Brian and I love to travel. Perhaps that is why I find Anns story so compelling. When she first came to me and told me of her trip to Paris, and of her upcoming one to Italy, I knew we had to work together. I truly believe our fitness level impacts our ability to experience all the world has to offer. I wanted her to have the time of her life on her next trip. Ann is a pseudonym but the words are hers and entirely real.

Two summers ago I had the opportunity to go along with my daughter on a class trip to Europe.  It was our first trip abroad, and Paris was going to be the highlight of the trip.  The Eiffel tower was one of the main attractions, but a scheduling glitch put us there fairly late in the evening.  We had planned to take the elevator to the top.  There was a strict cut-off time for the last run of the elevator for the night, and we discovered that the line was too long.  There we were in Paris, on the trip of a lifetime, and we were going to miss being able to go up in the Eiffel tower-unless we walked up.  Walking there was only access to the second level (669 steps), but it was better than nothing so we took off at a run.  The stairs were concrete and steep!  The high school students had no trouble, but I ran out of steam shortly.  I had to stop and insist that they go on without me.  With great difficulty I only got the first 328 steps to the first level and had to turn around and make my way slowly back down.  I was completely mortified.

I returned from Europe very pleased with our trip, but not at all pleased with my lack of fitness.  I guess I had been kidding myself about how out of shape I really was.  And I didn’t do anything about it right away.  Honestly it was so depressing feeling fat and out of shape, that I continued to allow bad habits to run my life.  I started to eat even more, and continued to feel bad about it.

After many months, we received another opportunity for an amazing trip to Italy.  That spurred me to action.  I got mad.  I wasn’t going to let poor eating habits and being overweight keep me from enjoying a wonderful experience again.  I had hit the point where THIS wasn’t good enough anymore.  But I had no plan.

Around the holidays, with New Year’s resolution time was right around the corner, I decided to make a change.  I considered exercising on my own and following an Internet based diet plan.  I had tried that before and I knew myself well enough to know I wouldn’t last at that for very long. I researched dietitians, looking for services locally, but I never found a program that I felt would meet my needs.  I visited health clubs, but again I knew myself well enough to know that I would pay an expensive membership and probably really only attend for a month or two since life gets so busy.  Plus, I had an old disc injury in my back and arthritis in my knees.  I wasn’t convinced I even COULD be fit again.  I needed someone who could advise me on everything, including how to eat real food (I didn’t want prepackaged diet foods), how to lose weight, and how to get physically fit with my limitations.  So I decided on a personal trainer.  The thought of this was intimidating to me, since I assumed ahead of time that the cost would be out of my range.

The world works in mysterious ways. That very day:

  • I heard Pamela on the “Kevin and Liz” show on Alice 95.5, talking about the very issues that concerned me.
  • Later that day I saw her photo in a local magazine.
  • Then my search engine results brought her name to me when I searched for “personal trainers”.

It seems I was supposed to meet Pamela.

During my initial consultation she put me completely at ease.  I secretly thought I was so out of shape that I was beyond help, but Pamela was positive and encouraging. She said designing a program for me was no problem at all.  She seemed to understand that I’m not an “athlete”, but that I needed to train for LIFE.  I signed up, and started working toward the goals we set.  The most surprising part of this program has been my results.  I had not expected to feel this confident, strong, fit and (frankly) young again.  It has truly been a whole body transformation.

The program forced me to take an honest look at how I got to that point in the first place.  What I thought I wanted was a fast, easy weight loss program that would let me wear a smaller size and walk stairs without getting winded.  What I got was a stronger body, better fitting clothes, weight loss and endurance, but also a new outlook on life.  The phrase “life-changing experience” is probably over used.  But…. this truly has been a life-changing experience.

We took our Italy trip a few weeks ago, again with a group of teenagers.  Many hotels there had no elevators, and I had no trouble walking up and down carrying my own luggage.  We walked the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum, and down the side of a cliff to the beach in Sorrento, all without a problem. Sometimes the teenagers would stop and ask me to wait while THEY caught up with ME.  You can bet I was smiling.  Thank you, Pamela.

These were my thoughts in the beginning: I’m too old.  I’m too out of shape to even start.  I can’t afford it.  I’ll never be able to make the time.  I’ll be embarrassed at my age to admit that I need the help.  Maybe it won’t work.  Everyone there will be younger and more in shape than me before I even start.  My physical limitations will prevent me from making any real changes.

My advice to anyone who thinks they CAN’T?  None of these above excuses turned out to be true.  My fear was the only real thing holding me back.

Okay, so I’m not 16 anymore, or a size 6.  But with Pamela’s help at Thrive Personal Fitness, I like being ME so much, I wouldn’t want to be anything different.

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