Patrick Day, age 70, retired
I believe, at one time or another, we’ve all had a life changing experience. You know, the kind of experience that makes you wake up, take notice of your lifestyle and realize you need to find a different path. Oh, not just for your own sake, but for the sake of all who love and depend on you. Well, my experience occurred in 2011, when I suffered a stroke. Fortunately, it was relatively mild and there have been few lingering effects. However, I had already experienced two previous TIA’s (warning signs), so I decided something had to change. Family to the rescue!! My two kids started with a diet intervention. Both were vegan at the time and convinced me that good health starts with a healthy diet. The change was not easy for a lifetime carnivore, but, with my wife’s wonderful support and adjustments to her diet, as well, we made the change. Next up, exercise…..
Until I retired at the end of 2014, I was in a high stress job, which, to some degree, contributed to my health problems. To manage my stress, I ran in the morning and, over the years, even found time to train and complete marathons. But I knew I needed something more. My son had been working out at a crossfit gym in Roseville and suggested mom and I should give it a try. After an introduction to owner/coach Ted Hawkins, a discussion with him on background and goals, we joined the group for a Saturday workout. So, we thought we were reasonably fit, but that first workout convinced us we had a long way to go. Now, we might have said, “Ok, we gave it a try, now let’s try something more age appropriate.” The workouts were very challenging and we had heard about how crushing some of the workouts could be. We thought crossfit is for young athletes and we just didn’t fit that category. But Ted convinced us that his crossfit gym was different. Workouts would be scaled to our ability and age. Ok, we decided to give it another try. We came back the following Saturday and, you know what, Ted followed through on his promise. Gradually, over ensuing Saturday workouts, we found our fitness and mental outlook improving. Sure, we sometimes had a tough time keeping up, but with great encouragement from Ted and the rest of the Benchmark community, we continued to make progress.
Well, you might think, all gyms are alike…..good coaches and encouraging members. What’s different about Benchmark? In my mind, it starts with the owner/coach Ted Hawkins. I can say, without reservation, Ted brings it all to each and every workout we have enjoyed over the years. His 30 plus years of experience covers not only every aspect of strength and fitness training, but a healthy diet and human anatomy, as well. He also takes the time to know you and your family personally. He gets to know your strengths and weaknesses and structures your program to maximize your potential. He always takes time to address your individual needs before, during and after the workout. Safety is a primary concern and Ted will go to great lengths to make sure you are performing each movement correctly, even if it means repeating over and over again until you get it. Oh, and this is not just me talking….I’ve heard it from the other members of the gym. So, no matter how well you perform, he’s always there to instruct and encourage.
You ask, “…but what has he done for you?” Well, after I retired, I started going to the gym four days a week and, during the past three years, have emphasized both fitness AND strength. Well, during that time, my 1 rep max for a back squat has improved from 120 lbs. to 230 lbs. During the past year, my 1 rep max for the deadlift has improved from 210 lbs. to 260 lbs. and my bench press has improved from 145 lbs to 158 lbs. Honestly, at my age, I never expected to get stronger, but, the results are there. Fitness? Well, core strength, aerobic capacity are all much improved. Without a doubt, I am in the best shape of my life.
None of this has come without hard work. Ted is phenomenal and will do everything they can to help you achieve your goals, but you have to put in the work. I like the line from the marine commercial, “the few, the proud…..” We’re a small community, but all are dedicated to good physical fitness and we’re fortunate to have a wonderful coach to help us stay that way.