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Longevity, Fitness And The Legendary Tomahawk

Nice to meet you Ken, before we start can you tell us a little about yourself?

Well, I’m 73 years old. I’ve had carotid artery surgery, they've had to stop my heart twice, I’ve had 3 mini strokes and right now I’m 31 pounds down from my weight in July. I’m currently in the best shape I’ve ever been in my entire life(Aside from when I was in the military!) I can’t tell you enough about how exceptional this gym is. I have a trainer who takes no BS and pushes me beyond what I think are my limits. I’m getting stronger and my life is so much better! I can get on the floor with my 4 year old granddaughter and wrestle around with her, before I couldn’t even carry her around from room to room. I’m just trying to do the best that I can, lose weight and gain muscle.

What was your catalyst to start coming into the gym?

Well I’ve known the owners for a while and was aware that they were passionate about fitness. I had just started walking a lot but it wasn’t really doing anything. I knew I needed to be exercising so I went out and bought a barbell and a weight bench, I laid on the thing and my shoulders wouldn’t go through the holes! So I decided I’d come down here, Mike told me about the gym and set me up with my trainer Alex(Who I think is superb). Ever since then, for the last two months, I’ve been working my butt off...Literally my butt is going away!

What is your motivation when you're training and pushing yourself way beyond your comfort zone?

I’m striving for fitness and longevity. I’m 73 years old and I have a 4 year old and a 10 year old who I’ve adopted, I’ve got to be there for them. That wasn’t going to happen sitting on the damn couch eating potato chips and drinking diet Pepsi! My whole idea is to get fit, lose weight and never again experience the shame I felt in Idaho last year: I got on a ride with my 4 year old daughter and I couldn’t lock the safety bar into position...I held it in place and the guy came up and said “No, you have to close it,” So I sucked in my gut and closed the bar. If the ride had been maybe a minute longer I would have passed out! That was the most embarrassed I’ve ever felt in my life. I never want to feel that way again.

You mentioned potato chips and diet soda, how has your nutrition changed since working with Alex?

I’m taking vitamins now, I never did that before! I’ve changed my eating habits completely. Before I would sit down with a 32oz. steak at a restaurant, pay 110 bucks for it(A Tomahawk) and eat the whole damn thing. I'm also eating fruit for the first time! I have a fruit bowl with watermelon, pineapples, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. In the past I wouldn’t touch fruit unless it had whip cream and ice cream underneath it.

Have other people noticed a change in you since you started this process?

Well, my Granddaughter used to say “Poppa you’ve got a big belly!” Now she doesn’t, she’s saying “Show me your muscles!” My daughter's aunt came over the other day and said “Man, you’re losing weight!” I said “Yeah, I’m going to the gym. It’s really great! The people are fantastic,” She’s an attractive young lady and I told her ”Listen, you don’t have to worry, it ain't a hookup spot. It’s a place where you work out and that’s it, that’s what everybody does.” She joined last week and got a trainer, plus she brought a friend.

My life has changed and it’s only been 2 months. For most people it takes 21 days to develop a habit, I just have to keep going! I go 3 times a week, I train for 30 minutes real hard and then I train sporadically during the week on my own. I’m hoping this will be a new way of life.

How would you describe your relationship with your trainer Alex?

Well I can’t say it’s “Love/Hate”, because I damn sure don’t love him*laughs*. But I don’t hate him either. I respect the hell out of him because he’s showing me how to do the exercises: He emphasizes the correct posture and the correct lifting techniques so that I get the most out of the workout without injuring myself. It doesn’t get any better than that! I’ve been through a lot of drill sergeants and military training where they rely on shaming to motivate you. It’s totally different, it’s always encouraging. He’s consistently counting the reps, telling me I can push harder. It works!

Alex, what is your favorite part of working with Ken?

He doesn’t give up. He wants to. But he never does! *laughs*. He is willing to do the work.

Ken, is there any encouragement you have for someone who has been sedentary for a while(or has never worked out) and is intimidated to come into the gym?

Coming to the gym opens a whole new mindset, once you come to the gym and you watch the physically fit people around you, you think to yourself “$!%#, well I want some of that!” It doesn’t matter how old you are or how infirmed you’ve been; I have arthritis in both shoulders and all kinds of issues. They don’t start working you out balls-to-the-wall from the beginning, they see where you are and they start from there. You increase and increase, it’ll change your whole life.

In closing I’d like to say that I have a membership to another gym that I pay for and we never use it. Here, you have to come in! They’re open all the time and they’re here to help. The people are friendly plus the staff are always smiling and happy to greet you on the way in and out. It’s a community feeling! If you haven’t ever gone to a gym before I highly recommend this one, the people are good, the trainers are fantastic and they have every machine you can find on the planet.

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