Former mayor getting back to his fighting trim

Jul 10, 2014

This self-confessed “recovering politician” is, and always has been, an entrepreneur at the core.

He’s a compulsive and task-oriented individual who admits to a certain amount of obsessive behavior when he commits to a challenge.

His passion arises from working with young entrepreneurs who are eager to swim against the current and don’t quite fit a standard definition of normal – whatever that is.

He is Larry O’Brien, founder of Ottawa’s Calian Technologies, former mayor and a client of Free Form Fitness.

For many busy business people, long hours and harried schedules often manifest in poor nutrition, poor fitness and poor health. But this maverick has always run counter to the norm. It’s when he’s at his busiest that he’s at his best. The greater the demands of work, the more focused he is, and this carries over into all facets of his life. He exercises more, eats better and drinks less, if it all.

“The precursor to every big thing I’ve ever done is fitness and alcohol abstinence,” he said.

Which means that ample free time as a retiree conspires to undermine his health. It’s a cycle he’s struggled with all his life.

While Larry continues to write business books, and is active with various startups as an angel investor and mentor, his routine just isn’t as busy as it once was, and he’s seeing the negative effects of that. Age and added pounds have led to sugar and blood pressure meds and other complaints.

“If I wake up in the morning and I am not hurting somewhere, it probably means I’ve passed away in the night,” he said with a smile.

Larry has a family history of heart disease and diabetes. While serving as mayor, he was briefly hospitalized for his blood pressure. He’s always been an avid runner, but at age 29, he suffered a heart attack from excessive running.

Having just celebrated his 65th birthday, the need to manage his health has become more critical than ever.

“You have to take these things seriously,” he said.

So he’s come to FFF for help to drop some weight and get himself back into his running routine. In particular, he wants to get in shape to once again run the half marathon in this September’s Army Run, an annual fundraiser for the Soldier On and Military Families Fund.

Why FFF?

“I’ve been impressed with this organization because they take a personal approach that appeals to the narcissistic side in all of us,” Larry said. “It’s a great service business that combines thorough knowledge and expertise that works for people of all fitness levels.”

He started to see the results he wanted within the first few weeks of training at FFF. And this old dog has also learned some new tricks.

Poor eating habits and too much alcohol, which plays havoc with his blood sugar, have always been his nutritional challenges when he isn’t busy enough. But it was only after coming to FFF that Larry learned just how damaging sugar and simple carbs can be. He, like many people, always believed he could eat as much as he wanted because he would just burn it off through exercise.

“If I had learned and maintained that lesson early, I could have probably avoided the ups and downs of my weight and conditioning,” he said. “If I were to pass on one lesson learned from this, it’s the importance of cutting back on carbs and sugars.”

Nutrition is crucial

To help manage his nutrition, Larry has also turned to Healthy Eating by Design, a custom meal service founded by a former FFF trainer.

“The level of concentration you have when your meals are balanced is fantastic,” Larry said. “Eliminating sugar and simple carbs enables that enhanced concentration. I’ve been losing weight since I started the meal service – it doesn’t get any better than that!”

The challenge now for the FFF team is to keep Larry on track for the long term and break him of the cycle that has always challenged his health. Their greatest ally may be his wife, Colleen.

“She pushes me a little bit to keep me healthy,” Larry said.

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