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Keeping up with the young guys in their 50’s

Sep 16, 2016
Ashley Ann Lawrie

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As retiree, Bob Anderson lives by one rule – be ready to leave the house by 9 a.m.

The 74-year-old prostate cancer survivor knows that the key to living healthy through his golden years is a regular routine. But sometimes, you need a little help to keep you accountable and on track.

Throughout his working life, Bob kept active in the great outdoors. He walked, hiked and cycled, but never hit a gym or trained to the level of his youth when he was on university teams for wrestling and rowing.

That didn’t concern him a whole lot as he passed into retirement. He considered himself relatively fit without serious health problems, though his blood sugar levels had risen to a pre- diabetes stage.

But by 70, Bob had “really poured on the weight” and his blood pressure was rising. He realized he just wasn’t in good enough shape for a trip he wanted to take with some friends to walk part of the Camino de Santiago pilgrim route in Spain.

So he decided to hit the gym with a personal trainer, something he had never done before. Friends recommended trainer Lori Peppiatt. Today, Lori is manager of Free Form Fitness’s Glebe location. But back then, four years ago, she was working at another gym in the neighbourhood.

When Lori decided to join the FFF team about a year ago, Bob followed. Why?

“She can read people well and pretty quickly determine what needs attention and work,” Bob said.

When he first met Lori, Bob had only a vague fitness goal of general conditioning, but she took stock of what he really needed and developed a more defined program. She targeted his balance and mobility issues, and his challenges with an old back injury, with strength conditioning that incorporated the therapeutic exercises proscribed by his chiropractor. She also learned how to push Bob’s buttons and tap into his competitive nature to get him to push as far as he is capable for his age.

When he followed Lori to FFF, it took Bob a little while to get used to the different pace of 30-minute workouts instead of an hour, but he soon realized the FFF buddy system approach to personal training, and the variety, was a better fit for him than the model of that other gym.

“This actually suits my personality better, because it’s a little more intense,” he said. “I like the idea of having two coaches. And it’s more friendly and personal here than at the other place.”

That other coach is Eric Langford. “This guy is excellent, he’s got the personality,” Bob said.

Bob still finds it a challenge to control his weight.  As a single fellow, hitting those local watering holes where everyone knows his name for a glass or two of wine is his chief social activity.

“Lori actively challenges me to adapt healthier eating choices,” Bob said.

Despite his ongoing battle with the bathroom scale, Bob’s three visits a week to the gym has left him feeling better than ever, a point he is quick to pass on to other folks his age.

“I just tell them about how much better I feel, the higher energy level, and that my blood pressure and sugar levels are down, too,” he said. “You get up in the morning and if there’s something you want to do, you’ve got the energy to do it and you’re not just moping around. I haven’t had a problem with my back in years. When I go up to my campground to do physical labour, I can keep up with guys in their 50s.”

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