Monday, October 24, 2016

John Finds Intensity, Motivation, and Friends at the Y

John competed in his first Triathlon this August – the Dan Adaire, MD Memorial Triathlon. He placed 2nd in his age group. 

John is 56.

He also completed his first century bike ride this September.

No, this is not another story about a member losing weight, or going from weak to fit. John has been active since college. A few years ago, he amped up his workouts so he could challenge himself with running and biking, but generally, he’s been in good shape his whole life. He’s just extra focused right now.

Instead, this is a story about finding long term motivation.

John originally caught our eye because of his recent racing achievements and strong commitment to a more intense exercise routine at age 56. We wondered what his story was. When we found out, we found out what motivated him, not just for the past three years, but his entire life.

He’s been a member of the YMCA for a total of seven years. His office is downtown, so it is convenient for him to drop in at lunch time. He took a “Fitness Over 40” program that Memorial SportsCare hosted because he wanted to compete in running and biking events. Dr. Dan Adaire recommended that he increase the intensity of his workouts – that it would be good for him. John had heard about Ultimate Workout downtown, an hour long intense circuit class that uses cardio, body weight exercises, weights, endurance, core and more, and decided to give it a try. He’s been showing up regularly for the past three years.

Ultimate Workout, along with his triathlon training has prepped him for higher intensity workouts, events, and races. He says he loves the personal challenge. He doesn’t need to win. He only wants to do better than he did last time.

His goals for 2017? Compete in four triathlons and complete two century rides!

As we look towards 2017, we realize it’s easy to get started. What’s hard is to continue. So, we asked what advice John would give someone who needs help committing to exercise for the long haul.

“Just start,” he said. “It’s important, especially as you age. Make time to do it. The difference between people who work out and people who don’t is a lack of motivation. Find what you like to do and establish a routine. Don’t worry about other people and what they are doing. Go at your own pace. You will be surprised how quickly you can gain strength and endurance if you simply stick with it. Before you know it, you will be in Ultimate Workout.”

Besides finding something you genuinely enjoy doing, making time for it, and creating a habit, John also suggests, “Make goals.” Making shorter term, attainable goals can encourage you to keep going. Making long term goals can give you something bigger to work towards!

Finally we asked, “What motivates YOU?”

It was simple: 1. He feels better, and 2. He looks better. He says, “Who doesn’t want to feel better and look better? If you don’t, you’re silly!”

His wife Deborah also comes to the Y. She enjoys yoga, Strive Fit, and circuit classes. His children also grew up playing Y sports!

Today, John rarely misses class. If he does, he misses the people and his whole world is upside down. He believes there is something for everyone – every age and every fitness level – at the Y. He encourages people to try the Y and discover a program they can get into.

Not only will you look better and feel better, you will make great friends that make you want to show up. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fitness Instructor Celebrates 30 Years at the YMCA of Springfield, IL

Wendy Glisson is a mother of three, a full time marketing professional, a wife, daughter, sister, friend, and a face you look forward to recognizing at the Y. Wendy has been with the YMCA of Springfield, IL for 30 years.

What started out as a way to make extra cash while working her first full time job out of college, ended up being a long term commitment to the members of her local YMCA.

Wendy graduated from Eastern Illinois University where she majored in Communications and minored in Business Administration. She played volleyball, ran track in high school, and also taught fitness classes at EIU. When she landed her first full time job working for former Governor Jim Edgar (who was then Secretary of State), she decided to start teaching for the Y. The YMCA was close to her work and home, and teaching was a great way to supplement her income, fit in exercise, and make friends.

She started in September of 1986 teaching Low Impact Aerobics in what is now the Gymnastics room. Throughout the years she has taught many lunch hour classes, some morning, some off site, and a lot of aerobics and cardio centered workouts. Today, you can benefit from her experience and feel the burn on Mondays during Turbo Kick in the Walnut Room from 12:15 to 12:45PM. 

When asked what her favorite fitness fashion trend has been, she laughs and says, “The headband, and I still wear the headband! I match it to my shirt.” Though she has committed to the headband, her sources of music have changed, “I used to use a cassette player and boom box. Now I download CD’s and music to my iPod.”

The only time she took short breaks from teaching was during her three pregnancies, but she still stayed active. Wendy has been married to her husband Rick for 23 years. One of their first dates was playing racquetball at the Y. She has two boys in high school and a daughter at Ole Miss. Her daughter is majoring in Exercise Science and also teaches fitness classes at the university! Working at the Y worked well with family life. She would sign her kids up for Gym & Swim and other programs. It was a place they could feel comfortable too.

When asked why she has committed to the Y for 30 years, she explains, “It doesn’t feel that long. It’s gone by so fast! It’s the people. I love the people: the members, the staff, the people who take my classes. I met my best friend Cindy here.” She also loves that it’s so easy to drop in at lunch from work. She loves the Y values and how they complement family life. “I’m not muscle bound, and I’m not super thin. I’m a normal person. I love how fitness makes me feel, and I love encouraging and motivating people.

With the busy life Wendy leads, she exudes energy and calm at the same time. She is a picture of balance and is another positive role model for our Y members. She is a walking advertisement for the benefits of regular exercise. We are so happy she has wanted to motivate, encourage, and befriend us for the past 30 years. We are much better with her encouragement and friendship and are so happy she has done her part to create “A Better Us.” 

Interested in group classes? Check out the Y Schedule.