Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Barbara's Story

Barbara had never been inside a gym before, but she's been going strong for over a year now, losing over 20 pounds.

I had two surgeries over the last five years. At my age, that seemed like a slow slide to a blanket on my lap in the old folks home. I liked to think of myself as robust and full of energy. Well, it seems most of my energy was being spent reading and cooking. The reading turns out to be sedentary, and my cooking, not to mention baking, was putting more calories on my plate that I needed to maintain my youthful figure. So, I was slowly turning into a round, though still wonderful version of myself. My cholesterol, blood pressure, and resting heart rate were on the rise.

I wanted to make a commitment to a positive change in myself, but had no clue how to go about successfully using a gym, and changing my eating habits. It all seemed overwhelming. I had the feeling that anybody who was successful at diet and exercise had started decades ago. I read about the Total Body Turnaround on the gym web site. I liked the idea of meeting a group of people who were setting out on similar fitness goals. I liked the idea of being part a group that encourages each person to meet their own goals for fitness and diet.

I started to keep my exercise journal. I enjoyed the way the TBT created simple workout routines that gave me real purpose when I was in the gym. I didn’t try to do too much. I didn’t get stiff and sore with every workout. I did discover the satisfaction of focusing on an exercise and working to improve my ability to complete repetitions and increase the resistance I used. Some exercises came easier than others. Some made me sweat a lot more than others.

The results of showing up six day a week started showing the first week. The changes were small, but they kept coming. There were little successes every day. Making the gym part of six days of the week was one of my big successes. I keep a gym bag in the car, and made the gym part of my trip home.

I now know how to adjust exercise equipment for my size, and understand how to select exercises that efficiently work my heart, upper and lower body. I dare to run during my aerobic workouts. I started with one minute during my interval workout. That slowly built up to the full twenty minutes, and running Greenlake.

I also discovered that the tensions of the workday just fade at the gym. I focus on my balance, breathing, and the improvements I’m seeing in myself. I also followed up with the doctor. My cholesterol, blood pressure, and resting heart rate are greatly improved.

I’m glad I found the TBT program. I know that each day I’m in the gym is a day I am taking the time to take care of myself.

- Barbara

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Colleen's Story

OK. How do I start to tell you about what the 12 Week Total Body Turnaround Program with Adam did for me? I'll start with just a little background on myself and that should help you to understand.

I am 45 years old and have 4 small children 11, 9, 7, and 4. My husband and my children mean everything to me. About 11 years ago I quit my job to be a full time mom and eventually began helping my husband start his own business. All has been great, but I did forget to care for myself physically along the way. I had only carved out a small portion of time over those past 11 years to workout and eat right. So when I joined SMB and joined up with Adam and the 12 week program, I really was excited but not sure how successful I would be. Committing to workout consistently every week can be a bit of a managing nightmare for me with kids in 2 schools and one child only in class three mornings a week.

When I first started out with Adam and the program, I was considerably weaker than I am today. My energy level was so low that I would end up sitting on the ground at times to even play ball with my sons.

As I started to meet up with my workout group or with Adam weekly, I noticed within three weeks that I could possibly make this happen. I could do this for myself. Each time I worked out with Adam I learned more and more about myself and what I could achieve. I tried to find some type of weekly workout whether it be meeting with Adam, running football drills with my kids if I couldn't get into the gym, or working out on my own in the kitchen of my own home. I would love to say that I would have been this motivated without being part of a program, but I don't know for sure. Adam’s program helped me to set a fitness goal, and make a plan to try to achieve it. With his support and the support of others it really helped me to stay on task. I tried to not be too hard on myself if I had a bad week and to ALWAYS show up for my next session and workout. After my first 3 weeks, I felt so comfortable coming to the gym and my mind set had really changed. I actually MISSED working out if my schedule conflicted, and was actually becoming more and more aware of what I was putting into my body.

Today, my energy has increased so much that even my kids make mention of it. The other night I was wrestling around with my boys and my oldest son said, "Mom, it's not fair anymore because you have been working out and you are stronger!"...as I had him pinned on his bed. He laughed and I felt very proud. OK and lastly, since my husband said I was writing too much, I have to say one final corny thing. On the final day that we all met with Adam to weigh-in and to take the fitness test, I was walking out of my home and my husband stopped me, gave me great big hug and kiss and told me how proud he was of me, which might not seem a big deal to most of you, but if you knew my husband you would know that he's a great man, but not one of many words, especially not with compliments attached. It meant the world to me, and I truly am proud of myself and of everyone that made it through the program. Whether we met our goals or not, we learned a lot about ourselves and we all have a better understanding of what we need to do to stay healthy. I don't know if I will win this competition, but in my own mind, I had already personally won many weeks ago, when I mentally made the transition for talking about getting healthy to GETTING healthy. Thanks Adam and SMB for all the support and encouragement. I feel better than I have in 11 years and I am happier with my family and friends because of it. I am wearing smaller clothes and feel great. Thank you!


Monday, January 01, 2007

Tim's Story

The Total Body Turnaround is the only workout program in which I have participated where I have actually succeeded in achieving my initial goal. At the beginning of the program, Adam had us write down one goal, and suggested that “losing weight” was not necessarily the best goal given the nature of the program. Although I did want to lose weight and inches, I decided that my main goal would be just to get used to exercising on a regular basis and to make exercise an integral part of my life. Adam’s program called for working out six days per week, and I decided that I would consider myself successful if I worked out at least five days per week. As it turned out, there were only a few weeks where I exercised only five days per week, and on several others I was enjoying exercising so much that I actually worked out every day, so I feel that I achieved my goal of exercising consistently.

As for my background, I am 45 years old and, over the years, what I considered to be an acceptable weight had climbed slowly but steadily higher. One or two pounds per year, over the course of 20 years, added up to my being at least 30 pounds over what would be a more healthy and “ideal” weight. My waist size had crept up from 36 to 38 to (gulp!) one with a “4” in front of it this year, and my suit size increased correspondingly. During my adult life I have belonged almost continuously to one gym or another, but have been very inconsistent about actually using them. I have worked with a few trainers in the past, and did have some improvements in strength and general health, but overall my workout schedule was sporadic at best and I never stuck with a regular exercise program for very long.

My job for the past seven or so years was extremely hectic and stressful, and led to many bad habits. In scurrying about downtown Seattle I would often be so busy during the day that I wouldn’t be able to eat any form of lunch until mid-afternoon, and this was after a breakfast probably 7 or more hours earlier. At that point I was usually so hungry that anything looked good, and it was all too easy to stop by the nearest Starbucks and grab a cookie, brownie, scone or whatever else was there. Even when I did eat lunch at a more normal time, I would almost always have at least one, and sometimes more than one, fatty, sugary dessert during the day. These bad eating habits were coupled with a lack of dedication to any form of regular exercise. I counted it a good week if I made it to the gym 2 out of 7 days.

I left that job at the end of August, and started a new (and less stressful) job in Fremont. I am only a 5 minute walk from Sound Mind and Body, and stopped by in early September to check it out. I liked what I saw, and coincidentally I saw the advertisement for the TBT program, which was starting in less than two weeks. Adam happened to be at the gym the day that I visited, so I met with him briefly and then we exchanged e-mails about the program. I decided to join the gym, and also decided that TBT was the kick in the pants that I needed to jump-start my return to regular exercise and to get me back on the road to a healthy lifestyle, so I signed up.

It was quite an adjustment going from 1-2 days (at best) of exercise per week to six. The program was challenging physically, and after the first few weeks of excitement I found myself being very fatigued during the day. I talked with Adam about this, and he provided good suggestions, including backing off a bit and taking an extra rest day if necessary. During the three months of the program I found that I had good weeks and weeks where I wasn’t quite as motivated, but Adam told me this was normal.

In addition to the exercise component, the program incorporated a much healthier six-meals-per-day way of eating. That too was an adjustment for me, and was perhaps an even bigger challenge than the exercising. I was so used to eating sugary treats during the day that for a while I had to fight off cravings for cookies or other goodies. But I was committed to sticking with the program, and Adam incorporated one “guilt free day” into the program every week, so I knew that I could have a treat if I waited until the weekend. Fortunately, my wife was very supportive and decided to adopt the new eating program along with me. Eventually, I found that I stopped craving those desserts, although if I go out for dinner and a dessert looks particularly good, I now will share it with my wife and still enjoy it.

After 12 weeks, I had lost just under 8 pounds, just under 2% body fat (I started out at over 29%, which kind of shocked me), 2 inches off my waist and 2 ¾ inches off my stomach. I increased my flexibility and my strength (I started out not being able to do a single unassisted pull-up to doing 1 ½, and doubled the number of pull-ups I could do at half my body weight). I want to lose more weight, but I know that it will come off eventually. Over the course of the program the number on the scale steadily, although slowly, went down. The extra pounds I was (and still am) carrying were added over a lot of years, and I knew they wouldn’t come off in 3 months. I realize it may take another year or more (and hundreds of hours of exercise, along with proper eating) to lose the remaining extra pounds and inches.

Although I am not where I ultimately want to be, I am very happy with the start I have made, and am committed to continuing the healthy habits I have developed. The results may not seem dramatic on the outside, but the change in my attitude and commitment is huge. A married couple with whom I am friends (one of whom is my boss) were so impressed with my new-found dedication to working out that they have hired Adam to work with them at their home. I have talked with Adam about continuing on with a similar workout plan in the new year, and am excited about the results I expect to see next year at this time. I realize that this isn’t a 12-week, or 12-month commitment – it is a lifetime commitment, which is particularly important as I approach my half-century mark. Thanks to Adam and the people at SMB Gym for starting me on the path to a longer and healthier life.