Transformation by Hitch Fit Transformation Trainer Emily Copeland at Hitch Fit Gym in Kansas City!
In August of 2011 I was in the worst shape of my life – physically, mentally and emotionally. I had suffered from severe back pain for many years and had recently been told by a neurosurgeon that my only hope for any relief was a three level spinal fusion. Two disks had completely disintegrated leaving bone on bone and another was badly deteriorated and bulging. I also had spondylolestysis of the fourth and fifth lumbar which means one vertebra had slipped partially off of the other. He also said that golf would not be part of my future which was beyond disappointing as my wife and I had moved into our “dream house” on a golf course less than three years previously. Also in August, I was diagnosed with adult asthma and prescribed two inhalers and a steroid medication to help my breathing. I was 58 years old and weighed 240 lbs. My blood pressure was rising and my cholesterol was off the charts all of which was leading to pills, pills and more pills. And I was struggling with severe headaches.
I was becoming depressed that I couldn’t exercise due to the back pain and couldn’t play more than eleven or twelve holes of golf before the back pain again became so bad that I couldn’t continue. Simple chores around the house and yard work were a major challenge and typically left me confined to a chair for the rest of the day searching for a position that would provide some relief. Pain pills were part of my daily diet as was alcohol, both of which were feeding the depression.
Fortunately, however, August wasn’t all bad. Jana Strait, a co-worker of mine and a Hitch Fit client told me about the program and all it had to offer. Then, just a few weeks later, my place of work hosted a Health and Wellness expo and, thanks to Jana, several Hitch Fit trainers were on hand for the event. At Jana’s urging, I finally made my way over to their booth and introduced myself to Emily Copeland. I explained my physical challenges and asked if she thought she could help. Emily was positive and encouraging and was also confident the Hitch Fit program could dramatically improve my health. I told her that due to some travel commitments that I probably wouldn’t be able to start until mid October. Emily said that was fine but to make sure that I was 100% committed prior to getting started as the program would require nothing less.
For the next six weeks, Emily sent occasional email messages inquiring about my wellbeing and, without being at all pushy, encouraging me to not lose sight of what I said I wanted to accomplish. Finally, on October 18th I nervously met Emily at Hitch Fit to get started. I had lots of different emotions going on that day. Although I had never worked with a personal trainer I had played college basketball so I knew that getting into decent shape required considerable effort. Would I be able to physically meet the demands of the program? Who else would be there – a bunch of muscle builder types saying under their breath, “Hey, get a load of the old fat guy?” Those fears were pretty much quelled in the first few minutes. The other trainers were welcoming, friendly and positive and throughout the process constantly offered their own encouragement and support. As for the others in the gym, it was somewhat reassuring to see that they were also in the various stages of their transformations so any sense of intimidation from them was also eliminated.
Emily took the time to explain how we were going to approach this. We would first focus on my core to help alleviate strain on my back while strengthening the lower back muscles themselves. On my days away from Hitch Fit, I would do lots and lots of cardio to burn the unwanted fat – again, the weight loss would directly benefit my back. And then there was the diet…… As many have alluded to, that was really scary at first. One look at the diet plan and I was thinking, “No way I can do this.” And, again, as most have stated, after the first week or two it wasn’t any big deal at all. Learn to prepare ahead of time and keep plenty on hand. Rid your house of temptations. In fact, now that I’m “done” with my program, I’m still eating almost exactly the same stuff that I thought would be impossible. Duh.
About the first session, I won’t lie, it was tough. As Emily put me through the paces she was patient but demanding. No matter how hard I huffed and puffed, as soon as I had recovered it was back to work. It was pretty easy to see right from the start that this place wasn’t going to be about sympathy. Well, I gotta admit, my performance was downright pitiful. When told to do as many pushups as I could, I think I managed six or seven – although I wasn’t real sure if I could do even one. When it was time for dips I could do zero. THAT was embarrassing. When the hour was finished, I was relieved and exhausted. As I slowly wobbled out to the parking lot that night, Emily again was so encouraging telling me, “Great work, you’re going to be fine.”
Well, the next day the soreness started to set in and the day after that it was even worse – I swear, it hurt to blink. Nonetheless, I limped to the gym the second day to do the cardio work that Emily had prescribed and then back to Hitch Fit the following day. Again, more failure. I knew it was going to be hard but now I was really questioning my ability to go through with it.
But over the next few weeks the soreness went away and although some of the exercises were becoming somewhat easier, Emily kept changing things up and increasing the challenge to meet my improving strength and stamina. More importantly though, my back was feeling better and my breathing was improving dramatically. While I was hoping that my weight would drop faster, Emily explained that there was nothing wrong with it happening gradually. That it actually would be more difficult to put back on and that it was healthier to take it off slowly – just a pound or two per week.
When the weight loss seemed to plateau at about seven or eight weeks, Emily introduced me to “high intensity interval training” and, let me tell you, the “high intensity” part is for real. I almost felt like the first night all over again. BUT, the sense of accomplishment afterward was amazing. If I could make it through THAT, then I could make it through anything. As the high intensity workouts continued, coupled with lots of cardio on my “off” days my stamina steadily increased and the pounds started to fall off again. Then, one night, Emily asked me to do as many pushups as I could. Although pushups had been a big part of my workouts throughout, I don’t think we had done any high reps to this point. Well, to my amazement, I did TWENTY FIVE! That same night I did seventeen dips and a couple of weeks later did three sets of twenty five pushups AND dips. This Hitch Fit stuff was becoming pretty cool!
People at and away from Hitch Fit were beginning to notice and comment on the changes in my appearance – nice! Every week I was going through the closet and finding more and more of my old clothes that now fit. I felt like a new person. My energy level was up, I was sleeping great, my headaches were gone and my back was the best it had been in thirty plus years.
By the time we were approaching week twelve or thirteen I was starting to get nervous again. My final day was approaching and that meant photos. Although I had lost lots of pounds, inches and body fat, I still was afraid that I’d look like a fool. Emily assured me that wouldn’t be the case but I still couldn’t help perusing the Hitch Fit “before and after” section trying figure out where I would fit in.
Well, photo day came and I was indeed nervous. I’m usually kind of a camera hog but not this day – this was a completely different deal. Emily was great though and made it much easier than I anticipated. Afterwards though, I still worried about how they were going to look and then – the moment of truth. Emily sent me the pics. Well, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. They weren’t bad at all. Especially when compared to the dreadful “before’s”. Suddenly, every single minute was more than worthwhile and I felt like I had just won an Olympic medal! Never again was I going back to being that other guy.
My plan now is to continue on my own for a few months and, hopefully, either drop eight to ten more pounds or eliminate another four to five percent of body fat (or better yet, both). Then, I’d like to go back to Emily and try another program to see how much more I can improve when she actually has something to work with!
By the way, the day after the photos I left for a golf trip to Palm Springs and played six consecutive days of eighteen holes or more with zero back problems. Take that doc! I’m off virtually all of my medications and last month had a “cardio calcium score” scan done that revealed I had ZERO percent of blockages or deposits of any kind in any of the arteries in or around my heart. I was told that’s extremely rare for someone my age. I’ve also not taken a pain pill, cholesterol medication or used any of my asthma inhalers in over two months without any ill effects whatsoever.
All in all, I can’t thank Emily enough or say enough good things about the Hitch Fit program. As I said, it’s hard work – no magic pills or potions. They don’t sell snake oil here – only results. I’m less than thirteen months away from being sixty years old and feel better than I did at forty. And if I can do this at my age, imagine what YOU can do. Guys, girls, get it out of the thinking stage and get in here! You can do this! Be it online or in person, you owe it to yourself and your family to try this program and become the best you can be. Like so many others before me, my life has absolutely been changed by this experience and I’ve already even been able to help others as a result. Thank you again Jana for getting me pointed in this direction and your encouragement along the way. And to my wife Kathy for all her help in grocery shopping, meal preparation and “lunch packing”. And most of all, thank you Emily Copeland for your expertise and constant support and encouragement in getting me to a place in life that I honestly never thought I’d be again. You’re the greatest.
READY FOR YOUR TRANSFORMATION with Kansas City Personal Trainer & Hitch Fit Transformer Emily Copeland?
Contact Emily at [email protected] or call 913-787-6452
OR call 816-753-8900 and request to train with Emily!