The fitness version of couple’s therapy
Graham had been an active long-distance swimmer, SCUBA diver and marathoner. He had even participated in the most northern marathon in the world, on Baffin Island. All that changed following a hip replacement in 2001.
“It all went a bit downhill from there in terms of flexibility and my weight,” he said.
For her part, Jay had always been an avid gardener who liked to take long walks with her dogs, but then she began to lose mobility in her shoulder.
“I think I was settling for having a weak shoulder with lack of movement,” she said. “It’s easy to settle for these things and think they aren’t going to get better because you don’t know how to make them better, but just taking painkillers is not the answer.”
And then there were the carbs found in the breads and starchy vegetables they both enjoyed.
They lived on the third floor of a condo with no elevator and “treated those stairs like a stairmaster,” but it wasn’t enough.
Free Form Fitness’s Dalhousie Street Ottawa location was close to their condo. Jay was always intrigued and one day ventured in. After having already tried group classes at one of the big fitness chains, she was attracted by the idea of a small, intimate facility.
This was the start of a major lifestyle change for them both. After six months working with FFF trainer Ryan Menard, Graham has lost 45 pounds, regained much of the flexibility he had lost following his hip replacement, and almost eliminated the need for blood pressure and cholesterol meds. Jay has also regained mobility in her shoulder, improved her overall flexibility, and lost her target 20 pounds.
“We both really enjoy exercising together,” said Jay. “We have had sessions on our own, but doing it together and sharing the trainer is more beneficial. We goad each other on and become competitive. It makes it much more fun and motivates us.”
“Ryan is so in tune with what we need,” added Graham. “It’s quite remarkable.”
You really are what you eat
The 20 pounds that Jay has lost was a goal she didn’t think possible, given that she had always been slow to lose weight. But she and Graham soon realized how important nutrition is to any fitness program. It’s become an enjoyable new challenge, but not a difficult one, to come up with new low-carb dishes in the kitchen. They travel frequently, which can make healthy eating tricky, but now when they order a burger and fries, they are amazed by how much starch they leave on the plate, and how much they were eating before.
“I think we’ve done it long enough that it is a lifestyle change,” said Jay. “We wouldn’t want to go back.”
Improving their fitness levels has made them much more confident about venturing outdoors on icy days when sidewalks are slick. FFF has proven to them that many of the age-related complaints seniors have are in fact reversible.
“We both feel astonishingly better and younger,” said Graham.
“It’s fun, we look forward to coming,” Jay added. “Having someone like Ryan who keeps giving you new challenges makes it interesting, fun, and, above all, beneficial.”