From a 2-Pack a Day Sedentary Smoker to Fit 57 Year Old: My 4 Year Journey
My name is Lauren, I'm 57 years old and I have been training with MM Team Fitness for almost 4 years. Before I started I was smoking up to 2 packs of cigarettes a day and my exercise program consisted of walking my dog. I haven’t smoked in almost 4 years, I can do things that I couldn’t do when I was in high school gym class, and the teams are my friends and support group. They get as excited as I do when I set a new personal record and they keep me accountable. I depend on my team members to be there for our scheduled session and they expect me to be there as well. The team commitment also motivates me to make up a missed a session on my own when work conflicts arise.
Oddly I found MM Team Fitness by accident, I was searching on-line for a TRX class and the only one I found was a 45 minute drive. MM Team Fitness came up on the search, it took me two weeks to actually reach out, the content on the website looked so intimidating, I kept thinking, "I can never do that". Finally I filled out the on-line form, it ended up being the best decision of my life.
When I had my initial assessment it was much easier to tell you what I wasn’t able to do...that was pretty much everything. I couldn’t do a squat without falling over to save my life, the first time I bench pressed just a 35 lb bar it wasn't pretty! Forget about doing push ups, sit-ups or lunges. I was a hot mess. I was also very intimidated. I saw these people my age and older deadlifting, bench pressing, climbing ropes, squatting with kettle bells and bars, and all I could think was would I ever be able to begin to keep up with these people let alone be able to do any of the things they were doing!
Training with MM Team Fitness has changed my life in so many ways. I can now do squats holding kettle bells, I can climb a rope to the top and I can even deadlift 135 lbs.
What I like most about training with MM Team Fitness and Mark is you soon find out that he works with you where you are. It doesn’t matter what you can’t do but rather what can you learn to do. Mark is focused on form and function and also explaining why it is so important. He isn’t concerned with how much you lift but rather making sure you are doing the moves correctly. He’s kind of like a parent...he has eyes in the back of his head, the client's safety always comes first.
Mark has also provided outside resources that have helped improve my overall health. Dr. Buell at OSU Sports Medicine helps with nutrition and Dr. Tricia Stafford with Wellness ReSolutions manages my hormone replacement/balancing and that was a game changer for a 57 year old female. It was pretty cool, my cousin is a SVP with Huntington Bank and she was participating in a leadership seminar and she starts texting me about this fabulous woman who was speaking to them about bioidentical hormone replacement and it was Dr. Stafford, I knew I was on the right track.
MM Team Fitness provides you with the all the tools you need to get yourself in the shape you want to be in. As Mark would say, "it all starts with showing up, the rest is easy".
Living with MS: My First 60 days with MM Team Fitness
This Thanksgiving season I am very grateful for MM Team Fitness and this opportunity. I’ve lost 12lbs…gained 6 callouses and am way out of my comfort zone. I walked out of the gym yesterday proud, tired and for the first time in a long time like a “normal person” not someone with MS. If anyone would have told me 2 months ago that I would be swinging a sledge hammer or pulling a sled with 100lbs on it I’d have laughed…no way would that ever be possible."
Battling RA with Exercise
I'm 61 years old and have been battling Rheumatoid Arthritis for a number of years. At times it is quite painful and debilitating. I struggled to go up and down steps without pain when I first started training at age 54, but now live in a new 5 level split house and can take the steps with ease. In fact, when I decided to build the new house, I only considered locations that provided reasonable access to my current gym.
I have always done some form of exercise over the years, but this is the first time in my life that I actually show measureable improvements in how I feel and move. When the RA is flaring up, I still go to work out and do what I can, knowing that I will feel better afterwards. My body needs the movement and the challenge.
Team training starts with the skill of the coach and how he motivates his clients, it rests on the willingness of the other team members to assist, support, and cheer you on, and it ends with a body that is healthier, moves and just plain feels better.
Some people may find team training intimidating, thinking “I will never be able to do that”, or “I don’t want to potentially embarrass myself in front of others on the team”. Erase those thoughts from your mind. You shouldn’t expect to be able to do what other people are doing, you should just do what you can do. And you will improve, with consistency and commitment. You have to make time for it and prioritize or it will never happen. My professional world involves lots of travel around the world, my schedule is packed, but I know if I don't keep training, what I do outside the gym will become much more difficult.
I enjoy working out with people who are stronger and fitter. It gives me motivation. But more importantly, these are people that support me in my goals and are there to share frustrations, ideas, advice, compassion or whatever it is that I need that particular day. These team members have become friends in and outside the gym.
Your workout is what you make it. Some days I hurt, so I take it easy. Other days, I am strong and willing to reach new goals. Mark modifies the workout to work for me and never expects me to do more than I can do (although he does encourage and suggest, such as “ I think you could add another 5 pounds of weight the next time”).
I can't imagine the physical and mental state I'd be in without Team training.
I’ve been with MM Team Fitness™ since January 2000 and have had my ups and downs anywhere from weight gain to weight loss, chronic pain, coming to the realization I’m unable to perform at the level that I use to in my 20’s and 30’s (a challenging realization). With the ongoing support of MM Team Fitness™, I’ve checked the ego and come to terms that I’m in my late 40’s and proud of what I’m capable of doing.
I’m following a gluten-free diet plan that I developed with my doctor in March 2012, cut out grain carbs (brown, white, flour, bread) as I tested positive for sensitivity to these products. I eat every 2 hrs and consume a lot of salads and fish. My nutritional support includes Optimum Nutrition ProComplex in the morning (along with creatine, beta-alanine and taurine), HumaPro as a post workout drink and before I go to bed, and Pure Protein bars for in-between meal snacks.
I do allow myself to indulge if my body craves nutrients, but not as a function of boredom or stress as I have done in the past. This makes a big difference, restrict when your body needs food and you slow your metabolism, lose muscle, limit performance and generally feel like crap. Eat to soothe boredom or stress and you’ll be fat and diabetic before you know it. It’s about balance.
My activity includes 3d/wk with MM Team Fitness™, Yoga 2x/wk, Zumba 2x/wk and 75 stairs, 6 – 8x/d at work. My primary limitation is moderate to severe scoliosis and the chronic pain associated with it.
I keep it pretty simple now, treat the muscle imbalances and pain from the scoliosis with acupuncture, deep tissue massage and chiropractic care. I removed a lot of the “negative clutter” in my life and established a positive relationship with food through education. I don’t use thermogenics to lose weight or alter my metabolism- don’t need to. I’d like to lose another 5 lbs, if I do then I do. I honestly had no idea that I lost 25 lbs until I finally got on the scale. I didn’t make “weight” my focus nor was I concerned with “results or goals”, thus no pressure. My objective was creating a healthy lifestyle long-term so I can still be functional when I’m 90. Oh yeah, people tell me how great I look now, certainly a self-esteem booster, and I tell them thanks but I’m not doing this to look good, I’m doing this to live better.
Danae (age 48)
Staying Healthy and Fit
I've been with MM Team Fitness for roughly 16 years. In 2004, I competed in Figure. I was approximately 120 lbs, 12.5% body fat. I looked extremely fit, lean, and strong but felt absolutely miserable. I lived in the gym, my thoughts and actions constantly revolved around training and food, and it was wrecking my home life.
It took a few years of trying to get myself reorganized both physically and mentally after competing. I increased my weight and settled in at 135 lbs, Team training 3 days/week. I had a life again, felt good about myself and was still very fit. I continued training and maintaining this lifestyle but in 2009-2010 I was hit with a round of external life stressors. I became inconsistent with training until it was practically non-existent. It was amazing how quickly I adapted to a sedentary lifestyle. When my exercise program came to a halt so did motivation. I no longer had the support of my training team and that led me to the opposite extreme. I over-indulged and quickly started adding body fat and losing muscle. Normal daily activities became harder as the pounds added up and because of the inconsistency in training, I had no stamina or endurance. The few times I was in the gym, I began to feel really out of place, so much so that even if I could go, I didn’t want to. Everyone around me continued to get or stay fit, and I kept getting fatter and further out-of-shape. In 2012, I was pushing 200 lbs, and once again, totally miserable. I didn’t even know who I was when I looked in the mirror and I knew I needed to reprioritize training and clean up my diet immediately.
I started back with Team training 3 days/week and began using the Zone based block diet that is high in protein and includes healthy fats. It has been 4 years since I re-committed and I am remain dedicated to living a better life. I have regained my strength, lost fat and even started running which I had never done before. I have now completed numerous 5 K’s and 7 half marathons to date, with times under 2 hours. I’ve done this with minimal run training, usually one day of intervals or hill runs and one mixed longer run of 6 - 10 mi. I have also worked with a running coach, one of Mark’s many resources. Total weekly miles leading up to a 1/2 marathon rarely exceeds 10. The strength and conditioning from Team programming has helped my way more to prep for my 1/2's than adding weekly miles. A strength base is essential especially as we get older.
In the last 4 years I’ve been range bound between 145 - 155 lbs and have worn anywhere from a 4 - 8 pant size, currently a 6. It is an on-going process that I am committed too. In late 2014 life threw significant work and family challenges into the mix once again. Although I had to reprioritize to deal with these challenges and take a step back, I stuck with the program as best I could and minimized the loss of strength and increase in body fat that would have been far worse had I just quit again.
Life happens, good and bad; and sometimes when those unexpected hard life moments occur, it is easy to de-prioritize your health, de-prioritize exercise, and simply self destruct. Having a coach and the teams for support has made all the difference. They keep me accountable and that is essential for me personally. Without this style of programming, the coaching, and team support from other like-minded people that I am fortunate to train with, there is little doubt that I would be sedentary, obese, unhealthy, and heading down the path of a miserable existence. It is all work in progress, the key is to never quit.
Audrey (age 41)
I am a 44 yr old single mom with two very active kids. I run my own business and am the sole support for my family. I am not an athlete by any means. However, because of the personal attention, commitment and support I receive from mmTeamFitness, I am now in the best shape of my life and as healthy as I’ve ever been. Although it is CrossFit based, the greater variety in programming offered by mmTeamFitness, and the attention to form, flexibility and movement control has allowed me to work at my own pace and avoid the types of overuse injuries you sometimes see in more focused, higher frequency programming. There are not many opportunities in the Columbus area that are as committed to your success and long-term health. The reason I attend is to participate in and be part of the team experience. I don’t view it as training, it’s something that enhances other aspects of my life. I highly recommend mmTeamFitness for all levels, from beginners to seasoned athletes.
I LOVE training with mmTeamFitness!!
There is so much to do, so much variety and the routines and exercises are always changing. I feel like I am back in gymnastics and having fun, not just coming in lifting weights and doing the same thing all the time. I’m always EXCITED to come in and "Play" and I call it play not exercise because to me it’s fun, and I look forward to every workout. Many of the exercises are VERY challenging and I enjoy the group camaraderie and team spirit. No matter which group I train with, my teammates are always sooo helpful and encouraging.
As a former sponsored athlete for Optimum Nutrition/American Bodybuilding and national level figure competitor, I’ve seen a lot of different training methods over the years and this is certainly one of the best out there.
Tera (age 44)
I have been working out with MM Team Fitness™ for over 10 years. I started training to prepare for high school wrestling at a time when everyone was still doing old school bodybuilding style movements, not at all functional. Over the years training has evolved into CrossFitÔ based programming that addresses all aspects of fitness. I now work in law enforcement in a large hospital setting. The high intensity functional training not only helps me perform my job, but also assures that I can help keep others safe. Every day brings a new physical challenge at work, knowing that I’m highly fit helps me keep a clear head when faced with an out-of-control situation.
Eddie (age 28)
I started with MMTeamFitness years ago after having my second child. I'm lucky if I have time to train twice a week. My trainer (Mark) tells me I should compete in Master's Figure, that I have exceptional genetics, I just laugh. My sister-in-law is into physique competition, it's not for me. I'm very busy with family, community events and fund raisers. Strict dieting and hours in the gym is NOT in my genes! I team train to destress, keep up with my kids, and look and feel 20 years younger. Thanks MMTeamFitness for keeping it simple for those of us with busy lives.
Tia (age 44)
Just wanted to thank mmTeamFitness, I am only 2 pounds heavier than I was 20 years ago today when I got married and a lot more toned (more muscle and less fat), and that's after having two kids. I am very happy with the way I look (my husband is too!). On vacation my family got a kick out of how many compliments I received. It was a very positive experience to be able to walk around in a bikini and actually FEEL like I should be wearing one! Many guys young and old wanted to know if I competed. I just laughed and said "No, I do it for me". So thank you to mmTeamFitness and all my teammates for making the workouts fun, keeping me motivated, focused on diet and of course the physique of the fit 25 yr old at age 52.
I am a corporate executive, and a busy mom with several kids. My husband also works full-time. We have memberships at two other upscale clubs but train with MM Team Fitness™. Of all the coach led fitness programs I’ve shopped in the Columbus Ohio area, MMTeamFitness training is by far the best value in the city. I never thought I’d be in the shape I’m in or be able to afford the type of functional training I’ve read about in all the fitness magazines. Even after 3 years, it continues to be a truly exceptional experience. MMTeamFitness is for people with real lives.
Jackie (age 36)
I was physically active before training with mmTeamFitness - yoga, dance, aerobics, walking - but didn’t lift weights because I didn’t want to “get bulky”, plus I didn’t know how to start. Mostly I wasn’t interested. I started in 2008 though when I learned I was losing bone density and weightlifting was the best thing to do to prevent further loss. It was a little intimidating – especially seeing the pictures on the website – but once I got started it wasn’t as bad as I imagined. Mark Myhal is a very good trainer. He doesn’t put his clients in situations where they’re likely to get hurt, so he modifies exercises to abilities and readiness.
We work out in groups with Mark watching what’s happening across the floor, and typically he works with everyone on the main lift that day, and he circulates and spots through the rest of the session. Mark is very focused on form and safety first, and challenging his clients to steadily improve. As teammates, we also help each other in the sessions with spotting, motivation and encouragement. It’s a very supportive environment. I can go to the gym at the end of a long day, not really wanting to be there (it is exercise after all, we don’t always want to be there), and as I start moving, interacting with my teammates, getting some basic exercise, I usually end up feeling better and leaving the gym in a better mood than when I got there.
Sometimes I think the sessions are like recess for adults. Remember in grade school, we just went outside and played. Well no, not everything is just running around playing, but I don’t have to plan anything except having my workout clothes and getting to the gym. I don’t have to plan the workout, or wonder if I’m working all the right muscle groups, or think at all about the programming – this is all done for me. All I have to do is show up and do it.
I’ve worked out on my own and with other trainers, in other facilities in the past, and honestly nothing compares to what MM Team Fitness offers in terms of quality (Mark is a terrific trainer who is committed to his work, and his commitment and dedication show through everything he does), variety (I don’t remember the last time we repeated a workout, there’s always something different and interesting), and efficiency (time and money!). I haven’t found a better trainer or training experience, so I keep coming back. I recommend it to my friends of all ages and abilities, and those who have followed up with a trial realize it’s not for just me, it can be for them too.
Not long ago I was leaving a store and held the door for an elderly woman who was coming in and who wasn’t moving very easily. She thanked me for holding the door and said that I shouldn’t plan on getting old, because getting old was hard. I didn’t tell her, but I completely disagree. I am planning to get old. I’m taking steps now to be as healthy and active as possible for as long as possible. I want to age well and feel good, not just “get old”. None of us is getting younger. Plan wisely.
Jane (age 56)
To date, I've completed a number of marathons and generally improve my times with each event however I typically break down at mile 16 or so -- resulting in a very labored run that has negatively impacted the results of each race. Additionally, prior to my 4th marathon, I began to develop minor injuries late in the training cycle. Determined to change the outcome, based on recommendations by colleagues, I decided to change the direction of my training. Following an assessment, the recommendations were to cut miles, increase interval work, correct skeletal muscle imbalances, and strengthen my core. I started with mmTeamFitness in June 2011, the first 30 days was an experience, I was re-introduced to equipment and techniques I had not used in decades, if ever. My flexibility was so poor, I couldn’t squat down to pick up a kettlebell without my heals coming off the floor. After a month of training, I felt confident enough to enter my first sprint triathlon at age 57 with my daughter. I finished 3rd in my age-group and did very little (if any) sport-specific training other than running and mmTeamFitness training. Over the next year with Team training, I have noted increased agility and mobility with various activities I enjoy, from working around the house on various projects to biking, hiking, swimming and kayaking, etc. There is a great psychological benefit that comes with an increased level of confidence and general feeling of well-being as a result of conditioning and physical activity. I am now able to squat to parallel with a flat back and heels on the floor, the change is amazing.
I plan bicycle trips, marathons, trail runs and kayak expeditions with my son and daughter, and their friends so I don't have to scale down the intensity for others my age, many who sadly spend more time hunched over a desk tightly clutching a mouse, wondering where they fit on the corporate monkey chart. More concerned with their huge SUV payments than their health. There are choices to make, choose wisely. But that's a story for a different blog!
Greg (age 62) Marathon Runner, and most outdoor pursuits.
You get out of it exactly what you put into it. The regimen can be transforming if you attend 3x/week, push yourself to improve during every workout, dial in your nutrition, and take inspiration from others. I have teammates who’ve made big changes in body composition, train through pregnancy, have Rheumatoid Arthritis, or suffer from asthma. The common trait is that they show up and give it their all. It is truly a unique environment. I definitely benefited from being part of the team. I tried CrossFit for a while but found Mark’s approach to strength training gave me better body composition results. Mark’s 3x/week strength programming along with minimal swim, bike, and run training has allowed me to continue to be competitive in triathlon. You don’t need copious amounts of cardio to compete. The key to success is to be strong.
Amy (age 48)
Living a Better Life
I’m a 50 year old husband and father of three, the youngest being 6 years old. My boys have numerous activities to schedule around and my wife works, so I need to make the most of my time devoted to healthy living. Three hours a week is all the time I have for the gym. I hear of others having trouble finding the motivation or time to come in on some days, I don’t understand that. For me it’s a priority. I look forward to, and anticipate every workout scheduled with my Team. I don’t need to get mentally prepared I just come in and roll with it. This is the only thing I do consistently and build into my schedule. This is what I do for my mind and body. While some seem ambivalent about missing a session, I get very frustrated when I have to miss. With my body type, it’s harder for me to stay fit and flexible, so missing sessions is simply not an option for me. The sessions offer a fantastic blend of cardio, strength training, core stability and endurance work that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else. The team training atmosphere helps tremendously, as others help motivate and encourage me to complete the session, and provide support when I need it.
I’m not in it to prepare for any type of competition. I do this to achieve a higher level of fitness and most importantly healthier living. I am now far more capable of performing everyday and no-so-everyday tasks on a regular basis. For example, I carried my 32 pound daughter up 304 steps to the top of a sand dune, down the other side, and then back again while on vacation without issue. I planted a 160 pound tree by myself, digging the hole and planting it alone without breaking a sweat. I carry 5 bags of groceries in each hand without thinking about it. I want to be around as long as possible and hang with my kids as they get older. I only wish this type of training was around 20 years ago and I had the same attitude back then.
Beat Type II Diabetes
When I turned 55 or “double nickels” as some would say. A friend asked me why I was going to the gym on my birthday. It seemed pretty obvious to me….it’s because I want to keep having birthdays and be able to continue doing activities that I like to do! I’m in better shape now than I was 10 years ago, and feel better than I did 20 years ago. I don’t have many friends that can make that claim. Because of team training I can still engage in fun activities outside the gym, whereas my friends cannot. What this does for the rest of my life is why I’ve been doing it for 14 years.
I deserve for myself to do what I want to do and enjoy. I am at least worth that… to be healthier, to have better quality of life and to hopefully live longer. I have been working with mmTeamFitness for over a decade. I get lots of positive feedback from family and friends who know what I was going through with Type II diabetes. Sure the sessions are a challenge at my age, not always what you would describe as fun in the sense of what others consider “fun”, frustrating at times and sometimes downright HARD, but seriously, it’s only one hour, three times a week, that’s 1.8% of my week. If someone can’t budget that amount of time for physical and mental well-being, something is wrong. Most importantly, I'm off my meds for cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. Last HbA1c 5.2, diabetes free through diet and exercise.
As you get older and the years go by faster, you realize that every hour is precious because you have more hours behind you than you do going forward. I want to live in the moment and to seek “quality” of life. If working out for three hours a week can add that, then…JUST DO IT! I recently read a quote that said “It’s actually pretty simple, either you do it or you don’t!” For me it is a choice and I choose to do it.
Cathy (age 59)
I am 65 and have been working with Mark (now MM Team Fitness) for about 15 years. My son wanted to join World Gym, now Metro Fitness, when he was around 15 to train for the high school sports. I had never been to a gym, but because it was cheaper, I got a family membership. I started training with Mark at that time. Over the past 15 yrs, my training goals have shifted from changing the way I look to maintaining my strength and mobility.
I have many friends that have said over the years, they were going to go to a gym to stay in shape, but they never once made the time to get there. Now they are simply unable to participate in activities they once enjoyed. Their balance has become unstable, their work capacity that includes lifting, pulling, carrying and pushing are now restricted due to a weak core, decreasing bone density and strength. They have little in the way of endurance.
Because of training, I have found that I've able to maintain my work capacity without too much of an effort. I shovel my snow and even my neighbors, I do all of my yard work and landscaping, I painted the inside of my house including my ceiling, and have no problems lifting and carrying what I need to. I am seldom sore from any of my daily activities.
I recently returned from a hiking retreat in the woods 90 miles outside of Nova Scotia. We were out at least 9 hours a day, I was the oldest one in the group and did not require assistance that others did. I continue to do what I have always done and it's because I have a coach and team that keeps me moving forward and injury free.
I have arthritis in my hips that will require surgery. My doctor told me that because I am in far better shape than others my age who need hip replacement, my return to normal activities will be much quicker.
Mark takes the time to know what your physical needs are and then adjust the workouts accordingly. He keeps his eye on your form throughout your training session regardless of the size of the group. He will make recommendations for technique as well as the weight you are using. His web site provides videos to assist you with proper movement, and a hosts of outside resources that include sports nutrition, sports medicine, chiropractic and massage, body composition analysis and hormone rebalancing. Best of all, he cares about your well being.
As you know, we all get older and become dependent on others, that is just how life works. To what extent and how soon you become dependent on others is largely a choice you make earlier in life. I still do all the things I love to do….maybe a little slower…but I am doing them. I know that my training commitment has created a huge impact on that. There is never an age where you cannot start.
I am a 36-year-old husband, father of 2, and a psychiatric nurse practitioner. I have trained with Mark on and off for 5 years. Before I started, I was recovering from a 2nd torn ACL surgery in two years and had been diagnosed with hip arthritis. I chose MMTeamFitness back then to utilize the training as physical therapy and for pain relief. One of my long term goals was to be able to apply the workouts designed by Mark to individual work outs and go my own way eventually, which after 2 years, I did.
My time away from MMTeamFitness taught me this: when I work out on my own, I am less likely to work out consistently, I am less efficient, I am more likely to injure myself with too many reps or bad form, and therefore…I stop working out! My weight increased, my muscle mass decreased, my daily hip pain began to increase and I could tell I was losing flexibility.
When I decided to return to team training, it was because friends invited me on a backpacking trip into the wilderness of Alaska, but there was a fitness requirement to be able to make the trip. I only had 2.5 months to be fit enough to haul a 50+ pound pack through mountainous terrain for 6 straight days. In my initial fitness test, I could not even get up and down a 250ft training hill one time without stopping to rest.
I gave Mark my new goals and got to work. Training 3 days a week with MMTeamFitness, plus 1 to 2 days per week of climbing hills with a pack on helped me achieve my goal of making the trip. The fitness requirement was absolutely vital, because at one point, due to a snowed over mountain pass, my backpacking group had to hike 17 straight hours!!! to get out of the wilderness safely. When MMTeamFitness advertises that it prepares you for the sport of life, it delivers. I could have never achieved what I did on that adventure if not for my training with Mark. With team training, I can conquer mountains. By myself, all I did was conquer sitting on the couch.
50 and Loves Intensity
I drive 25 miles to get to the gym and its well worth the drive. I look forward to the challenge and intensity of each session. What we do in the gym transfers so well to other physical activities in life and the competition and team dynamics are awesome. With this 3d/wk program you get 5d/wk results, end up looking, feeling great, and have alot of fun doing it!
Cindy (age 50)