For years, Stuart Tarleton would wake up in the mornings with what he describes as “normal aches and pains“:
“From not doing anything the night before, I’d wake up with an ache here or a pain there, and not sure where it came from”, says the 61 year-old.
Like many individuals, he’d come to accept all the little trademarks of declining physical health – excess belly fat, decreased flexibility, slicing golf ball after golf ball into the trees – as simply part of the post-60 experience.
That’s not to say he was happy with how his body was failing him. Life just sort of, got in the way:
“Before, that [my body] wasn’t a priority for me. I’d probably be doing a couple of walks a week at best, not because I wanted to, but because I felt like I should be doing it. I was kind of complacent – I felt okay, but didn’t really feel good.”
Hey, we’ve all been there…right?
A phys ed major in college, Stuart knew deep down there was a better version of himself out there. He just needed the right signal from the universe to make the change.
And that signal did eventually arrive, although it was in difficult and sad circumstances:
“My Dad ended up dying of cancer. My Mom had dementia for the last 10-15 years of her life, and I watched her progress through that disease, which was horrible.”
“And the whole time I was trying to get them to be active, to get exercise – especially with the dementia it’s important to get exercise and be active, but neither one of them would. They’d watch TV, I’d buy them recumbent bikes, treadmills, I could never encourage them enough to be active.”
Witnessing his parents gripped with illness was tough, but their passivity through the ordeal served as a look-in-the-mirror moment for Stuart.
“The purpose at that point in my life was ‘I’m not going to be like them’. I didn’t want to be like them at 61, 71, or even 81 if I could help it.”
Looking ahead to his own retirement, he admits:
“I don’t wanna not be not able to get up and exercise, or even walk around the block. My parents physically couldn’t do it because they hadn’t done it for so long.”
Determined to give his future self a better shot at retired life, Stuart joined ForeverStrong and quickly got down to work.
Initially he was nervous about the prospect:
“This not being a traditional gym like others, I was a little bit intimidated by what the classes might be like, because it’s a smaller scale, it’s more intimate. I was not sure how I’d fit in. And then just what the workouts would be like.”
But such fears were quickly allayed, and Stuart was soon happily receiving regular ass kickings from ForeverStrong trainer Marty.
“I’ll tell you what – I hate Marty some days, but it’s so worth it because he kicks your butt”, he jokes.
“But when you get out of here at the end of a session, I feel like I’ve accomplished so much.”
To say he’s fully committed to the cause would be an understatement: In his time with ForeverStrong, Stuart has missed only one session (work related) and claims that he “hated” doing so. When he has been present though, he has never failed to leave it all in the gym:
“It’s wonderful. The workouts are extremely hard, and I leave in a full sweat every day.”
Okay, that’s not strictly true – maybe he doesn’t leave it all in the gym. He leaves some of it in his car, too:
“I have to put a towel on my car seat because I’m soaked!”
Five months on from first stepping inside the ForeverStrong gym, Stuart has seen some rather dramatic improvements in both his health and fitness.
Dropping 18lbs of body weight (with a 5% decrease in body fat), he’s slimmed down considerably. And that’s not just us saying that – it’s something his significant other will attest to:
“My wife likes the way my transformation has been, she’s very happy with it, she comments on how good I look physically.”
(Warning: x-rated material ahead)
“A couple of weeks ago after I got out of the shower, I had my shirt off and she actually could notice that my oblique abs are showing, and they never used to, so that’s kind of cool.”
Of course, he’s not just for show – strengthening his body has had a profound effect on Stuart’s overall movement.
The aches and pains have disappeared, and thanks to his newfound balance and flexibility,
he shot a 68 at the Masters feels a lot more confident in his golf game. Plus he’s now able to descend into a full squat, much to the surprise (or maybe disgust) of people he knows:
“I went on a camping trip and I was grilling some hot dogs on a skewer over the fire, and I got down in a deep squat because that was the most comfortable position. And the 30-somethings were like ‘How are you doing that, I can’t even do that!'”
Who needs chairs?
Perhaps the most exciting change is his blood sugar levels – a long-time type-2 diabetic, Stuart has seen his readings cut in half (!!!) over the past year. Such is the improvement, that he’s now classed as pre-diabetic, and is looking to get off his meds entirely.
Impressive stuff, Stuart!
Not to ignore how much he values being part of the ForeverStrong community:
“We’re a team, for sure. We’re able to work together to help each other out. I see them (others) grunting and groaning like I am, so it makes me feel like we’re all going through this together – you feel a bond.”
Needless to say, Stuart’s quality of life has gone through the roof in the last five months:
“I’ve gotten so much out of it physically, mentally, emotionally, and it’s just been amazing” he says.
“I love coming here, I wanna be here more than anywhere else. It’s the best decision I ever made, for sure.”
His advice to others looking to turn the tables on the “aches and pains”?
“I’d say do it now, don’t wait – I wish I’d found ForeverStrong sooner. It’s not too late, no matter what your age or health condition, it’s worth every penny, it’s worth every bead of sweat, it’s worth every curse word you curse at your instructor.”
We’re proud of you Stuart, no matter how much you curse at us. And no doubt your Mom and Dad would be, too!
You Are ForeverStrong!
If you know someone who needs to improve their flexibility, fitness, or improve blood sugar levels through strength training, we’d love to help them. Send them our way. Tell them to mention Stuart’s when they sign up for a special discount!