It’s time to focus on men’s physical health

Photo: Don Schiller uses the TRX Suspension Trainer during a personal training session with Touchmark Health & Fitness Club Director Nick Brown.

June is National Men’s Health Month. This is important to note because many men don’t recognize how the passing of time affects their metabolism and fitness levels.

Don Schiller, 83, experienced this very scenario despite remaining active throughout his life. With his weight creeping up, he was facing the prospect of spinal surgery to alleviate chronic back and neck pain. Instead, he decided first to reach out to Nick Brown, Health & Fitness Director at the Touchmark Health & Fitness Club.

“I had never thought of using a personal trainer before, but I sat down with Nick for analysis and told him I wanted to lose 30 pounds and keep them off after. I wanted to resume my daily exercises, but Nick asked if I’d consider changing my routine. I said I’d do what he recommended because I wanted his knowledge and experience. I just wanted to be able to keep exercising for the next 10 years or more,” Schiller says.

Together, he and Brown completed a series of assessments and built a wellness plan designed for Schiller to reach his goal of losing fat and replacing it with lean muscle. Previously an everyday swimmer, Schiller was surprised when Brown suggested only swimming two days per week and supplementing his regimen with strength training and cardio on the treadmill and rowing machine.

Viewing wellness holistically

Brown’s dietary changes were another surprise. “Maintaining physical activity is critically important, but you also need to fuel your body with healthful foods that won’t pack on unnecessary pounds,” explains Brown. Since Schiller lives at Touchmark, Brown was able to talk with Touchmark Executive Chef Erik Stieber as he planned the suggestions.

Schiller says, “We changed my diet, especially for breakfast. I can have yogurt, granola, egg whites (I’d never heard of egg whites before!), and I’ve cut way down on bread. I eat avocados and cottage cheese now, and you don’t have to eat the same thing every day. I vary what I’m eating the same way I do with exercise.”

Reclaiming control & seeing results

After six months of working with Brown, Schiller has lost the weight and managed to keep it off. He also doesn’t need the surgery. He views Brown as his partner in wellness for long-term health.

“I am ready to start doing more things, and I told Nick the other day that I want to sit down with him again and reevaluate. I’ve reached my goal of getting down to 150 pounds. I can control my weight and stay there, so now what’s the next step to keep going? It’s been a fantastic experience. I was not easy to convince, but now that I’ve done it and see that it works, I tell other people my story.”

The power of taking action

Both Schiller and Brown recognize the importance of committing fully to a lifestyle change once you embark on it. Brown says, “Don is incredibly dedicated to the exercise program we constructed. He embraced the assessments and movement screens along the way. Most importantly, he focuses on strength-training-specific movement patterns twice a week, varies his cardiovascular training three times a week, and does the mobility drills daily.”

 It may be time for men who feel they’ve plateaued in their wellness journey to explore working with a professional. There is no one-size-fits-all fitness routine that works for everybody or even every phase of life. This month, embrace the Wear BLUE® awareness campaign, created by Men’s Health Network to raise awareness about the importance of male health and to encourage men to live longer and healthier lives.

The Touchmark Health & Fitness Club is open to members of the public ages 50+. Offerings include personal training, wellness assessments, group fitness classes, cardio and strength-training equipment, swimming pool, the Touchmark Trekkers walking/hiking club, specialty classes for specific conditions such as Parkinson’s, and more. For more fitness resources, contact us at 928-708-3133 or visit our Prescott website.

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