– Patrick S., Elgin, IL
About eight years ago I hit the figurative brick wall medically. I was diagnosed with emphysema, thanks to having smoked two packs of cigarettes a day since I was in college. I needed supplemental oxygen, a nebulizer which I used twice daily, as well as a CPAP machine as I had developed sleep apnea. In addition, I began to retain fluid, known as ascites. My weight ballooned to 214 pounds. I had some choices to make. I could have gone into denial and done nothing in which case I would be a memory today. Or, I could choose to make changes, drastic changes to my lifestyle.
It wasn’t easy, but I chose drastic changes. I enrolled in a cardiopulmonary rehab program at my hospital. I also quit smoking and cut alcohol out of my life. That was six years ago. I bought a treadmill and began walking at home. My weight dropped to 175 pounds and I stalled there.
Friends told me that I should look at joining a health club. I started slow, working with a personal trainer three times a week. Then I took ten training sessions moving on to free weights. At the end of a year with a good program I was on my own.
I have been a health club member for a little over three years now. I no longer need supplemental oxygen or a nebulizer. I lost 25 pounds and no longer have sleep apnea. I use an inhaler once a day. I walk an average of 9-10 miles a day.
I work out a minimum of 5 days a week going to six. Mondays and Thursdays are chest and back. Tuesdays and Fridays are arms and abs. Wednesday is legs and shoulders. Saturdays are a mixture of full body exercises. I usually spend between 2-3 hours a day working out (and socializing).
There is a tip I will share. I wear a Fitbit and track what I eat using the program. If you measure it, you can improve it. I also use a protein supplement after I work out. There isn’t a silver bullet for success. It’s a mindset and personal commitment to improve.
– Patrick S., Elgin, IL
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