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Recovery time with the Eggletons
November 19, 2015 - Andy Flynn
This week: 420
Sept. 15: 420
People on their weight-loss journeys often talk about the highs and lows, ups and downs, the good days and the bad. There is no straight line to success.
We talk about life knocking us down and, while we’re on the ground, reaching deep within ourselves to gather the strength and courage to get back up and fight some more.
But we rarely talk about that moment of getting up, battered with scraped hands from catching the fall and tears in our eyes from the pain and embarrassment. All we want to do is hide from the world and escape reality. And that happens for a time, maybe a day, a week or even a year. It’s the defining moment. Do we stay on the ground or crawl back up to our feet?
Inevitably, most of us reach for something to grab and pull ourselves up. Sometimes we have enough strength to do it by ourselves. Other times, it’s a helping hand that reaches down to pull us up. And, whether we know it or not, once we get to our feet, we’re always surrounded by people to help keep us there. They, too, know what it’s like to get knocked down.
My latest knockdown came two weeks ago when I had my third acute attack of gout since June. This time, instead of my left foot, it was in my right knee. I didn’t know you could get gout in your knee. Apparently, you can.
I was mentally prepared for a week or two of recovery, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. I had to skip workout days for the weight-loss class at the Fitness Revolution gym because of the pain in my knee. I took the medication like a good patient, only missing one day of work to visit the doctor and get some rest.
When you’re used to getting regular exercise, being inactive takes a toll on your mind and body. It’s usually my waistline that suffers, and this time was no exception. I was continually tempted to reach for snacks while resting in front of the television or computer.
Back on my feet
It seemed fairly routine to get back on my feet after this episode of gout, literally and figuratively. After all, I’d been through it before.
This time was a little different, though, because I was itching to get back to my workout family at the Fitness Revolution gym. In the summer, I didn’t have that support group like I do now, and it took me a lot longer to bounce back. It’s the people in the Fit Revolution program — the trainers and participants — who reached their hands down and helped me.
That’s one of the main benefits of the program — the camaraderie and support — that makes the 12-week class worthwhile. I’m sure there are others in the region who would find this program beneficial.
Donna and Leslie Eggleton, of Saranac Lake, have been involved with the Fit Revolution weight-loss program for more than a year. This is Donna’s third round and Les’s second, although they had to cut their last round short because of an illness.
The class that was cut short began in January. Les participated to lend support to his wife, who successfully completed her first round in the fall of 2014. A few weeks into her second round, she was struck with appendicitis and had emergency surgery. Her doctor told her she couldn’t go back to the gym for at least six weeks. Les had knee surgery after a couple weeks into the current round.
Needless to say, they both know about getting knocked down because of injury and illness and getting back up.
Unlike Les, who had been involved in martial arts and running, Donna wasn’t an athlete in September 2014 when she began her first round of the Fit Revolution weight-loss class. It was an eye opener, and it changed her life.
“The first day I went to the gym, my goal was to lose a lot of weight,” Donna said. “After the first workout, I realized it wasn’t about losing weight; it was about being stronger. So I dedicated my time to working on strength and not worrying about the scale because that would eventually come along.”
Donna lost 12 pounds in the first 12 weeks, falling short of her 20-pound goal. But, like she said, it wasn’t just about the weight. Looking at the before and after photos at the end of the round, she saw a clear transformation. In the after photo was a new woman.
“I was glowing,” she said. “I was standing up straight, and I even looked confident."
Donna’s second round started in January, and Les accepted an invitation to join her for the next 12 weeks.
“I started for two reasons,” Les said. “One because Donna was in the group, and she wanted me to go with her. Also, I hadn’t been doing anything to really get into shape, so after seeing the success that Donna had, I decided that would be a good thing for me to do, too.”
Donna also hoped Les — the athlete — could help her with the athletic side of things.
“That lasted about four weeks, and then I had my appendix out,” she said. “I couldn’t believe how disappointed I was that I just couldn’t do anything.”
Since Donna and Les wanted to do the program together, they put their memberships on hold until Donna could get back to the gym. By the spring, Donna was taking small walks, and by the summer, she was back in the gym, starting slowly by walking on the treadmill, riding the bike and going to classes to regain her strength.
“Every time I went back, I did a little bit more, but I really didn’t push myself until probably July,” Donna said. “And by July, I still wasn’t perfect, but I could do more and more, with the major goal being I wanted to start the next round with everybody. My gym family and my friends were there.”
The road to recovery was mental as well as physical, but she worked through the challenges and successfully prepared for her third round of the Fit Revolution program, which began in mid-September.
“At this point, I’m completely recovered, physically and mentally,” Donna said. “I’m able to bench press more than just the bar. I can jump rope a lot more than I could. I’m running. And I’m learning to live a healthy lifestyle, one that I always thought I could do but I never really knew how to do that. It totally improved my confidence.”
Les entered the current round knowing he’d have knee surgery in October, and a conversation with head trainer Jason McComber convinced him it was a good idea.
“He said he had his knee operated on, and he came back to the gym, and his knee healed up much quicker than people had anticipated,” Les said. “That really encouraged me to stay in the group and get my knee done.”
Les only missed five classes due to his recovery.
“It’s been incredible because I really haven’t had any problems,” Les said. “Six weeks after my surgery, I’m hiking out in the woods doing pretty much everything they ask us to do at the workout.”
Everyone in the class has at least one limitation, whether it’s recovering from illness or injury, chronic pain or simply being too large to complete specific exercises. That’s why the trainers offer modifications to all the exercises. Taking it slowly, Les took advantage of these modifications for his recovery.
“If we have to do 25 squats per round, I might do 25 good squats the first round, and then the next round I’ll just back off a little so that I don’t damage my knee,” he said. “Seth and Jason both are asking me about it and making sure that I know there are modifications so I don’t do something to hurt it again.”
When Donna began her first round, her back was weak. Now it’s much stronger. She wanted to lose 20 pounds, and she has finally reached that goal. And when life knocks her down, it’s much easier to get back up.
“I think I’ve never had the fight in me that I have now,” Donna said. “And it’s not fight, like I have to keep up with anybody. It’s the goals that I want to meet for me.”
Les wanted to lose weight when he began his first round, and he wanted to get back into running.
“A goal I set for myself when I turned 55 was to run a half-marathon every year,” he said. “I hit the first three years, then the last two years because of injuries I haven’t met that goal.”
At age 60, Les is ready for a comeback, training for a half-marathon next year. He may not be ready for the half-marathon in Indianapolis in May, but he’ll get back there eventually. In the meantime, he’ll continue to work on losing weight, building muscle and toning up, getting his entire body in shape, not just focusing on the running.
“I’m really psyched about my knee feeling good,” Les said. “I am losing weight in this program. More importantly, I’m getting in shape.”
Weight loss is only one benefit of the Fit Revolution weight-loss program, according to Les and Donna, who see their class as a support group.
“I feel like I’m in a family of encouragers,” Donna said.
“It’s really cool to have everybody supporting everybody,” Les said. “In a way, everybody looks after everybody, too. If you look like you’re tired, somebody will come along and say, ‘Hey, are you doing OK?’ Or they’ll come along and say, ‘Hey, you’re doing a great job.’ That really helps because there are moments when you’re thinking, ‘What the heck was I thinking? Why did I think this would be a good idea?’”
The group, which meets Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings, also provides motivation because all participants are held accountable.
“I’m more committed when I’m part of a group,” Les said. “People notice when you’re not there, and you feel like you want to be there to cheer the other people on. That really helps me stay focused and get myself into the gym.”
Donna likes the one-on-one attention from the trainers, who teach the correct ways to use the equipment.
“Even after one full session, there are still things that I was corrected on because I still wasn’t doing them right,” Donna said. “It’s so important to have that expertise from the trainers, helping us do everything the right way so we’re not getting hurt, and we’re learning how to modify things.”
Learn more about the program by calling Jason McComber at 518-523-4127 or stop by Fitness Revolution at 1991 Saranac Ave. Visit online at www.placidhealth.com.
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Donna and Leslie Eggleton work out at the Fitness Revolution gym in Lake Placid. (News photo — Andy Flynn)