This past fall, after dealing with a knee injury on and off for a year (thank you to my colleague and PT extraordinaire Dr. Kim Shemer Kurtzman for helping me through that!), I enrolled in PEAK Custom Fitness Solutions Body Composition Challenge… a 12 week competition to see who could reduce their body fat composition the most, in a healthy way.  After having worked a bunch individually with PEAK’s owner/training machine Ryan Morrisey, I joined trainer Tory Tolson’s three day/week class.  Between Tory’s grueling workouts, some on my own, and nutrition tips from Tory and Ruthie O’Hehir (mostly eliminating extra carbs including beer and non-alcoholic beverages), I lost 20 pounds.  And, while I’ve become a little looser with my diet, I’ve kept it off.  My knee feels more solid than it has in a long time, and I even ran a few times this fall, including a 5K.

There have been a few times in my life, when I considered myself an “athlete.”  First, was when I played high school football, lifted everyday, and sailed Lasers (single-handed boat in the picture above which is ideal for bigger/stronger people).  Second was a stretch in college sailing, when I was determined to be one of the fittest skippers/heavy air crews on the St. Mary’s College team.  And third, was when I trained for and ran a marathon in my early 20’s.  That was 20 years ago!  With the help of my colleagues at PEAK, I am feeling like an athlete again!  And, I have motivation to do so… I have noticed subtle changes physically and mentally as a 40-something.  I want to be fit and at my sharpest for my family and for my clients for many years to come; it is clearer than ever that physical fitness extends your life, allows for improved focus, better memory, improved mood, less anxiety, and improved sleep.  Researchers are now saying it is at least as good as many anti-depressants (with no side effects!).  I also want to perform in my sport- sailing!  And I am seeing benefits there already…  This past weekend, frostbiting Lasers, I felt more agile than ever, and placed 2nd for the day.  Maybe partially due to conducting my own biofeedback plus tuning into my own mental skills, I felt more alert and focused than I have in a while.  And J22 Worlds is around the corner in September…  My team got together this past weekend, briefly mentioning some outcome goals to serve as carrots, and to start discussing our training plans.  We will surely be laying out our own Goalscape soon!

Stay tuned between now and Worlds in September as I continue to work hard toward optimizing health and performance, doing physical training with my colleagues at PEAK and pulling from my own knowledge of Mental Performance.