Training Through Retirement Yields Priceless Rewards

“For the last 12 years I’ve come to the RVC in the winter to schmooze with friends and exercise after work. Generally, I’d be a little wiped out from my duties as a middle school teacher, so I’d get on the bike or elliptical and pedal and push for three quarters of an episode of Castle to “get my heart rate up”. Then I would drift over to the weight machines, do a couple sets for my upper body, finish with some stretching and have a great shower.

The idea of a trainer never crossed my mind. I thought I could maintain a solid level of fitness on my own and besides, I felt like I didn’t have time to work with a trainer. But in June, I retired, and my time excuse didn’t work anymore. It was time to step up, enlist an instructor and get serious about conditioning.

In December, my wife Lynn, who knew I could drag my feet on a trainer for years, surprised me with a package of training sessions. All I had to do was pick a trainer. I selected Tom LeBrun. I’ve known Tom for over 35 years ever since he was a trainer and I was a racquetball “coach” at the Fountain of Youth in White River Junction.

“A lot of people come in here, get on the elliptical for 20 minutes, do a set of curls and call it a workout,” Tom said at our first meeting. I eyed my sneakers. That was my routine. But to be fair, I usually did 30 or 40 minutes on the machines but never long enough to find out who the bad guy was on that day’s installment of Castle.

From the start, Tom shattered a lot of my myths about getting in shape. Instead of a lengthy cardio workout, Tom had me do six minutes on the elliptical, stretch on the roller, then up on the treadmill, over to overhead presses and back to the rowing machine. My heart rate was up but with a medley of activities. I was able to push harder for a longer period of time. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.

I haven’t done sit ups in a couple of years because of a repaired hip. Pushups were getting harder, so I slacked off on those, too. But Tom introduced me to three new types of sit-ups and quickly had me popping out a hefty amount of push-ups again. Surprisingly, I could do everything he asked, and more, as time passed.

The benefits of working with Tom have already surfaced. A shoulder that suffered from an ancient ski injury has loosened up and become easier to rotate. While I am not going to enter any power lifting competitions soon, I am getting stronger. I can do two sets of push ups without collapsing and breaking my nose, and that’s after a lot of shoulder work. When Tom starts fiddling with the treadmill and upping the speed and slope to numbers similar to a hike up Everest, I’m still breathing hard, but I don’t panic that I won’t make it. I make it.

Working with a trainer is a great gift to give yourself. It doesn’t take long. I work with Tom two days a week and then three or four days on my own. My old exercise routine has been replaced with an array of options that are challenging and rewarding. I’ve learned new ways to use the equipment at RVC and how to use each machine properly. Tom has shown me that I can still push, get stronger and increase my flexibility. It feels great!

Perhaps the sweetest training reward happened when we visited my wife’s daughter, Kelley, and her husband in Brooklyn this winter. Right after we parked the car, we set off for what turned out to be a three mile hike around Prospect Park. Kelley set off in high gear, like most young people do in the city. I thought I would say, what I’ve said before I worked with Tom, “Go ahead, I’ll catch up.” But I didn’t. I picked up my pace, zoomed around the park with everyone else, and felt good enough to add to the conversation. It was awesome and I couldn’t have done it without my time with Tom at RVC!” -Dave Callaway

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What our members say

 Jennifer Packard
Jennifer Packard

Whether you’re just starting out, trying to get back into a routine, or are feeling frustrated with your current regimen: Your fitness journey is your own. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

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Terry Hall

‘Can’t’ is no longer in my vocabulary, and I have a sense of pride in my ability to work toward a goal and not only achieve it, but often exceed it.