips, cookies or pasta, and I’ve sacrificed some bread as well. But I manage to get some chocolate in.) I’m happy to share with you what I eat on a typical day. I’m hardly deprived. Email me if you’re interested.
In short, I’ve broken up with bad carbs. For comic relief:
For good measure, at the end of each of these posts, Iâ€™ll share with you one of the many nuggets of wisdom Steve shares with me.
There are three words that often come up when determining how to achieve weight loss and fitness improvement: Fast, Effective and Cheap. Steve feels strongly that at any one time, we canâ€™t have all three, only two. An example of fast and cheap might be following the Atkins diet. Itâ€™s fast and itâ€™s cheap, but in the long-term it likely wonâ€™t be effective. An example of effective and cheap might be committing to a walking or running program and some diet changes over the course of a year. This could be very effective, and could be quite cheap, but will take a while to achieve. The results likely will not come fast. Finally, fast and effective would describe what dedicated people get from working with a personal trainer. The work is hard, but when combined with good nutrition, can be delivered quite fast. (My own results in the last 2.5 months are proof of this)
One other I’ll mention, which is one I’m sure Steve’s other trainees hear, is “If you do what youâ€™ve always done, youâ€™ll get what you always got.â€ So, if you’re where I was almost 3 months ago, going to bed with regret that you haven’t taken steps to improve your health and fitness, then you can either roll over and have more of the same, or you can wake up and do something about it. I’m telling you, firsthand, the hard work is far easier than experiencing the nagging feelings of regret!
I want to mention that, true, I deserve credit for doing the work, and it is crazy hard work. And I get the credit for making positive changes to my diet. I get the credit for committing to make a change and for showing up. But my personal trainer prescribes the regimen, holds me accountable, drives me hard, and provides knowledge, all of which supports the bold action I was needing to take. How much is this worth? Very, very much. The pay off has far outweighed the costs.
So, to answer Sharonâ€™s question, when will I know that Iâ€™ve arrived? I think Iâ€™ll know Iâ€™ve arrived as long as I never arrive. As long as I keep going on this journey. Iâ€™m staying the course.
(BTW, I am extremely grateful to my husband, Jerry, for being such a huge support and loving cheerleader for me, my family for their support, and Steve and his team at Elemental Gym. All have been a big reason for my success.)
Please feel free to email me with any questions about my personal experience and for more about my situation, goals, information about the typical training sessions, etc. This isnâ€™t an ad. I feel strongly about the program Iâ€™m on, Elemental Gym, and the great results Iâ€™m experiencing and happy to share and encourage anyone. Or, check out Elemental Gym yourself, or email Steve, Ellen, or Jagoe, to get started with a personal trainer.