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January 15, 2014 Published in Get Fit To Live

Scared Fit

By Carla Branch

Carla gets ready to work out (Photo: Ellen Jones)

Carla gets ready to work out (Photo: Ellen Jones)

This is the first in a series of blogs about my journey to fitness. Why now? Well, my doctor’s office nagged me into a physical in December and I got some very disturbing results from him last week. My blood pressure is far too high – I had one reading in the past week of 171/103 – I am seriously overweight; I am stressed; I am depressed and I drink too much wine. The message from the doctor was, “Get it together or face serious health consequences.” Since I have never had a weight problem or high blood pressure, I heard him and believe.

I began this particular journey by joining a local gym last Friday. I have a personal trainer, Ellen Jones, who developed a strength training and cardio routine, which we began to implement on Saturday. She is a hard task master but that is clearly what it is going to take to get me Fit to Live.

 About Carla

 When I was young, I was athletic and always active. I took ballet for many years as a child, was a cheerleader and majorette in high school and was a member of the Mountaineer Marching Band as a student at West Virginia University. Then came marriage, three children and a sedentary career as a journalist.

I turned 58 in December and realize that neglecting my health has a much higher cost than I can afford to pay. My goal is to lose 40 pounds by May and get in shape to participate in a bike ride or walk for charity. (I will keep readers informed about what activity I choose.)

I am not on any medication at this time. My eating habits are relatively good but there is always room for improvement. Today for lunch, I had baked chicken, raw vegetables and a glass of 100% fruit juice. My vices are half-and-half in my coffee every morning and wine at night. I will cut back on both but cannot give either up completely.

One of the other things I did was join SparkPeople.com. I can track my fitness routines and my calorie intake online. I identified myself as having insomnia, depression and seasonal allergies. They sent me some helpful information about all three conditions, which I am going to share. My daughter and a friend have used the site with great success and I am happy with what they have provided so far.

I am sore and motivated. Ellen will keep me sore and I need everyone who reads this blog to keep me motivated.

Ellen’s Observations

Carla and I have known each other for nearly 10 years.  We met working out and we are back to working out again. She is motivated and determined. She is attacking the workout with vengeance which is a good thing but the very thing that can get her into trouble.  We are not jumping into a workout regime we are working out to be fit to live. Strength training to maintain and increase bone density – no mega weights for us to start, reasonable weights and repetitions that will increase. Carla was eager to do more and lift more and but asking the body to start where you finished 10 years ago makes little sense. Carla’s drive and enthusiasm will get her back to where she was fairly quickly.  The trick is to listen to your body as you grow older. Sore is ok pushing your body as hard as you can lends itself to injuries, more time to recuperate, thus, defeating your hard work. With Carla’s BP on the high side keeping her target heart rate on the lower end makes sense. This is naturally frustrating for Carla because pedaling at 50 RPM’s drives her crazy but kept her heart rate from creeping to 150. Really that is what you want, Ellen? And my answer was yes because I was not going to have her tax her body beyond what it needed to do at our age. I can probably lift heavier, yes but we are going to start here.

I graduated from Tufts University with a degree in Occupational Therapy. Fitness has been a part of my life with me being involved in sports from a young age. I have watched the Fitness World expand from small gyms to a multi-million dollar business. I began training many of my clients as they were discharged from the hospital because they were functional but had not returned to their level of fitness. I recognize the pitfalls of the age and stages of life. Life happens and we adapt differently and at different rates. Understanding your triggers and your coping mechanisms is important to becoming and staying fit to live. I understand how the body moves when in shape and out of shape. Carla and I will be taking this journey together as I, too have allowed life and work to get in the way of my own health and fitness.   

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