This tall, confident, 78 year old women strides into my office a little sweaty from her training . Her smile is beaming and her chest is puffed out a little. She says, “I just PR’ed (accomplished a personal record) my bench press!”
Ann trains two times a week with Justin at Tidewater Performance Gloucester. She loves the fact that Justin is not only telling her what to do, but why. As a former teacher she appreciates understanding why it is important to lift those kettle bells that way or why he has her do a particular exercise. She also appreciates the fact that Justin knows what discomfort may be ok and when that discomfort signals a need to modify an exercise. “He is really in tune with and respectful of my complaints of discomfort.”
The metamorphosis Ann has gone through compelled me to include her in this series. I also knew she had lung cancer and had part of her lungs removed a few years ago. So, I asked her to tell her story.
This eldest of five mother of four always valued an active lifestyle. She played basketball and swam as a young person. As an adult, she wanted to keep up with her active children. “When you have four kids, you need to be in shape enough to carry all those bags of groceries every week.”
“I have always been a walker…I kept in decent shape”, she says. Seven years ago she had lung surgery and was walking a little, but not really taking care of herself and not eating right. She admits to eating a half box of crackers at a time. “One day, my size 16 was too tight. I felt fat and unattractive and that started to affect my mood and self confidence.” Ann knew she had to do something, but what? She had a new doctor who encouraged her to get an appointment with a nutritionist and a personal trainer.
She did go to the nutritionist and went to a personal trainer back in 2011, but the personal trainer was too far away and she did not commit. “Because I did not start an exercise program, I did not start eating right.” It is a vicious cycle. But, Ann knew she had a responsibility to her children and grandchildren who she says “are not ready for me to give up yet”.
In August of 2012, she knew Tidewater Performance was opening in Gloucester near her home. She decided to give it another try. She stopped in before they were open and asked for an evaluation. They did it that day and that day she made a commitment to herself. “I knew this would take time. I decided I needed to make a financial and time commitment to change my life.” She gave herself to the end of the year.
Ann is eating better, feels more attractive, is stronger and has her confidence back. When her grandchildren say, “Grandma you look so skinny” she knows her commitment paid off.
Two years ago it took her 1 hour and 4 minutes to walk the Daffodil 5K. This year she completed it in 45 minutes!