Taking care of people is in my DNA. I have been a nurse for twenty-five years, and I have had the privilege of taking care of countless people. I love caring for my two amazing children, Emma who is now nineteen years and Carl who is fifteen years old, as well as my husband, Rob, who I met in college.
Taking care of myself, however, has not been my priority. I have exercised on and off throughout my life out of necessity, not out of love. I knew maintaining a healthy lifestyle was of importance to me, but caring for others proved to be superior in my mind. I also could not stand the idea of going to an overcrowded gym with no direction and no motivation. I would take cardio classes in hopes of seeing noticeable results, but realized that this lifestyle was not sustainable. I never saw the results I hoped for and my motivation for exercising never changed.
Over this past year, all self-care took a back seat in my life, so I could focus on caring for Emma who was critically ill. As part of Emma’s recovery, she joined Strength for Life. I watched her become stronger in mind, body, and spirit, but despite this, I felt as though I was becoming weaker and weaker. During this time, I broke my ankle. The boot I had to wear for weeks on end caused me to walk off balance, so I began to struggle with acute hip pain. With this, my knees throbbed everyday due to being on my feet as a nurse. I am not a complainer, but I started to complain all of the time.
Emma kept encouraging me to join Strength for Life as she continued on her journey. I met every one of her requests with a new excuse, due in part to my fear of beginning a new workout routine after one year of neglecting exercise. At the time, my main focus was supporting Emma, and I did not want to distract myself. The extreme pain I felt and the factor of being overweight weighed on me as every time Emma pushed me to consider joining Strength for Life. Emma had to badger me for seven months before I finally committed to joining Strength for Life’s family.
It has officially been four months since I joined Strength for Life, and I no longer suffer from the excruciating hip and knee pain I endured everyday for months. I have fallen in love with the idea of working out now and incorporating it into my life. When I started, my first priority was reducing my pain, but as the months have persisted, I have developed new strength goals as well as goals focused on looking and feeling more confident about myself that I intend on achieving.
Thank you to Natalie Bean for not listening to my excuses and pushing me harder that I ever expected to be pushed.
Thank you to the entire Strength for Life crew for challenging people to be better than they were yesterday. You are changing lives for the better! Here is to achieving new goals in the coming year!
I have been physically active for over 40 years; however, as I get older, strength training has become increasingly important to maintain my active lifestyle. Strength for Life is the best place for me, because it is a gym that has an intimate feel, yet makes good use of its space and has all kinds of training machines and equipment.
My trainer, Joe is very patient, knowledgeable and develops programs that help me reach my fitness goals. He knows when to push me and when to back off, so that I get the most out of my workouts. Training at Strength for Life has helped me reduce my risk for injury, to develop greater balance and flexibility, and to feel stronger both mentally and physically.
I had my assessment at Strength for Life December 2016, and I've been coming here regularly for my weekly one-on-one training and for 1 to 2 classes a week ever since. I was 58 at the time (now 59-1/2), and I asked myself: "Where the heck did my forties and fifties go???" I was always a physically strong person, but never did strength training. I tried to do my walking every week, my on-again/off-again yoga, my gardening in the spring and summer, but I could see my body changing (not in a good way) and the aches and pains of aging already making an appearance. I had never been into sports as a kid, and I was not a consistent exerciser as an adult. To make matters worse, I've had a desk job my entire life. Here I was, about to launch into my sixties, then my seventies, then my eighties......it was a scary realization.
For me, joining Strength for Life was a matter of taking charge of my aging process: I decided to make a commitment to myself to do what I could in terms of taking good physical care of myself so that I would have the best chance of aging well and aging period. My mother and father made it to 90-1/2 and 88, respectively, so the genes are good, but that generation had a much more active lifestyle and a healthier diet. Beyond that, my husband and I waited until later in life to have children, so our kids are going on 20 and going on 17, and I want to be around as long as possible for them; that is a huge motivator for me. Many women my age are grandmothers already and looking at retirement! That will not be happening soon for me.
The staff at Strength for Life is phenomenal. They work with you every week, and get to know you, your goals, and your personal situation. They motivate me and believe in me, and that personal involvement made a huge difference as far as me staying committed to coming every week. I love the fact that this gym is not big and that the classes are small. The work is hard: I would never, ever work this hard by myself at home or at one of those big box gyms. Jim, Ed, my trainer Natalie, all the other trainers, and the other clients are like a big family, pulling for you and letting you know that "yes, you can" in your own time and in your own way.
I'm proud of myself for sticking with this since December 2016. I've lost inches and gained muscle. It is nice hearing compliments at my age when I'm dressed up that I look like I've lost weight. At my yearly physical, my doctor even remarked that I look so much better than I did in the past. Raking the leaves this fall and shoveling the snow this winter felt remarkably different: I saw how much stronger I was, especially how much more stamina I had because of my training. I remember getting winded during my assessment by 15 jumping jacks and 10 jump-ropes. I now can push myself to do 100 jumping jacks and 100 jump-ropes without stopping; and I can bench-press 65, sometimes 75 lbs. Never in a million years did I think I could accomplish the milestones I've accomplished here. I feel like I'm a better role model for my kids now too as far as walking the walk and not just talking the talk.
The only regret that I have is that I didn't find this place and these wonderful people sooner, but I can't change that. You're ready when you're ready. My focus now is on getting stronger and more in-shape as I get older and better. Strength for Life has helped me to reach this perspective, and I can't thank them enough.
I began at Strength for Life at the beginning of October. I am a fairly healthy, active and energetic person and I play lots of golf and tennis. It had been nearly five years since I worked out in a focused and disciplined way. I have belonged to gyms off and on over the years, but am easily bored with machines and static routines. I have severe scoliosis and multiple disc issues and, while they don’t bother me now, they remain a factor and my best defense against further deterioration is a strong core. I started at SFL with this as my primary goal, along with building my strength, balance and flexibility relative to aging. I have had great success working one-on-one with a personal trainer (yay, Natalie!) and am now exploring some of the classes.
"I finally decided that I had to do something about my weight and overall health & conditioning. I had tried most of the big box gyms in the past.
My sister had joined a small gym near her and that is what I was looking for. Strength for Life popped up on my Google search. I think I made an appointment that day, went and talked to Jim and the next day had an evaluation with Ed.
I was very nervous about that, but all his jokes put me at ease. As an overweight, out of shape, 69.5 year old woman, I hoped I would not be totally out of place. As it turns out, everyone is so accepting and supportive, it is easy to come here.
Natalie has been an amazing coach. Always positive, encouraging and fun. I started with 3 coaching days a week to stay on track. Now I do two coaching days and a class. I have lost weight and gained muscle. I plan to do more of both.
So all of you oldies but goodies, come out to join me and all the folks at SFL to get healthy."
For most of my life I have struggled with my weight. I have been obese, physically fit, and underweight (too thin). My weight was a never-ending rollercoaster operated by what was happening in my life. Growing up, I did not participate in sports. I thought of myself as “athletically-challenged,” since I couldn’t run fast and I felt uncoordinated. I led a very sedentary lifestyle. Food was the center of family and friend gatherings and it was easy to overindulge. I also used food as a negative coping mechanism to deal with stress.
I tried many fad diets that promised “quick” results, but they ended in failure. When I graduated from high school I was 220 pounds, and by age 24, I weighed 275 pounds (my highest weight). By that time, I had difficulty walking up a flight of stairs. I was short of breath and my right knee was sore, “clicking,” and “crunching.” This was my wake-up call. My 5 ft. 7 in. frame could no longer support the weight. An orthopedic surgeon told me a knee replacement and other health problems would be in my future if I didn’t make a lifestyle change.
I joined a gym, met with a dietitian and developed a good relationship with food. I managed stress and other negative emotions by exercising regularly. In one year, I lost over 100 pounds. I was happy and self-confident for the first time in my life. However, I did have setbacks. I did lose too much weight at one point due to exercising too much and eating too little. Thankfully, with professional guidance, I was able to regain a healthy weight, and for four years maintained a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
In 2012, I changed careers. I went back to college to become a nurse. The nursing program was intense and demanding. I did not make time to exercise and I stopped caring about what I ate. I worked permanent night shift during my first year as a nurse, which messed up my metabolism and sleep schedule. Between nursing school and my first job, I gained 50 pounds. I could see my “old self” returning, which scared me. Once again, I knew I had to take action.
In January 2015, I joined Strength for Life. I had known Jim and Ed in the past, and that they are highly regarded fitness professionals with many years of experience, who could help me “get back on the wagon.” It wasn’t easy starting over again. I was embarrassed by my appearance, and I felt like I let myself down. I couldn’t believe how deconditioned I had become in almost three years!
Where am I now?
With Jim and Ed’s support and guidance, I have committed to exercising 3 to 4 times a week, as well as eating more lean protein and vegetables, and reducing sugar in my diet. I have lost between 10-15 pounds, went down a dress size, increased my strength, and improved my balance tremendously. I am also more energetic and alert when working at night. My goal is to continue what I started. Not to give up. I have worked so hard to get where I am now that I cannot wait to see what I can accomplish in a few months or even a year!
I was really excited and honored to hear that I was elected as client of the month. My experiences with SFL have been both challenging and rewarding. When I first came to SFL, which was October 2017, I really did not have any prior weight training experience. Most of my previous workouts were cardio workouts. I could not do one push up!
My goal was to become stronger in mind and body. So, I signed up for personal training sessions with Natalie Bean one day a week. I wanted to be sure that what I was doing was the correct way and form. I did not want to risk injury. With her guidance, encouragement and expertise, I am now participating in at least 2 additional classes each week. On a good week I get a Saturday class in too. These classes have provided the additional benefit of exposing me to the knowledge and experiences of all the other trainers. There is always someone making sure your technique and form is correct. Besides all the other accomplishments, I can now do at least 10 push up in a row.
The last thing I would like to mention is the other clients and how everyone shares in each others progress and successes. You and Ed have really created an atmosphere that is friendly, safe and very rewarding for everyone who participates.