I am turning 50 this year. I have been married for 28 years and have two boys, ages 16 and 18.
Why did you come to One On One?
I saw the One On One flyer in my mail a few years ago and tucked it away for just over a year. In the meantime I had a major knee injury and a couple of surgeries and was trying to do an exercise program on my own but found it nearly impossible with my limitations, so I decided to call. It was a difficult call to make … I was on crutches, in pain, on pain medication, and overweight. I had been going to a gym on my own, but only able to crutch around the track for a cardio workout. I wanted to do some strength training and knew I couldn’t do it on my own.
What does your exercise regimen consist of? How often do you exercise?
I see my trainer, Danny, twice per week. My workouts with Danny consist mostly of upper-body strength training, as I am still dealing with my knee injury and am having my sixth knee surgery at the end of February. On my own, I do one other day of strength training as well as some sort of cardio training two to three times per week.
Have your views on fitness changed over the years?
I have always been active, playing high school and college sports, then on to hiking, backpacking, and mountain climbing with my husband. After having our two boys and starting an air charter business with my husband, fitness was not a priority. Once the boys got older and we moved to Calgary, it began to take more priority. Now it is a necessity with my injury.
How do you fit exercise into your life?
Fitness is a priority … it is on my calendar as an appointment not to be missed. Typically I start each day with some sort of exercise.
Why do you make time for fitness?
I really do not have a choice. I am in chronic pain but am trying my best not to be on daily pain medication. In order for me to do that, I need to stay physically active for my mental health as much as for my physical health. My boys are going to be out of the house in the next couple of years, and I want to enjoy adventure travel again with my husband. My climbing days are over, but I am hoping that cycle touring can be part of my future.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of fitness for you?
It has been very rewarding to see my progress. I came to One On One on crutches, not being able to warm up on a machine (I crutched around the block outside). It is rewarding to set a goal and, with the help of my trainer, to be able to meet that goal and set a new one. Also, I feel very proud when my 18- year-old son gives me a high five when I come home from the gym and tell him what I have been doing.
What has been your biggest challenge?
In February 2013, my surgeon told me I needed to find a non-physical interest (he suggested theatre). That was devastating for me to hear. He felt that my knee could not get any better and that I needed to accept that I was going to have to be less active. Although I have nothing against theatre, I did not want to give up. One month after he told me that, I (along with my husband and physiotherapist) signed up for the Vancouver Whistler gran Fondo, a 122- kilometre bike ride with more than 1,400 meters elevation gain. I completed this bike event in September 2013. It took 8.5 hours in total, 6.5 hours in the bike saddle. It was the hardest thing I have ever done.
What did your friends, family or spouse think of what you were doing?
I have had various reactions from family and friends. Some think I am crazy, mostly just due to lack of understanding of my situation, and they don’t like to see me in pain. Although, everyone is super supportive, even if they can’t really understand why I have to do this. It’s either be active and deal with the pain, or do nothing and still have pain. Doing nothing is not an option.
What do you eat?
I eat mostly fresh vegetables, both cooked and raw with chicken, bison and fish or other seafood. I try to stay away from wheat and gluten products, as I have found it does affect the inflammation in my knee. I always have a fruit and Greek yogurt smoothie daily. I drink 12-plus cups of water per day.
When you fall off track with healthy eating / exercise, how do you get back on?
My body usually tells me that I have fallen off and need to get back on track. I have finished beating myself up over making bad choices … everyday is a clean slate.
What are your goals now?
I have a couple of goals. I would like to lose another 20 pounds. I don’t need to be “ripped,” just to give my joints a little less weight to carry around. I am hoping to start training for another gran Fondo soon. I have another knee surgery coming up, so it depends on that to a certain amount as to when I can start training and how much training I can do. Also, in the back of my mind I would love to be able to do a five- to seven-km Spartan race. I am not sure if that is possible, but I am hopeful.
If you could give advice to another person who was struggling with their fitness, what would that be?
I would say just take that first step. The gym is not just for “ripped” people. I felt very intimidated to call One On One the first time to make that appointment. Don’t be—there is no judgment from the One On One team. You can gain so much confidence in a short period of time because the staff are so supportive.
Any other comments that you would like to add?
When I started going to One On One I was trained by Jay. He was great to work with. I remember saying to him, “I can’t do that.” He would say, “Sure you can—just try one.” I now work with Danny, and he has the same attitude—just try. That is my new motto: “Just try.” I can’t do everything I try right now, but maybe someday.
My goals now are to maintain my fitness level as I age and possibly reduce my body fat percentage. I also plan to continue to challenge myself to do my best every day.
Find something active that you like to do. Join a class. Find a personal trainer or a friend to keep you motivated. Set specific times for your workouts and stick to them. Start small and gradually add length and frequency to your fitness regimen.