Healthy Changes Everything: Results they can feel
It’s been nearly six months since Lori McDermott and Marty Mazurkiewicz embarked on their Healthy Changes Everything prizewinning journey—nine months of personal training and health counsel at Hive Lifespan Center. As expected, there have been bumps and challenges, but both McDermott and Mazurkiewicz are astonished not so much at the changes in how they look, but the changes in how they feel.
Now that she’s learned how to eat healthfully and adopted it as routine, Lori McDermott is facing a common obstacle to maintaining her food plan: life. In McDermott’s particular case, life includes a job that requires a lot of travel and eating on the road. “Eating at home is always the best choice, but if subs are ordered in for lunch and then we’re on to the next meeting and not stopping anywhere, that’s my only choice,” she laments of a recent business trip. “Those are the things that challenge me; I did pack almonds and apples and oranges and vegetables, so at least I was having healthy snacks.”
On the other hand, McDermott is proud of the way her habits won out on a recent vacation to Key West. Though she allowed herself some bits of her favorite dessert, key lime pie, and some dry red wine, she stayed away from grains, and was sure to include protein and vegetables with every meal. “Before, I would have eaten macaroni and rice dishes and gone all out, but now I know I have to stay away from those things,” she says. “And as soon as I walked through my door at home, vacation was over. I couldn’t wait to get back on track.”
She’s also getting back on track at Hive. McDermott is a heart patient who had five stents put in 2010, and, two months ago, she had such difficulty breathing during her workout that 911 was called. Since then, she and trainer Dave Mancuso have been extra careful with workout monitoring, so that there is no recurrence. “We know now that as soon as my heart rate monitor hits 150, we stop,” McDermott explains. “We know exactly which weights to use and how many reps I can do to hit 150 and we know that right after I finish that exercise, my heart rate is going to elevate, so we take a ten-second break until it goes back down.”
Though she feels like she’s getting a workout, McDermott dreams of the day when her heart is healthy enough that she’s able to break a sweat at 150. When those thoughts frustrate her, she reminds herself that her health is improving. She feels lighter and more agile. She can take stairs two and three at a time without huffing and puffing, a big accomplishment for a heart patient. “As much as I got upset with my trainer for making me do step ups, I can see how they’ve helped me,” she enthuses. “You don’t see the results, but I feel them.”
Not that there aren’t more quantifiable results as well. She’s lost both weight and inches (“I’m wearing suits I haven’t work in six years!”) increased both the size of the weights she’s lifting as well as the rep count, and upped her resistance on the elliptical and bike. If there’s a challenge she’s facing with thrice-weekly workouts, it’s finding the time to fit them in—that darned job again.
“Mornings have sometimes been hard for me to get up and out at five, so I have to move it to the afternoons, but then sometimes I’m in the middle of a meeting and look at the time, and say, ‘Oh my god, I have to get to the gym!’ ” she says. “It’s hard to break away, and a lot of times I bring my phone to the gym so I can handle problems as they arise. I don’t want to bring my phone to the gym, and that’s where I have to start disciplining myself, to say enough is enough.” And though she’s been advised that maybe a high-stress job isn’t the best option for her, McDermott doesn’t want to change: “I love my job and my clients and I find it exciting and rewarding so it’s not something that I even think of.”
What she has thought of is what she’ll do when her nine-month contest prize is over, and that’s stay with Hive. “Dave knows me and my anatomy and my capabilities and strengths and weaknesses,” she says. “I like that and I don’t want to lose that. Dave is like my lifeline, and I’m just so happy that I have this opportunity.”
“It’s been five months and I feel great,” says the perennially enthusiastic Marty Mazurkiewicz. This month, he’s enthusiastic about his diet, which is being helped along by an app called My Fitness Pal. “It makes you log in everything you eat for the day, and kind of yells at you if you don’t eat enough food,” he laughs. “You can even scan the barcode off a food and it brings up all the information so you’re paying more attention to the label. I’m getting addicted to it, just like with the exercise.”
My Fitness Pal has really made Mazurkiewicz zero in on his diet in a way that he hadn’t been previously. “I’m just taking a more aggressive approach,” he explains. “I thought I was eating really healthy before, but I used to drink orange juice in the morning or after a workout to boost my energy; I stopped that. Now, I’m trying to get protein in the morning to help me rebuild, and I don’t wake up sore anymore, or it doesn’t linger as long as it used to; my recovery is a lot quicker. I’ve also been drinking a gallon of water a day; the formula is half your body weight in ounces.”
What’s been nice for Mazurkiewicz—and a boost to his commitment—is the way that both healthful eating and healthful living have become a family affair. “They’re taking what’s happening to me seriously, and it’s starting to roll over to them, just drinking water, and picking up on those habits,” he says. “My wife and kids joined a gym, and downloaded My Fitness Pal, too. We’re all marking down calories and exercise. We all look at our phones and say ‘What did you do today?’”
Yvonne Mazurkiewicz has also subscribed to Dr. Derek Alessi’s (WGRZ’s Healthy Zone) newsletter and uses it to guide her shopping and meal preparation. “We say, ‘That recipe looks good; let’s try that,’ and if we like it, it goes into the recipe book,” Mazurkiewicz shares. “It’s just different variations on things, like using spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti.” (Marzurkiewicz and McDermott were even guests on Healthy Zone.)
But despite his healthy efforts, McDermott won’t apologize for having a slice of pizza: “You need to take a break once in a while, as long as you don’t make a habit of it.”
In the gym at Hive, Mazurkiewicz is hitting heavier weights than ever, but his routine has changed because of this injury, which has now been definitely diagnosed as an inflamed hip flexor. He’s gotten a cortisone injection and uses painkillers, and is scheduled for some deep tissue therapeutic massage with a specialist. In the meantime, his workouts have been adjusted.
“I still do lower body, but in different ways,” he explains. “We’re modifying squats, or using support or the TRX machine. I’ve changed from doing lunges to more rubber band type stuff. I’m still sweating like crazy, but it’s just a different way of doing it.” The injury precludes him using the treadmill or elliptical, so his cardio is now the stationary bike, or kettlebells. It’s all good, he says, because he’s getting stronger, able to lift forty pounds on a single-arm bench press, up from thirty-two. “I never pictured myself a gym rat,” Mazurkiewicz maintains, “but I need to go.”
Donna Hoke thinks kettlebells are a great way to combine cardio and weight training