Fitness Success Stories
Exercise Helps Man Cope with Loss of His Wife
My story is how I survived after losing
my wife of 53 years one year ago. Losing Frances almost
killed me. This story is to tell how exercise relieved stress and gave
me a will to keep on living.
I now run 3.5 miles on my treadmill every other day and lift light weights two to three times a week. I also do abdominal exercises two to three times a week. My body weight is now 133 with 14% body fat.
This July 4th 2015 I entered a 5K race in Deltaville, Virginia. I placed 1st in my age group of 70+. (I'm 73) My race time was 30:18.20 with a pace per mile of 9:46.
[What Clarence is not telling you is that he finished 194 out of 506 finishers of all ages. A month later, he cut another minute off his 5K time, averaging 9:23 per mile. He is turning the loss of the love of his life into positive energy--and transforming himself into a lean running machine. Frances must be smiling down on him.]
We couldn't get
Clarence to take his shirt off, but his new found vitality comes through
What a Difference a Scale Makes
I recently hit my peak weight, about 15
pounds overweight/overfat. Don't worry, I have lost 5 pounds
effortlessly by simply buying a scale.
This is Steve before his divorce--and where his newly acquired replacement scale is painlessly nudging him back.
Suzy's Healthy Kids Program Takes Off
My name is Suzy Wamsley and I appreciate you asking me to tell your visitors about my involvement with kid fitness.
I've been exercising for 35 years at our local YMCA - racquet ball, strength training, and aerobics - sometimes more intense than others - but except when having children I've been diligent.
In 2011, I asked 4 middle school boys if they would like to begin a strength training routine with me to increase their athletic performance. I promised if they worked hard that they would see improvement in a short time. I worked with them for 6 months, 2-3 times/week......their progress was evident. My aim was to teach them how to strength train before some high school football coach got into their heads. I also incorporated some interval training to show them that 20 minutes would increase their performance. It did.
Through word of mouth other parents heard of our success and asked if I would work out with their children. These parents were asking because their kids were overweight. They were too young for weight training so I created a workout centered on the goal of running a mile, but also incorporated some bodyweight strength exercises. It was rewarding to see progress in kids at this level once they see improvement and gain confidence.
The Y then ask me to create a program that would be free and open to kids of all ages. We wanted to reach out to kids that had few opportunities for athletics, who may not even own gym clothes, and were overweight. (I love helping fat kids.) The goal is to teach kids how to be fit without overwhelming them with too much information, proving to them that the volume of work required is not daunting, and that consistent effort will get results. I promoted this program at a booth at the Y's Healthy Kids Day open house, a presentation to the Y's board, and this past winter some of my kids gave a demonstration at Kids Day.
The first program we had 16 kids. We measured BMI and waist size, being careful not to embarrass anyone. We started with a one mile run/walk which at first was more walk than run. We did bodyweight and dumbbell strength training, and interval training. It was difficult in the beginning, but the kids responded to getting better and better. I constantly stress doing an exercise correctly. It takes a lot of reps before their form is good, but at the end of 8 weeks they take over the workout.
Suzy and a few of her fit kids show how it's done. Congrats guys.
I am very strict and do not take any back talk. This is a boot camp and they are here to work and learn. I honestly don't know why they like me, but they just want to master what I teach them.
Every week we do a nutrition lesson, such
as baked vs. fried; choose your
drink wisely; whole wheat vs. white...lots of examples. I provide
healthy snacks to help them learn to make healthy choices. We
give their parents a handout each week about nutrition with a recipe.
One of the most important things I do is that every kid makes a
commitment to give up soda for the 8 week duration of our program.
Suzy Wamsley, Logansport, Indiana
Editor: What a wonderful example of
teaching kids to set goals and work to achieve them. It's a
lesson that will serve them well throughout life. Help comes to those
who help themselves.
Thank you, Suzy. GO KIDS!
Renewed Passion Rewards
At around age 50, I began to get re-acquainted
with riding a bike. It was something I hadn’t done much since I was a kid,
though like lots of kids, my brother and I went everywhere on our bikes. We
Loved it. By the time I picked up riding again, I’d been lifting
weights—powerlifting and mostly bodybuilding, for 34 years. During that time, I
often did other fitness stuff or sports, too, just for fun or variety. My wife
Marsha and I started riding bikes casually, then I got a mountain bike and rode
that for a couple of years along with my bodybuilding. We watched the Tour de
France, so of course after that I had to get a road bike and got into serious
riding. I couldn’t help it. It was addictive.
Greg Sushinsky, Ohio
Greg crossing the finish in
personal best time--and making the podium on points
Man Finds New Sport at 56--Aims for the Podium
I've been following Clarence and his teachings for almost 30 years. I took an interest in fitness and exercise relatively late in life, around age 30. Clarence used to write a "Ripped" column in one of the major "muscle mags" and something about his shredded but everyday guy style and appearance really appealed to me. I got into the typical gym rat lifestyle and started lifting weights and eating right. Over the years I was in and out of shape and finally got serious at age 45. All that time I continued to read and follow Clarence's amazing progress. Ten years of very serious bicycle racing allowed me to build outstanding cardio fitness, but I was paying a price in broken bones and injuries; road racing is not for the feint of heart. A short stint working out at a Crossfit gym led me to the Concept 2 rower (also called an ergometer, or "erg" for short) and I immediately knew I had found my new sport.
The years of bicycle racing led to a quick adaptation to rowing, along with some excellent early instruction from Joe Wilsbach at Jersey Devil Crossfit in Hammonton New Jersey. I was pulling decent times pretty quickly. I looked at the Concept 2 rankings and thought I could be competitive in my division. Part of it was a matter of me being a proper fit. Indoor rowing competition is broken up by age groups and weight. 165 pounds and under are considered lightweights, everyone else competes as a heavyweight; there are some real monsters in the HWT division. At the time I weighed 172 pounds; some dieting could probably get me down into the LWT class where my height (six foot) and wingspan (my wingspan is two inches longer than my height) would be an advantage.
I purchased a Concept 2 erg and got to work. With three months of dedicated erg training I went to the World Championships in Boston in February of 2014 (called the CRASH B's) and through some hard work and a little bit of luck (several faster competitors did not show up for the race) I ended up on the podium with a bronze medal. It was all a little surrealistic to say the least. The irony is I plan on going about 15 seconds faster this year and I seriously doubt I'll crack the top three. But that's the way competition goes, ya never know.
My training has been what is now being dubbed "polarized" training. It means simply that you spend the bulk of your time doing fairly easy training, and twice a week or so you go excruciatingly hard. This is something Clarence figured out 15 years ago; he calls it "Barbell Aerobics." The brutally hard stuff forces adaptation, the easy stuff allows recovery while still building aerobic pathways and general fitness. There are two "no man's lands" in training. The first one is going easy all the time. The body easily adapts to the modest loads and no further adaptation occurs. And the other dead zone is hard, 90% to 95% aerobic work day after day. Fitness builds to a point until a plateau is reached. The problem here is not enough stress to drive adaptation past a certain point, but enough stress so recovery does not occur. The athlete ends up in a chronically depleted state and fitness begins to crumble.
I currently erg about 70,000m to 90,000m per week. Eighty percent of these meters are done at 75% heart rate with a cap of 80% heart rate. Two days a week are hard core. Tonight was three sets of 30 seconds on x 30 seconds off ten times. The "on" segments were done at or faster than 2k race pace. (2000 meters is the most competitive distance.)
So far I've done well. My current 2k erg score is a 6:59.1, which ranks me 6th of 90 on the Concept 2 World Rankings for age 55-59 LWT men. I have some work to do for another podium shot at the world level; it probably will not happen this year. But that is really what training and goals are all about--the journey. The process is what makes it all worthwhile. People think I'm nuts training all year for one seven minute shot at Boston. They totally miss the point. It's the process that gets me in the gym and on the erg. Working at the fringes of human performance, seeing what works....and what doesn't. Celebrating the break throughs.....and analyzing and dissecting the break downs. It's a fantastic experiment in human performance. I haven't even delved into the experiments with diet. The accompanying photos will show an extreme level of leanness and what I believe to be sub 10% body fat that was relatively easy to achieve with a little disciplined eating.
If I can summarize. Pick a goal. Any goal, some target event. Maybe a wedding, a class reunion. Run a marathon, do a century (100 mile bike ride). Anything that excites you. Once there is a solid target in mind, everything will fall into place and your training will take on a sense of purpose that will yield amazing results.
Ed Peterson, New Jersey
*Feel free to email me with any indoor rowing questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now that's lean! GO ED. We'll all be pulling for you at the next CRASH B's.
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