Be what you were…

February 21, 2023

That tag line is from an ad for an application called Bend that appears to offer instructions for stretching and exercising that is aimed at restoring some of the flexibility and range of motion that older adults may have lost. I’m no0t sure that I agree with the thought of be what you were. It is a nice thought but one that holds out false hope of rolling back time. None of us can do that, but we can decide to be the best that we can be right now, without worrying about trying to recapture what we were.

As an older adult I am concerned about things like my balance and flexibility; things that I just took for granted earlier in life. I have accepted that I have reached an age where others may view me as being “elderly”, even though I don’t feel elderly. The word “elderly” carries with it a lot of negative baggage. It seems like elderly people are thought to be frail and perhaps in poor health. I suppose that it would be hard to be in perfect health at my age (79 this year); however, I’m not in poor health.

I may download that app to see what advice is has; not that I expect to be what I was, but maybe I can be a little better as I am. What about you? Do you dream of being what you were or do you just try to be the best that you can be now?

Don’t abuse yourself…Get the help that you need!

October 4, 2019

In today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack used this quote –

“Take care of your body.  It’s the only place you have to live.”  (Jim Rohn)

One of our local Chamber of Commerce members is Nancy McDaniels, who is a personal trainer. Nancy uses a tag line that is similar – “Remember that your body is the only place that you have to live.”

While today’s post title may sound like I’m talking about active self-destructive behavior in which you abuse your body, it is just as much about just letting your body (or mind) go to pot as anything. Doing nothing is a popular option when contemplating following the proper diet and doing the exercise that you should be doing routinely. However, doing nothing is not a benign option; it is a destructive choice that too many people allow to rule their lives. Doing nothing is as abusive as doing obviously harmful things.

The body needs regular exercise to maintain muscle tone and to retain balance and flexibility. Up until he was on his deathbed, my grandfather had a daily morning routine in which he ran through a series of stretching and movement exercises to maintain his body. He lived to be 98. My father did not follow that example and only lived into his mid-70’s. Unfortunately, lately I have been more like my father than my grandfather. I need to get back to a regular routine of exercising.

Sometimes we all need someone else to prod us into doing the things that we should be doing. In the case of your physical health that somebody is often a personal trainer. Just joining a gym or health club isn’t really enough, just like buying an exercise bike for your home isn’t usually successful either. Both are easy to blow off when you have no one to hold you accountable. That’s one of the roles of the personal trainer.

In addition to abusing your body by not exercising regularly, one can abuse themselves mentally by getting down on themselves all the time or allowing themselves to be mentally overwhelmed into a state of depression. Often the root cause of alcoholism this feeling of being overwhelmed and seeing alcohol as the way to feel better. That is not the answer!

I’ve also posted here a few times about the importance of loving yourself – See or

The point of these posts, and others that I’ve done on that topic, is that you must deal with your own self-image and get comfortable with who you are, in order to keep yourself mentally healthy.  Only then will you really be able to deal with the things that life throws at you that initially may seem to be overwhelming.

The feeling of being overwhelmed can quickly spiral into depression if you can’t deal with it. Depression can be as debilitating as an injury or physical illness.  Dealing with depression requires that you have some ability to identify it and I posted about that.

See –

Depression is seldom something that you should try to deal with alone; so, knowing when and how to ask for help is important. Maybe you will be on the other side, providing that help.

See –

The take-away from all of this is that one needs to be proactive in managing both their physical and mental health. In both cases, there is positive impact to be had from engaging an outside party as your coach or councilor. Both your physical well being and your mental state can severely impact your body and that really is the only place that you have to live.

Don’t continue to abuse yourself; get the help that you need to keep your mind and body in great shape, whether that is a personal trainer or perhaps a mental health counselor.

Your mom was right. Be nice to people…

November 27, 2017

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog of today comes this quote – “Be nice to people…maybe it will be unappreciated, unreciprocated or ignored, but spread love anyway.  We rise by lifting others.”  (Germany Kent)

I’ve never quite understood those who see life as a zero-sum game in which they only win if others lose. They are people who are sometimes generously called “competitive” by others. They see no value in lifting up others, but would rather climb failureshigher by climbing over the backs of others. They see others as losers or obstacles to be overcome, defeated or discarded. Theirs is truly a sad existence.

Jack went on to comment that Google had done a study that showed that teams in business made up of people who liked and supported each other generally did better than teams made up of “competitive” people. I’ve gone through enough team building exercises in my business career to realize that finding a way to recognize and use the unique talents that each individual brings to the group makes for a stronger and more successful team.

Another saying from an earlier post to Jack’s blog also seems appropriate within the context of this discussion on being nice to others –

“The only moral lesson which is suited for a child—the most important lesson for every time of life—is this: Never hurt anybody.”  (Rousseau)

predjuicesThe inverse of being nice to others is most often causing them some hurt, whether it be just their feelings or otherwise. Dismissing the abilities and contributions of others is hurtful to them and, in the long run, to the efforts of the team. Ignoring others points of view or their questions about your point of view on things is missing valuable feedback. If nothing else, a questions that seems to be based upon not understanding what you have in mind clearly points out that you have not been able to articulate your point of view or plan. If the person questioning your plan has those doubts or misunderstandings, then others will too and you need to rethink either the plan itself or how you explain it to others. That is a valuable insight that you need to take into consideration.

Stepping out of the business world, it is important that we each do our part in making the world a better place. That starts by how you interact with those around you during the day. I thought of an analogy that is based on some video games that I’ve played in the past. Some of them had little “health meters” embedded in them that showed the relativemeter-healthy health of the participant. These were games in which you could find things that improved your health or things could happen to you which took away from your health. You could always tell whether something happening in the game was adding to or detracting from your health.

Life is a little like those games. As you meet people during the day, do those encounters add to or detract from your state of mind (your “health”)? What does someone encountering you get from it – an addition to their health or a downer that takes away from their mental health? That part is up to you and that is where being nice to others comes in. Being nice to others is not a passive thing; it requires work on your part. Showing them love means showing them the respect to listen to what they have to say, when you ask, “How are you?” Being nice means pausing from your busy schedule to take those moments to interact with them in a way that is more meaningful than a tossed off greeting as you pass on the street. Being nice means that you give them a lift on their “health meter” and hopefully you see a rise on your meter, too.

So, be aware of the potential impact that you could have on others this week, both positive and negative. Go out and be nice; spread the love and move their health meters up, always aware that your health meter will be rising, too.

Have a great and healthy week! Be nice to people.


Here’s to your health my friend

July 9, 2015

“Friendship is a powerful healing force.”  (Dr Joel Kahn, a holistic cardiologist in the Detroit area.) – as seen recently on the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack added that Dr. Khan also mentioned an old African proverb – “If you walk fast, walk alone.  If you want to walk far, walk together.” According to Dr. Khan, grabbing someone’s hand and walking together through challenges may be the most powerful health tool.

I believe that to be true. The power of friendship and the power of human touch are over looked and under-
massageappreciated.  One of the owners of Essential Massage and Wellness Center is in our local Chamber of Commerce Referral Network Group and she is always proclaiming the healing benefits of the power of touch, especially the touch rendered in a good massage.  I can certainly attest to that power, having had her work on a shoulder that I injured a couple of years ago. It’s wonderful! I believe the part about wellness in her business name; the benefits of the human-to-human touch in massage are well proven and provide a path to wellness in life.

I suspect that the magic in the use of friendship as a healing tool has a lot to do with taking away at least some of the fear that comes with a sickness or injury. It is comforting to have someone there with you when you are ill or injured that you can share your fears with and who can reassure you that everything will be OK. As a child we run to mommy to have her kiss our boo-boos. Does her kiss contain some powerful pain killer or antiseptic? No, it just makes things feel better. As adults mommy is not normally there to kiss our boo-boos, but we still find comfort in having someone to share the moment with, a spouse or significant other, our own children or just a good friend.

There may be pain involved with whatever we are going through, but pain can be managed these days (not always
to the extent that we might like); but is the fear of the unknowns that we may need the most help coping with andsick at home that’s where having someone to hold your hand and walk with you is a great aid to facing those fears and overcoming the illness or injury. I can’t imagine a worst case scenario than being in a hospital away from friends and family and facing an illness or injury without any support from loving friends or family. Of course the doctors and nurses will do the best that they can to treat whatever ails you and make you as comfortable as possible; but they have rounds to make and other patients to care for; so, they can’t sit there and hold your hand. They may be the most competent people in their profession; but, they are not your friends.

So, if you have relatives or friends that are facing the unknowns of and illness or suffering through recovery from an injury; be there for them. Be a powerful healing force for them. Be that comforting, familiar face that they can caregiverrelax with and share their fears and concerns with. Find the strength to lend them your strength and help them through their challenges. Take their hand and walk with them on their journey. Someday you may need their helping hand. You might also be surprised how many people are in hospitals and nursing homes with no family nearby to walk with them. Volunteer and become a healing force for someone just by being there. You might be surprised at what a positive force the volunteer lady who pushes the book cart around in the hospital can be, just because she stops to talk to the patients who are alone. What better things do you really have to do today than to be there for another human being in need of a friend?

Here’s to your health, my friend…

Meet the serial entrepreneur who is the local Anytime Fitness gym owner…

April 23, 2015

anytimne fitness logo

Many times when I meet small business owners I see that they are people who have a special passion for what they are doing and I always wonder how they got to this point, to this particular business at this time in their lives. Well before I joined Anytime Fitness in Milford, I met Christine Wierenga, the owner, at a Chamber of Commerce event. It was an after business hours mixer at a local bar/restaurant in Milford.  I’m a Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce Ambassador and one of our Ambassador duties is to attend events like that one and to make sure that members, especially new members, Christine Wierengaget introduced around and get the opportunity to meet their fellow local business people. I met Christine that night and took it upon myself to introduce her around. We’ve been friends ever since and I eventually joined her Anytime Fitness gym in Milford and began my personal fitness journey.

I asked Christine to answer the question that she gets often about how she got into the business of gym ownership and below is her answer –

A question I am frequently asked is “How did you get into the fitness business”? I never mind answering that question because telling the story reminds me of the seemingly random way I came into gym ownership. I won’t go into too many details, but here’s how it happened.

I bought a classic car after I graduated high school and I wanted a custom interior in it. I couldn’t afford to pay someone to do the job, so I taught myself to sew and bought an upholstery sewing machine. It turned out well, so I invested in a bigger sewing machine and starting doing upholstery repairs for gyms in Michigan (while also doing automotive restorations). I grew my upholstery repair business to include gyms across the country, specializing in on-site repairs. As I went from gym to gym, I realized that many gyms were very poorly run and were severely lacking in customer service; so, I decided I could do it better. I did my research on the gym industry and bought an Anytime Fitness franchise on the East Side.

After running the fitness equipment upholstery business for almost 10 years (and having been a member of at least 8 different gyms) the decision to open an Anytime Fitness was an easy one!  That decision was fueled by my experiences with those facilities – ranging from overwhelmingly positive to shockingly horrible!  What set the exceptional clubs apart anytimne fitness logofrom the rest?   Customer service!  Or as we call it here at Anytime Fitness – Club Culture.  It’s an atmosphere that welcomes you, encourages you and keeps you coming back!   We know that most people have a difficult time making fitness a habit – It is my team’s goal to make sure that our members feel at home in the club.   We strive to keep our clients motivated and engaged. After all, they trust us to help them with their fitness journey!    

Since opening my first location in 2007, I purchased two other locations (the latest in Milford) and subsequently sold off the two East Side gyms to focus upon the Milford location. I have often looked back to see how I got here. Sometimes in life, you don’t understand why a project isn’t working out or you’re pulled in a different direction. In hindsight, I know that every stumbling block, every closed door, every “coincidence” was there for a reason. When I was asked in school “what do you want to be when you grow up”, I always found it difficult to narrow it down to one profession.  As a small business owner, I don’t have to just “pick one”!  With Anytime Fitness, I’m involved in everything – all of the things I love. I am able to help people get started on their fitness journey. I have an excellent team (of who I am incredibly proud!), that I get to see grow professionally and personally.  As a numbers geek, I even love the back-office work….yes, even spreadsheets!  

Anytime Fitness of Milford is much more than just a business to me.  The people there are my family – staff and members alike.   I’ve been amazed by the transformations I’ve seen our members undergo – Not just the physical changes you’d expect to see, but the even more incredible changes in their confidence, self-esteem, health and energy levels!  It may have taken a strange turn of events to get me here, but I am sure glad I’m here!

Yours in Health,

Christine Wierenga

So, now you know Christine’s story. I encourage you to come into Anytime Fitness in Milford and meet Christine or her
gym manager Willa Danowski. Right now (Ed.- April 2015) is a good time to do that because they man lifting weightsare offering Free Workout Saturdays to introduce people to the gym. You can try out the gym for free! While you’re there pick up one of the free 7-day membership cards and come back to try it out during the week. If you get there in the early mornings, (Ed. – I define that as between 8:00 and 10 AM) you are likely to see me there, too. I go to the gym 5-6 days a week, most weeks. I know of no better way to start my day than with a good workout.

Like some of the ads that you’ll see on TV, the Anytime Fitness gym in Milford isn’t full of “lunks working to feel the burn.” It is full of people like you and me, just trying to get back into a little bit of shape. Joining means that you get a free older couple exercisingassessment from one of the personal trainers to help you understand where you are starting from and them they give you a workout schedule to help you get started on your personal  journey to fitness. The gym has lots of exercise machines and, of course, free weights.They also offer lots of free classes for members, from the Saturday Morning Boot Camp, to Spinning, to Zumba to Cross-training to you-name-it. Choose how many or how few you may wish to participate in or just decide to work out on your own whenever you can get in. It took me a while to work up the courage to try the boot camps, but now I’m fairly regular on Saturday mornings.

The great thing about the atmosphere in the Milford Anytime Fitness is the sense of family that you quickly get to be a part of. The same people tend to show up at the same times and you soon meet everyone who is on your workout schedule by their first names. Sometimes I think some of the ladies who come in the early morning spend more time socializing than exercising, but that’s OK; they’re getting out and getting some time on the treadmill or the elliptical or the other machines and theyplank
are enjoying the time spent at the gym. Life’s too short not to enjoy it, so come on out to Anytime Fitness, at  141 South Milford Road, Milford, MI 48381 (in the old Farmer Jack’s Shopping Center near the corner of Milford Road and GM Road)  Phone: (248) 685-8373 and start your fitness journey. Maybe I’ll see you along the way. And if you think you’re up for a real workout right away, join us Saturday mornings at 8 AM for Boot Camp.

Fat, dumb; but, not happy…

October 24, 2014

There is an old saw in the vernacular – “fat, dumb and happy”. I doubt that “happy” should ever have been a part of that phrase and the dumb part would have been better served by the phrase “in elephant on scaledenial”.  I have been overweight (my preferred term for being obese, according to the scales used to measure these things) for a long time. So, in the vernacular I was fat, dumb and happy. In fact I was fat, in denial and unhappy.

About three months ago I finally decided to do something about my overweight state. I bought one of those diet drink plans, the ones where you substitute a diet supplement shake for 1 or 2 meals a day. I chose the Body by Vi supplement from Visalus, mainly because the lady who sells it is in the local Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce with me and it seemed to be as good as any. That helped get things started for me and works well.  I dropped some weight with it alone fairly quickly. I also reached a plateau fairly quickly and decided that I really needed to ad step two to the plan, which is adding exercise. So, a little over a month and a half ago, I joined the Anytime Fitness gym here in Milford. The lady who owns it is also in the Chamber with me and owns two other gyms on the east side of the area. She’s a great person to know and I felt really comfortable joining her gym.

I knew that I was out of shape, but how far out of shape was proven to me when Amy, one of the club fitness trainers, did my initial assessment on my first visit to the Anytime Fitness gym. Let’s just say that I had nowhere to go but up.  I have since been to the gym just about every day for about an hour. I probably need to do two-a-days for a while, but it’s a start and I’ve worked my way back to some level of fitness that is at least above the zombie-like level that I started at. I’m still huffing and puffing by the end of my workouts, but it takes longer to get to that state now. Every time I get too comfortable with the exercises on a machine I add an extras 5-10 pounds to the resistance to increase the workout intensity.

What I’ve also come to realize is that I’m way happier throughout the day, if I start it with a workout (likely due to the endorphins released during exercise). I have the luxury of having time in the mornings to go to the gym. It’s hardly ever crowded then and I can cycle through all of the machines at my own pace, with no waiting. That is one of the appeals of Anytime Fitness. I can also go there at any hour and I’ve discovered that there are times when it is literally empty, so I can get a quick workout in without any distractions or waiting for anything. They have those little alarm pendants that I could use to call for help if I ever needed it.

When I started this program I established several goals for myself. One is a weight goal, which I’m about half way to achieving. When I get to my weight goal, it will be the first time that I’ve been at that weight since John F. Kennedy was in the White House. For those too young to remember that, it was a long time ago – before I discovered beer in college and began working on turning my six-pack into a keg. The second, and likely more important goal, is to get off all of the medications that I’d been taking to deal with my type II diabetes. I can happily report that I’ve also achieved a part of that goal and my A1C blood sugar level has dropped 2 full points. I got to drop one of my meds at my last check-up and will likely get to drop the rest at the next visit.  I plan to keep at it until I get off all of the meds.
ugly mirrorOf course, the longer term goal is to keep the extra weight off and to maintain a healthier lifestyle, including regular exercise. I’m not in this for any ego driven desire to look like Adonis. I’m too old for that anyway. The real goal is to live as natural a life as possible, without lots of medications. Like many, when I was in my denial phase, I fooled myself to thinking that anything for which there was a pill was OK to live with. Not so! Things like Type II Diabetes lead to other things like high blood pressure, eye problems and many other health issues. None of those are things to be happy about, even with pills; or conditions with which one really has to live.

Every morning, when I hit the gym, there is another old dude (like me) there walking or exercise cycling away. He too is trying to work his way back into shape to avoid having any meds prescribed. We kind of lend encouragement to each other and I wish him well on his efforts. He was happy to hear that I got off one of my meds due to the work that I’ve been putting in. I hope he makes his goals, too. I’m sure he will because he is as dedicated to being there every day as I am. Anyway, I just thought that I’d share this little bit of my life. Now I can say that I’m slimming down, more intelligent about my health and definitely happier. I’m on a journey that beats that old saying all to hell.

Have a great and healthy day!