Category Archives: Health


By: Kristi Hope, Certified Mat and Reformer Pilates Trainer

What does “Finding Your Center” mean to you?  For most people, the thoughts of six pack abs comes to mind.  What most people don’t realize is their “Center” is really the entire region between their armpits to just below their buttocks.  In more common lingo, this area is considered your “Core”.

For most people, finding their center is incomprehensible.  Your center is one of the most important parts of your being.  Without your center (core), you wouldn’t be able to stand because the core muscles are the muscles that hold your body upright; and your inner core (what we call your deep core) plays a key role in the stability of your trunk (or torso) and pelvis.

Now that you understand the importance of a strong center, the reasons for training your core muscles may seem obvious:

Gaining core/muscle stabilization helps with everyday normal activities and promotes good posture.  Posture does more than simply make you look good by improving your silhouette and project confidence; Good posture lessens wear and tear on the spine and allows you to breathe deeply.  Improving breathing in turn helps you gain the full benefits from your exercise regimen.

A strong core ensures a good solid foundation to build the rest of the body around and keeps the body’s muscles functioning in the way they were designed.  The proper functioning of the body reduces imbalances, improves posture, and increases comfort while training; which in turn reduces the risk of injury because your body is properly aligned and balanced.

Core strength, as previously mentioned, improves your body alignment and balance which increases your athletic performance and improves the results of your training.  Core strength is essential to becoming a better, more focused, stronger and faster athlete.

For all of the reasons provided above, a strong core is the foundation necessary to restore normal muscle function lost due to injury.  Balance, alignment, breathing…the foundation of our body and being are critical in this aspect of muscle function.

Through my experience, when someone new decides to take a Pilates class, it’s to strengthen their core because they’ve experienced some type of lower back pain or were referred by an orthopedist or physical therapist.  My hope is that by understanding better what the core, or your center, means to your daily life that you don’t wait for the back pain; and that you add deep core training to your workout regimen before problems arise.

Our Gravity Pilates class is designed to help you do just that – either as a stand-alone program or as part of a larger exercise program – it is designed to enable you to find your center, as well as challenge and strengthen your deep inner core muscles.  So as we say in the Pilates world, “abs to the spine” or “keep your mouse house closed.”  When you’re able to do that, you will have found your center and found your healthy body.

About the Author – Kristi Hope, Certified Mat and Reformer Pilates Trainer

Born and raised in Metairie, Kristi has always been an active person incorporating fitness and exercise into her life. After being a Pilates client for several years, she decided that she would love to share her passion for Pilates with others. Through Balanced Body, she earned certifications in both Mat and Reformer Pilates. Kristi also holds a certification in the Xtend Barre Method.

One Small Change Can Change Your Life!

By: Jenn Lormand ACE- CPT, BS. Exercise Physiology, Author of mommymovement: new baby. new body. new life.

I know what you are thinking, “Jenn don’t be so dramatic!”  Well I’m really not.  One small change compounded over time can absolutely change your life!  We all know this concept but aren’t always aware of all of the small and seemingly insignificant choices we make throughout the day.   These choices can help us or hurt us.

Let me explain.  Take our 90/10 Nutritional principle that we use for example.  We know through scientific research that if you blow out 10% of your weekly meals (that’s 2 meals) that you can still not only maintain your weight but lose weight.  This is because the other 19 meals you are eating clean and healthfully staying in the calorie range that’s right for you. This consistent effort allows you to continue to lose weight.  On the flipside of that, if you consumed 150 calories more than normal every day, over the next 6 months you would gain about 8 lbs assuming that you didn’t increase your activity level any.  This is just one example of how we can use this principle to work for us or against us; hence the title of this article- One small change can change your life!

So what small change are you going to make that can change your life for the better? Is it committing to save $1.00/day? Is it tracking each penny you spend to help bring awareness to where you can save money? Is it committing to change your mind set by focusing on what you are grateful for each day and writing it down?  Is it keeping a food journal to help you lose weight or gain weight?  Is it keeping an exercise log to help you see how many minutes you are really working out?

Whatever it is I want you to commit, with me, to track one thing that can help you change your life.  When you do this every day NO MATTER WHAT- you will get the results you want …AND THEN SOME.  This is “The Secret” to success.  No…this isn’t going to be immediate gratification, it will be even BETTER.  It will be moving towards feeling AMAZING over the long-term.  It will help you realize that the true secret to success is doing the simple things consistently!

So if you are still reading this article, I am asking you to not just read this, but take action on it.  Write down these questions.

What area of your life do you want to improve? 

What is one small change that you can make that will help you get there?

Write it down and do a gut check.  If you look at your answer and think, “I’m not sure I can do that.” then go smaller.

What is one baby step that you can take towards that goal? 

You will know that you have chosen something that you can repeat consistently when you think to yourself “Is this really the little thing that I’m going to do? This feels too simple!”  If that’s what you are thinking, then you are on the right track.  Start doing that one thing every day and then as you begin to not have to think about doing it every day, and you do it automatically guess what happens?? You have created a new GOOD HABIT!

At that point repeat this process with a different action step until you have created a LIFESTYLE that supports the person you want to be!!  That’s how simple creating the life that you want can be….one small change at a time, and that is what we at Ascension Fitness are about ONE BODY. ONE LIFE. COMMIT to one small change today and MAKE IT GREAT!

About the Author – Jennifer Lormand ACE- CPT, BS. Exercise Physiology, Author of mommymovement: new baby. new body. new life.

jenn blogMy love for fitness started at an early age. Growing up with asthma, I was driven to fight through those challenges. Exercise and fitness was my avenue to diminishing my reliance on asthma medications and treatments. Fueled by my passion to help people succeed and as a graduate in Exercise Physiology with a focus on Kinesiology, I am applying my love for fitness with these sciences to develop leading-edge one-on-one and group training programs to meet the specific needs of our clients, designed to push each other physically and support emotionally the needs of clients.


August Client of the Month – Ashley Brewer

Congratulations to Ashley Brewer on becoming our August client of the month. Ashley is a part of the Executive Bootcamp crew and has seen a lot of success transforming her life!  Below is an interview with Ashley where she shares how training with Ascension Fitness has helped her succeed:

1. What brought you to Ascension Fitness?
I first met Jenn when I did Mommy Movement at Elmwood Fitness Center.  Following the completion of Mommy Movement, I continued to train with Jenn.  So when she left Elmwood to start her own gym, I followed her.  I’ve been with Jenn since before Ascension Fitness existed!
2. What results have you seen?
After the first Mommy Movement I did, I was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but because I continued with bootcamp, I was much stronger than I had ever been.  After my second child, I did Mommy Movement again, and so far I’ve lost all the weight I gained during pregnancy plus more!
3. What is the biggest change have you made to get these results?
The biggest change I’ve made to get these results is eating correctly.  Recently, I have tried to not eat processed food, but to instead eat whole, all natural food and I feel so much better.  I still indulge, just in moderation.
4. Who inspires you?
My children inspire me to be the best person I can be for them.  I want to set a good example of how to be a healthy, active and fun mom which, in turn, will hopefully allow them to lead the same lifestyle as they grow!
5. What is your guilty pleasure?
OOHH, my guilty pleasure has always been chocolate chip cookies!  Especially when they are hot!!
Congratulations again Ashley and thank you for being a special part of Ascension Fitness!

Does your workplace sabotage your weight loss goals?

When trying to lose weight, the workplace can sometimes be your worst enemy. Maybe it’s a vending machine, a colleague’s candy dish, or baked goods for special holidays and celebrations, that test your willpower. Every office has these obstacles and the only way to fight them is with a plan. Below are a few common workplace saboteurs and strategies to fight them:

Saboteur #1: Candy Jar/Baked Goods Station - There is always that colleague who keeps a jar of candy on their desk or that brings in donuts or baked goods for the office. How do you resist the temptation of digging in for a bite or two (that we all know start to add up quickly)? Keep a stash of healthy snacks at your desk such as: nuts, fruit, or protein bars. This will make it easy for you to have healthy options and resist the temptations. Allow yourself one day a week to indulge in a couple of treats. This prevents binging and actually helps willpower.

Saboteur #2: Sitting for long hours – A study done by the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences indicates that even as little as a few hours of continuous sitting causes metabolic changes that increase blood sugar levels and decrease the amount of fat used as fuel, therefore increasing the amount that goes back into storage as body fat. The good news is that short bouts of physical activity, spread throughout, can help reduce the negative effects of too much sitting. It doesn’t have to be high intensity activity, like formal exercise-simply getting up and walking around the office or the house for 5 minutes every hour can really help.

Saboteur #3: Busy Workload = Skipping meals – We have all been there, pressure is on to get something done and we don’t feel like we have time to go out and get food or even take a lunch break. Along with your healthy snacks, you should keep some meal replacement shakes in your desk (We like Advocare Meal Replacement Shakes, or Genesis Pure non GMO and organic Health Trim shakes). That way you can mix up your shake and drink it while you work.

There will always be things that tempt you when you are trying to change a behavior, like eating healthy and exercising. Planning is always going to be your best strategy to lose weight. Taking time on Sunday to map out your meals for the week, and packing your lunches with snacks the night before will help you succeed and overcome the workplace saboteurs.  Choose to change one small thing at a time and continue to build on your successes.

“A journey of 1,000 miles begins with one single step.” Chinese Proverb

Love, Learn, and Happy Mardi Gras

Happy Mardi Gras! What an incredible February!  Greg and I have had some ups and some downs this month.  The theme for us this month has been Love and Learn.  We discovered back in December that Cooper would need to have surgery due to the bones in his skull fusing too early.  He had that surgery this month and is doing GREAT!   This was a great reminder for us to stop and BE PRESENT with each other and with Cooper.  We LOVED on our boys and received LOVE from our family and friends and are so grateful that he is healthy and happy.


I also had the awesome opportunity to go and Hang out with some of my favorite people at our Todd Durkin Mastermind Retreat in San Diego and Learn from the best!  Our guest speaker was Wayne Cotton, one of Todd’s mentor.   Wayne truly delivered one of the most powerful talks I have ever heard.  It really changed my life and I want to pay it forward to you.  Wayne has a system for creating your Dream Life using his color coded calendar.  Go to to download your free color coded success calendar and learn more about Wayne.  I promise that this will change your life in terms of creating the LIFE that we want to have, and not the life that just happens to us!Mastermind

Lastly we learned how much fun it is to work out with a partner during our Couple’s Retreat workout.  Scroll down and watch some video highlights below! I haven’t laughed that much in a long time!  I hope that each of you LOVED and LEARNED a lot too this month.  Feel free to share anything that you Loved or Learned on our FB page.  We love hearing from you – whether that’s posting your Mardi Gras pictures or asking questions, please let us know how we can help you Create your Best Year Yet!

CREATE a safe and fun Mardi Gras!

Wishing you much Love and Great Health,

Jenn and Greg Lormand

Do you Fit in a Box?

By: Jennifer Lormand B.S. Exercise Physiology ACE-CPT

In January of each year I often get the same question from prospective clients.  “What kind of training do y’all do?”  My answer is, “Whatever it takes to get you to where you want to be.”  I get some strange looks when I say this.  People have become accustomed to fitness being a franchise like Curves, Jazzercise, Crossfit, and Pure Barre to name a few.  I have to explain how we actually personalize a fitness program to each person, based on their wants and needs, and some folks still don’t understand what I mean.  That is why I’m writing this article today.  I want to help people understand what we do and why we are different.

First let me say that I’m not suggesting that all of these franchises are bad.  I am suggesting that in my 19 years experience, I have found that most of the population doesn’t fit into a box.  What I mean is, each person’s body is different. When I started training and teaching in 1995, I had a dream to take a little bit of each of the things that I love about fitness and put it into one workout.  I started putting boxing, lifting weights, spinning, running, TRX, foam rolling and more into my personal training sessions with clients and they all loved it.  I would get people coming up to me saying, “You are the only trainer that I have seen doing cardio in your sessions, I love that!” This began to light a fire in my belly that I couldn’t put out.  I was going against the norm of what the typical personal training session was, and I loved it.  I began personalizing everything that I did in those sessions based on the wants and needs of my clients and we continue to do that today.  I truly believe that it is the highest honor, when people trust me with their most precious commodity- their body.  And my philosophy has always been simply the golden rule- Treat others the way that YOU want to be treated.

What I mean by that is much deeper than giving them what they want in training sessions.  It’s much more than that.  It’s about realizing that every person that walks through our door is special.  It means never saying, “I’m sorry we can’t help you.”  I can’t stand that when I’m desperate for help and I go see a professional and they say, “Well, that’s not what we do.”  I always want to be able to lead people in the right direction for the next action step they can take to create their BEST LIFE!  That means that over the last 19 years I’ve developed relationships with other trusted professionals that I refer people to and I know will take great care of them.  People like Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, Massage Therapists, Orthopedic Surgeons, Internists, ENT Physicians, Cardiologists, Social Workers, Psychologists, Nutritionists, Advanced Rolfers and more.

This is what makes us different.  We Care.  We want for each person that walks through our door, the same that we want for ourselves and our families.  We want to give them a challenging workout that is safe and effective for their goals, and what their body needs.  This is our SECRET SAUCE.  We LISTEN to the clients goals, evaluate what their body needs, and then we use all of the tools we have to attain it!  Whether it’s sprint intervals, dancing on a step or BOSU, lifting heavy weight to get stronger, doing plyometric training to burn fat, doing TRX to get a stronger CORE and improve the body’s movement patterns,  helping someone recover from a injury or limitation, or helping moms get their body back after having a baby.  We DO what they NEED.  We make it Fun. We make it Challenging.  But most importantly, we do it because it’s what feeds our soul!

So here’s what I know.  I know that there are many great places that people can go to accomplish their goals, but nowhere like Ascension Fitness.  The Passion that we have to transform people from the inside out, separates us from any other place you will go.  I have been so incredibly blessed to find amazing like-minded people to be a part of my team.    I know that my calling in life is to help people feel amazing in the skin they are in, and I know that I will give my all to continue to make that happen.  I believe that everyone deserves to be happy when they look in the mirror.   I feel grateful and blessed for all of those who have trusted me and my team to help them along their life’s journey.  I look forward to helping many more become THEIR BEST SELF.

About the Author – Jennifer Lormand ACE- CPT, BS. Exercise Physiology, Author of mommymovement: new baby. new body. new life.

jenn blogMy love for fitness started at an early age. Growing up with asthma, I was driven to fight through those challenges. Exercise and fitness was my avenue to diminishing my reliance on asthma medications and treatments. Fueled by my passion to help people succeed and as a graduate in Exercise Physiology with a focus on Kinesiology, I am applying my love for fitness with these sciences to develop leading-edge one-on-one and group training programs to meet the specific needs of our clients, designed to push each other physically and support emotionally the needs of clients.



5 Tips to Preventing Heart Disease

Did you know that more women than men die each year from heart disease? Women are twice as likely as men to die within the first year after a heart attack, and nearly 63 percent of the women who die suddenly from heart disease have had no previous symptoms. These statistics are startling considering that the public is generally more concerned about men being affected by heart disease than women. In a survey conducted by the American Heart Association, about half of the women interviewed knew that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, yet only 13% said it was their greatest personal health risk. Other surveys have shown that women are more concerned about cancer and osteoporosis than heart disease.

So, what can women do to cut their risk of heart disease? Below are five tips to keeping a healthy heart:

  1. Exercise. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e. brisk walking) and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days every week. You can also make other small changes to fit even more activity into your life by taking the stairs rather than the elevator, doing yard work, or parking farther from your destination and walk.
  2. Eat healthfully. Studies have identified several crucial ingredients of a heart-healthy diet — whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts, poly- and monounsaturated fats, fatty fish (such as wild salmon), and limited intake of trans fats.
  3. Don’t smoke. Your chance of having a heart attack doubles if you smoke as few as one to four cigarettes per day. Even if you don’t smoke, regular exposure to someone else’s smoke can increase your risk.
  4. Reduce stress. Your risk for heart disease increases if you’re depressed or feel chronically stressed. Strategies to reduce stress in your life include: learning how to say no, avoid people who stress you out, avoid hot-button topics, and pare down your to-do list.
  5. Know your numbers. Being proactive about your health and knowing your numbers will keep you aware and allow you to make any necessary changes before you get heart disease. Check out the article “How to Protect Your Heart” which explains the numbers you need to know.

Heart disease is a major health threat to women. It is crucial that we continue to increase the awareness of women, health, and fitness professionals about this fact. The preventive strategies above have the potential to significantly lower the risk of heart disease in both women and men. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your risk of getting heart disease.

ACSM. (n.d.). Women’s Heart Health and a Physically Active Lifestyle. Indianapolis, IN, USA


What is EB?

By: Larry Gruber, CSCS, MES

Ascension Fitness will be holding its third annual fundraiser for EB Awareness on Saturday, September 20th.  There will be updates and more information about this event posted on Facebook.

I became aware of Epidermolysis Bullosa two years ago when a friend’s daughter was diagnosed with this awful disease.  EB is a rare genetic connective tissue disease, and a child born with it has a deficiency of one of several proteins that anchor the skin to the body.  Without enough of these proteins, the skin tears and pulls away from the body easily, causing serious wounds and blistering.  The soft tissues inside the body can also be affected, such as the lining of the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines. One in 50,000 children are affected, and some die in infancy–many do not reach their teenage years.

Imagine not being able to squeeze or cuddle your baby, and then try to imagine not being able to physically comfort your child while they are in a constant state of pain. A gentle kiss, a rub or even holding a baby with EB in the same position for too long could cause their skin to blister and peel away to expose raw flesh.  Simple things like bathing or changing clothes can cause extreme pain.  In the mildest of cases, the blistering is confined to the hands and feet, making holding things and walking extremely painful.

The last week of October is International EB Awareness Week, where myriad events are held to raise awareness of this rare, brutal disease and to help find a cure.  Whereas, at this point, there is no cure, there is hope.  The University of Minnesota has been studying the use of stem cells to treat those with severe EB.  Through a bone marrow transplant (BMT), which is more like a blood transfusion, stem cells from a healthy donor secrete the protein that is missing in the skin of EB patients.  This substantially reduces blistering and enhances the healing of the skin.  100% of the children whose bodies have accepted the donor cells have seen amazing results.

Baby Daylon, born July 8, 2009 in California, suffered terribly for almost a year before undergoing a BMT at the University of Minnesota.  Doctors said he potentially could die before seeing his first birthday, so this procedure was his only hope.  After the successful BMT, Daylon got stronger each day and was able to crawl, play with toys and eat solid food without bleeding.  His family was able to enjoy “everyday activities” with him, such as tickling him, picking him up and dressing him in clothes without the constant fear that it would cause his skin to peel off like that of an onion.

This year, Ascension Fitness is hosting a TRX-4-Tripp Bootcamp event, and 100% of the monies raised will be donated to the Butterfly Fund.  This fund provides financial aid, food, housing, clothing and care to families who have a child diagnosed with any catastrophic disease or event.  Please join us and help these children who are physically as fragile as butterflies, but whose inner strength and will are as strong as diamonds.  My friend’s daughter is one of these butterflies, and I would do anything to make her life just a bit easier.  I’ll see you September 20th.


larrygruber-headshot2Physical fitness used to be just a pastime for me, until more and more friends began asking for my opinion concerning their fitness regimen.  In 1999, after a successful restaurant management career in some of Chicago’s finest restaurants, I became a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I’m also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

As a personal trainer, I strongly feel that exercise should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  I structure the workouts so they are fun, combining traditional weight training with functional training, cardio-respiratory training and flexibility training, all aimed at helping you look, feel and move better.  In order for the sessions to be successful, the personal trainer/client relationship must be a very interactive one, requiring constant feedback from both parties.  I want and need your opinions and suggestions.

Back to School- Do You Hate it or Love it?

By: Jennifer Lormand ACE- CPT, BS. Exercise Physiology, Author of mommymovement: new baby. new body. new life.

It’s that time of year again, when I look at my boys and think “Wow I can’t believe they’re going into 4th and 5th grade!   How did they grow up so fast?”  There’s a part of me that’s melancholy and wishes I can slow time down a bit, and yet there’s a voice in my head saying, “Thank God, we’ll have a regular schedule again Monday through Friday!”  As with any transition I feel like it takes a couple of weeks for everyone to get used to new bedtimes, drop off times, and of course the dreaded homework!  Here are some tips that I hope you’ll find useful to help make the transition easier:

Use a Timer.  I usually get the boys from aftercare and we walk through the door between 5:00- 5:30pm.  Because things can get a little hectic, we set a timer for 15-20 minutes and the boys have to beat the clock, where the boys can put their things away, pull out homework for me to check or help with and settle in.  I also use this “settle in” time to get dinner prepped and in the oven. The boys know that when the timer goes off it’s time to get homework finished, turn electronics off, and help set the table for dinner.

Prep for Dinner ahead of time.  One of the things I hear a lot from clients is there is no time to put a healthy dinner on the table so instead they order pizza or pick up fast food on the way home.  With a little planning your oven and crock pot can do the delivery for you.  Pull meat or seafood out of the freezer that you are going to prepare the night before so that you just have to stick it in the oven or throw on the grill.  Cut veggies one time for the week.  When you are making dinner on Sunday or Monday chop your veggies for the week it will take just a couple more minutes but save you tons of time.

Make a check list and place it by your front door.  To help ease the transition into school, create a checklist or a family calendar and post by the door.  This way you know who needs PE clothes or has soccer practice on certain days and pack accordingly.  This also helps for PTA meetings and parent travel schedules.

Make Time to Connect.  Greg and I always notice that when we are crazy busy and not connecting as a family at night because he and I have crazy work or travel schedules that the kids act out our stress.  Make time to play and talk and laugh.  I always find that taking an extra 10-15 minutes with each kid at bedtime goes a long way.  Playing a game of cards or their favorite board game also helps us connect.  I’ve learned that even if we aren’t having deep conversations with the boys, spending time with them and focusing on them lets them know that we are here and available for them and usually soothes them.

So there you have it, a few tips that have helped us cope with back to school changes over the years.   Cheers to a great school year.

Arthritis? Really?

By: Larry Gruber, CSCS, MES

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Larry Gruber, and I’m a new trainer at Ascension Fitness. I’m 43 and have been a certified personal trainer for the past 13 years. I’ve run 3 marathons (Chicago Marathon—Personal Best: 3:31) and have worked out regularly for 18 years. The winter of 2010 changed my life forever.

That January, my body systemically and progressively began to revolt. I became tight and inflamed from head to toe and lost range of motion. My hands began to cramp while doing simple things like wringing out a sponge or trying to wash my back. They were so weak and sensitive that I couldn’t shake hands without wincing. I had trouble opening up jars of food, and I couldn’t even do a pull up or hand my clients their dumbbells or rack their weights. My feet ached. I had pain behind my left knee and it hurt to walk.

Each day exhausted me and mornings were especially painful. Getting out of bed was torture. I would sit on the edge of my bed, anticipating the pain that would inevitably ensue when my feet hit the floor–pain and stiffness as I hobbled to the bathroom every morning. Climbing into bed was a bigger adventure because my hip flexors were so tight that I could no longer lift my knee to the mattress. I was reduced to doing a face-plant onto the bed, reaching over to the other side, and then pulling myself up the rest of the way.

By April, I was exhausted from being in constant pain. After four months, six doctors and tons of money flying out of my wallet, I was finally diagnosed: psoriatic arthritis. The flood works began right there is the doctor’s office. What kind of disease is this? How am I going to be a personal trainer if I can’t even move? Arthritis? Really? Yes, really. Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy cells and tissues. This leads to joint inflammation and loss of range of motion, and permanent joint damage will result if left untreated.

There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, but the condition can be controlled with medicine. The doctor outlined all of the medical options for me and explained that Enbrel would be my best bet. Enbrel, known as a disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug, suppresses the immune system. Within the first week, I noticed relief.

It’s been over three years since my first Enbrel injection. I began to feel much- needed relief within the first week after the initial injection and very slowly began exercising again. I now have returned to a regular workout schedule, but my attitude about working out and personal training is different. Do what you can. Push yourself hard. And listen; really listen, to your body. Know when enough is enough. The experience of being diagnosed and of living with a chronic disease has taught me to be the best I can be and to have realistic goals. No longer do I want to look like that cover model on the latest fitness magazine; now I want to live an active and pain-free life. We should exercise so that we can perform our activities of daily living with greater ease–looking good in the mirror is a by-product of that hard work, not the main reason for the hard work. This is one lesson I learned the winter of 2010, and a lesson I try to instill in my clients.

My dream of running an international marathon may be gone, but at least I can get in and out of bed without the face-plant. I can open up jars of peanut butter and can even whip out a dozen pull ups, though my grip isn’t what it used to be. I don’t think I’ll ever sprint on the treadmill again either, but I am enjoying my leisurely 4 mile runs. And, yes, really, this personal trainer was diagnosed arthritis when he was 41.