‘Fit with 501’

“In November, we were approached by Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center to participate in a health and fitness program,” said Donna. “We have discussed from time to time the need to eat better and exercise, and even though it was the holiday season, we felt it was something important we needed to do.”

After an initial meeting with director Rance Bryant and other fitness center staff, the three began logging what they ate and met with Kellie Turpin, a registered dietitian. She determined each woman’s metabolic rate and gave guidance on how many calories each person should consume daily. She continues to meet periodically with each participant to review food diaries, make suggestions and answer questions.

Personal trainers were also assigned to work with each of the three women and physical assessments were done. “Our trainers used that information plus our personal goals to develop fitness programs specific to our bodies and our needs,” said Tracy.

“Over the next few issues, we want to share our experiences with our readers,” said Sonja. “We know there are others in situations similar to ours and we want to encourage them to seek out opportunities through fitness facilities and health programs to ‘get fit with 501’ in 2010.”

Tracy Ferrell

My journey began with needing an attitude adjustment in several areas – including preconceived ideas about trainers and dietitians. Another is my attitude of it being “for me” and not them, and realizing I am the one wanting to feel better. I have had many years of abuse on my body from eating poorly and lack of exercise, and it will not be an overnight process no matter how much I would love to take it out on someone else.

“Baby steps” is some of the advice I’ve been given and that is so true. If it weren’t, it would simply be overwhelming. It has been amazing seeing the difference in the clarity of my thoughts to the difference my body feels (even though I have a long way to go). I can feel the progress.

The initial workout was an eye-opener. I do not recall in my anatomy classes that we have muscles in our bottoms. But I am here to confirm that we do. 

When we started, boy could I “talk the talk.” I went into the dietitian and said things like, “I need to drink more water, get off carbonated drinks and not eat out as much.” I would rather joke my way through all of this instead of face the facts and do the work.

I am usually an open book but when it came to my eating habits and exercising, I really didn’t want to talk about it nor did I want to be like Oprah and have the world know about my shortcomings. And I for sure didn’t want someone telling me I couldn’t have my Diet Coke. But just to show you how wrong I was, at my first meeting with the dietitian, Kellie told me DietCoke is OK as long as you get in plenty of water.

In my mind, I can do this! But one thing I said to both was “I want to feel better.”

OK, I don’t brag that I have conquered this whole thing but at least it’s a start. Even though I am not motivated in these areas, I have Kellie and Amy to help me through.

Sonja Keith

As a fitness center dropout (two or three times), I was apprehensive about embarking on the “Fit with 501” campaign. As we discussed the project, it was obvious if we committed to the program, failure was not an option.

When I considered the hard work and difficult lifestyle changes ahead as well as the benefits, I identified five good reasons for embarking on this adventure – my husband Tom and my children James, Emily, Laura and Joe. I want to grow old with my husband, and I want to be around to watch my children and grandchildren grow up.

Still, there would be two significant challenges to confront – I love food and when does a soccer mom with a new magazine find the time for exercise. How could I squeeze exercise into my already busy schedule?

One of the first tasks was to keep a food diary for Kellie to review and offer feedback. I knew there would be some areas needing improvement, but her assessment was more revealing than I expected. I wasn’t doing as good as I thought, taking in way more calories than what my body needed for fuel.

To be honest, I think the food aspect of our program is the most challenging. It requires some thought and planning. I’ll get there, with Kellie’s help.

I’ve been active as long as I can remember. I played basketball in high school and various intramural sports in college. But after graduation, life got in the way and exercise went to the wayside.

My trainer, Gina, is the best and she’s is helping me to get back on track. My workouts are in the early morning hours before my family wakes up. It has become “my time” to think (while listening to Kris Allen in my headphones) and focus on my day before taking the kiddos to school and heading to the office. If I can’t make it to the fitness center, I feel lost. I look forward to going every morning. Never thought I’d be saying that.

Gina offers incredible support and knows when and how to encourage me to do more. I really appreciate her.

Changes are happening and I’m feeling better because of them. I’m drinking lots of water these days, rather than Diet Cokes, and lots of vegetables and fruit. I have more energy and I don’t feel like a stuffed sausage in my clothes.

Kellie, Gina and I make a great team and I look forward to meeting the goals we’ve set. We’re on the right track.

Donna Spears

At some point in the last couple of years, I realized I seriously needed to put my health and fitness first. Starting a new business, and all that goes with my busy lifestyle was not going to change. 

When the Conway Regional fitness center offered this fitness program, I knew I should take advantage of the opportunity. My main goal is to tone up and drop one dress size. I am not so concerned about the pounds, but getting the inches off will make me the happiest.

Work schedules and the holiday season are the hardest time for staying on track. My thought was if I can do it now, I can do it for life.

Kellie made the transition on my food plan easier than I thought. She has given me so many good ideas and shares her knowledge so that I can follow her suggestions. Kellie is very encouraging and works with me on realistic goals. I can still have food I enjoy, and continue to eat some of the foods I like.

My trainer, Robin goes above and beyond to make sure I am getting the most out of my workouts. I totally understand the reason behind the exercise program. Her enthusiasm is contagious. Robin started me out on a level that is obtainable, and each week I feel stronger.  When I first started working out I was very sore, and my legs would feel like noodles when I left. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long for that to subside. When I leave my workouts now, I feel better and more in control of my health.

I may have lost a couple of pounds, but the biggest consolation is my clothes are not fitting as tightly as before.

I have this pair of jeans hanging in my closest – my inspiration. When I can wear them again I will know I have reached my goal. The most important thing is to remember it is a way of life, and to stay fit I have to stay focused on my program.