Fitness and Wellness Inspiration for 2015

​​In Business publisher Jon Konarske presents Sally with the 'Most Improved Woman' award​.

​​In Business publisher Jon Konarske presents Sally with the ‘Most Improved Woman’ award​.

Every year, many of us take a wellness assessment through work or through our health care provider. To some this may seem like a just an ordinary task, but to others it can serve as a wake-up call. TDS Data Architect, Sally G., is one of those people.

After taking last year’s wellness assessment, Sally realized her health numbers were not as positive as she would have liked. This discouraging news, combined with her age, led Sally to the conclusion that she had a “window of opportunity” to better herself physically.

​​Not exactly sure where to start, Sally read online about In Business magazine’s Get Fit Challenge and decided to jump on the chance. The selection process to become a contestant is very competitive and required Sally write a detailed essay. Once accepted, though, the participants were compensated for all their training for the duration of the competition. Sally was lucky enough to become one of five individual female competitors.

​Prior to beginning her training, Sally underwent an official medical evaluation to get baseline numbers for things like cholesterol, flexibility, push-ups, weight, body mass index, and heart health. From there, Sally began her road to better fitness that would span from mid-March to the end of August.

Sally was assigned to an athletic gym near her home and enrolled in their fitness training program. The early morning classes met five days per week and consisted of her trainer, Grant Brooks, and only three to four others. Sally and the others were also expected to fit in workouts on the weekends and eat right to complement the exercise. Grant held Sally highly accountable, which is one of the reasons she only missed three workouts in her five and a half months of competition training!

Along with an encouraging trainer, Sally was also motivated by the competitive athletes on her TDS work team, as well as the accountability and publicity of the Get Fit Challenge. However, despite multiple reasons to get in better shape, the process was not always easy for Sally.

“The first three weeks were very difficult, going from a couch potato to [doing] very strenuous workouts,” said Sally.

​This initial stretch, along with being the oldest contestant, had Sally thinking she would be lucky just to finish the competition, let alone win it. After some gradual improvements, though, Sally began to see some significant progress come week 18. For example, by this point in her training Sally could bench press 75 pounds. It was milestones like this that really changed Sally’s outlook about herself and the competition over the course of her training.

Sally's progress –​​ the first 12 weeks.

Sally’s progress –​​ the first 12 weeks.

“I’m doing pretty well here,” said Sally. “I might just have a chance!”

About a month later, Sally found out she wasn’t far off in thinking she had a shot to win the competition— because she did! After undergoing fitness testing to compare with her numbers from the start of her training, Sally was awarded ‘Most Improved Woman.’

Sally is now the most fit she’s been in her life and loves the benefits. She says she now sleeps like a rock, has more energy, a longer attention span, and is better at dealing with stress.

The competition changed Sally’s lifestyle and has given her a passion for exercise. Even though the competition is over, she continues to work out with her trainer, who has been very pleased with her hard work as well. Sally can now do 72 pushups, when before she could only do 14. Sally says it’s very rewarding to take a step back, look at yourself and think “wow, that’s me?!”

“She is the type of client every trainer hopes for,” said Grant. “She knows it is necessary to continue with the exercise on her own, as well as staying true to her nutrition in order to achieve her goals. She has seen what she is capable of and strives to see how much further she can go.”

Sally has built up a philosophy to getting fit and encourages others to get out there and better themselves too. She says it is a process, not an event and takes consistent effort—both at the gym and in your diet. However, the process—like the results—starts to feel good in itself. Finally, Sally says she is proof to not decide you’re too old to begin getting more fit.


Luke_BrooksGuest Blogger: Luke Brooks
Luke is the intern for the Corporate Communications team at TDS and does a lot more than brew coffee and make copies. He is called on for anything from press releases to multimedia projects. Luke is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in Communication Arts and Journalism and Mass Communication. His strongest passions are movies and sports.


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