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“That’s why the Fitness Challenge contests are so good. It’s the resistance training and getting to your healthy weight and seeing the results. It confirms what your doctors are saying when they say resistance training or lose a little weight and your bloodwork will come back better. The journey, the journey, the journey.”
  • Charlene Gibbs
Charlene Gibbs Before and After

Meet Charlene

Charlene Gibbs has been a member here at Fitness Incentive since about the time we relocated to our current Deer Park Avenue location, which occurred in 2001. She is what can be described as a fully immersed member, availing herself of many of the options offered at F.I., including classes, personal training, the Fantastic Four contests, and more. She admits, however, that most of her energy has been given over to cardio exercise. “A lot of aerobics, Cycle classes, and walking around the weight machines and not really investing in that,” she says with a laugh. But when she received a diagnosis of osteopenia (and later osteoporosis), she understood that a reevaluation of her exercise priorities was in order.

“Whenever you are diagnosed with these conditions,” she says, “resistance training is always strongly recommended by medical professionals. Aerobics is, of course, highly beneficial, but these conditions respond most powerfully to weight-bearing exercise.” Understanding that she needed to get serious about these conditions, she took what was for her at that time the next logical step. “I signed up for the Fantastic Four challenge,” she says. “This would have been in the spring of this year. I’d entered previous contests, always training with Eileen Jacinth, but this one, no doubt because of my diagnoses, had greater focus and ramped up my determination. When the contest ended, I was due for a biennial bone scan. It revealed that the osteoporosis was gone—it had reverted back to osteopenia. Maybe there can’t be a total reversal, but certainly my condition had been somewhat reversed.”

Not Completely Surprised

Charlene wasn’t completely surprised by this recovery. She’d entered the contest knowing that there would be other positives to the training. But addressing her diagnoses was chief among the anticipated benefits. After the scan results were in, she resolved to continue to train with Eileen. “Needless to say, I was strongly motivated to continue strength training given the result of the scan. I purchased sessions with Eileen and also strength-trained on my own. Among other activities, I identified and took classes with weight-bearing emphases. In fact I would have signed up for the Fantastic Fall challenge taking place this autumn, but it turns out I’d be unable to attend about half the sessions.”

Charlene’s physicians know about her contest and post-contest regimens and acknowledge their value. “The contest was the turning point,” she says, “the doing of the contest for the resistance training.”

And as is the case with many who sign up for the Fitness Challenge contests, Charlene was less concerned about winning or prizes and more focused on the benefits of the training. “I never really looked or found out how or where my team or I finished,” she says. “I knew I was where I wanted to be. Truthfully, our group knew we weren’t going to win. One of our team members had to drop out, and we picked up a new person. We knew it was just for our own personal benefit and were more than fine with that. I don’t believe I expressed to Eileen before the contest began that I had the osteoporosis, but when it was all said and done, the results spoke for themselves. Eileen is really good at individualizing her approach to training, even within a group. She’s extremely knowledgeable and keeps learning more and more. She stays current.”

More of the Same!

Charlene plans to continue to strength-training going forward. “It’s necessary,” she says. “I mean, everybody has to do whatever they have to do to suit themselves and know that they’re going to be successful. For me personally, I think I’m better off doing small group personal training…just bite the bullet and do it because of the discipline. Even if it’s just once a week, I know I can fill in around it. There’s a motivating force there, knowing you are going to go into group training.”

Charlene pauses a moment before continuing. “That’s why the Fitness Challenge contests are so good. It’s the resistance training and getting to your healthy weight and seeing the results. It confirms what your doctors are saying when they say resistance training or lose a little weight and your bloodwork will come back better. The journey, the journey, the journey.”

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About the Author

Paul Smith

Paul Smith

Paul Smith manages marketing and member communications for Fitness Incentive. He is a frequent contibutor to these pages.

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